This site is dedicated to the archiving of advertising and promotional paper from the greatest romantic comedy Hollywood has ever produced! Upon its original premiere in New York City on February 22, 1934, the film ran continuously in theaters throughout the year in addition to several re-releases throughout the century.
Clark Gable, on loan from MGM Studios at the time, was cast alongside Claudette Colbert in what was originally to be released as a secondary budgeted production. Colbert was one of six actresses to be offered the roll. Myrna Loy, on advice from her agent, declined the part only to later regret her decision. Of course to the surprise of the fans, producers and critics, the film was a smash-hit going on to sweep the top Oscar honors. At the 1935 Academy Awards ceremony, held at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, California, Frank Capra's film was awarded first prize for best Picture, Actor, Actress, Director & Adapted Screenplay; one year after its initial premiere. It was not until 1976 (41 years later) that history would repeat its self when "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" matched this fame.
Back in the early days, movie posters were never produced for public consumption. Upon a film's release, movie posters were loaned to local movie theaters; they had to be returned to their respective distributor after the film screened. Films were not released in mass distribution opening on thousands of screens nationwide, as they do today. Release prints were very expensive to produce in the Depression Era, thus films made their road trip through the country screening only for a few days in each town they visited. If you missed it, there was no video release in sight. Knowing this helps us understand why so few posters were produced to begin with. Existing posters for many of Hollywood's Golden Age movies in most cases are scarce to none, as so few were produced and/or survived.
As a general rule of thumb, the larger the paper, the more unlikely its chance of survival. For example: 6 Sheet movie posters, due to their larger size (81in. x 81in.), were always glued to their respective display boards located only at large metropolitan movie theaters; few theaters in the 1930s had room for these, hence their low production. When a film finished its run, a new film's 6 sheet poster was glued over it, inadvertently destroying the bottom sheet.
Lobby cards outnumber the 1 sheet posters by 8 to 1, since the lobby card set included a "Title Lobby Card" and 7 "Scene Lobby Cards." This said, lobby cards exist in higher numbers compared to the 1 sheets of the same movie title. Regardless, original movie paper from "It Happened One Night" is extremely scarce and can easily fetch over $50,000 at auction! In the case of "It Happened One Night" it is believed that there exists only 3 copies of the 1 Sheet in either style. Since these copies are held in private collections, the likelihood of these surfacing at auction in our lifetime is quite low to say the least.
The following collection is an ever ending project to archive and display all the known surviving poster images from "It Happened One Night." If you have an image to add please submit it for the world to enjoy.
Officially, "It Happened One Night" was released in February of 1934. Due to its huge success the film was re-released in 1937 to garnish additional revenues for the studio. When the Academy awarded the film with five Oscars in February of 1935, Columbia Pictures was quick to reprint many of the lobby cards donning the Academy's "1st PRIZE" emblem to bank on its achievements. The "sheet" posters received a slightly different treatment as the date was simply changed on them; whether entirely new "sheet" posters were printed or whether they simply changed the date on the originals is highly debated. However, it is generally agreed that if the 1937 sheet posters were reprints with only a date change, that the exact same stone was used in the stone lithograph process. This might explain why only the lobby cards received the Academy's emblem since the printing process was completely different from the stone lithography method used on the "sheet" posters.
Site Last Updated: April 2014
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