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.
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
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
We (eMoviePoster.com) hold 3,000 auctions a week, 138,000 a year.
See all of our current auctions in one gallery here: http://www.emovieposter.com/agallery/all.html