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Selling Dreams: Movie Lobby Cards from the Jack Nachbar Collection at the Edge Center for the Arts in Bigfork

retired film and pop culture professor Jack Nachbar

Jack Nachbar is a longtime member and contributor to KAXE/KBXE. We know him from the Classic Movie Series at theEdge Center for the Arts in Bigfork.

This week we talked with him about a new exhibit on display from his personal collection of movie memorabilia.

In Minnesota’s smaller towns, movie theaters, once common in the downtown areas, are largely a thing of the past. This June, however, the Edge Center Gallery in Bigfork recreates some of the color and atmosphere of those beloved old buildings. “Selling Dreams: Movie Lobby Cards from the Jack Nachbar Collection” fills the Gallery from June 2 through June 24.

Lobby Cards, 11x14 inches, are mini movie posters. Usually highly decorated, lobby cards were exhibited in the lobbies of theaters or on the walls around the outside doors. They established an atmosphere and mood for the on-screen dreams showing inside, or lured patrons to attend “Coming Attractions.” Lobby cards were displayed in almost all movie theaters during most of the 20th century.

“Selling Dreams” includes more than 70 lobby cards dating from 1914 until 1992. Cards from Westerns, comedies, film noir, horror, musicals, and adventure films will be featured as well as films from great American directors, and key movies from each decade. The faces of the greatest movie stars are also part of the “sell” of these cards.

Jack Nachbar is the host of the monthly “Classic Movies Series” at the Edge Center Theater. He began collecting lobby cards a quarter century ago in Ohio where he taught courses in Popular Films. Now he features them in the lobby of the Edge Center when he hosts the movies. “Lobby Cards are important to me,” he says, “ because they were an essential, and entertaining part of selling the Hollywood product. They were an expected element of experiencing movies in the theaters. To me, it’s almost as if they were tiny tiny pieces of the movies themselves.”

“Selling Dreams” is in the Edge Center Gallery, June 2 through June 25. The public is invited to the opening, June 3, 5-7. Popcorn and other movie treats will be the official special attraction. Regular hours at the Edge Gallery are Thursday through Saturday, 10 to 4. Admission is free and everybody is welcome to surround themselves with fancy glimpses of some of their favorite movies.

The music director at KAXE since 2014, Kari (pronounced Car-ee) Hedlund reviews music on the daily. She also hosts New Music every Wednesday (2 and 10 p.m.) and Sunday (noon), along with the KAXE Morning Show on Thursdays.
Heidi Holtan is KAXE's Director of Content and Public Affairs where she manages producers and is the local host of Morning Edition from NPR. Heidi is a regional correspondent for WDSE/WRPT's Duluth Public Television’s Almanac North.