Godzilla, King of the Monsters (Toho, 1956)
U.S. One-sheet (27″ x 41″)
Godzilla King of the Monsters is the heavily re-edited American 1956 adaptation of the Japanese film Gojira, originally produced by Toho Studios in 1954, which had previously been shown subtitled in the United States in Japanese community theaters only, and was not released in Europe. For the American version, some of the political, social, and anti-nuclear themes and overtones were removed, resulting in 16 minutes of footage cut from the original Japanese version and replaced with new footage shot exclusively for the film’s North American release, featuring Canadian actor Raymond Burr playing the lead role of American journalist Steve Martin, from whose perspective the film is told, mainly through flashbacks and narration.
Of note, Godzilla King of the Monsters was the first post-World War II film to present Japanese people in heroic roles or as sympathetic victims of the destruction of Tokyo to the American public in a commercial release given A-picture status and bookings.
This poster is the U.S. One-sheet style for the 1956 release and I simply love ti for it’s comic book sensibilities and over-top melodrama:
Incredible, Unstoppable Titan of Terror
Civilization Crumbles as its death rays blast a city of 6 million from the face of the earth
Mightiest Melodrama of them all!
Who could have known that 61 years after the release of the original Toho film in Japan that Godzilla would still be the King of the Monsters and as viable commercially at the box office as in the mid-1950s.
All Hail, Godzilla! King of the Monsters!
Enjoy this 1956 theatrical trailer for Godzilla, King of the Monsters:
This poster is always in high demand and the only current auction I found while writing this article was on Heritage Auctions. They are offering a folded, Fine/Very Fine copy and estimate it will sell for $2,000 to $4,000. Since the current bid is $1,000 with 17 days yet to go in the auction, their estimate is probably low.
Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (Warner Brothers, 1953) 27″ x 41″ Style A One-Sheet
With Jurrasic World stomping through the box office, I thought it would be fun to look back at classic movie posters of a film genre that is so near-and-dear to my heart, dinosaur movies. Also, “lost worlds” and “giant atomic beasts.” I love them all!
While not the first dinosaur/lost world film by a long shot, Beast from 20,000 Fathoms is the first in a long-line of movies in the “Giant Atomic Beast” genre, pre-dating even the venerable Godzilla by one year. The importance of the film isn’t limited to simply being first. This movie was also the first solo project for our beloved Ray Harryhausen and the only time in cinematic history that Harryhausen and his lifelong friend, Ray Bradbury, appeared in the film credits together. The movie was loosely based on a short story Bradbury published in the Saturday Evening Post.
The one-sheet poster for this movie is simply great, including no less than 5 tag lines:
The Seas’ Master Beast of the Ages – Raging Up From the Bottom of Time!
They Couldn’t Believe Their Eyes! They Couldn’t Escape the Terror! And Neither Will YOU!
You’ll See It Tear a City Apart!
CASTS OF THOUSANDS! Over a Year in the Making!
A group of scientists and military men are in the remote far reaches of the Arctic Circle, testing a nuclear device. The detonation sets free a prehistoric “Rhedosaurus”, a giant carnivorous dinosaur that walks on four legs. The Beast makes its way south toward old nesting grounds, sinking a ship along the way. The Beast destroys a lighthouse along his route and eventually comes ashore in New York City, wreaking havoc. As if his ferocity and size were not enough of a menace, it is discovered that when wounded, the Beast drips blood that contains deadly amounts of radioactive bacteria. The military decides that the Beast will have to be taken out by a grenade rifle armed with a radioactive isotope leading to a final showdown in an unlikely setting – a closed amusement park.
Enjoy the movie trailer:
This poster simply doesn’t show up at auction very often. Heritage Auctions sold one way back in 2008 for $1,553. There is one current eBay listing for a nice copy of the poster for $1,450.
