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.
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.
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.