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Around 1910, movie theatres began printing what came to be known as lobby cards as a means of advertising currently showing films. Typically issued in sets of eight, they featured still images accompanied by the film’s title and selected credits: usually including the producer or director, distributor, and starring names.
Until about 1930 lobby cards measured 8 x 10 inches and came in black and white. Later the size of 11 x 14 inches became more common, and some lobby cards began being issued in colour. In the United Kingdom, sets of lobby cards were known as ‘Front of House’ cards. On thick card and moved about the movie theatre on an easel, or else handed out directly to moviegoers, lobby cards became collectible, and while today they are rarely used to promote new films, they remain an important part of cinema history. Eschewing the designs and illustrations of posters, they allowed prospective audiences to glimpse something of the style and cinematography of a film.