Archive for the ‘DAMAC NFL (1978-83)’ category

DAMAC NFL Theme Art Posters (1978-1983) – New England Patriots Variations

March 23, 2008

As a third installment in my ongoing series about the classic DAMAC NFL Theme Art posters of the late 1970s and early 1980s, this post features the three known variations of the New England Patriots entries in the series.

Through the history of the line, DAMAC commissioned at least four different artists to produce the team-and-city-themed artwork. The legendary Chuck Ren, who went on to become one of America’s greatest painters of Native American and Southwestern themes, produced the majority of the original 1978-79 releases. However, it was another artist, Keith Batcheller, who produced the original New England Patriots poster for the initial poster line launch in 1978:

New England Patriots 1978 DAMAC Poster by Keith Batcheller

Note: we’ve never actually seen this exact poster for sale in the 10 years we’ve been in business; however, Batcheller himself was kind enough to e-mail us this .jpg as a sample.

We did, however, come across a slightly more colorful version for sale on eBay a number of years ago; perhaps they updated the artwork for 1979:

New England Patriots 1979 DAMAC Poster by Keith Batcheller

Then, in 1980, an entirely new design was produced – this one has no identifying signature on the art, but Jim Lamb - another artist who contributed to the DAMAC line – is pretty sure this one is a Chuck Ren:

New England Patriots 1980 DAMAC Poster by Chuck Ren (?)

I’m guessing that there was at least one more different Patriots design published in the years 1981-1983, but to date, we’ve never come across one. If anyone is aware of different Patriots variations, please contribute in the comments section below, or send an e-mail to: nflagg@sportsposterwarehouse.com.

More on DAMAC NFL Football Posters (1978-83) – San Diego Chargers, New York Jets

March 18, 2008

Further to yesterday’s post on the classic DAMAC NFL Football theme art posters (1978-83) and the Dallas Cowboys variations, here’s a look at two more entries in the series. First, the San Diego Chargers release we call “Classic Lightning”:

San Diego Chargers 1979 DAMAC Theme Art Poster by Chuck Ren

Because these posters were licensed only by the NFL, and not by the player’s association, the men depicted could not directly represent an actual player. But Charger fans will recognize a strong, strong resemblance to the star QB of the day, Dan Fouts, and either one of his favorite targets of the late 1970s - John Jefferson and Charlie Joiner. (Anyone have an opinion on which one this receiver more resembles?) The artist for this one is the great Chuck Ren, who produced the art for most (but not all) the initial 1978-79 posters, and this is one of his finest. The other artists’ work simply pales in comparison. His dramatic, ultra-realistic recreations of football action moments clearly elevated his work above that of most other sports artists of the day – or, truly, of any era.

We’ve yet to come across any variations on the Chargers poster, so as far as we can tell, this was the only Chargers entry published in the series.

Next, here’s the New York Jets entry in the series, which we call “Manhattan Green” - also a fine Chuck Ren design: 

New York Jets 1979 DAMAC Theme Art Poster

This beautiful poster features the Jets uniform of the era, a spectacular representation of the Manhattan skyline after dark, and some groovy graphics topping it off. The player the running back most likely resembles? I’d say Kevin Long, the star back of 1978, and one of the greatest South Carolina Gamecocks of all-time.

We’ve also never seen different variations on the Jets poster, so as far as we know, this one was in print throughout the run of DAMAC until 1983.

Now here’s a nugget of information on the DAMAC series that was forwarded to us by someone currently still in the sports poster business. A Tennessee-based company called Sports Enterprises of America – SEA (who published, among others, the Official Poster of Super Bowl XXVII) wrestled control of the NFL’s theme art license in 1983, and essentially ran it into the ground. New posters in the same format - 23″x25″ size and white-border with team-colored piping – were produced in 1984, but the artwork was not nearly as good, and after a few years of little success pushing the new designs on retailers, the line was abandoned for good. While these 1984 releases likely don’t have the artistic merit of the original DAMAC releases (it’s hard to tell; we’ve only ever seen one, a mediocre Indianapolis Colts design), they are likely extremely rare – truly a unique find.

Did you have one of these posters on your wall when you were a kid? Are you a collector of the DAMAC posters with more information to share? Please join the conversation in the comments below.

DAMAC NFL Theme Art Posters (1978-1983) by Chuck Ren – Dallas Cowboys Variations

March 17, 2008

From 1978 through 1983, a company called DAMAC Inc. published a line of licensed NFL Football theme art posters that, to this date, are revered as some of the nicest team posters ever produced. Primarily featuring the artwork of the NFL’s official artist of the era, Chuck Ren (1941-1995), hundreds of thousands of kids had their favorite team’s 23″x25″ poster on his (or her) wall during the era, while some tried to collect the entire series. Over the six years of the company’s existence, every team had at least one poster produced, while some had multiple designs - mostly featuring artwork by Chuck Ren; others, particularly in the last two years, by uncredited artists. Some teams, we’re guessing, only had one design; but for the teams that we have identified multiple designs for, we’ll do our best to do blog postings like this one. To start, we’ll highlight the one team that, we know, had as many as three different designs.

First, here’s a look at the original 1978 Dallas Cowboys design, published during DAMAC’s first year:

Dallas Cowboys 1978 DAMAC Theme Art Poster

This design – one of the finest ever produced, that includes a posse of true 19th-century Wild West cowboys as an additional design element – is likely the most hard-to-find of the three, as it was printed during the earliest days of the nascent DAMAC company, and was replaced within a year by this design, the 1979 Dallas Cowboys DAMAC poster, which we call “Passion”:

Dallas Cowboys 1979 DAMAC Chuck Ren Poster

Better than the 1978 version when it comes to action – the running back, reminiscent of a young Tony Dorsett, is simply perfect - this one may not have quite the same artistic impact as the first design. But it is a beauty; was probably the one most commonly seen on kids’ walls in Dallas in the early 1980s; and is the only one currently available for sale (we have a few left in stock; grab one now while you can!)

Finally, there’s the 1982 version, also designed by Chuck Ren (who, by 1982, seems to have largely retired from the DAMAC line):

Dallas Cowboys 1982 DAMAC Poster by Chuck Ren

This one definitely has more of a 1980s-style look to it, and once again adds in an authentic Western artistic element, this time a rodeo bull rider. You’ll notice an additional copyright logo added near the bottom-left corner; in 1982, DAMAC added this “NFL Officially Licensed Product” emblem to every poster.

(FYI: the images for the 1978 and 1982 editions shown above are from posters held in our permanent collection, and are not available for sale anywhere, as far as we know. You may be lucky enough to find one for sale on eBay some day…)

On the topic of the DAMAC poster series, we’re looking to fill in the gaps on the history of this line. We’d love to hear from you (either in the comments below, or via e-mail at nflagg@sportsposterwarehouse.com) if you know any of the following information:

1) Was Chuck Ren involved in the ownership of this company? If not, how was he paid? Or, did DAMAC simply license his artwork directly from the NFL?

2) What happened to DAMAC that caused it to disappear in 1983?

3) Where were these posters sold? Mail order ads in magazines? In sporting good stores? At NFL games?


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