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Did You Know... that a lot of movie poster art is misidentified, even by "experts", and sometimes even by the artists families?

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Added: 09/19/2016

What poster artist did the poster art for the 1957 movie, The Invisible Boy? Years ago we used to list it as "possibly Reynold Brown art", and then we were emailed that it was absolute that Reynold Brown did the art of the 1 sheet, 3 sheet, insert (and the other sizes with the same art), because it was positively identified as such on page 115 of the book "'Reynold Brown: A Life in Pictures" by Daniel Zimmer & David Hornung, which was prepared with the aid of Brown's son. And of course, many websites list this as Brown artwork.

However, we recently were consigned an example of the six-sheet, and we were amazed to discover that the art on it (which is clearly the same as on the one-sheet and other posters) is signed by Mort Kunstler! The area where the signature appears is cropped out of the other posters with the same art. Here is a close-up of that area:


If you have the slightest doubt that this is Mr. Kunstler's signature (or that it could be a different artist with the same name!), here is his signature from another poster he did, "Mr. Hercules Against Karate"


This proves that you can't trust ANYONE to be correct about who did the art for which posters, unless the art is signed, or unless you have other great evidence. One would certainly think that you could always trust the artists' families, but few artists got to keep their art, and when people remember back over decades, their memories can become fuzzy.

For many years there have been several movie posters where the art is regularly attributed to more than one person. This is most notable on some of the best horror/sci posters of the 1950s. One example is the Giant Leeches one-sheet, about which we were recently emailed the following:
     "I believe this is an Albert Kallis poster. It is featured in an online gallery/article about Kallis along with other known Kallis works. I hope that is of some help."

And we replied:
     "Unfortunately, we've seen this art called BOTH Reynold Brown at some times, AND Albert Kallis at other times! We've experienced the same problem on The Creature From The Black Lagoon posters (it doesn't help that Brown and Kallis sometimes provided art for the same film). Until we find some definitive evidence, we feel it is best to leave this art marked as 'unknown' for now. Until new evidence turns up, I will add a note about the mystery of the art on this poster as follows:
     'Note that there is considerable confusion over who created the art for this poster. Some say it is by Reynold Brown and others say it is by Albert Kallis. If anyone has definitive evidence as to who created the art, please e-mail us and we will post it here'.'"

So PLEASE don't be quick to say you KNOW who did the art on a poster, simply because you read it online! But if you have concrete evidence on any poster where we list the art as "unknown" then please DO click the link on that auction and tell us what you know!

10/14/2016: Follow-up with poster artist Mort Kunstler regarding his artwork

We received a fascinating follow-up email from one of our longest term bidders/consignors that reads:

"After receiving your newsletter with the revelation regarding THE INVISIBLE BOY poster art being done by Mort Kunstler, I contacted him and he spent an hour with me on the phone discussing his career.

Since there was a long period between INVISIBLE BOY (1957) and his other already known 1970s poster art, I was hopeful that he'd be able to provide me with a list of movie poster art he might have done in between those dates -- in the late 1950s and 1960s. Alas, he did not recall other titles. In fact, he had completely forgotten that he had done INVISIBLE BOY, that is, until someone in his circle brought it to his attention (perhaps via your newsletter)?

Here is a list that he gave me of his movie poster art:
INVISIBLE BOY (1957)
OMEGA MAN (1971)-did art for movie book cover tie-in only
THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE (1972)-2 styles
AMAZING GRACE (1974)
BUSTING (1974)-2 styles
THE GOLDEN VOYAGE OF SINBAD (1974)
THE TAKING OF PELHAM ONE TWO THREE (1974)-3 styles
THREE THE HARD WAY (1974)
THE DEVIL'S RAIN (1975)
THE HINDENBURG (1975)
BREAKHART PASS (1976)-Bronson hanging from train style only
GO TELL THE SPARTANS (1978)
THE PASSAGE (1979)
BEYOND THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE (1979)

He said he was a very fast artist and in the case of INVISIBLE BOY, he recalled that it took 2 days to complete the art.

In the case of POSEIDON ADVENTURE, he said he was instructed to a) capture the spirit of the movie and b) had to draw the different actors in size and prominence in the art according to their contracted billing.

He said the studios discouraged artists signing their artwork as it detracted from the movie and stars appearing therein. He said he had to camouflage his name and it became a kind of game to see if he could do so without the studios taking notice. For example, on AMAZING GRACE, his signature is on the right bumper; on TAKING OF PELHAM, it's on one of the subway advertisements.

He said his assignments were not handed out by the studios, but instead, boutique agencies. Which helps to explain why no one has ever found via the studios which artists might've been hired to do which posters.

When asked if he was ever confused with Morr Kusnet, who did portrait art for MGM for many years, he said that by coincidence they shared an office in NYC in the 1950s together. So perhaps that connection is what led to Kunstler doing INVISIBLE BOY, though he didn't remember for sure how he got that job.

Starting around 1980, he stopped taking movie art assignments to concentrate on historical commissions of the Revolutionary War and most prominently, The Civil War -- as they paid a lot better. He did do a series of paintings for Ted Turner's published tie-in books on his movies, GETTYSBURG and GODS AND GENERALS.

Thought you might find some of this of interest."

THIS IS BRUCE. Thank you very, very much for sharing all this wonderful information! We will of course incorporate it into the data on our website, and we are happy to share it will all the members of this club. If anyone else knows movie poster artists personally, as this fellow did, please talk to them before it is too late, and please share what they tell you with us, so we can share it with everyone!


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