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The first lobby cards were actually 8" x 10" black and white stills. These were soon replaced with lobby cards that were produced using a brown and white rotogravure process.

Some of these brown and white cards were hand painted creating "color" lobby cards. By the 1920's, studios were using a photogelatin/collotype process for printing their lobby cards. Due to this process, the lobby cards look better when viewed up close than from a distance. (See Printing Processes)

There were basically three standard sizes for what are now known as lobby cards/sets.

11" x 14" - Standard (Issued in Sets)

8" x 10" - Mini or Midget (Issued in Sets)

14" x 17" - Jumbo Lobby Card (Issued Singly or in Sets)

11" x 14" Lobby Card/Set

The standard size lobby card was normally issued in sets of 8, although sets of 4, 10, 12 or 16 were also released. Each card in the set would have different artwork featuring scenes from the film. Quite often, a lobby card set would have a "title" card that would give the credit information. The remaining seven cards would just feature artwork. Some studios did issue lobby card sets without a "title" card. When displayed as a set, the lobby cards would give a pictorial synopsis of the film.

A typical eight-card lobby set would include:

Title Card - The title card is the first card in a set. It usually had artwork and the film's credit information. It sometimes featured artwork taken from the one sheet. (Some lobby card sets did not include a lobby card set. It would just begin with Card No. 1).

Scene Cards - Scene cards make up the majority of a lobby card set. These cards normally contain one or more of the film's cast. In most instances, the first two to three scene cards will feature the film's stars. The next few scene cards will feature supporting cast and/or scenes from the movie, including full cast shots.

Scenery Cards/Dead Cards - There are normally one or two cards that feature miscellaneous scenery or extras.

Many lobby card sets were numbered so that they could be placed in sequence in the series. The title card was always first with the other cards numbered to follow. Prior to the 1960's, the lobby card number was usually placed in the corner of the artwork on the card. After the 1960's, lobby card numbers were printed on the bottom border in typewriter style. Not all lobby cards were numbered.

While lobby card sets were phased out of the United States theatres in the mid-1980's, other countries still issue them. Lobby cards are still produced in English for major productions and shipped for international use.

8" x 10" Mini Lobby Card/Set

The "mini" lobby card set was also issued in sets of 8, or in some cases, 4, 10, 12 or 16. The breakdown of the midget lobby card set was the same as that of the standard size lobby card sets. In many instances, the mini lobby cards were identical to the 11" x 14" version with artwork variations to reduce the size.
In some cases, particularly for larger productions such as Star Wars, the mini lobby card set featured completely different scenes than the standard size lobby card set.

Like the standard size lobby cards, many of the mini lobby cards were numbered in the set. Their numbers would be found in the same locations as the 11" x 14" size.

While mini lobby card sets were phased out of the United States theatres in the mid-1980's, other countries still issue them. Lobby cards are still produced in English for major productions and shipped for international use.

Jumbo Lobby Card

Jumbo lobby cards were issued primarily for major productions. The jumbo lobby card measured 14" x 17" and were issued either singly or in sets of varying numbers. Unlike standard and mini lobby card sets that were generally issued horizontally, some of the jumbo lobby cards were also issued for display vertically. They normally featured major scenes from the film with a small amount of credit information. This size was rarely used and was phased out.

Card Chart


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