Inspired by a design hand-carved by Hatch Show Print for posters promoting the 1939 film Jesse James, and reimagined for today by designer-printer Heather Moulder, the four-color letterpress print we’ve dubbed “Hide Your Smile” is a timely reminder that says it all, and in a way only vintage type can.
Enjoy this behind-the-scenes video, including an interview with Heather:
When it was time to imagine the way to don a mask in Hatch Show Print style, there was nothing more fitting from the countless sources of inspiration we have in the shop than Jesse James’ bandana, floating beneath shadowy facial contours. The gorgeous block, measuring twenty-six by forty inches, is what we have left of a multi-block set created for the 1939 film.
Heather reimagined the notorious outlaw-hero as a twenty-first century ambassador for safe social distancing practices by referencing the shop’s design style of the era, evident in the spectacular posters for stars of the Grand Ole Opry and blocks advertising other movies of the same time period—along with more widely available movie posters produced for Jesse James.
Hatch Show Print created movie posters and other advertising ephemera (tire covers, tack cards, bumper cards, and more) for theaters from the early twentieth century on, and while we can’t trace back to the very first motion picture on the list, there are a few of the print blocks still in the wall o’wonder that show off the skills of the staff from that era.
Alongside Jesse James, there was Island of Lost Souls (1932) and Roaring Twenties (1939) which also display the skill Will T. Hatch and his staff had for distilling the information available to them, from press kits provided by the theater owners, into advertising art that would fill theater seats across the south. Island of Lost Souls, a favorite among the staff, is part of the Signature Collection—and the shop’s relationship with the film industry features in a blog post written earlier this year.