11/22/11

Fads #18: Poster Girls



I've got a question for you: Do you know anyone, young or old, who has pictures of half-naked women hanging on the walls of their bedroom? I'm betting that, unless they happen to be in prison, none of your friends or children or children's friends have a single one.

Not so in the 1970s. I remember those poster racks being a popular attraction in every store I went to, from K-mart to Elder Beerman (my peeps in Ohio know the name).  Of course, there were plenty of  non-pin-up posters that were plenty popular.  I, for one, adorned my bedroom walls with a King Kong poster (the 70s Dino DeLaurentis remake) and a Battlestar Galactica poster. My wife tells me she had  Shaun Cassidy and David Soul posters.

I think posters of any kind in the 1970s could safely be called a "fad".


Although all manner of posters were selling big, we all know the ones that sold the biggest - the pin ups.  Careers were made by having a successful poster. Any child of the seventies is well familiar with the iconic posters of the decade:
  • Farrah Fawcett in the red one piece with a bad case of headlights 
  • Loni Anderson in the bikini, hair blowing in the fake wind
  • Catherine Bach in her trademark daisy dukes
  • The Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders
  • Cheryl Tiegs had two popular ones - the tee-tiny pink bikini, and the see-thru one piece
  • And let's not forget Susan Anton, who had a ton...

The ultimate example of poster mania is contained in a scene from Saturday Night Fever.  Travolta is getting spruced up for a night at the disco, the Bee-Gee's "Night Fever" kicks in, and you see him posturing in front of a mirror as our attention is directed to both a Farrah Fawcett poster and a Serpico poster.  Fucking brilliant.  Watching it even now, I get chills.

Patti Hansen poster 1979 (future wife of Keith Richards)
Alas, as with all fads, they are short lived.  Kids' rooms will always be hung with crap they like - whether it was Duran Duran in the 80s, or Justin Bieber today.  But smoking hot babes plastered all over your young lad's walls is largely a thing of the past.  And maybe that's a good thing...


28 comments:

  1. I actually have a poster from 1976 on my wall. It's Barry Manilow. I have it framed of course. Also got The Rat Pack up there too. And I've found a few small pictures I put up recently of Elvis Presley, Gene Kelly, Glenn Miller, and Buddy Holly.

    There's others, of course, like Lon Chaney, Michael Crawford, and Brent Spiner, but the Barry Manilow one is the only one that's actually from the 70s that I've got.

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  2. I was the only 3rd grader I knew who had an Easy Rider poster. I also had a small Steve McQueen poster from Le Mans.

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  3. I can confirm I know no one with half-naked women posters on their wall. However, years as a computer consultant and I confirmed 90% of males have a naked women stash (vids or pix) somewhere on their computer!

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  4. Don't forget Jeff Spicoli's room from Fast Times at Ridgemont High!

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  5. I had the Farrah and Loni posters, in addition to Cheryl Ladd, King Kong, Elvis, and Fonzie. I wanted the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader one SOOOO BAD! My best friend had that one and I would dream about stealing it from him. Most of my friends also had KISS posters, but I didn't care for them.

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  6. It was also something one could find in the military. I recall seeing an equipment room on a ship that was covered in such thing. I would be surprised if that goes on there anymore either.

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  7. I think my collection of posters started with the free Star Wars posters you could get from Burger Chef. I had them up until I went to college and they were too torn up to go with me.

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  8. I had one of Donna Summer...(sigh)

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  9. I had a lot of Star Trek Posters as a kid - now I have one big one, a 3'x5' ASCII art Spock from the 1970s - here is an image of one: http://sturgeon.css.psu.edu/~mloewen/Oldtech/ASCII/Spock.jpg it is much more impressive seeing an actual one.

    ASCII art posters were popular for a while, I remember a computer store having a full-wall sized moonscape one. there were also many pinups and nudes in printed ASCII art.

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  10. The bottomless tennis chick, *sigh*, I wish I still had that one.

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  11. My grandfather had a door length poster of Crystal Gayle plus he owned a bar that had a wall covered in these type of posters: DC Cheerleaders, the iconic Farrah, and the one I always clamored for, Cheryl Ladd pulling down the zipper of her leather jacket.

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  12. As a kid during the 70's I had a Star Wars poster and a Motorcycle poster - but no chicks. I guess I was kind of embarrassed what my mom would think of bikini clad women on my walls. During the 80's i did have an Elvira, Mistress of the Dark poster which was pretty racy.

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  13. I love your blog, especially your post about Horror Comics Sharity (and I say that as a huge fan of horror comic books & movies).

    I just reviewed a horror comic book in my blog, so in case you want to check that out, here's a link:

    www.artbyarion.blogspot.com

    Keep up the good work!

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  14. I have no idea where you find the time, great concept, and you're 100% correct, but where's the rest of the examples?

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  15. Spencer's Gifts, a store often found in malls, still had those poster racks full of sexy ladies through the 1980's, perhaps even into the '90s. They also had sex toys, Playboy products (playing cards I recall), so it was heaven to boys once they were allowed to walk around the mall by themselves.

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  16. I remember some friends of mine in college in the late 80s had the "Tennis Girl" that Fred mentioned. A friend of mine had a poster of Tanya Tucker in a tight black leather out fit holding a stick of dynamitte in front of several boxes marked TNT. I think it came with the "TNT" LP.

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  17. Seems every other shopping mall back then had a poster store. Ours also happened to sell those those iconic 70's house plants (Boston ferns and African violets) in little wicker baskets.

    In addition to Farrah, I had a poster depicting a creek flowing through dark woods. I stuck it in a corner for a "3D" effect. Cool!

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  18. I had the classic pin-up of Darth Vader. That is, until an older neighbour visited my room and poked fun at his revealing leg...

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  19. When I was in high school, I had that Heather-Thomas-in-a-pink-bikini poster you can see in the pic at the very top. I still have it, actually, it's just safely stored in the basement now instead of on my wall!

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  20. I had the 1976 King Kong poster too, plus other stuff from MAD and DYNAMITE magazines. That top photo looks quite a bit like my dorm room in college! In 1990 I worked for a city landscaping company that had Centerfolds plastered all over the office walls - good luck doing that today. I still stop in Spencer's at the mall and flip through the poster racks just to see what's trending today (pot, beer pong, Harry Potter and that dumb kid dating Selena Gomez).

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  21. I wanted to enlarge a picture of one of our neighbors, a sexy redhead, and make a poster of it, but I think my mother and the neighbor's husband, would have put the kibosh on that idea had they known, lol.

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  22. Look on the bright side. A decade before any pimply-faced fourteen-year-old slapped Farrah Fawcett on his wall, his older siblings were looking at black and white posters of Bertrand Russell, James Dean, Sartre, Ginsburg, Huey Newton, and innumerable other miscreants.

    So naturally there was a therapeutic reaction towards swimsuits and nipples.

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  23. a little porn
    lol...

    i agree with you: posters of any kind in the 1970s could safely be called a "fad".

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  24. Kids today with their computers *sigh* I think today, you have to be at least 47 years old to appreciate the awesomeness of posters of half naked women hanging on your bedroom wall.

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  25. My friend told me that when he was a kid, he rubbed out more than a few to the above mentioned Tanya Tucker TNT poster! Good times!

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  26. As a college girl I can tell you that many of my male college-aged friends do in fact have posters of half naked women about their dorm rooms and apartments... but this may be something that's just restricted to college towns. They are still around though!

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  27. Frank BoothOctober 20, 2012

    Let's not forget Deborah Ann Harry wearing nothing but gogo boots and boxer shorts. That was at the very tail end of our era, but that were a good 'un.

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