Jacksonville, Fl. Norman Film Mfg. Co., [ 1921]. Stone-lithographed three-sheet poster, 77 x 40 3/4 inches. Stone-lithographed three-sheet poster. Old folds and creases. Some expertly repaired tears (mostly along folds and in the black background). Backed on linen. In very good condition. Item #WRCAM46644
A large, striking, three-sheet stone-lithographed poster advertising the Norman Film Studios production of THE BULL-DOGGER, a western starring famed black cowboy Bill Pickett and an all-black cast. The center of the poster is dominated by a nearly full-length image of Pickett standing before a bar in a saloon, facing the viewer sideways and with his six-gun drawn. His image is flanked by portraits of the film's other two stars, Anita Bush and comedian Bennie Turpin, whose name and cross-eyed visage was undoubtedly meant to invoke the popular white comedian, Ben Turpin. The lower half of the poster features an oval illustration of Pickett performing a feat for which he was famous: wrestling a bull to the ground by its horns (i.e. "bull-dogging"). The text promises "death defying feats of courage and skill! Thrills! Laughs Too!" Pickett is promoted on the poster as the "world's colored champion." The poster was created by the Ritchey Lithographic Corporation of New York. Norman Studios, founded in Jacksonville, Florida by the white producer and director, Richard E. Norman, was one of the most prominent studios making so-called "race films" during the 1920s. Melodramas, westerns, and action-adventure films were all produced by the studio. THE BULL-DOGGER was their most famous western, and its star, Bill Pickett, was renowned as a cowboy before he even stepped before the cameras. Born in Travis County, Texas in 1870 of an ex- slave father, Pickett worked as a cowboy from an early age, gaining notoriety for developing a method of bull-dogging that involved him wrestling a bull to the ground by its horns - an act featured in the film and on the poster. He later joined the travelling 101 Wild West Show, and appeared in a second western for Norman Studios called THE CRIMSON SKULL, in 1922. A great, large poster for a western "race film."