Why 24×36 Are Two Of the World’s Most Famous Measurements
I don’t much care how popular digital picture frames are. And, I’ve never been a big fan of screen savers or wallpaper, no matter how big a monitor occupies one’s desk. I’ve always been a poster guy. Even now, without being able to see? I still am.
Couple of years ago, when I was redoing my office, I told my wife that I wanted a poster, one I’d seen years ago. That poster was a 24×30 image of the painting Nighthawks by Edward Hopper, a favorite of mine. I got it that Christmas. I know the painting, I know the poster. Certain images are ingrained in my mind forever, and that’s one of them. I know what’s in the frame, and that’s all that counts.
But that certainly wasn’t my first. My very first poster, a birthday gift, came from my parents when I was well, young. Probably eleven or so. It was the Suzanne Somers as Chrissy poster from Three’s Company. Her in the black one-piece, if you can remember. I never had the classic Farrah poster. Farrah was more my friend, John Capo. But I did one-up him a year later when I spent $2.50 of paper route money to snag the Loni Anderson bikini profile poster. That one my parents found a little iffy, but soon after, a lot more risque posters flooded Harry & Flo’s, the local candy store on Central Avenue in Valley Stream, and so Loni remained safely attached to my wall.
I was never a big car-poster fan, but when I got to high school, I really became obsessed with movies. When I started going to comic book conventions and horror cons, my poster-buying really picked up, and my walls were regularly as active as any rotating-JPEG picture frame.
The first film one I bought was an original The Exorcist lobby poster. Shortly after that? An oversized JAWS marquee display that was too big even to try and frame. Remember, we’re talking the late ’80s, with after-school, minimum-wage job money here, and though you could sometimes find cheap poster frames at the mall, they were still pricey. My solution? I went to garage sales and bought reprehensibly ugly paintings for a buck or two, liberated the frames from their artwork and repurposed them.
The Outlaw Josey Wales was a staple in about a quarter of my guy friends’ bedrooms. Clint Eastwood? Too cool for words. Still, late ’80s? Even Clint was overshadowed, as about half my classmates had the infamous Bruce Lee mid-kick poster, or the Enter the Dragon poster with Bruce sporting the nunchucks.
At a local street fair, where I spent most of my money riding extreme carnival rides that had been assembled by people none of us should have trusted, I won several questionable wood-framed posters. The Godfather image of Marlon Brando holding the cat. A KISS LOVE GUN poster. An Islanders Stanley Cup 1981 poster. I say questionable, because I don’t think those carny vendors had licensed a single one of them, and if you looked close they all seemed a little blurry or had part of the artwork cut off. Still, when you’re 15 years old and throwing darts at underfilled balloons hoping to pop 2-out-of-3 to win something, you didn’t care all that much.
I remember winning a Marilyn Monroe poster I gave to a girl I was seeing. Spent a couple of bucks on a ring toss game where the only prize I could imagine picking wasn’t the big, stuffed 10 foot snake with the bulging eyes, but the Malcolm McDowell Clockwork Orange movie poster. (No luck, there.) I also had The Breakfast Club poster, which always made me smile because well before the flick came out, I was that guy—the one who walked around high school with the long coat and motorcycle boots, bandana around my thigh or around the ankle. (If you’re trying to hide the fact that in class, you’re drinking iced tea when you’re not supposed to? A long coat with deep pockets goes a long way when you’re 16 and found the coat at a thrift shop for $6.) Not that I’m recommending a detention-worthy offense for any high school retro friends presently toughing it out, but still …
Today, though I’m blind, we have posters in the house. Since we have a movie room, Pam has gotten me a reproduction of the original Casablanca movie poster. I have a very cool 1954 re-issue of the THEM! lobby display, and the most recent addition is an African Queen repro that’s an odd-size, but will soon be framed and find a spot on the wall outside my office.
Did you spend your teen years redecorating and rearranging your room every time a new foxy babe or hot guy poster came out? Whenever a new muscle car became popular? With stars like Eastwood and Monroe and John Wayne? Did your favorite film poster continually get updated?
Got any pics of your personal space from back in the day? If so, c’mon and share. A lot of those oldies-but-goodies are still available, and sometimes you can even find the originals on eBay if you’re a collector. Whatever your passion, chime in and show how the 24×36 days of yore still kick butt over today’s gadgety home décor.