‘The Racers’ Premiere/Release Date Feb. 4, 1955

May 12, 2016  •  Post A Comment

“The Racers” was another film for which Bass did both the title sequence and some of the posters and other consumer advertising. The title sequence was, visually, quite simple and was built around the motif of the checkered flag. As you can see in the eight drawings Bass had Kallis do, all but two involve a checkered flag.


The Racers6The Racers No. 1

The Racers1The Racers No. 2

The Racers7aThe Racers No. 3

The Racers3The Racers No. 4

The Racers2The Racers No. 5


The Racers5The Racers No. 6


The Racers4The Racers No. 7

The Racers8The Racers No. 8

The rough Bass/Kallis illustrations 1-6 were used as the basis for many of the posters and consumer ads used for “The Racers.”

For example, an examination of the pressbook for “The Racers” shows that variations of drawing No. 1 were used for at least three consumer ads, a trade ad, the cover of the herald, the one-sheet, the 6-sheet, and the window card. Here are some of these:

the racers 6 sheet1The Racers 6-sheet

the racers one sheet1The Racers 1-sheet

the racers mat 602aThe Racers ad mat 602

The racers trade ad (same as basis of 6-sheet)1A trade ad for “The Racers”

the racers window card1The Racers window card

Likewise, a variation of the Bass/Kallis drawing No. 2 is the basis for the 24-sheet billboard used for the movie:

the racers 24 sheet1

Similarly, illustration No. 4 is almost identical to ad mat 404, according to the pressbook.

the racers mat 4041The Racers ad mat 404

The same couple, facing the other way, are the basis for the Bass/Kallis drawing No. 5, which in turn was used for the TV slides for the ad campaign:

the racers TV slide1 The Racers TV slides

Drawing No. 6 of the Bass/Kallis illustrations was the basis for the 3-sheet poster (as well as the insert poster and ad mat 303):

the racers 3-sheet1“The Racers,” 3-sheet

Finally, here’s another ad from “The Racers” pressbook to show you what Bass was almost always fighting: ad executives at the studios (and theater chains) who doggedly never budged from their position that the old-fashioned ads, cluttered with ballyhoo, were the best way to get the seats filled at the movie theaters.

The Racers--very busy non-bass ad

I could find no material for the actual movie related to the Kallis illustrations 7 and 8 done for Bass for “The Racers.” Again, here’s illustration No. 8:

The Racers8

Interestingly, the element in the illustration showing Kirk Douglas and Bella Darvi in broken pieces mirrors a similar element Bass used in an ad and poster he designed in 1951 for “Death of a Salesman” that was actually used:


The links below take you to the other Bass/Kallis work in this story:

“Magnificent Obsession” — Universal-International — release/premiere date: Aug. 4, 1954

“A Star is Born” — Warner Bros. — Sept. 29, 1954

“Carmen Jones” — Twentieth Century Fox — Oct. 5, 1954

“The Racers” — Twentieth Century Fox — Feb. 4, 1955

“Not as a Stranger” — United Artists — June 28, 1955

“The Shrike” — Universal-International — July 7, 1955

“The Virgin Queen” — Twentieth Century Fox — July 22, 1955

“Mister Roberts” — Warner Bros. — July 30, 1955

“My Sister Eileen” — Columbia — Sept. 22, 1955

“The Rose Tattoo” — Paramount — Dec. 12, 1955

“The Conqueror” — RKO — Feb. 22, 1956

“On the Threshold of Space” — Twentieth Century Fox — March 29, 1956

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