Thursday, March 1, 2012

Pete Hawley Movie Posters

Pete Hawley's (1916-1975) colorful artwork was some of the most appealing and instantly recognizable for nearly four decades, though, unlike, say, Norman Rockwell, few at the time actually knew his name. Hawley was possibly the most in-demand illustrator for greeting cards (for American Greetings), record album covers, coloring books, print advertisements, and MAINLY clothing ads, especially for swimsuits and lingerie, all featuring impossibly sexy young females, smiling, cheerful and horny young men, and adorable, rosy-cheeked  children, babies and animals. Like Rockwell, Hawley employed his neighbors and family members to be his models, his work celebrating the fantasy world of idilic, healthy, active, beaming white-bread post World War II American's at their most cheerful.

Hundred's of samples of Hawley's work can be seen on the web, so I'm, (mainly), focusing on his limited movie poster work here.

A Pete Hawley coloring book cover. No one drew happier children than Hawley. 
An early fifties Hawley ad for the forgotten product "VEL", featuring a classic "Hawley American couple"
Hawley's first film poster from 1951, for this film comedy featuring Rhubarb the Cat and a post Lost Weekend Ray Milland. 
Rhubarb half sheet

Hawley art for the DELL comic book adaption

Hawley's poster art for Disney's 1953 Peter Pan

and album cover art
Hawley art for this forgotten 1953 comedy featuring some of Hawley's patented sexy romping females.
Closer look at the original art

From 1954, Hawley's poster art for one of Bob Hope's last actually funny movies.
Hawley art for the 1956 poster for Martin & Lewis's final film together
A Pete Hawley LP cover featuring filmdom's the Little Rascals (Our Gang)
Hawley created the poster artwork for this 1963 Jackie Gleason comedy which sadly was Hawley's final film poster, (The era of the Jack Davis movie poster was about to dawn).  I've mentioned before that Hawleys work, specifically this poster, had a clear influence on the wonderful comedy movie poster art of Frank Frazetta. See if you agree (Larger version below)
larger view
Hawley also did the album cover art for this early sixties Broadway musical


  1. Gorgeous work! I never knew his name until now.

  2. Rhubarb is a swell movie. The Girls of Pleasure Island is...well, it's a swell title.

    But that circus cover! The clown's big toe coming out of his shoe! Those details....that goose is smoking a corncob pipe!

  3. In advertising, he's famous for the work he did for Jantzen.

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  5. As a member of the Hawley family I want to say thank you on all of our behalf's for sharing his work!