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Richard Carson Allen passed away on September 19th

BruceBruce Member, Captain Movie Poster Posts: 867 ✭✭✭ Daybiller
It is with much sadness that I report that the world's foremost movie poster collector, Richard Carson Allen, passed away on September 19th. He was 97 years old, and he lived a remarkably full life, both personally and professionally. You can read much about him here: https://obituaries.pressherald.com/obituaries/mainetoday-pressherald/obituary.aspx?n=richard-carson-allen&pid=190354169

I first learned of Richard Allen in 1988 when I saw the massive coffee table book he had just co-authored with Stephen Rebello, Reel Art. Great Posters From the Golden Age of the Silver Screen. In the mid-1980s I resumed collecting movie posters (after having stopped for a decade), and it was this amazing book that propelled my collecting into a much higher gear (and I have heard the same from many, many, other collectors over the years since).

After buying the book, I very much wanted to meet Mr. Allen in person, and I did so the following year (legendary movie poster dealer Jose Ma Carpio set it up). Upon meeting Richard (as he insisted I call him!), I was at once struck by how humble he was, in spite of his many business accomplishments. And I also met his wonderful (and very supportive) wife, Barbara, whom he had married in 1943, and who was by his side when he passed away, after a 75 year marriage and three children.

Over the next few years we had many business dealings, with my first auctioning much of his remarkable collection, and later we co-authored a large number of movie poster books, and later still we formed a partnership in leasing images of classic movie posters (the Hershenson/Allen Archive), and through it all, we never had a single disagreement.

I have accomplished much during my career in the movie poster hobby, and whenever people ask me how I did it, I remember the words of Isaac Newton, who said, "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants", and I say that in my case, "If I have done more in this hobby than others, it is by standing on the shoulders of Richard Allen"!

Incidentally, Richard did not come first come into the movie poster hobby around the time of Reel Art. Growing up in Montclair New Jersey, he would attend great 1930s movies, and sometimes he asked the theater for a poster from a particular favorite, and he still had those when I visited him for the first time in 1989! When dealers first appeared on the collecting scene in the 1960s and 1970s, Richard was one of their best customers, searching out the finest posters from the finest movies. This is why Reel Art contained the most amazing assemblage of movie posters ever seen, because the collection had been formed over many decades.

It is impossible to overstate how influential Richard's book, Reel Art, has been on the movie collecting hobby. It was the first to treat them as an art form rather than a collectible, and it is no coincidence that less than two years after the publication of this book the world's foremost auction houses were regularly holding major movie poster auctions, and that this little hobby grew from a few hundred people to many thousands. And for decades after its publication, Richard remained a "good will ambassador" for the hobby, traveling all over the country, telling everyone he could about this wonderful hobby.

So thank you very, very much Richard, for all you did for the movie poster collecting hobby. You absolutely were the world's number one movie poster collector, and every collector the world over owes you a great debt of gratitude for all you did for our hobby!


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