Author Topic: 2016 Interview with MP Dealer Sol Candel about the Royal Theater MP "find"  (Read 1289 times)


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1) As posted on MOPO, here is a 2016 lengthy interview with MP Dealer Sol Candel about the Royal Theater "find":

2) On I have pics of some of the Royal Theater finds:

Here's my fave:

3) Dealer Jon Warren's text on the Royal Theater Collection - as posted by CSM previously on APF:

The Royal Theater Collection -- Jon R. Warren

Kirby, Sol Candell, Bruce, Morris and (if he reads MPT) Todd will have fun contributing to this thread and reminiscing about this great find.

In 1990 or 91, can't remember now, a group of investors and I purchased what has come to be called the Canadian Collection for $320,000 (or somewhere around there, something over $300,000 but I don't recall the exact amount).

I flew up there, inspected the collection, and paid the cashier's check to THE CANADIAN GOVERNMENT!

The collection was a matter of legal dispute over who owned the the collection was sold and, pending the outcome of the court, the proceeds were to be paid to the winner of the argument.

In a small town in Canada named Provost there once was a theater called The Royal Theater (what a great name!). The posters found there truly were royal.

The theater had been in the family since the 1920s, and in the late 1980s it had been sold to a new owner who was renovating it to be turned into a video store.

In the process of tearing out walls, lo and behold, a closet was found with a door in the floor which led down into a long-lost basement. In the basement were piles upon piles of old movie posters, dating from about 1929 and going through about 1950. From this time period, virtually every film that had been released was represented by multiple one sheets, lobby card sets, and (oddly enough) mini window cards. Even more astounding was the condition of the posters. Because of the dark and dry and cool conditions, the posters were in simply unbelievable condition (except for those that had what we called rat piss on them, yellow streaks of...well...rat piss). Pristine white borders without the slightest trace of yellowing. Brilliant colors that practically glowed. And the smell...ahh that faint musty scent...

Stacks and stacks, multiple copies, mint sets of Casablanca, Hound of the Baskervilles, Adventures of Robin Hood... you name it, it was there. Except for Universal horror, which was oddly not represented at all. Some have speculated that the Universal horror films were not shown in Canada due to censors. Others have speculated that the Universal horror WAS there, and that what the police confiscated and sold to me and my group was really just the tip of the iceberg. If so, what a tip!

Now, the new owner had told the work crew to clear the place out, to gut it, and to get rid of all the accumulated junk and trash.

So they did. But on the way to the dump one of the workers got the bright idea that the posters might have value. They decided to keep them and take them to the flea market that Saturday. And that was when the troubles began. Little did they know that by doing so they were breaking Canadian law.

Some of the others can chip in here, for the details of that Saturday, exactly how Sol Candell became involved, and other facts in the early discovery of the posters is a bit vague for me after all these years.

I remember that somehow Candell (coincidentally?) was at the flea market, that they started something called the Edmonton Poster Society, that a TV news show spotlighted the society, which was how the original theater owners and the new theater owners came to find out they had been ripped off (really now, they didn't even know the posters were there and besides, had given instructions to throw out the trash), but nevertheless, after the news show exclaimed how wonderful and possibly valuable these posters could be all hell broke loose and a war over the posters began.

The first thing that happened was the new owner had the work crew members arrested for theft. One of the work crew, a Daniel Pelletier (I believe his first name was Daniel, might have been David) was mentally unstable, or on medication which he failed to get while in jail. He committed suicide. He couldn't live with the idea of going to jail for something he did not even know was against the law.

The police confiscated the posters, and it was these confiscations that my group purchased from the court. But, I have heard that only part of the posters were at the home where the police raid occurred and that a larger portion were elsewhere at the time, either at Sol Candell's or somewhere else.

The poster collecting world first became aware of the Canadian collection when Sol Candell ran a small ad in Movie Collector's World (I would love a copy of that issue) offering classic titles for dirt cheap prices. Poor Sol had no idea of the true value of some of these gems. He was selling Adventures of Robin Hood one sheets for $200, classic Temples and Garbos for $100, and so on. Maltese Falcon, mint, $50. That kind of thing.

A mle ensued.

