Itís 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
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 studiosí 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 wasnít perfect but it became so engraved to collectors that
many collectors wouldnít 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
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 #ís 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.