Passion for Posters

Walk into any drug store or mall in the 80s (and we spent A LOT of time in malls), and you’d be sure to find one of these bad boys front and center, getting lots of traffic and attention. Remember, these were days before Pottery Barn began designing teenagers’ bedrooms. In the 80s, teen bedroom décor grew organically out of the tastes of the room’s owner. The walls served as a medium for self-expression—no fancy “themes” needed. My room had pink walls and the theme was Bon Jovi, Mick Jagger and an adorable kitten hanging onto a branch for dear life.

Seriously, I remember every detail of the huge photo of Jon Bon Jovi that hung above my bed. Jon was the first thing I saw in the morning and the last thing I saw before I fell asleep at night. I didn’t love the band all that much, but I sure liked him. And his hair. And his belt. And the way he signed the bottom of the poster with his swirly, bubbly Js.

At the poster kiosks in the mall, you could flip through a bunch of different options to decorate your room, ranging from rock stars to movie stars, girls in bikinis, cute animals and the obligatory Nagel print (I had the one below).  A bunch of plastic frames displayed the posters for sale in all of their glory. It was kind of like you were flipping through a magazine of glossy eye candy and the “click-clack” sound of the giant pages turning would echo throughout the store.

Patrick Nagel 80s poster

Bon Jovi 80s poster


80s posters store display

80s "Hang in There" kitten poster

What to choose? It all depended on your mood – maybe another hot guy to add to my wallpapered room? Or a Madonna poster was always cool . . . or maybe a tiger? Pee Wee Herman? Spuds MacKenzie???

Then you’d reach underneath and grab one of the totally tubular rolls that corresponded with the number on the print you wanted to buy. C-23 . . . Def Leppard . . . done.

Def Leppard 80s poster

Today the poster stations still exist; I see them in stores like Spencer Gifts or Hot Topic. I’m happy to see teenagers today still flipping through and click-clacking their way through their generation’s collection of glossy musicians and movies. But sorry to say, no poster today could ever match the 80s magic that was this one. Don’t tell Jon Bon Jovi, but this was my favorite poster . . . ever.

Duran Duran 80s poster

Author: Lori Ferraro

Lori is a writer and actor living in Portland, OR. Her website, Drawn to the 80s, is where her 5 year old draws the greatest music hits of the 1980s. She is a blogger for The Huffington Post and her own blog, Once Upon a Product, is where she writes about important things like beauty products, music, her obsession with Mick Jagger and of course...the 80s.

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  1. Spencers always had a nice collection of posters in the back. I especially remenber the ones that were made out of felt that glowed if held under a black light. Malls sure have changed. BTW, I had a Bruce Lee and Rush posters on my walls.

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  2. One of the things heavy metal fans (like me) did was cover our bedroom walls(I mean covered so that there was not an inch of wallpaper or paint showing) with full-sized posters and also with pages from Circus Magazine, Hit Parader, and the like. I remember I had one friend who had his entire bedroom covered exclusively with Iron Maiden posters and another friend who had each wall dedicated to a specific band (one wall was Motley Crue, another was Kiss, another was WASP, and the last was Iron Maiden). Of course we did the same thing with our lockers at school and completely pasted the insides with Twister Sister and the like.

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    • Jake, I had a ton of posters out of Hit Parader too — Specifically I remember Motley Crue and a RATT one that I loved!

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  3. Between the posters of Duran Duran, kittens, Miami Vice, and other typical things, I had one of Chicago Bears player William “The Refrigerator” Perry. Looking back, it seemed quite out of place.

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  4. Led zeppelin covered my walls, even my ceiling! And yes, I had the felted stairway to heaven.. Memories..

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