A Dramatic Shade of Rose.

The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts has safeguarded the magical and immense moratorium of theatrical treasures that is the Billy Rose Theatre Collection. A glimpse of the imaginative and transporting world of early film has been captured in the lobby cards below.  Lobby cards were smaller than movie posters (11 by 14 inches) and displayed in theater lobbies for promotional efforts.  Typically these cards were created in a set of 6 to 8, capturing several scenes from the movie.  Although this type of promotion is no longer in use, having emerged in the early 20th century and reached extinction by the 1980s, their powers of persuasion are still as vital as ever.  No trailer needed, I’m sold on seeing Blood and Sand, Salomé, and Her Gilded Cage.

Woman and couple. “Blood and sand” 1922. Lobby card. The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts / Billy Rose Theatre Division. Courtesy of The New York Public Library, obtained from: http://www.nypl.org.

Nazimova in Salomé. “Salomé.” 1922. Lobby card. The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts / Billy Rose Theatre Division. Courtesy of The New York Public Library, obtained from: http://www.nypl.org.

Gloria Swanson in Her gilded cage. “Her gilded cage.” 1922. Lobby card. The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts / Billy Rose Theatre Division. Courtesy of The New York Public Library, obtained from: http://www.nypl.org.

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