This is a story about two discoveries. The first: Almost two decades ago, in the back of an antique shop in Omaha, Nebraska, DJ Ginsberg and Marilyn Wagner found dozens of boxes holding 60,000 letterpress plates and blocks of movie advertisements that chronicled five decades of film history.
The second: Filmmaker Adam Roffman, who had been building his own collection of movie printing blocks, heard about Ginsberg and Wagner’s collection and decided to document their painstaking work to catalogue and preserve their collection.
For many years, movie advertisements were carved into letterpress blocks and plates. Roffman stumbled across his first—an ad for the 1934 film The Imitation of Life—at an antique shop in Waterbury, Connecticut, where he was conducting an interview for a different project. “I thought it was beautiful and about a movie, but wasn’t sure exactly what it was,” he says. He bought the block, started researching its origins, and soon became obsessed. His own collection has grown to 350 blocks.
Roffman first found out about Ginsberg and Wagner’s collection from an old Omaha World-Herald article….
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