Source: The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
Hand-cranked prints, curated creations, and so much more from a unique archive of over 60,000 vintage newspaper movie ad plates spanning the history of 20th century cinema.
Austin, TX — September 1, 2020 — Alamo Drafthouse is excited to announce The Press Room Collection, a new and ongoing collection of prints and other unique items created from Alamo Drafthouse Cinema’s one-of-a-kind collection of over 60,000 original letterpress plates used for newspaper movie ads from 1930s to the 1980s. The collection launches today at ThePressRoom.bar with an array of items, including a limited-edition poster curated and autographed by Wu-Tang Clan mastermind and kung-fu disciple RZA.
“Kung fu has been called ‘the cinema of vengeance,’ but it was also built on stories of self-reliance, characters finding the strength to overcome impossible odds to carve out their place in society. This theme spoke to audiences worldwide and carried martial arts films into the ‘70s spotlight.
The movies I’ve selected for this print barely scratch the surface of the dynamic and insanely vast world of kung fu, a genre that has become as ingrained in global film, television, music and culture in general as any other. In my new film CUT THROAT CITY, I’ve incorporated that spirit of brotherhood and unique displays of action into my frames. My lead character “Blink,” a comic artist, has drawn his inspiration from the martial arts genre and mixed it with an urban western sensibility to create his world.
I hope these prints inspire the receiver to create something of their own. They’re also simply cool to look at. Enjoy.”
Making the RZA Kung Fu Ad Block Poster https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrfQ-L5iTlU&feature=youtu.be
Besides the poster curated by RZA, The Press Room Collection’s initial run of collectibles includes t-shirts, double-sided puzzles (one side original metal plates, one side letterpress print), truly distinctive wrapping paper, die-cut coasters, and a killer shower curtain, all celebrating cinematic culture. In addition, each purchase from The Press Room Collection through September 8th will receive a free Alamo On Demand rental of PRESSING ON: THE LETTERPRESS FILM, the acclaimed 2017 documentary about the 500-year-old printing process’ improbable survival in the digital age.
“This one-of-a-kind archive of cinema art chronicles the complete history of film promotion from the 30s to the 80s,” says Alamo Drafthouse founder and Executive Chairman, Tim League. “Digging into the different styles from decade to decade and genre to genre, you build a mosaic of cinema history, as well as a narrative of graphic design. We are extremely excited to share this Hollywood time capsule with our guests.”
Today’s launch precedes the grand opening of The Press Room as a museum, letterpress print shop, bar, and event space set to be located at Alamo Drafthouse’s upcoming Lower Manhattan and Orlando locations.
The Press Room is the culmination of over three years of effort by League, who was inspired after watching director Adam Roffman’s short film THE COLLECTION at SXSW 2017. The film tells the story of Marilyn Wagner and DJ Ginsberg, two Omaha, Nebraska antique shoppers who stumble upon the mother lode of movie memorabilia collections – over 60,000 letterpress plates that span six decades of film history – from CASABLANCA and THE LONE RANGER to THE DARK CRYSTAL and 48 HRS. League acquired the collection last year and began work on the museum project.
About the letterpress collectionFrom the classic films of golden age Hollywood to intergalactic ‘80s battle epics, the incredible visual history of 20th century cinema quietly unfolded in daily newspapers across the country. The stunning advertising images scorched readers’ eyes with Action! Laughs! Kung fu! Romance! Werewolves! – but the unique letterpress plates used to physically print these ads were then discarded and lost to time… until now.
During a trip to Omaha, Nebraska in the summer of 2019, Alamo Drafthouse founder and Executive Chairman Tim Leagued discovered the unimaginable trove of letterpress plates that had laid in wait for decades. Over four days, tens of thousands of plates were sorted, packed and prepared for a journey to their new home where the Alamo Drafthouse team began the venture of figuring out what to do with them.
The answer is The Press Room Collection, which offers prints and other creations from this one-of-a-kind collection of these rare handmade blocks – over 60,000 original printing plates for films spanning the 1930s to the 1980s. The collection is the largest single archive of these irreplaceable artifacts of movie history, all kept alive by our dedicated master printer, hand-cranking an original 1940 Vandercook press to create distinctive collectible prints celebrating cinema culture.
Alamo Drafthouse links
On Demand ondemand.drafthouse.com