Century Movie theatre – Proofs

Back when the Century Theatre in Baltimore was in operation, movies had to be promoted in area newspapers for the upcoming attractions. While John Kilduff was an artist for the promotional material inside the theatre and on the buildings fronts, newspaper ads were also placed to show what was coming up at area theatres. After looking at a few of the old ads that survived in the Kilduff’s Archives, I found it amazing the time and detail that went into each ad. I will be posting a few of those old actual ads this week, but I wanted to post what are known as ” Proofs” this week.


Printed on “Newsprint” paper, the sheets are usually noted as a proof on the top or bottom. The “Proof” would be a copy of the work that the theatre had submitted, and would be gone over by the theatre to make sure there were no typos or mistakes. A few if the old ads are actually signed by John Kilduff as well. The ad shown above for ” Old Ironsides” is circa 1926-1927 and is a scan of the ad that has survived over the years. The paper tends to get brown over the years, and because of that, we have done a little work on them to make them easier to see and enjoy. CD624_CenturyTheatre_Proof_Light


For many years, the art departments of the Century Theatre were combined with the Valencia Theatre upstairs and the Parkway Theatre on North Avenue, all three Loew’s Theatres. Proof above is circa 1928.  After the ad was drawn up, it would be walked to the newspaper office, which was one to three blocks away, according to which paper it was, and delivered.


This old 1928 proof also lists the newly opened StanleyTheatre on North Howard Street, built on the site of the Academy of Music.


When the actual drawings are posted, you can see the variety of techniques used to make the ads, Most of the ads are actually done in fine ink by John Kilduff. Proof above is circa 1928


Century Theatre Proof, circa 1929. This old Proof was folded over and faded a bit, but for being on Newspaperpaper, survived quite well over the years.


Some of the proof were later attached to the art work and the actual newspaper ad, cut out from the daily newspaper. The ad above dates back to 1931.


Another ad , circa 1931, showing the Century and Stanley on the same billing.

Proofs continued through the years, into the 1950’s that I can find, and I’m sure even later than that. Below is an ad circa 1953, later shown in the Baltimore Sun. CD622_CenturyTheatre_Proof_light



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