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Disney lobby cards: Collecting movie and cartoon history

Ichabod and the Headless Horseman lobby card at ArtInsights

Ichabod and the Headless Horseman lobby card at ArtInsights

When I started selling animation art in 1988, there were only five galleries specializing in original cartoon art IN THE WORLD.  That’s right.  It’s hard for some to imagine when no one knew what a cel was, and when the thought that cartoon art was “kid stuff” was pervasive.  Things have really changed.  Most people know what about animation art, and many see it as a legitimate art form, but along with that the prices for animation art have risen to the point where finding unrestored reasonably priced original art is not that easy to do!

Recently a client/collector friend of mine showed me a collection of Disney lobby cards he had just gotten his hands on.  Most were from the original release dates.  These were smaller images released by the studio used to promote the film in theater lobbies across the country. It occurred to me that my collectors and people I knew who love Disney would be excited about the prospect of having these, what essentially amount to pieces of memorabilia and art mixed together.

Lady and the Tramp original lobby card from 1955 in the gallery

Lady and the Tramp original lobby card from 1955 in the gallery

It isn’t as if lobby cards can’t be counterfeit.  Of course they can be.  The trick is to find someone who knows where they’ve been since removed from the displays at the theater! How wonderful, though, to imagine them a part of the thrill of release in 1946 of Song of the South, or 1950 of Cinderella, or any number of other Disney classics!

Song of the South animated section lobby card at ArtInsights

Song of the South animated section lobby card at ArtInsights

I do love two of the images we got most, and those are the lobby cards created for England.  They are smaller, and they come from a slightly later time (a few years after the initial releases) but check out these British Snow White and Fantasia lobby cards, I especially appreciate that they are based on concept work from the films:

A British Sorcerer's Apprentice lobby card in the gallery

A British Sorcerer’s Apprentice lobby card in the gallery

A British Snow White lobby card in the gallery

A British Snow White lobby card in the gallery

In my own house, I have production art, and movie posters.  Lobby cards are the perfect way to add something small (they are all 11 x 14) and substantial to represent other favorites, or enhance the images in the production cels nearby.  That’s what I did with mine.  Personally I always want my lobby cards to be from the original release, and almost all the ones we have in the gallery are.  You can tell what year they were released by checking the number in the bottom right hand corner, making sure the first number corresponds with the year the movie was released..(like 55 for the Lady and the Tramp lobby cards, and 49 for the Ichabod and Mr. Toad lobby cards, for example)

The title lobby card from Ichabod and Mr. Toad in the gallery

The title lobby card from Ichabod and Mr. Toad in the gallery

Check out all the lobby cards (and the two collections) on our Disney vintage gallery page:

https://www.artinsights.com/production/vintage-disney/

 

 

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