Movie posters are considered one of the earliest forms of “movie art.” In the mid 1910s, as bigger movie theaters began replacing smaller, make-shift nickelodeons, movie-house exhibitors requested an additional type of poster to showcase in their new, larger theater lobbies and foyers. Hollywood studios responded by introducing lobby cards—movie advertisements designed to lure prospective moviegoers.
Lobby cards varied in size. They came in mini cards in sets (8” × 10”); standard jumbo lobby cards in sets, (14” × 17”); insert cards (14”× 36”); and lobby sheets (22” × 28”). The most popular card became the 11”× 14” card, such as those shown in this exhibition.
Lobby cards were discontinued in the United States in the 1980s with the emergence of multiplex theaters, but they are still produced as promotional materials for off-shore markets.
Foyer Entertainment: Movie Lobby Card from the 1930s–1960s offers a rare glimpse of this forgotten Hollywood art form with a display of over fifty lobby cards selected from The Free Library of Philadelphia’s Theatre Collection.
Told through a series of flashbacks, this film begins with Louise Howell Graham (Joan Crawford, 1908? –1977) walking the deserted streets of Los Angeles, calling for David (Van Heflin, 1910 –1971) . Louise is taken to a mental hospital in order to recuperate. Through a series of twists and turns we explore Louise’s past and follow her journey into madness. Louise married Dean Graham (Raymond Massey, 1896 –1983), a millionaire, and in the process acquired a stepdaughter, Carol (Geraldine Brooks, 1927-1977). Carol eventually drove Louise insane by falling in love with David, resulting in Louise’s murder of him.
Charlotte Vale (Bette Davis, 1908–1989) attempts to free herself from her psychologically traumatizing and abusive mother by entering a sanitarium under the advice of her psychiatrist, Dr. Jaquith (Claude Rains, 1889–1967). As she rebuilds herself, she falls in love with Jeremiah (Jerry) Duvaux Durrance (Paul Henreid, 1908–1992), a married man. His daughter Tina (Janis Wilson, 1930–) suffers from a relationship with a dominating and abusive mother as well. At the end of the film, Tina joins Charlotte in the sanitarium. When Jeremiah wants more out of the relationship, Charlotte utters the famous line: “Oh Jerry, don't let's ask for the moon. We have the stars.”
The line spoken by Bette Davis, "Oh, Jerry, don't let's ask for the moon. We have the stars." is ranked #46 in the American Film Institute's list of the top 100 movie quotes in American cinema.
Mike Brannan (Clark Gable, 1901–1960), a race car driver, is blamed for a fatal collision in a car race. After a second fatal collision, sports reporter Regina Forbes (Barbara Stanwyck, 1907–1990) accuses Brennan of causing both deaths. Brennan is suspended, but eventually returns to racing and falls in love with Forbes.