“Dr. Socrates” Window Card

Year of Ann Dvorak: Day 188

This window card from Dr. Socrates is one of those items I have had for so long that I sometimes take it for granted. In 2000, I was working at a memorabilia shop called the Hollywood Poster Exchange. The late, great Bob Colman, who ran the place, delighted in the fact that I collected on someone as obscure as Ann, and would tell everyone who walked through the doors about my interest. Long time customers would bring in Ann items to give me, and some of the other dealers would also bring in pieces to sell. This window card was one of those dealer items.

I think I paid around $125 for this window card, which was an astronomical sum at the time. However, considering I have not had the opportunity to obtain any other paper items from this film, I think the purchase price was worth it. This 10-year-old photo of the poster is rather lousy, but you’ll have to trust me that it’s impressive artwork in person and it’s not often that Warner Bros. posters featured Ann so prominently.


  1. Mike July 7, 2013

    Window card? What they displayed in windows at the movie theaters, as opposed to the posters that were inside? But weren’t the lobby cards what you found inside? Were all these items in some sort of frame in the old movie houses? Sorry for my lack of knowledge of this aspect of the golden era.

    I watched “Key Largo” last nite on TCM (had forgotten how terrific Robinson was in his return to the gangster roles that made him a star), and recalled an archival post about how you would have liked to see Ann in the Claire Trevor role. Agree. And it got me to thinking more along those lines. Too bad Ann wasn’t under Warner contract during that mid/late 40s, early 50s period; she would have been ideal for those women’s melodramas/noirs that were one of WB’s specialties. Ann Dvorak as “Mildred Pierce” or “Nora Prentiss” or “Thelma Jordon” (actually a Paramount release). I wonder if later on in her life she had regrets about “what might have been” in her career had things worked out differently. She could certainly hold her own in the talent/looks department with the actresses who starred in those films. Recalling how good she was in the pre-noir “Blind Alley” cements this belief. I am anxious to read her biographer’s take on this.

  2. admin July 7, 2013

    Window cards were actually displayed in the windows of storefronts around town and would advertise when the movie was playing at the local theater. The Socrates card is trimmed, but they had an additional few inches of blank space at the top where the theater and dates would be written or stamped. Here’s an untrimmed example: anndvorak.com/cms/Filmography/?directory=Thanks%20a%20Million%20%281935%29&currentPic=20

    My understanding is that the artwork for these was frequently done outside the studio, so it sometimes varies from the rest of the poster art. Because these had higher distribution than the other posters, they are sometimes easier to find.

    Oh yes, Ann definitely had her regrets about her career later on. I honestly think we only saw a fraction of her talent which was largely wasted. But, she needs to shoulder a lot of that blame.

  3. Scott July 7, 2013

    Ann as “Mildred Pierce” is a very interesting idea.

    As was the suggestion of her playing the Claire Trevor role in “Key Largo”. Somehow I had the idea that Claire was several years older than Ann. But, in fact, she was only one year older.

    Mike, I totally concur with how great Eddie G was in “Key Largo”. And, perhaps, another ‘might-have-been’ post-war role for Ann we can add to your list was her in the Loretta Young part opposite Eddie in “The Stranger”.

  4. artman2112 July 7, 2013

    window cards are awesome! thats a nice one, i would venture to guess it would fetch slightly more than the $125 you paid for it, trimmed or not.
    some of the what if roles for Ann in the 40s’ mentioned here are interesting. hard to imagine anyone else in either Key Largo OR the Stranger as both are arguably Claire and Loretta’s finest hours as actresses but still Ann certainly had the goods to play either role very well i’m sure!

  5. Mike July 8, 2013

    Loretta Young never appealed to me; Claire, on the other hand, ranks among the greats of the era, imo. She was a versatile actress, at her best in film noir. “Murder My Sweet”, “Raw Deal”, “Born To Kill”……………………. Film historian Eddie Muller has stated that his great regret was Claire being unable to participate in his classic interview/bio book “Dark City Dames”. She was too ill from emphysema, no doubt from smoking all those non-filtered cigarettes that seemed to be a requirement of the period.

    Reflecting on her embittered roles in such films as “Our Very Own” and “A Life of Her Own”, I feel that Ann, if she had the opportunity, could have been a noir icon similar to Claire.

  6. The general public these days makes the decision everything that it would like for amusement, certainly not the big studios and distributors. If you add to that distribution world wide web, press, internet pages, from rumor to whole movies. It’s actually a brand-new world. Much of it good, some not.

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