This movie is simply great and it’s importance can’t be understated to fans of genre movies. Not only did this film give Harryhausen is break-out opportunity, the film’s director, Eugene Lourie went on to become specialize in the genre of giant atomic beast invasion films. In 1959 he directed The Giant Behemoth, which featured stop-motion effects by Willis O’Brien and his assistant Pete Peterson, using many of the same low-budget methods that Harryhausen had pioneered. This was followed in short order by Gorgo (1961), which Lourie directed in England, this time featuring a man-in-a-suit monster.
The commercial success of Beast from 20,000 Fathoms led other Hollywood studios to jump on the bandwagon. The following is from Turner Classic Movies tribute to Ray Harryhausen:
Meanwhile, the influence of Harryhausen’s first solo creation was being felt around the world. In Japan, producer Tomoyuki Tanaka of Toho Studios read a synopsis of The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms in a trade magazine, and it inspired him to create a homegrown monster-on-the-loose. The first script for what would become Gojira (1954) even included an attack on a lighthouse. Gojira was a fearsome scaly-spined dinosaur brought to life as a man-in-a-suit by effects expert and longtime Kong fan Eiji Tsuburaya. (The edited film received added footage featuring Raymond Burr and a new title for its American release as Godzilla, King of the Monsters in 1956).
Warner Bros. also took note of the success of Beast and immediately put into production Them! (1954), which would feature an invasion of giant ants and a copycat release pattern of saturation bookings and a massive advertising campaign. Other studios would launch their own giant insect films as a result. So two entire movie sub-genres, the Japanese daikaiju (giant monster) film, and the American “Big Bug” movie, can be traced back to the twin successes of the 1952 reissue of King Kong and its Atomic-Age imitator, The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms.
And on top of all that, the movie poster is simply awesome,
Dracula Has Risen From the Grave (Hammer; 1968) 27″x 41″ One-Sheet
This week’s entry in our Classic Movie Posters Gallery, we pay tribute to Christopher Lee in one of his many iconic roles, Count Dracula. I admit, my original intent was to feature a classic movie poster with Mr. Lee actually on it but I was, shall we say, attracted to this unique poster from the 1968 Hammer Film.
The combination of cheeky humor and magnetic sexuality is perfectly aligned with where Hammer‘s films were at this time. The black and white photograph with the bright pink band aids and the word (Obviously) beneath the film title aren’t consistent with how dark this horror movie is, but fit right into a cynical period in our culture.
When you look at other posters of the period, this one truly stands out…and not just for the obvious reasons. It’s singular image differentiates it at a time when posters were still usually montage of characters and scenes from the movie. And, yes, its use of skin was also quite unique for its time. I can picture it on a theater marquee causing quite a stir alongside the other more traditionally style posters of the time.
Christopher Lee added an animalistic sensuality to his performance of Dracula and Hammer certainly pushed boundaries in their movies, combining horror and sex in a way not seen in mainstream movies before.
This poster is highly collectible but not terribly expensive. A F/VF 7.0 unrestored copy sold last year on Heritage Auctions for $143. Current listings on eBay start at $249 for VF copy. Not sure I could convince my wife to let me hang this one in our family room, though. At least, not until our son has gotten through puberty…
Frankenstein (Universal, 1931) 3-Sheet (41″ X 78-1/2″)
Most collectors secretly dream of finding the proverbial ‘golden ticket’ of items that are so rare, so unbelievably valuable, that they can afford to spend the rest of their days enjoying their collection without a pesky job getting in the way.
The poster was discovered by Steve Wilkin, who found the poster back in the 1970s in a long closed and boarded-up projection booth in a Long Island theater where he worked as a teen.
A spokesman for Heritage Auctions said: ‘Only a small handful of one sheets including one teaser, one six sheet, one insert, and a restored half sheet are all that have appeared of the posters, not including lobby cards,’ the spokesman said.
‘Offered in this lot is the only known copy of either of the two styles of three sheets created for the debut of the film.
‘This is the Style C and is arguably the best graphic of the two styles.
