Regional Arts Development Central West NSW

Souvenir Movie Programs on Display

W W II Souvenir Movie Programs

Some of Bathurst resident Noel Cowan’s extensive collection of Souvenir Movie Programs will be on display as part of the WW2 Remembers event Bathurst Showground, August 12-15, 2022.

Noel Cowan shares a little of the background of his vast collection:

“Between 60-70 World War 2 themed SOUVENIR MOVIE PROGRAMS will be on public display during the ‘Bathurst Remembers World War 2 Exhibition 2022’, marking VJ Day and the end of WW2.  My display of WORLD WAR 2 THEMED MOVIE MEMORABILIA will be small compared to the thousands of war exhibits from other exhibitors, on display over several pavilions.  However, I am pleased the public will get a rare chance to see these historical significant items by viewing their covers,” Noel says.

Noel’s says his full collection is Australia’s largest.

 “There were few movie programs printed during the war years.  However, on display (amongst others) will be programs for Since You Went Away (1944) from legendary producer David O. Selznick and The Story of GI Joe (1945) which established Robert Mitchum as one of the world’s biggest movie stars.

“In addition, there will be many souvenir movie programs from World War 2 movies made in the decades after the war, including two Australian titles, Attack Force Z (1981) starring Mel Gibson and Kokoda (2006).  Others include popular war movies:  Saving Private Ryan, Schindler’s List,  A Bridge Too Far, The Great Escape, The Dirty Dozen, Tora Tora Tora, The Battle of Britain, The Longest Day, and The Bridge on the River Kwai.  Many of these were only available to first-run city theatres in major US or UK cities, a rare exhibit for the Australian public.”

“To add some contrast, I have included some very rare vintage film fan magazines from the period, as well as programs for other non-war films and serials made during those war years.  Program titles include Gone With The Wind (1939) which to this day, is the film that drew more people to see it than any other film in history. Others include Walt Disney’s Fantasia (1940) For Whom The Bell Tolls (1943) A Song to Remember (1945) as well as the serials Jungle Girl (1941) and Secret Agent X 9 (1945).”

“I am sure those interested in rare films would appreciate these latter items, while the younger folk could be amused by some of the unusual titles.”

“My display will be in the Trevitt Pavilion, which is in the middle area of the main Bathurst Showground building and will be behind see-through metal security fencing, displayed on a multi-tiered display in a corner of that building.”

Noel is looking for a suitable venue and location to display these stunning programs, on a rotating basis, to the public. They cover 100 years of movie making history from 1915-2015 over all film genres.  This could be as a stand alone exhibit or as a striking background to another.  Enquiries….0408 742 991. 

SOUVENIR MOVIE PROGRAMS were magazine-size booklets and were originally on sale at Theatres or Picture Palaces, as they were sometimes called (called cinemas today). This was from the early silent era of movies, to approx. the late 60’s in Australia and occasionally into the 2000’s in the U.S. and some other countries.

They contain many wonderful snapshots of the stars and movie scenes with interesting stories about filmmaking processes, etc. These were only available in Australia during first release seasons. Usually only in Sydney and Melbourne at single screen city theatres, such as The St. James, The State, The Paramount, The Plaza, and many others.  

THEY ARE A REMINDER OF WHAT HAS GONE BEFORE, A MAGICAL TIME OF MOVIES, GLAMOROUS MOVIE STARS, VAST FILM STUDIOS AND THE WONDERFUL SINGLE SCREEN PICTURE THEATRES THAT SCREENED THEM. 

IMAGES AND CONTENT SUPPLIED.