Intimate Strangers

Los Angeles: Joseph Cossman, Circa 1955. Original merchandising poster for a non-existent film, circa 1955, created by entrepreneur Joseph Cossman for no other purpose than to sell the poster via mail order to individuals who wished to live in a world where they co-starred with Jayne Mansfield as their romantic female lead. In this case, the lucky man was Ernie Cisney.

The poster was printed first as a four-color poster lacking the name of the co-star below Jayne Mansfield's, and when the orders came rolling in the purchasing party's name would be added. Apart from the names of Cossman (apparently the inventor of "Cosmo-Color") and Mansfield—along with a wild appropriation of the Fawcett Gold Medal logo at the top right corner—none of the names on the poster represent real persons in the film industry.

Cossman was a mail-order magnate, responsible for the invention and marketing of such memorable 1950s products as the Spud Gun and the Ant Farm, marketed entirely through comic books, newspapers, and magazines. The poster here represents an attempt on Cossman's part to sell posters as inventions rather than an advertisement of an actual film. Though it no doubt never crossed Crossman's mind, a fascinating early example of meta-advertising.

Research has produced two other examples of the poster (images only) with the same design but different fictional names, this being the only actual example of the poster we have handled or seen.

17.5 x 28 inches. Folded, with a few pinholes at the corners, a couple of short separations at the folds, and a tiny chip at one corner. Very Good overall.

[Book #137035]

Price: $375.00