THEATRICAL MARQUEES

Our theatrical marquees were all done by hand, long before the days of large format digital printers, scanners,  computer files, and CNC cutting machines. With each marquee presenting it's own unique issues with respect to size restrictions, layout and proper presentation, Simco was given creative freedom with design and execution.

 

Front plastic marquees were done on clear acrylic, with all copy and painting being done sub-surface. Film studios would supply pressbooks, movie stills, and posters for upcoming feature releases. These were cut apart in house and using scale rulers, re-configured to determine layouts to match the marquee sizes available.  Once the layout was calculated, the small text and images supplied had to be photographically enlarged, and made into film positives. Text was screen printed using translucent inks, while graphics & pictures were either airbrushed or made using B/W or color transparencies. Lastly, the plastics were back-sprayed in translucent paint for the background color.

Free Standing Photographic Enlargements would be done using the same small images from the studios. These would be photographically enlarged using b/w photographic paper (due to color film paper being prohibitively expensive for jumbo enlargements). Once the film was developed in house, the photographic paper was be mounted to wood (or Masonite) and contour cut to shape. The pictorial images were then artistically colored by hand using oil pastels, including various shadings for flesh tones. Finally the completed image was covered with varnish before installing for a film's theatrical run. The largest photographic enlargements ever created by Simco were for the 1971 feature "Diamonds are Forever", which included two 22' high photographic cutouts. 

Diamonds Are Forever (illuminated marquee and photographic enlargements at the Duke & Duchess theatre).

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Sweet Charity (side illuminated marquee with photographic transparency, at the Stanley theatre).

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Pink Panther (photographic enlargement at the Duke & Duchess theatre).

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Goldfinger & Dr. No Double Feature (illuminated marquee at the Eric Wynnewood theatre).

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Lawman (illuminated marquee with photographic transparency at the Duke & Duchess theatre).

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Goodbye, Mr. Chips (illuminated sign and illuminated marquee, at the Boyd theatre).

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Support Your Local Gunfighter (marquee with photographic transparency at the Eric Mark I theatre).

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They Shoot Horses Don't They (illuminated marquee at the Duke & Duchess theatre).

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The Bible (marquee and illuminated sign at the Boyd theatre).

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The Organization (illuminated marquee with photographic transparency, at the Duke & Duchess theatre).

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Charlie Brown (illuminated sign at the Boyd theatre).

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Cotton Comes to Harlem (illuminated marquee with photographic transparencies, at the Duke & Duchess).

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Camelot (side illuminated marquee, at the Stanley theatre).

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Prudence and the Pill (Illuminated sign, non-illuminated front marquee with photographic elements, at the Boyd theatre).

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Happiest Millionaire (Illuminated sign, non-illuminated front marquee with photographic elements & hand-cut letters, at the Boyd theatre).

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Willard (illuminated marquee at the Duke & Duchess theatre).

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Fun fact: What took several weeks, skilled labor and talented artists to accomplish back then can now be done in approx. 1-2 days using our digital printers and CNC cutting machines!