‘It underwent professional restoration and the poster now displays beautifully.’
The spokesman said posters for the film had always been ‘infamously difficult to find’.
The Style C three sheet measures a hulking 41-inches by 78-1/2-inches and had apparently been used by the theatre as a display for reissues of the movie in the decades following its release ‘It had apparently been used as a display for a number of reissues of the film with its counterpart Dracula, as was so often the case throughout the 1930s and 1940s.
Bidders also pushed the sale price of an 11-inch by 14-inch lobby card from the film to $40,630, making it the most valuable example of its kind from the movie.
Frankenstein is one of the first, and most important, monster movies and prices of original collectibles of the film reflect that importance. I’ll never own one, but I sure enjoy looking at them!
This week’s installment in our Classic Movie Poster Gallery celebrates it’s 40th anniversary this week, the movie that turned a day at the beach into a national nightmare, Jaws.
Credited as the first summer blockbuster, Jaws was a phenomenon and the poster art played a big part in the feeding frenzy. The poster art, painted by Roger Kastel, originally appeared on the Bantam paperback for the best-selling book by Peter Benchley. Universal Studios knew this film was going to be huge and looked at numerous designs before ultimately deciding that the book art was simply unbeatable.
Universal smudged out the nudity that had been a controversial on the smaller book cover and enhanced the impact by changing the title letters from the pale blue of the paperback to the dramatic blood red we all know today.
The resulting poster, with Kastel’s dramatic realistic style, the dramatic use of color and the exaggerated scale of the shark, is simply one of the most iconic images in the history of cinema.
Unfortunately, Kastel’s original 20×30 painting went missing during the book tour for the movie release. This painting would be extremely valuable today, but it has never been recovered . Read more about this unfortunate event at Collectors Weekly.
This poster has good availability in higher grades and is not out of reach for serious collectors. While I found several listed at over $1,000, I also found numerous listings below worth checking out.
Given the iconic design and lasting critical impact of this film, owning an original Jaws one-sheet seems like a pretty safe collectible investment to me.
The summer blockbuster season is upon us, as is our annual family trip to the beach. Jaws is being re-released at the theaters in June, and I plan to be there, re-living one of the great monster movies of the last 50 years and the grandaddy of the summer blockbuster.
The Robot Monster (Astor Pictures, 1953) Style A One Sheet (27″ X 41″)
In my last post, I reviewed a toy inspired by this movie. As I was writing that review, I did quite a bit of research on this film and thought it worthy of being this week’s installment in our Classic Movie Poster Gallery.
This 1953 science fiction romp is frequently cited as one of the worst, or at least silliest, movies ever made. Twenty-five-year-old writer/director Phil Tucker made Robot Monster in four days for an estimated $16,000. Most footage was filmed outdoors in Bronson Canyon, the site of innumerable motion pictures and TV settings, including It Conquered the World (1956), Earth vs the Spider (1958) and in more recent times, Army of Darkness (1992) and The Lost Skeleton of Cadavera (2001).
Robot Monster ’s budget was so low , Tucker couldn’t afford a robot costume as intended, so he hired his friend George Barrows, who had made his own gorilla suit, to play Ro-Man; Tucker then added the space helmet.
Robot Monster ’s special effects include stock footage used from 1940’s One Million , 1951’s Lost Continent, and Flight to Mars.Also spliced into the film is view screen footage with a brief appearance of the Rocketship X-M (1950) spaceship boarding; a matte painting of the ruins of New York City was also included from Captive Women (1952).
In spite of the minuscule budget and garage sale monster costume, the 3-D in the film is considered well-crafted, according to Jeff Joseph, organizer of the World 3d Film Expo in Hollywood. “Robot Monster is actually well-shot,’ he says, “and the 3-D is spectacularly good.”
This film flopped at the box-office, grossing $1,000,000 and received extremely limited distribution. As a result, the posters are quite rare. Further impacting scarcity and value, most theaters didn’t show the movie in the intended 3-D and the majority of posters have been restored where “3-D” was marked out or taped over with paper.
