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The World of Motion Picture Advertising Slides

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The Same – But Different

August 2, 2010

Poster for Robin Hood (1922)
Poster for Robin Hood (1922)
Slide for Robin Hood (1922)

Many slides reflect the design elements and motifs utilized in a film's other promotional material such as posters, handbills, and lobby cards.  This is especially the case with studio produced slides, though handmade slides created by exhibitors often duplicate visual elements from studio advertising as well.

Slide for The Goat (1921)
Slide for The Goat (1921)
Poster for The Goat (1921)
Poster for The Goat (1921)

Here are a handful of examples where the correlation between the poster and slide is obvious.  These slides are not exact duplicates of the posters, but the imagery has clearly been adapted from the poster into the lantern slide medium.  Looking closely, there are often subtle differences.  For example, it's clear that the poster and slide backgrounds for Mr. Robinson Crusoe (1932) are different, but spotting the differences between the slide and poster for The Goat (1921) requires closer examination (hint:  look at Buster's necktie.) 

Poster for Mr. Robinson Crusoe (1932)
Poster for Mr. Robinson Crusoe (1932)
Slide for Mr. Robinson Crusoe (1932)
Slide for Mr. Robinson Crusoe (1932)

Aside from comparing the visual elements, The Goat slide is also interesting because it correctly credits Mal St. Clair as the co-director (with Buster Keaton) while the directorial credits on the poster inaccurately attribute Eddie Cline as Keaton's co-director.

One final example comes by way of this page from the exhibitor's manual for Conflict (1945).  This excerpt from the 26-page manual nicely demonstrates the visual consistency between the poster, herald, window cards,lobby cards, and (of course) the lantern slide (15 cents!).

Exhibitor's manual for Conflict (1945)
Exhibitor's manual for Conflict (1945)