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Did you know... that there are several different types of 8" x 10" publicity movie stills?

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Added: 10/16/2017

8x10 stills are photographs usually printed on thin glossy photo paper that were created for all movies from the 1910s through the present day. Studios would often issue dozens of different stills for each movie (usually well over 100!), and they would be sent to theaters showing the movies. Starting in the 1960s, many dealers began reproducing stills (sometimes from the original negatives), and sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish between original theater-used stills and reproductions (the main differences are the quality of the paper and the crispness of the photographic image and the sharpness of the letters or numbers).
     eMoviePoster only sells original vintage stills that either came directly from theater owners (or closed down theaters), or from poster exchanges, or from longtime collectors who purchased directly from either of the above, and we unconditionally guarantee that every still we sell is original! You should always be sure to only buy original theater-used stills (which have collectible value, and have continued to rise in value over the years) as opposed to reproductions, which have only decorative value (and never rise in price).

  • "Unnumbered color stills". These are extremely similar to black & white 8" x 10" stills, except for being in color of course, and they are almost always printed on virtually the same exact paper as black & white stills. Just like with black & white stills, there can be a very large number of different ones (it seems that they made a different number of unnumbered color stills for each movie).
  • "Numbered color stills". These are also very similar to black & white 8" x 10" stills, except for being in color of course, and they too are printed on virtually the same exact paper as black & white stills. Just like with black & white stills, there can be a very large number of different ones. They look just like the unnumbered colored stills (see above), EXCEPT they have tiny numbers in the bottom left, center, or right, and there are often exactly 12 of them (although sometimes there is a lesser or greater number, depending on the movie).
  • "English/U.S. color stills" that were "printed in Great Britain" but have full NSS information. We have been told by an expert that Columbia and MGM had a number of their color stills printed in Great Britain in the late 1950s and the early 1960s (the years vary between the two studios), no doubt because the English color printing was better than the U.S. color printing at this time. However, they were printed in Great Britain to be used in the U.S. (we have heard from many collectors who saw these color stills in U.S. theaters at the time these movies were released, but we have not heard from any English collectors who saw them used in England at that time). In the late 1960s and 1970s some studios started printing color stills like these in Italy, surely for the same reason (because Italian printers had better color printing during those years). But those stills printed in Italy were for use in the U.S., as these stills printed in Great Britain were for use in the U.S.
  • Key book stills were created by the studio as the movie was being filmed. They would basically take pictures of absolutely everything (the sets, the actors in costume, images throughout filming the scenes, etc). They would then take those pictures and put them into notebooks. Sometimes they simply put punch holes in the stills and put them in the binders that way, but they would often get damaged or pulled out of the binder, so they started putting many of them on a linen backing (sometimes just a thin strip of linen on the back of the left edge, and sometimes full linen). Sometimes they would put an extra inch on the left or top of the still and use that for the punch hole area.
        The purpose of these was obvious. If at any point they needed to refer to how something should look, they would have these great sets of stills (often many hundreds of them) as reference. Say they were editing the movie and they realized they wanted to shoot more film for one specific scene. They could use the keybook stills to determine exactly how the actors were dressed, where they were standing, etc.
        As the years since the movies were made increased, studios cared less and less about keeping these reference materials, and they would often dispose of these one way or another.
        So they are not incredibly rare, but they are definitely desired by collectors. Very few collectors consider the punch holes or the linen backing a defect of any kind.

  • "8" x 10" mini lobby card sets" which were printed on titles where the studio also made 11" x 14" lobby card sets (and on later titles, where the studio also made 11" x 14" color still sets). Many collectors are surprised to learn that these were first made in the 1910s, as ones from that period (and the  early 1920s) are EXTREMELY scarce! Somewhere in the 1920s, the studios stopped making them (likely because not enough theaters ordered them). In the 1930s to 1960s, studios made color still sets, which were different from the set of eight lobby cards. In the late 1960s, studios slowly began again making mini lobby cards, which were normally exact duplicates of the 11" x 14" cards or stills, except for the size, including the type of paper stock used. Almost always, these mini lobby cards from the 1960s on are numbered from 1 to 8, and a set contains exactly 8 cards, but in rare cases, they are unnumbered, or contain more or less than 8 cards. We refer to these as 8" x 10" mini lobby cards when they are from the 1960s on, but as 8" x 10" lobby cards when they are from the 1910s and 1920s.

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