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Collectible Playbill Magazines From the 1960's

Having acquired a small collection of Playbill theater magazines, they were just too interesting not to share. Antique and paper memorabilia collections would definitely be enhanced by the addition of these booklets. Although they are from the 1960s, the stars, the shows, and especially the "Who’s Who in the Cast" summaries are delightful. The full-page late 1960s automobile ads are a treasure.

"Philadelphia Here I Come", with Donal Donnelly and Patrick Bedford

Philadelphia Here I Come Playbill: Nov. 1966

Playbill, National Theatre, "Philadelphia Here I Come", Volume 3, November 1966, Number 11

The "Who’s Who in the Cast" begins with the stars of the show: Donal Donnelly and Patrick Bedford. Also included are Eamon Kelly, Mairin D. O’Sullivan, Violet Dunn, Judith McGilligan, Robert Hewitt, Doanld Marye, James L. O’Neill, Eamon Morrisey, Dermot McNamara, Charles White, and Joseph Warren. The show was produced by David Merrick and directed by Hilton Edwards. Brian Friel was the author of the play.

There are sixty pages which include numerous articles and ads. Of these, the full page automobile ads are the most unique. The car ads included are the 1967 Buick Riviera and the 1967 Pontiac. The 1967 Thunderbird debuts with it’s "tilt-away steering wheel" and the 67 Cadillac ad is glorious.

Several articles on other aspects of show business are in this issue. A full-page ad for David Merricks Christmas gift to his local followers, "The Astrakhan Coat", starring Roddy McDowell and an ad for Zero Mostell’s "Fiddler on the Roof" Broadway cast album from RCA Victor are delightful.

"Cactus Flower" with Lauren Bacall and Barry Nelson

"Cactus Flower" with Lauren Bacall and Barry Nelson

Cactus Flower Playbill: Sept. 1967

Playbill, Royal Theatre, "Cactus Flower", Volume 4, September 1967, Number 8

The "Who’s Who in the Cast" in this issue begins with Lauren Bacall and Barry Nelson, the stars of the show. Also included are Lee Lawson, Rick Lenz, Arny Freeman, Robert Moore, Joan Eastman, and Betsy Durkin. Abe Burrows is included as the author and director, with Barillet and Jean-Pierre Gredy as the original authors. The producer was David Merrick with Oliver Smith as the designer. The costume designer was Theoni V. Aldredge and Martin Aaronstein was in charge of lighting.

The 1967 Chrysler Imperial Crown convertible is the only automotive ad in this issue. But, you could sing along with the United Airlines "Take me Along" lyrics or enjoy the article "Dear Broadway, Thanks for the Memories" by Bob Hope.

There is a full-page ad for the "Hallelujah, Baby" Broadway cast album from Columbia Records and another ad for RCA Victors, By Jupiter, I Do! I Do!, Annie Get Your Gun, Half a Sixpense, Fiddler on the Roof and Hello Dolly original cast recordings which were also available as eight-track tapes.

" You Know I can't Hear You When the Water's Running" with Martin Balsam, Eileen Heckart and George Grizzard

You Know I Can’t Hear You When the Water’s Running Playbill: Oct.1967

Playbill, Ambassador Theatre, "You Know I Can’t Hear You When the Water’s Running", Volume 4, October 1967, Number 10

The stars Martin Balsam, Eileen Heckart, and George Grizzard are included in the Who’s Who in the Cast" article, along with Joe Silver and Kathleen Dabney. Robert Anderson authored the play and Alan Schneider was the director. Jack Ferren and Gilbert Cates were the producers. Ed Wittstein was in charge of scenery with Theoni V. Aldredge handling the costumes and Jules Fisher took care of the lighting.

The car ads begin with the 1968 Oldsmobile Tornado and there are two, full-page, full-color ads for the 1968 Thunderbird Landau with its four doors and 429-V8 engine. The new 1968 Chevrolet Impala, the Chevelle Concours and the Camaro’s, the Hugger made their debut in an ad from General Motors. The 1968 Imperial from Chrysler with its 440 cubic inches, V8 engine exudes luxury as does the ad for Pontiac’s Bonneville Brougham.

