Story: Tiffany Burgess Adams |
A local legend garners an impressive collection of Arkansas-themed movie posters
“I have always been an aficionado of the movies,” says Ron Robinson. “Movies are memories.” Robinson, who is perhaps best known for his role as an advertising icon and the “Robinson” in local firm Cranford, Johnson, Robinson and Woods (CJRW), has been collecting a variety of items for more than 60 years. However, the Little Rock native, who currently serves as chairman emeritus of CJRW, shares it was his career in advertising that originally led to his love of movie posters. “Posters were the number one way to advertise the early movies,” he says.
The melding of these two passions has led to quite a collection. Robinson now owns some 18,000 one-sheet, 27- x 41-inch movie posters featuring everything from silent movies to current motion pictures. Of these, 200 have an Arkansas tie—either in the title of the movie, in the location or the storyline. Each of the posters shown here have their own tale to tell, as Robinson has added them to his collection through the years.
His passion for the movies and the souvenirs that surround them is no secret, nor is his generosity as a donor. Robinson recently donated 15,000 pieces of Arkansas-related memorabilia including postcards, movie posters (like the ones seen here) and old advertisements to the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, which is a department of the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) and is housed on the main library campus in the River Market. Through this donation and the display of the collections, Robinson hopes to provide patrons with a bit of history as well as inspiration for the future. In January, a new 325-seat theater featuring a 26-foot screen to show both new videos and classic films, such as the ones portrayed on these posters, will open on the CALS campus inside the Arcade Building in the River Market. Appropriately, the CALS board of trustees voted to name the new venue the Ron Robinson Theater in his honor.