Alamo Drafthouse has over 60,000 original letterpress plates that were used to create newspaper advertisements for movies from the 1930s through the 1980s. Now they’re turning some of those vintage items into a new line of merchandise for fans, with their new collection The Press Room. And it starts with t-shirts, puzzles, coasters, wrapping paper, and more, including a very special limited-edition poster curated and autographed by kung fu superfan RZA from Wu- Tang Clan.
The launch of the collection, the result of more than three years of work by Alamo Drafthouse Founder and Executive Chairman Tim League, comes ahead of the grand opening of the movie chain’s new pressroom facility that will serve as ” museum, letterpress, bar, and event space to be located in Alamo Drafthouse’s upcoming Lower Manhattan and Orlando locations.
This initial line of products offers many exciting options for moviegoers around the world.
THE PRESS AREA COLLECTION
THE STRANGE WORLD OF LSD T-SHIRT ($25)
“Slip into something a little more trans-dimensional with the all-cotton psychedelic t-shirt that rearranges reality.” This psychoactive tricolor image is from an original ad block promoting the 1967 documentary that blew the lid off the acid racket during ‘Summer of Love’. Sit down, listen, give up.
SEIZURE T-SHIRT ($25)
“Before it redefined 80s cinema with Platoon and Wall Street, Oliver Stone’s relentlessly eccentric inaugural feature reveled in 70s madness. Now Seizure’s heart-pounding paranoia has been captured from its original advertising block on a stunning two-tone t-shirt, as the film’s three harbingers head your way through a purple portal to the afterlife.
SUPER DRAGON SECRET AGENT T-SHIRT ($25)
“Just four years after the release of the first James Bond film, countless low-budget secret agents were pouring onto the screens of movie theaters around the world. And now you can be as dashing, fearless and irresistible as the answer from Italy to 007 in this stylish two-tone spy t-shirt, transferred from the original 1966 block print.”
LIGHTNING SWORDS OF DEATH T-SHIRT ($25)
“In the 1970s, kung fu films made the long-awaited leap from Asian cinemas to become an international phenomenon in their own right. Moviegoers suddenly faced an insatiable thirst for stunt stunts, melee combat and anti-gravity blades, all of which are on full display in the iconic Lightning Swords of Death, now transformed from the print block of origin in a flamboyant four-color design. .”
DEVIL’S EXPRESS T-SHIRT ($25)
“When kung fu cinema came to the United States, it found particularly strong support among black audiences in big cities. Some fans have chosen to enter the martial arts movie game themselves, with a further thrilling example being the mighty New York resident Warhawk Tanzania, whose unparalleled fighting skills and yellow jumpsuit are pushed to the limit when confronts a 50,000-year-old subway demon. Capture the fury of kung fu in this fearless tricolor t-shirt from the original 1976 block art print.”
THE GROOVE TUBE T-SHIRT ($25)
“Yes. That’s right. Totally, it’s a gorilla with a TV head. But it’s also a war cry of the unruly anarchy of chaotic 70s comedy, when taboo gutbusters like Animal House and Kentucky Fried Movie knocked moviegoers through their seats.Proudly display your disdain for authority with this all-important tricolor attack on the funny bone of the galaxy.
MONSTERS AND ENGINES PUZZLE ($20)
“A colorful range of vehicular monster slayings, featuring the most indomitable and inhumane creatures and/or vehicles from the 1950s to the 1980s, all reproduced from the original block prints. Space plant beasts enter crashing into custom swinger vans from the 70s!Heartbreaking dinosaurs get cozy with toothless bikers!Plus, it’s a two-sided jigsaw puzzle, with ad art on one side and a photo of the actual printing plates on the back, making your living room table twice as fascinating and a thousand times more fun.
MAD SCIENTIST TEST TUBE PUZZLE SET ($16)
“10 out of 9 mentally unstable scientists agree: This collection of four double-sided miniature masterpieces of maniacal cinematic malevolence is the ultimate sci-fi strike against our species. Each 150-piece puzzle comes disassembled in its own clear test tube, showcasing the classic sci-fi movie publicity art of the original plates, with the reverse being a photo of the unique handmade press blocks themselves.This set includes four puny themed puzzles but powerful: Shrink Ray, X-Rays and Outer Space, Doctors Jekyll and Spacy Invaders.
THE PRESS ROOM: MUSIC, MONSTERS & MOTORS WRAPPING PAPER SET ($7 set)
“In this deluxe duo of exclusive wrapping paper rolls, the hills are alive…with the undead! First, bury the gifts of your loved ones in this colorful range of Vehicular Monsters, showcasing the most indomitable and inhumane creatures and/or vehicles from the 1950s to the 1980s, all reproduced from the original printing blocks . . Space plant beasts collide with custom 70s space vans! Heartbreaking dinosaurs get cozy with two-wheeled warriors!
So you don’t know how to wrap this surprise for the Bavarian who has everything? Turn any gift into a song gift with this exclusive wrapping paper designed from a selection of original advertising plates for The Sound of Music. Your heart will fill with melody and anti-Nazi sentiments at just the right time when you unroll this 10′ x 26″ art sheet of the timeless musical.
THE COASTER COLLECTION NEWSROOM 1.0 ($10)
“Respect the wood. Protect your coffee table. Make the bottom of your drinking glass the most exciting part of your life. The Press Room features a sextet of delightful die-cut cinematic coasters, hand-printed from the original printing blocks hand-made on a genuine antique letterpress printing machine.
BLOODBATH SHOWER CURTAIN ($29)
“Transform every morning into the opening scene of Psycho with this spooky addition to the spookiest room in your home. The Blood Bath Press Room Shower Curtain is a carefully curated collection of classic horror movie commercials – and not-so-classic – each aesthetically alive with the thrills of the undead. As you scrub, Dracula’s creepin’ and Frankenstein’s peepin’, all rendered in murderously fine detail from their blocks of original handmade print BLOOD BATH is mold, mildew and soap resistant Non-vinyl, non-PEVA, eco-friendly and made from heavyweight 140gsm polyester 12 metal holes guarded with hooks included.
RZA SIGNED KUNG FU AD BLOCK POSTER ($55)
“Fists of Steel…Weapons of Vengeance…Musician/Filmmaker/Kung Fu Film Historian RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan presents a hand-picked collection of the finest and most furious martial arts advertising plaques, right at time to coincide with his new feature, Cutthroat City.This hand-screened tricolor print will be available in a unique numbered edition of 250 copies, each signed by RZA himself.
This behind-the-scenes video shows how the RZA poster was made from these old letterpress plates.
The musician also spoke about the inspiration behind his design in a statement:
“Kung fu has been called ‘the cinema of revenge’, but it was also built on stories of self-reliance, characters finding the strength to overcome impossible odds to carve out a place for themselves in society. This theme touched audiences around the world and thrust martial arts films into the limelight of the 70s.
The films I’ve selected for this print barely scratch the surface of the dynamic and incredibly expansive world of kung fu, a genre that has become as entrenched in film, television, music, and global culture at large as ever. any other. In my new film Cut Throat City, I incorporated this spirit of brotherhood and unique action displays into my footage. My main character “Blink”, a cartoonist, took inspiration from the martial arts genre and mixed it with an urban Western sensibility to create his universe.
I hope these impressions will inspire the receiver to create something of their own. They are also just plain cool to look at. Enjoy.”
Every purchase of The Press Room Collection through September 8 will also come with a free Alamo On Demand rental of the 2017 documentary Pressing: the typographic film. It explores the survival of the 500-year-old printing process in the digital age. Something tells us that T-shirts weren’t as good 500 years ago.
Featured Image: Alamo Drafthouse