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In an effort to control the number of materials going through it, the NSS instituted a date and coding system. The NSS had regional offices set up throughout the country. All movie materials distributed through the National Screen Service normally carried the NSS number.

There were 4 years that were exceptions to this rule. The first 2 years that the numbers were used (1940 and 1941), some additional numbers were used. We think that these indicated regions, but we haven't been able to confirm this. The other 2 years were 1946 and 1948. For some reason (???), they started the numbering system up around 5-600.

Until mid-1977, the NSS number consisted of two digits, then a slash (/), and one to four numbers. The first two numbers indicated the year of the release, the slash was a divider, and the last four digits represented the sequential order of the movie for that year. For example, an NSS number of 65/100 indicated that the movie was released in 1965, and was the 100th movie title coded by NSS for the year 1965.

When the change was made, the same numeric breakdown was used, but the slash (/) was eliminated. The first two digits of the number represent the year the poster is released. The last digits represent the sequential order of the release for the particular year. NOTICE: on the right showing 2 posters from 1977 - Greased Lighting (on the top) had the old number system while Alice Sweet Alice used the new number system.

The NSS number is usually found on the bottom border of the one sheet poster, normally on the right side, but occasionally found in the lower left corner. The NSS numbers were in different locations on other poster sizes.

Here is a breakdown:

30x40 - the NSS number was initially on the bottom right like the one sheet but by the mid 1940s it had changed to being in the middle on the left and right borders.

40x60 - the NSS number is on the bottom right border just like the one sheet, but it is also unside down on the top left border.

Half Sheet - the NSS number was on the bottom right corner until 1968 when it changed to being on the top left and right borders.

Insert Poster - the NSS number was on the bottom right corner until 1977 when it changed to being on the bottom left and right border 'side ways'.

Lobby Cards - on the bottom right corner

In order to indicate a poster is a reissue/rerelease, all NSS numbers contain the letter "R" preceding the number code. Any NSS number containing an "R" in the first position indicates that the poster was reissued/rereleased in the year indicated. NOTICE: our sample on the right shows the one sheet for the 1975 reissue for A Touch of Class




What is the National Screen Service
The NSS Tag
The Demise of National Screen Service
NSS Number Log

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The History of the National Screen Service

NSS vs Independent Poster Exchanges

Independent Poster Exchange Log

Sample Studio Contract



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