An original “Bob Dylan America’s Most Compelling Folk Artist” 1963 Columbia Records promotional retail store display.
There were actually two versions of this Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan promo poster produced… a two-flap version, shown here in person, and a three-flap version, which I display and describe for you via photograph.
Both sizes of this display were designed to stand up by themselves on any flat surface, due to their heft and shape. Neither one needs to be propped up.
This Bob Dylan – America’s Most Compelling Folk Artist promo stand-up was manufactured on thick, durable cardboard to assist it in standing up easily on its own. By comparison, most of Dylan’s other 1960s cardboard store displays had easels on the back to help them stand up.
One thing you can’t deny about this Bob Dylan America’s Most Compelling Folk Artist advertising poster… it commands a room. And back in 1963, there weren’t a lot of record stores in the land… LPs and 45s were most commonly sold in department stores and such. So any retailer must’ve had quite a time finding room for this.
The three-panel version of this Bob Dylan – America’s Most Compelling Folk Artist display includes reproductions of his first two album covers: Bob Dylan and The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan.
Those two LP jackets on this Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan promo display are presented in their full-color natural state, whereas the two-panel version of this display gets away with being just black & white – which some people prefer (see below).
This Bob Dylan America’s Most Compelling Folk Artist point-of-purchase poster measures two feet wide on the two-flap version and three feet wide on the bigger one. Both of them are 25 inches in height.
Here is the exact wording, just as it reads on the display. First there’s the right-hand B&W panel:
BOB DYLAN – AMERICA’S MOST COMPELLING FOLK ARTIST
Joan Baez: “I feel it, but Dylan can say it. He’s phenomenal.” Peter, Paul and Mary: “The most important folk singer today.” On Columbia Records.
And on the larger version, these words appear over on the color, left-hand panel:
Includes his great hits, “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” (below The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan LP cover)
“Dylan performs with a zest and vigor few will resist.” – Saturday Review (underneath 1962’s Bob Dylan album cover)
The bigger version of this Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan promo stand-up would have been useable for all of 1963, right up until mid-January 1964, when Dylan’s third album, The Times They Are A-Changin’, was released. At that point people would have said, “Where’s that album cover?”
You gotta love the way 26 song titles are listed on the three-flap version of this Bob Dylan America’s Most Compelling Folk Artist merchandising poster / sign. For me, that’s a plus.
But I’ve heard people say that the smaller, more compact two-flap version of this Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan promo sign is preferable… it’s less cluttered, and it’s not dated like the three-panel version is. The two-panel version could literally be used all the way up until the spring of 1965, when Dylan released Bringing It All Back Home, ditching pure folk and becoming a rock star.
Another big plus to the two-flap version of this Bob Dylan – America’s Most Compelling Folk Artist point-of-sale poster is that it withstands years of florescent lights (in stores) and direct sunlight without fading. The three-flap version, with its rich colors, is much more susceptible to fading.
Don Hunstein, a Columbia Records photographer who shot Dylan’s first two album covers, took the lovely photograph that comprises an entire panel of this Bob Dylan America’s Most Compelling Folk Artist countertop display.
There’s a funny aspect about the wording on this Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan merchandising display. One could take issue with the caption below The Freewheelin’, which proclaims, “Includes his great hits, ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ and ‘Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right.’” You definitely can’t call those “Dylan hits.” Those were the A- and B-side songs of Dylan’s second Columbia Records single (4-42856), and it didn’t sell a whit. However, as the world knows, Peter, Paul & Mary took both songs to the moon in 1963.
Regarding the two quotes over on the right-hand panel of this Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan store display… the Baez one sounds pretty authentic, but I gotta take issue with the PP&M one. How can three different people say one six-word sentence? It’s obviously a crafted PR statement. It’s no coincidence that Albert Grossman was Dylan’s and PP&M’s manager at the time, so you can bet that he just had a publicist generate that quote.
This Bob Dylan – America’s Most Compelling Folk Artist large, heavy cardboard promotional store window display is shown off and described with glee by Pete Howard, a major Dylan collector since the late sixties. That’s me, and I can be contacted through firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 805.540-0020. Please be aware that I will pay TOP DOLLAR for either the three-flap version or another copy of the two-flap one.
To oogle a few more Bob Dylan cardboard posters from the 1960s with envy (grin), just pop over to this page here on my Web site: http://www.postercentral.com/bobdylan.htm