The Films of Judy Garland
My love for classic films inspired me to design and letter a series of retro title cards for the films starring my favorite actress, Judy Garland, while drawing inspiration from their original titles and the promotional ephemera created for the films.
Being a collector and a huge fan of classic movies, I found that the things I couldn’t collect in a tangible way were the artful titles created for some of the most memorable movies of all-time. I thought a great deal about how special title designs are to fans, and about their increased importance because they literally flash before your eyes. Before home video and the internet, the titles could only exist for fans in the form of their memories and revisiting long out-of-print films could be incredibly difficult.
My goal was to document, collect, and present an inspired, cohesive piece that represents a history of movie titles through one actress’s filmography while adding my own design language and take on each film. I wanted a specific history of typography and lettering to live together on a poster in a meaningful way.
I would watch each film with a sketchbook in hand, decide on my reference, sketch a solid idea, and then jump on the computer and try to finish one title in one sitting. I would try to complete three titles per week so that I wouldn't fuss too much and so that getting 34 titles finished in a few months couldn't turn into a few years! The pieces I created were 4x3 just like the 4:3 aspect ratio of the majority of the films themselves.
I began the project with a series of titles from films that most movie fans would associate with Garland: The Wizard of Oz, Meet Me in St. Louis, and A Star is Born. After those films, I started from the very beginning of her film career in 1936 and continued chronologically until her final acting performance in a film she completed in 1963.
The typeface I used for the captions under each card is set in a font called “Meyer Two” (misspelling of Louis B. Mayer’s last name intentional) which was one of five fonts that Linotype cut to Mayer’s personal specifications to be used at M-G-M in their film titles and silent film subtitles. It was drawn in 1926 and digitally revived by David Berlow in 1994.
Check out my Print Magazine feature about the project HERE.
The poster was printed at the original one-sheet poster size (27" x 41") on a beautiful metallic stock with a filmic quality that might remind you of a vintage silver gelatin portrait you might have received after writing to your favorite M-G-M star.
(I've sold out of two editions of the poster but if you're interested in purchasing a copy please do get in touch!)
1936 · 20th Century-Fox · as Sairy Dodd
1937 · M-G-M · as Betty Clayton
1937 · M-G-M · as Cricket West
1938 · M-G-M · as Judy Bellaire
1938 · M-G-M · as Betsy Booth
1938 · M-G-M · as Pinkie Wingate
1939 · M-G-M · as Dorothy Gale · Academy Award Winner for Best Young Actress
1939 · M-G-M · as Patsy Barton
1940 · M-G-M · as Betsy Booth
1940 · M-G-M · as Mary Holden
1940 · M-G-M · as Nellie Kelly and Little Nellie Kelly
1941 · M-G-M · as Susan Gallagher
1941 · M-G-M · as Betsy Booth
1941 · M-G-M · as Penny Morris
1942 · M-G-M · as Jo Hayden
1943 · M-G-M · as Lily Mars
1943 · M-G-M · as Ginger Gray
1943 · M-G-M · as herself
1944 · M-G-M · as Esther Smith
1945 · M-G-M · as Alice Mayberry
The Harvey Girls
1946 · M-G-M · as Susan Bradley
Ziegfeld Follies of 1946
1946 · M-G-M · as “The Star”
Till the Clouds Roll By
1946 · M-G-M · as Marilyn Miller
1948 · M-G-M · as Manuela Alva
1950 · M-G-M · as Jane Falbury
Words and Music
1948 · M-G-M · as herself
In the Good Old Summertime
1949 · M-G-M · as Veronica Fisher
1950 · M-G-M · as Jane Falbury
1954 · Transcona / Warner Bros. · as Esther Blodgett · Academy Award Nomination for Best Actress
1960 · Columbia · as herself (voice)
Judgment at Nuremberg
1961 · United Artists · as Irene Hoffman · Academy Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actress
1961 · UPA / Warner Bros. · as Mewsette (voice)
A Child Is Waiting
1963 · United Artists · as Jean Hansen
I Could Go On Singing
1963 · Barbican / United Artists · as Jenny Bowman
I also created 8" by 10" “lobby card” versions of each title card design that were also available on metallic stock featuring cast information and release dates stamped on the reverse.