You might not know the name, but if you're a movie fan, you've definitely seen his work. John Alvin was, like the still-active Drew Struzan, one of the last of the great movie poster artists.
Unfortunately, the talented hand that crafted the lobby posters for such cinematic favorites and box office blockbusters as Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, E.T. - The Extra Terrestrial, Gremlins, Willow, Star Trek VI, Cocoon, The Princess Bride, The Color Purple, Short Circuit, and Blade Runner, among so many more, passed away last week.
I had his Blade Runner poster on my studio wall for many years, through at least three apartments, and it's one of my favorite pieces of film art ever.
I feel a great sense of loss. There was once a time when there was certain joy in walking around a theater lobby, lingering over the posters. The best of them sparked your imagination, whetted your appetite, and inflamed your anticiptaion for the movies they advertised. But now, as film marketeers rely more and more heavily on Photoshopped head shots and generic, cookie-cutter poster and DVD package templates, the wonderful art of film poster illustration is rapidly fading to black. And with the passing of John Alvin, that heartbreaking process is only going to be accelerated.
Rest In Peace, Mister Alvin, and thanks for the memories.