Kirby McDaniel, Morris Everett, and Gary Vaughn were among the first callers, being so smart that they regularly had their copies of MCW delivered via Federal Express just for such eventualities. Todd Feiertag didn't bother to call. He hopped in his car and drove to Edmonton! Some wonder what Universal horrors the master Universal horror collector may or may not have obtained during this trip. Can you say Mummy?

A significant number of posters were sold to collectors all around the world as a result of that ad, and they all came to be named in the lawsuit. It seemed the Canadian government demanded the return of the posters under penalty of law!

Of course, the letters demanding the return of posters fell on reluctant collector ears, all of whom promptly filed the letters in file 13.

Before long, the law raided Sol Candell's place and confiscated his remaining posters, but not before a significant number were sold. And probably not before the work crew called and alerted him, giving him plenty of time to haul off a large bulk and store them in a secure, un-police-raided place.

Somewhere, about here, in this timeline, one of the workers (or someone, I can't remember the exact details) drove to Sol Candell's and demanded the return of the posters which had been given to Sol for consignment (these were the ones Sol was selling in MCW). According to legend, the story that was told to me, this person was found dead in his car on the side of the road a few days later. No posters were in his car. After getting posters from Sol, what happened to the young man? Had someone been casing Sol's place, waiting to rob him, and then followed the man who had loaded the piles of posters into his car? No one knows. The posters he took away that day were never found.

I received a letter in the mail from the Royal Canadian Government, notifying me of their intent to accept bids for the enclosed list of movie posters. It seems that the court was soliciting bids from major advertisers for the sale of the posters.

The list was, to put it mildly, mind blowing. After calculating conservatively, I figured the value of the collection to be worth more than $900,000. Way too rich for my blood, alone. But I had friends. After some convincing and arm twisting (they came into the deal kicking and screaming) they agreed to put in enough money to make a realistic bid. Steve Geppi was the largest investor, I was second, Steve Fishler was third, and Mark Wilson was the fourth investor.

The gossip and grapevine rattling surrounding the rumors of who was bidding and how much they were going to bid is a story unto itself. We were trying to reconnoiter bids so that we could top the second bid by the least amount possible. But it was Steve Geppi who said, to hell with it, let's not gamble, bid enough that we get it and don't worry about bidding too much more than the second guy.

We won the bid.

Mark Wilson and I went to Edmonton to take possession. I spent several days going through the collection, a time I will never forget. This was poster heaven. I mean, it was beyond my wildest dreams to ever get to see such gorgeous posters, much less own them. Mark and I kept shaking our heads at the incredible condition. And at the incredible titles.

Who won the lawsuit? What do you think? Did the original owner sell the real estate AND contents, or just the real estate. Who did the posters belong to? Who got the money? I'll tell you one thing: the workers didn't get it, they got criminal records instead.

Turns out, believe it or not, that the ORIGINAL OWNERS got the money. The new owner bought the real estate, but all the junk and papers abandoned inside were the property of the original owner until the second they hit the junkyard, at which time they would have became public domain.

Just think, if the workers had dumped the posters at the dump and then came back later and retrieved them they would have been the proud owners, legally, of a bunch of movie posters. But since they waylaid them prior to the dumping, they were thieves. Ironic, huh?

Over the next year or two we sold the collection. We recouped our investment within six months. My investors were extremely happy. They all now liked movie posters very much. Steve Fishler liked them so much he started collecting them. He has amassed quite a collection since that day in Tennessee when we decided to become partners and buy a collection in Canada. His collection includes a little poster we fondly call the Frankenstein six sheet.

How he came to own that six sheet is another story, quite different from the version we have seen on television. The poster was not found in a locked suitcase.

But that's another story. And I'm not at liberty to divulge, unfortunately, for it's a great yarn and spans the globe.

Jon R. Warren
Warren's Movie Poster Price Guide

Offline erik1925

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Interesting 2016 update.

And I knew the story of this find sounded familiar, perhaps buried deep in the APF archives.

Sure enough, discussion of the original, Royal Theater Find was initially posted about, WAY back in 2010, during APF's early, new born days.  :D,558.0.html



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Yep good save by Chris. When I wrote the MPC article in 2013, the full story was on Now it's gone.