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The Golden Age of "B" Movies

Lobby Cards from the Bob Burke Film & Television Autograph Collection

For American audiences from the 1930s through the 1950s, "B" movies promised action, adventure, romance and entertainment. In this selection of movie lobby cards, we celebrate the enduring legacy of the Hollywood B movie.

Explore the Collection index.

poster for 'Rendevous 24'

Bob Burke Film & Television Autograph Collection

Image: Lobby card from Rendezvous 24

Bob Burke sitting at table signing book

Bob Burke Film & Television Autograph Collection

Image: photograph of Bob Burke

Bob Burke is a noted Oklahoma attorney, author, historian and avid collector of autographed photos, letters, postcards, posters and film lobby cards

Bob Burke Film & Television Autograph Collection

In 2008, Mr. Burke donated his Film and Television Autograph Collection, consisting of over1200 items,to the UCO Archives andSpecial Collections Department.

poster for 'Web of Evidence'

Bob Burke Film & Television Autograph Collection

Image: Lobby Card from Web of Evidence

This exhibit features a small selection of lobby cards from more than 400 cards that are a part of the collection.  

poster for 'Away All Boats!'

Bob Burke Film & Television Autograph Collection

Image: Lobby Card from "Away All Boats"

Lobby cards were used by film production companies to promote their films to the movie-going public.

Bob Burke Film & Television Autograph Collection

Many of the films lobby cards featured were “B” movies—a type of film that originated in the 1930’s when enterprising film makers offered two movies for the price of one as a “double feature” to audiences hard hit by the Depression. 

The more lavish of these films was the “A” movie and the less expensively produced film was the “B” movie

poster for 'Flaming Frontier'

Bob Burke Film & Television Autograph Collection

Image: Lobby Card for "Flaming Frontier"

Lobby cards for B movies often advertised genre films, such as Westerns.

poster for 'Canyon Ambush'

Bob Burke Film & Television Autograph Collection

Image: Lobby Card for "Canyon Ambush"

poster for 'Whispering Smith vs. Scotland Yard'

Bob Burke Film & Television Autograph Collection

Image: Lobby Card for "Whispering Smith vs. Scotland Yard"

Other lobby cards featured detective films.

poster for 'Rumble on the Docks'

Bob Burke Film & Television Autograph Collection

Image: Lobby Card for "Rumble on the Docks"

Or films focused on Juvenile delinquency

poster for 'Journey to the Lost City'

Bob Burke Film & Television Autograph Collection

Image: Lobby Card for "Journey to the Lost City'

Adventure films were a popular type of B movie.

poster for 'The Golden Hawk'

Bob Burke Film & Television Autograph Collection

Image: Lobby Card for "The Golden Hawk"

Lobby cards often advertised B movie adventure films like jungle epics and tales of pirates.  

poster for 'China Gate'

Bob Burke Film & Television Autograph Collection

Image: Lobby Card for 'China Gate"

Many actors who later became well-known first began acting in B movies.

poster for 'Hell And High Water'

Bob Burke Film & Television Autograph Collection

Image: Lobby Card for "Hell and High Water"

Richard Widmark, for example, played in “Hell and High Water.”

poster for 'My Brother Talks To Horses'

Bob Burke Film & Television Autograph Collection

Image: Lobby Card for "My Brother Talks to Horses"

Peter Lawford had a leading role in “My Brother Talks to Horses”

Bob Burke Film & Television Autograph Collection

Although lobby cards were used to promote often mediocre films, the B movies they advertised are an Important part of film history and a reflection of popular culture during the period in which they were made.