Proud of East Texas: Dr. James Clark - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Proud of East Texas: Dr. James Clark

By Joan Hallmark

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - "This is a whole era right here isn't it? I guess it reminds me of a time that was innocent and carefree and evoked really good memories of my childhood."

And that's kind of the way Dr. James Clark's collection of old movie posters affects us all.

"The stars of that movie "Rebel Without A Cause" met kind of horrible deaths."

James Dean, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo, stars who mesmerized us on the screen and in real life-all gone now, but still alive in our memories and in Dr. Clark's posters.

"The largest part of my collection are movie posters and that's probably due to the fact that my mom worked in the theater industry for about 20 years.  She was actually one of the first female ushers during WWII and then became secretary treasurer of Interstate Theatres," Clark said.

Clark also ushered as a teenager and was responsible for changing out the theater's posters three times a week.  It was the perfect opportunity to expand his collection, a collection that has grown over the years in number and rarity.

"The thing about my collection is that they are not reproductions or representations, they are the actual posters that were used when the movie was in the show, the theater," said Clark. 

Our childhood heroes John Wayne, Roy Rogers and Gene Autry are all included in the exhibition, as well as the super heroes so popular with today's youth.

"It kind of breaks down to super heroes that have become more popular since they've made movies of Superman, Batman, Captain Marvel, the Phantom; they're all coming back.  That makes these posters a little more valuable and more difficult to collect," he said.

And it wasn't just the heroes that inspired us that we remember most from the movies, it was also the ones that scared us.

"I think we all remember the horror films where we almost wouldn't look at the screen, but everyone remembers Frankenstein and Dracula and the Mummy and the Wolfman are memories of our childhood when we would go to the midnight show and see the horror movies," he said.

Between the "Sergeant York" posters hangs Clark's grandfather's WW I uniform that he wore while serving in Germany.  

Clark also served in the army medical corps in Germany from 1967 to 1969 , and that's where he began a rare historical collection that includes a dagger given to Rudolph Hess by Charles Lindburg, as well as a party card signed by Adolph Hitler.

Tyler Museum Art P. R. Coordinator Zoe Lawhorn, says people visiting the "Remember When" exhibit are astounded by its scope.

People have been so excited to walk through with their kids and grandkids or their friends and talk about their memories associated with the different pieces," Lawhorn said. "I think the thing about collecting is you enjoy seeing it and then you really enjoy sharing it with the people who appreciate it so that's the fun of this."

Remember when: marvels and memories from the collection of Dr. James Clark" will be on display through august 14th at the Tyler museum of art, 1300 south Mahon avenue.

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