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Buttons go to the movies

Movie studios owned theaters like Publix Theaters, the Capital, the Roxy, and others.
Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall also had uniform buttons.
Movie studio employees often wore uniforms wiht the company logo.
Children's buttons often showed movie characters like the Smurfs, Bambi, Cinderella, and others.
Operas and plays were often the scripts for movies, particularly if the copyright had expired.
Collectors will want to add an Oscar to their collection.

When you choose to collect buttons associated with the entertainment industry, you have a range of possible area to pursue, from theaters and movie studios, which are uniform buttons, to characters and actors, as well as opera scenes and opera houses, which are clothing, non-uniform buttons.

Early movies theaters were owned by movie studios until 1949 when a Supreme Court decision forced the studios to divest. In those great movie theater days, the employees often wore uniforms to identify and to impress. Ushers, particularly, wore uniforms with flashy buttons. Collectors today look for these commercial uniform buttons that are included in Division II of the classification. Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall also had employees wear special buttons on their uniforms.

We all remember the images of stars of the 1930s—40s films pulling their cars through the gates of the movie studios. The guards greeted them with a friendly wave, wearing uniforms showing the current logo of the company. Warner Brothers, RKO, Paramount, and Warner Brothers all have buttons that are available to collectors. These buttons are also uniform buttons in Division II.

Besides uniform buttons, many characters can be found on buttons. These are clothing, non-uniform buttons, and collectors include them in Division I (1918 and older) and Division IX (after 1918). Did you ever see the movie “ET?”  What fun to find an ET button or any of the many characters from films over the years! You can find Mickey Mouse, the Little Mermaid, Bambi, Cinderella, Charlie Brown, the Smurfs, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Michelangelo and Leonardo, and others. These are usually intended for children’s clothing, but collectors have another interest. Button images also show movie actors including the image of Charlie Chaplin shown on a hinged button.

Movies have often used the words and music of productions originally intended for the stage. If your interest is opera, you can find buttons depicting scenes like Lohengrins’ arrival, Carmen and Toreador, Madame Chrysanthemum, Cleopatra, and others. French actress Sarah Bernhardt is depicted in her role as L’Aiglon; Jenny Lind, the songbird of the nineteenth century, is shown on buttons of various materials. There is even an impressive button for the Philadelphia Opera House.

A premiere button for any collector of entertainment buttons would be one showing the Oscar statuette. Birchcroft Fine Bone China of England produced a very limited production and a real gem to find. 

So, whether you look for uniform buttons, modern non-uniform buttons intended for children’s clothing, or antique non-uniform buttons depicting operas and plays, you will be going to the movies with your buttons.

About the Author: 

Maridell Mason has contributed previously with an article on heart buttons.

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