Valuable movie posters on display in Manzanita Hall

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With just six posters left to go, the new installation of film posters that reside in front of Armer Theater and in the corridors of Manzanita Hall is near completion. The posters comprise film favorites such as “Singing in the Rain” and legendary Charlie Chaplin’s “The Thief Catcher.”

These posters were donated by collector Steve Olson and are currently on loan to the university, said John Schultheiss, a professor in the CTVA department who also serves as the option head of media theory and criticism. Schultheiss has contributed significantly to the exhibition with his time and in contributing some of his own posters that are displayed through the corridors in Manzanita Hall.

Along with Schultheiss, Robert Bucker, the dean of the Mike Curb College of Arts, Media and Communications, Mark Schaubert and Jim Sweeters have all contributed a great deal to the new exhibition.

While Schaubert and Sweeters represented the physical labor by transporting the posters to and from the framers located in Van Nuys, Bucker gave the permission for the new exhibition and set aside the funding his college provides.

Classic movie poster are on display in the hallway outside the Armer Theater in Manzanita Hall. The posters are collectors items on loan from Steve Olson and valued over $25,000. Photo credit: Armando Ruiz/ Staff Photographer

“The new exhibition would not have happened without dean Bucker’s support,” Schultheiss said.

“The university’s contribution to putting a collection like this up on the wall is making sure the posters are appropriately matted and framed,” Bucker said.

The posters required quite a bit of space when matting and framing because of their size, Bucker said. Sweeters would take about 15 posters at a time to the framers and it would take anywhere between four to eight weeks before they would be ready to be picked up. This process has added to the exhibition taking about a year to complete.

Schultheiss said the estimated value of the posters could easily be $20,000. The posters that make up the Olson collection are not made with modern photography, an adopted practice since the 1970s, but they are illustrated by actual artists. Since the 1970s, posters have converted to photographs because it is inexpensive and because its look is more contemporary.

The posters’ value is also high because many of them date back before World War II, in which they survived the paper drive, a time when many film posters and important documents were burned, Schultheiss said.

The previous exhibition was entitled “Hollywood Worldwide” and featured posters by producer and famous collector Mike Kaplan, Schultheiss said. Schultheiss said he felt Kaplan’s posters would fit best in front of the Armer Theatre and for eight years, they remained there.

The posters dealt with American films, but were from European and other foreign sources. When “Hollywood Worldwide” was taken down, it was not until a year later that the thought of another exhibition taking its place came forth, Schultheiss said.

“We don’t have the funding like museums do to switch them out often. However, students graduate and every semester we have a fresh community of new interest. Something to be said, this exhibition will be up for a while,” Schultheiss said.

Despite the difference in budget, the presentation of the posters resembles the setup at a museum. Schultheiss has taken the time to write narratives of each poster, which are placed next to the posters in the Manzanita corridors so observers are able to read about the films in further detail.

Schultheiss has until the upcoming spring semester to write the narratives of the Olson collection. When the installation is complete, the department will hold a premiere for the collection.

“We believe that in the second semester of this academic year, the installation will finally be complete, and at this time we are going to celebrate it,” Bucker said. “It’ll be after the first of February in 2011.”

“John and I are both really excited about having these posters, we feel that they are an important part to the visit to the Armer Theatre and we are very excited to have this work and the new installation up in place,” Bucker said.

Story by Lauren Smith / contributing reporter