Film historian and collector, Jeff Gordon, has collaborated with Hamon staff on a fall 2016 installation of seven movie posters from his collection. These stunning and brightly-hued posters join an earlier loan of Dorothy Lamour’s Beyond the Blue Horizon poster also on view on the first floor of the Library. In addition to this installation, Mr. Gordon also agreed to the Blog’s invitation to write comments about his early and sustained interest in movies and memorabilia, and the unique context of each poster in the history of mid-20th century American film.
I’d be hard-pressed to name my favorite movie genre, for I’m drawn to most all of them! This has forever held true for baby-boomer me, “raised” on TV showings of movies from Hollywood’s golden age. During my youth, I also took advantage of the diverse film offerings in my native New York, spending as much time in revival theaters as in first-run movie houses. Then there was the Museum of Modern Art, which had the best film retrospectives anywhere. My appreciation for vintage cinema deepened when I did a three-year volunteer stint in MoMA’s Film Study Center during high school.
I had happened upon movie posters at age 13. Their graphics enchanted me as much as the films they were promoting. A lifelong movie memorabilia collector was born. Going to work at 14 to pay for my then-inexpensive hobby, I serendipitously got a job sorting out vintage movie paper from a defunct poster exchange, then cataloged similar fare for Greenwich Village’s Cinemabilia Bookstore.
Afterwards I attended New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where I was mentored by William K. Everson, then the dean of film historians. Everson helped see my senior paper to publication. 32 years (and many articles) later came my book, Foxy Lady: The Authorized Biography of Lynn Bari. Foxy Lady was released in 2010 – three years after my association with SMU and the Hamon Arts Library had begun.
Being a devoted friend of Hamon has brought me many unexpected rewards, including curating the 2013 Hawn Gallery exhibition, “Linda Darnell: From Dallas to Hollywood,” which featured posters and other memorabilia from my collection on this Dallas screen immortal. And today, the installation in Hamon’s lobby of seven pieces from my movie poster collection throws light on my diverse cinematic interests. Below are some brief comments about these films and their posters.