This is a book about Elvis and Jack Daniels. It is a tale of roadside circuses and itinerant minstrels, country music and rock 'n' roll. It is a fascinating story about rebirth and resurrection in the Deep Southof how a 100-year-old Nashville, Tennessee, poster shop struggled through hard times to become a modern-day design sensation.
Throughout the 1920s and '30s, Hatch Show Print's colorful broadsides and posters were a ubiquitous roadside attraction throughout the southeastern United States. The shop's advertisements for baseball games, concerts, carnivals and other small town events were pasted prominently on everything from barns to brick walls and hung conspicuously in storefronts, bars and theater windows.
Hatch Show Print could trace its origins back to Reverend William T. Hatch, a minister and northern businessman who moved to Nashville in 1875 with the hopeof cashing in on the city's thriving print industry. Hatch entered into business as a publisher, and following his death in 1879 the Reverend's two sons took over the family business. Work was steady and by the turn of the century the shop began producing numerous broadsides
show postersfor plays, theater groups and vaudeville acts.
In 1921, Will T. Hatch continued the family tradition. He often carved large, multicolor printing blocks by hand and this distinct style set Hatch's posters apart from other posters commonly designed only with commercial type. Will Hatch's timing was fortuitousradio was a growing presence in America and the careers of entertainers that toured the South relied heavily on posters to spread the work. The buisness continued to grow and by the 1950s, the bulk of the shop's work was commissioned by Nashville's booming country music scene. Hatch produced posters for the likes of Johnny Cash, Hank Williams and even an upstart Elvis Presley.
Fast-forward to the early-1980s. Increased competition, poor management and inexpensive offset printing threatened to put the letterpress shop out of business. Recognizing Hatch's unique history, Nashville's Grand Ole Opry stepped in to acquire the shop in 1986. To compete with desktop technology and the clean look of digital type, Hatch's posters began to emphasize the tactile qualtiy fo handset wood type, drawing upon their historical collection of battered typefaces and hand-carved printing blocks. Their rough-hewn design style was immediately recognized as uniqueand authentic. Under the directorship of Jim Sherraden, the shop slowly rebuilt its business and in its current incarnation, Hatch Show Print enjoys widespread acclaim. The shop produces award-winning work for major music labels, book publishers and advertising agencies. They also print posters for an increasingly eclectic group of musicians ranging from REM to The Wailers, to Jewel. But despite their success, Hatch Show remains surprisingly accessible. In addition to the high-visibility projects, Hatch Show continues to take on the proletarianthe small clients and struggling bands that literally walk in off the street.
This book reconstructs the shop's 130-year-old past, but cleverly avoids getting buried in nostalgia. It covers a diverse range of topics, from technical information about letter-press printing to Hatch's role in musical, cultural and design history, and also includes plenty of reproductions of posters that will make the typographer and designer's mouth water. The book is well-designed and well-photographed, and typical of Hatch's quirky, clever design style, the dust jacket of the book folds out into a full-size poster. The poster provides a nice sense of scale and helps give more meaning to the smaller reproductions in the book.
Today Hatch Show Print is a working museum, its walls lined with an archive of oversized wooden letters and hand-cut engravings, and restrikes of historical posters. Their shop attracts tourists, visitors and the occasional graphic designer, many of whom make the pilgr
Readers bleary and exhausted from the ceaseless hard sell of contemporary advertising will be refreshed and entertained by this loving and lavish look at a world of advertising that, if no less commercial, is certainly easier on the eye. Since 1879, when it was founded by the brothers for which it is named, Nashville's Hatch Show Print Shop has produced using handcrafted letterpress methods clearly explained in the text an astounding variety of posters and ephemera advertising everything from trailers to state fairs, wrestling matches to circuses, Roberto Duran to Dwight D. Eisenhower. But most of the work reproduced here in 190 lush color and b&w illustrations is devoted to announcements of musical events (unsurprising, given the shop's location), from Hank Williams to Bo Diddley, Emmylou Harris to Buddy Guy. Visual highlights include a strikingly vivid full-page portrait of Roy Acuff, trailer ads with the iconic immediacy of early Warhol and an ad for pure sausage that practically smokes off the page. Interwoven as well with the authors' engaging oral history (Sherraden and Horvath help to run the shop) are such tidbits as business letters from Bessie Smith and Col. Tom Parker, but the bulk of the book is rightly given to reproducing the posters that so powerfully evoke the music and Nashville itself. (May 17) Forecast: After changes of hands beginning in the 1950s, the still operational Hatch was donated to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1992. The book's pub date coincides with the opening of the CMHF's new, $37-million museum complex. Chronicle continues to solidify its position in packaging primary-source curios for popular consumption, from recent huge-scale projects like The Beatles Anthology to The Good Citizen's Handbook, a compilation of mid-20th-century government handbooks and pamphlets. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A fully illustrated tour of Nashville's Hatch Show Print, the iconic institution that has produced show posters for entertainers of all kinds, from country musicians to magicians, professional wrestlers to rock stars. The volume reveals how Hatch Show Print maintains its fidelity to the aesthetic of hand-set, hand-inked, and hand-cranked printing despite the encroachment of modern technology, and how its modern designs fuse the old and new. The 175 illustrations include historical photographs and posters. Sherraden and Elek Horvath are associated with Hatch Show Print, and Paul Kingsbury directs education and special research for the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum. Oversize: 10.5x10.5<">. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)