Alvan Hadley – Movie Poster Artist
Alvan “Hap” Hadley (1985-1976): Hap created movie posters for some of the best-loved silent movies. Some of his most well known works are the posters he produced for Buster Keaton’s 1927 movies “The General” and “College,” and for Charlie Chaplin’s 1928 Oscar-winning film, “The Circus.”
Only one original “The General” is known to have survived and fetched $46,000 at a Christie’s auction in 1994 whilst a restored, on linen poster of “The Circus” sold for just over $13,000 in 2007.
His career spanned some 30 years, and although he mainly produced for MGM he also supplied movie posters for many of the other major Hollywood studios he also produced some of the promotional posters for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
Howard Hughes’ famous 1930 WWI aerial combat movie (Hell’s Angels) was represented on a movie poster drawn by Hap – very few of his art appears at auctions today but from time to time a bargain is still to be should they ever come available.
Hap’s style was very much characterisation, a style that he developed an official artist for the Marine Corps, producing propaganda-laden cartoon strips. As a result of this background his drawing style is almost instantly recognisable in many of his movie posters when his art comes up for sale.
You can find his vintage movie posters in such film titles as:
Rough House Rosie (1927)
The Jazz Singer (1927)
The General (1927)
The Circus (1928)
Hell’s Angels (1930)
Cock of the Air (1932)
Laff It Off (1928 – Broadways stage show)
Reform Girl (1933)
Cheating Blondes (1933)