Presses in the Movies

Here’s the Heidelberg Windmill behind the two stars in a key scene from Sony’s Seven Pounds. (Image courtesy of Sony Pictures)

Over the years, you have probably noticed a press or two in the movies; every Western seemed to have a newspaper editor to kill and a press to destroy. The majority of the presses used in films come from the Ernest A. Lindner Collection at the International Printing Museum. With one of the largest collections of antique printing machinery in the world, Ernie Lindner, for about forty years, regularly rented his antique printing equipment to the movie studios.

The movies and shows with presses include Bonanza, Liberty Valance, Have Gun Will Travel, Cimarron, Penny Serenade, Mr. 880, Harry & Walter Go To New York, The Rockford Files, and The Twilight Zone (Printer’s Devil episode). Many might remember John-Boy on the Waltons, occasionally pumping the treadle of an old platen press. We don’t have John-Boy at the International Printing Museum, but we have the press!

The Printing Museum continues to receive calls each year by the studios looking for period printing machinery. Some of the films and shows we have been involved with since 1988 include Amistad, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, The Last Samurai, Newsies, Catch Me If You Can, Treasure Hunters, Gilmore Girls, and most recently Seven Pounds with Will Smith and Rosario Dawson. Look for us on the big screen or better yet, visit the Printing Museum in Carson and let these cast-iron stars tell you their story.

In Summer 2010 see the Museum’s equipment in the hit Leonardo DiCaprio movie Inception.

If you watch television you might just see the Museum in a Dodge RAM Truck commercial! Well, not real the “Museum” but some beautiful closeups of the collection. Linotypes, ink brayers, handset type (including those hands of our director Mark), and other things that are here at the Museum. Stop by soon and visit with those stars of the commercial before they start to get a swelled head.
Click here to see a behind the scene video or here to some some stills taken by our own docent and Book Arts Guild President Josh Korwin.