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Its a quiet but sad passing of the once powerhouse and backbone of the movie poster collecting world. With no one there for a mourning ceremony, not a single recognition, it is almost an embarassment to the movie poster collecting world that no one even noticed.

On September 1, 2000 the last frail breath of the National Screen Service passed into oblivion.

Very few remember the chaos and disarray of the poster collecting world before National Screen acquired the mantle of controlling and distributing all the major studios wares.

It was almost impossible to tell an original from a reissue, control and distribution of different sizes were a nightmare. But within a few years, it was like a wizard had waved a wand for all poster collectors. With a numbering system to tell the year a poster was released, when it was a reissue and even when in the year it was issued. The organization of a variety of great sizes. The control of distribution of press kits, lobby cards, window cards, inserts, half sheets, one sheets, three sheets, six sheets and much much more.

For almost 40 years this iron hand controlled about 90 percent of the movie poster collecting world. No, the system wasnt perfect but it became so engraved to collectors that many collectors wouldnt touch a poster without the NSS # or NSS tag. Even the simple little stamp on the outside of the folded posters drove counterfitters nuts.

Then in 1984 National Screen had a heart attack and became an invalid. Losing the control of almost all the distribution of paper from the major studios. The collectors world lost our lobby cards, window cards, half sheets and inserts. With the control back in the studio hands it has almost been a spiral downwards to old time collectors.

But National Screen went on with 20-25% of the theatre distribution and no input on types of paper or sizes or distribution, they struggled with becoming a regular distributor and still tried to put NSS #s on the pieces they handled.

Now with the acquisition by Technicolor, their offices are closed and even though Technicolor will distribute posters and trailers like National Screen, numbering systems and any controls are gone forever.

We salute one of the major influences on our hobby and mourn its passing.




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