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Foyer Entertainment: Movie Lobby Cards from the 1930s–1960s

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.

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