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In order to understand film as an art, it is necessary to recognize that it is also a business. In teaching the history and critical analysis of film, it is important to remind students repeatedly of this fact and to demonstrate the ways in which it has shaped the development of film as an artistic medium and as a form of entertainment. It is easy for teachers and students alike to get swept up in discussions of film and lose sight of the fact that movies are the products of an industrialized system that aims to produce marketable commodities as well as works of art.

The Bob Burke Film and Television Autograph Collection, which includes film posters, lobby cards, photographs, film scripts, and other materials produced by the film and television industries, helps to ground the teaching of film at the University of Central Oklahoma by recognizing this basic economic fact. The poster for a film, along with the lobby cards and photographs displayed in theater lobbies, are, in fact, part of the overall text of a film, and increasingly scholars and students have sought to consult such sources as a way of deepening our understanding of a given film and the publicity and marketing practices of Hollywood studios.

Posters and other promotional materials prepare us as viewers for the experience we will have when we watch a film and often help us to form expectations and make initial interpretations of a film's meaning. Understanding how films are promoted, marketed and sold to audiences is a vital aspect of contemporary Film Studies research and the Burke Collection helps both the faculty and students to expand their analysis of film at UCO into this vital area of study.

What makes this collection even more special is the fact that almost every artifact has been signed by the director, actor or actress who made the film or television program. As a result the Burke Collection also represents a fascinating sample of American celebrity culture, showcasing the personalities, the styles, and the images that have dominated our collective popular imagination through movies and television.

Dr. John Parris Springer
Emeritus Faculty

Collection Items

The Bob Burke Film & Television Autograph Collection consists of 1236 items including:

  • Albums LP—21
  • Cast Scene Photos—136
  • Comic Books—3
  • Lobby Cards—435
  • Movie Posters—6
  • Scripts—61
  • Star Photos—443
  • Signatures on Paper—113
  • VHS tapes—3
  • Miscellaneous items—15

All items are signed and in many cases the items have multiple signatures. Some notable signatures are a photograph of Janet Gaynor who won the first best actress Academy Award for her work in Seventh Heaven (1927), Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927), and Street Angel (1928). In the early days of the Oscars an actor could receive one award for several films. Other signed star photos include Helen Hayes, Lena Horne, Ann Margaret, Doris Day, Joel McCrea, Robert DeNiro, Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp.

Representative of the lobby cards are The Godfather (1972), The Sting (1973), Hope & Glory (1987), Forrest Gump (1994), Braveheart (1995), and Titanic (1997) which all won the Academy Award for best picture.

Illustrative of the signed scripts include Chinatown (1974), Stars wars (1977), and Saving Private Ryan (1998) all Oscar nominated for best picture.

Valuable movie posters with cast signatures include Goldfinger (1964), Jaws (1975), Top Gun (1986), and The Pursuit of Happyness (2006).