Hollywood produced a number of Christmas films through the years. Look for these top seven collectible movie posters promoting such holiday fare as It’s a Wonderful Life, MIracle on 34th Street, A Christmas Carol, Holiday inn and A Christmas Story.
Christmas Movie History
The first yuletide move, Night Before Christmas, was produced by the American Mutoscope Company in 1897. A crude, silent effort, Night Before Christmas is set in an old country home where a mother and her young children hang their stockings over a crackling fireplace in anticipation from a visit by old St. Nick.
Since that inconspicuous debut 111 years ago, a number of Christmas movies have graced the silver screen. There have been serious dramas (A Christmas Carol), comedies (Christmas in Connecticut), musicals (White Christmas), science fiction (Santa Claus Conquers the Martians) and fantasy (Beyond Tomorrow).
Top Seven Christmas Movie Posters
With Christmas movies has come a blizzard of promotional material: posters, lobby cards, pressbooks, ads and heralds. The promo workhorse through the years has been the standard 27×41-inch one sheet movie poster. Here are seven one sheet holiday winners that many collectors feel deliver the Christmas goodies.
- It’s a Wonderful Life (RKO, 1946)
Frank Capra’s timeless holiday classic featuring James Stewart as small-town do-gooder George Bailey remains the Christmas movie of the holiday season. The original one sheet poster picturing Stewart tossing Donna Reed into the air is on every serious collector’s Christmas wish list.
- Auction Result: $15,535 in very fine+ condition
- White Christmas (Paramount, 1954)
Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen star in this Irving Berlin charmer, playing four entertainers who come to the assistance of a retired general (Dean Jagger) and his snowless Vermont ski lodge. Der Bingle and company adorn the one sheet poster in holiday garb, with a snowy sleigh ride scene looming in the background. Snow!
- Auction Result: $1,075.50 in fine+ condition
- A Christmas Carol (MGM, 1938)
Reginald Owen has the starring role of Ebenezer Scrooge in this faithful adaptation of the classic Charles Dickens novel. Owen and young Terry Kilburn (Tiny Tim) grace the one sheet poster in fine Victorian fashion.
- Auction Result: $956 in very fine+ condition
- Miracle on 34th Street (20th Century-Fox, 1947)
John Payne, Maureen O’Hara and Edmund Gwenn star in this holiday classic revolving around faith and a fellow named Kris Kringle. Payne, O’Hara, Gwenn and young Natalie Wood adorn the one sheet poster.
- Auction Result: $2,629 in very fine+ condition
- A Christmas Story (MGM, 1983)
Little Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley) wants a Red Ryder BB gun in this yuletide favorite from humorist Jean Shepherd. Billingsely, Darren McGavin and Melinda Dillon appear in holiday-harried fashion on the one sheet poster designed by illustrator Robert Tanenbaum.
- Auction Result: $71.70 in very fine condition
- Holiday Inn (Paramount, 1942)
Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire showcase their talents in this Irving Berlin musical from the World War II years. Crosby (who performs “White Christmas” for the first time), Astaire, Marjorie Reynolds and Virginia Dale positively glow on the one sheet poster.
- Auction Result: $4,182.50 in fine/very fine condition
- Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (Embassy, 1964)
The jolly one (John Call) tangles with get-a-life extraterrestrials in this low-budget cult classic filmed in an old airport hangar. The one sheet poster is “far out,” featuring Mr. Claus, Earth kids, Martians, a rocket ship, a robot and the enticing blurb, “Santa Brings Christmas Fun to Mars!”
- Auction Result: $131.45 in very fine+ condition