In the early 1990s, a corporate bond broker named Bob Cudequest bought a one-sheet movie poster for a 1947 Goofy short subject in an animation gallery. That purchase began his passionate love affair with animation posters.
Over the next decade, he purchased some 1,500 posters of various sizes, banners, lobby cards, photographs and press books from animated movies and shorts produced from the 1910s to the present. In 2002 he donated the collection to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Margaret Herrick Library.
The collection, says graphic arts librarian Anne Coco, "is an embarrassment of riches. There are, like, 60 Donald Duck posters alone. There are 40 Tom and Jerry posters. I haven't fully cataloged the entire collection."
The exhibition "Toon In: Animated Movie Posters From the Cudequest Family Collection," on display in the Grand Lobby and Fourth Floor galleries at the academy, features about 130 examples from the collection.
Included in the show are posters of the Mutt and Jeff series, based on the first successful daily comic strip; Felix the Cat; Mickey Mouse; and two of Disney's earlier creations, Alice and Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.
The exhibition, Coco says, also includes other animation material from the library. "So we are taking this opportunity to exhibit some of the most unusual animation items -- model sheets for Betty Boop and Popeye, early sketches from 'Snow White.' We wanted to acknowledge this significant gift to our collection and then wanted to take that collection and use it to examine primarily the history of American animation."
As for Cudequest: He's now collecting comic books.
"Toon In: Animated Posters From the Cudequest Family Collection," Grand Lobby and Fourth Floor galleries, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, 8949 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays to Fridays, noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sundays; ends Aug 21. Free. (310) 247-3600; www.oscar.org.