Included in this issue is an article on Marlene Dietrich by Kenneth Tynan. Not to be left out is an article by Victoria Lincoln, entitled "Whatever Became of Lizzie Borden?"

Columbia Records chose to advertise Mame, with Angela Lansbury, Cabaret, Hallelujah, Baby, Love Songs from Robert Goulet and Jerry Vales "The Impossible Dream" album.

The theater ticket stub was found in this magazine.

Playbill Magazine: The Late 1960s

Playbill, 46th Street Theatre, I Do!, I Do !, Volume 4, October 1967, Number 10

The infamous David Merrick presents Mary Martin and Robert Preston in a hit musical story. Also included in the "Who’s Who in the Cast" are the director Gower Champion, Tom Jones for his lyrics and Harvey Schmitt for the music. Lucia Victor was the assistant director. Oliver Smith took care of the scenery. Freddy Wittop handled the costumes and the lighting was the work of Jean Rosenthal.

This musical was based on "The Fourposter" by Jan de Hartog.

The ads and articles are the same as the October 1967, Ambassador Playbill and it too included a ticket stub.

Playbill, National Theatre, "Mati Hari", Volume 4, November 1967, Number 11

Marissa Mell and Pernell Roberts are the stars in this show along with Jake Holmes, Martha Schlamme, W.B. Brydon, Mark Dempsey, George Marcy, Nadine Lewis, Blythe Danner, and Dominic Chianese. Vincente Minelli was the director. Jack Cole was the choreographer and Jerome Coopersmith was the author. Martin Charnin was the lyricist with Edward Thomas as composer. David Merrick was the director.

The "Who’s Who in the Cast" gives a brief summary of the work of each cast member.

This issue also contains the Marlene Dietrich article and the automobile ads are for the Pontiac Bonneville Brougham from General Motors and the ad for the Oldsmobile Tornado, front-wheel drive vehicle.

Playbill, National Theatre, "Your Own Thing", Volume 6, May 1969, Issue 5

This show starred Paula Kelly, Stellar Bennet, Gerry Burkhardt, Gerry Glasier, Bruce Jacobs, Priscilla Lopez, Alan Martin, Gregg Smith and Les Carlson. Also included in the "Who’s Who in the Cast", are Hal Hester as a co-composer. Danny Apolinar as co-composer for music and lyrics. Donald Driver was the author-director. Zef Bufman and Dorothy Love were co-producers.

This issue contains a comedy excerpt from Walter Kerr’s book "Tragedy and Comedy".

The 1969 Ford Thunderbird ad with its push-button sliding sunroof only tends to enhance the already well known 429-V8 engine. The General Motors ad for the Hugger from Camaro shows the Chevrolet Camaro Official Pace Car, the Camaro SS convertible with a super scoop.


Most of these magazines will easily sell for twenty or twenty-five dollars each. Collectors who specialize in a particular celebrity may be willing to pay more. Don't be hesitant to try a higher price at first. You can always lower the price if it doesn't sell.

Etsy and Webstore are popular places to sell these other than the usual auction sites.


Peter Alexander from Pittsburgh on November 08, 2015:

Hi- nice and interesting article- God knows I have so many as I see so many shows- would make an interesting hobby to collect playbills of plays of actors/actresses one has an interest in.

Gracie L Sprouse (author) from Virginia on December 20, 2010:

There are several sites that sell these booklets. Try googling "Playbill magazine" and check the prices in Ebay.

fran kaye on December 19, 2010:

I have three of these playbill/booklets. They are 9 x 12 and the covers are in red and yellow. I have the original casts of Mame, Fidler on the Roof and Man of LaMancha with words to all the songs in the last one. I wonder how much these are worth in the collectable arena?

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on September 22, 2010:

I wish I had kept my old Playbills from the 1960s. When looking at old Playbills and magazines, sometimes the ads are the best things about them, giving you a peek at days gone by.