While not astronomically valued, the rarity of this poster would lead me to believe that it will continue to increase in worth over time and could be a good investment.
A couple of these posters are listed on eBay, starting at $2,000. I couldn’t find any recent auctions for this poster to benchmark values against, though Heritage Auctions has sold other poster styles from this film in recent years, including:
Half-Sheet (22″ x 28″) VF Sold for $1,553 in 2009
Banner (24″ x 82″) FN+ Sold for $1,793 in 2012
This is another example of a really great poster for a really bad movie. I love how much they’ve crammed into this poster — including love scenes, space ships, battling “dinosaurs” and even added a skull-face to Ro-Man to ramp up the fright. Never mind that he doesn’t have a skull face in the movie, or that the iguana / “dinosaurs” appear for less than a minute. Truly a poster from a different era and a great example of over-the-top, B-movie pop art at its finest.
Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (Allied Artists, 1958) Three Sheet (41″ X 81″)
This 1958 camp science fiction movie has the unique distinction of being considered one of the worst science fiction movies ever made and one of the most valuable movie posters of all time.
Released on May 19, 1958, Attack of the 50 Foot Woman has become a cult classic and has remained in the public eye largely due to this poster. The poster is like a comic book cover with its over-the-top action combined with a powerful composition that draws the viewer in. The poster is serious, while the sci fi romp it promotes is anything but.
A master of 1950s matinee movie art, Brown designed so many classic genre movie posters for science fiction and horror classics including Tarantula, House on Haunted Hill and Creature from the Black Lagoon.
No six-sheet was produced for this film, making this three-sheet the largest poster format available for this movie.
This poster goes for big bucks, ranking in the top 100 most valuable movie posters. Heritage Auction sold a VF+ on Linen poster at auction for $33,460.00 in 2014.
I enjoyed this film, but it isn’t one that I care to watch again anytime soon — too many other movies that I haven’t seen or love to watch again and again to spend time on this one. That said, I appreciate the timeless appeal of this poster and love that it remains a pop culture icon, being parodied and replicated on every imaginable product.
Movie Theater ephemera are the most valuable and desired components of a King Kong 1933 collection. While original King Kong movie posters are some of the most expensive and valuable of all vintage movie posters, other memorabilia from this film are readily available on eBay and other auction sites are more reasonable prices.
Here are some of the more interesting auctions currently on eBay for King Kong 1933 Movie Memorabilia. I’ll keep this page updated with current auctions as well as report what ended auctions sold for. Hope it is useful and please let me know if you win any auctions!
Of all collectible categories, vintage movie posters have proven to be consistently the most valuable, or expensive, depending on your point of view. The scarcity of high-grade posters, which were made to be used for a brief period and then disposed of, combined with often spectacular artwork make vintage movie posters one of the most sought-after collectible categories. The horror genre is well represented in any “most valuable movie posters” list and King Kong posters are some of the most highly sought after.
Movie Posters come in a wide-variety of sizes and formats and were used to promote movies in theaters. The bigger the movie, the bigger the promotional effort and the more styles of posters produced. King Kong was as big as a movie got in 1933 and, as a result, we have a plethora of movie posters to collect.
I’ll use this blog to compile a complete list of 1933 original movie release poster styles as well as price guide values and recent auction prices. I plan to add more detailed information about collecting vintage movie posters – different poster styles and formats, storage and display of vintage movie posters and more. In the meantime, I’ve included some useful books in our Amazon store here for you to check out.
King Kong One-Sheet Styles:
King Kong Three-Sheet Styles:
King Kong Six-Sheet Styles:
King Kong 24-Sheet Styles:
King Kong Lobby Card Styles:
The Digital Clubhouse for Monster Kids & Collectors of Classic Monster, Retro Science Fiction and Vintage Fantasy Memorabilia