Archive of 89 original drive-in advertising placards


N.p. National Screen Service, Circa 1950s. Collection of 89 vintage placards, circa 1950s, used as sample advertising slides (i.e., dummies) at drive-in theaters by National Screen Service regional salesmen. The placards would have then been photographed, sometimes illustrated or otherwise manipulated, then turned into slides to be projected on the drive-in movie screen.

National Screen Service (NSS) controlled the distribution of theatrical advertising materials from the 1940s through the 1980s, most famously producing and distributing film posters, but also film still photographs and publicity material, and (as shown here) both regional and national advertising goods.

The advertisements represent a wide variety of services and retail locations: sporting goods, shoe salesmen, car dealerships, florists, heating and air conditioning repair, gas stations, exotic dancers, and many more, ranging in location throughout Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois. Two placards also feature negative photographs corresponding to the advertisement placards, one showing Gene Hawes and Son used car dealership in Jackson, Michigan, the other showing Blanck Chevrolet Company in Brownsburg, Indiana.

Many of the placards here advertise theater-specific events and services, such as half-price nights, double features, and family movie nights. A number of placards also advertise specific film screenings, including "The Admirable Crichton" (1957), "Johnny Guitar" (1954), "Paris Playboys" (1954), "Vigilante Terror" (1953), and "Conquest of Cochise" (1953).

An unusual collection of cinematic ephemera from the peak of drive-in movie craze.

Placards roughly 14 x 11 inches each, on thick card stock. Very Good plus, with occasional light soil and edgewear, but generally very bright, clean, and well preserved.

[Book #154287]