From 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.
In summer of 2019, a ragged trio from Alamo Drafthouse ventured to the bustling metropolis of Omaha, Nebraska, where an unimaginable trove of these objects 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. Once there, we began the venture of figuring out... y’know, exactly what we were going to do with them.
The answer is The Press Room Collection, a collaboration with our pals at Mondo, 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.
The unveiling of the Press Room Collection precedes the grand opening of The Press Room, a brand-new museum, letterpress print shop, bar, and event space at Alamo Drafthouse Lower Manhattan, as well as a future Press Room location in Orlando, FL.
Find out the story of how The Press Room archive went from a storage room in Omaha to the heart of NYC.