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Ghost Signs in Texas
Page 2

Page 1

MOVIE ARTIFACTS

Movie artifacts Star Biscuit  sign on brick wall
A ghost sign of a product that never was - but is. Smithville, Texas
TE Photo, October 2002

Beware of cheap imitations!

Texas abounds with scores of ghost sign impersonators. These are movie artifacts and they should be included in their own category. They deserve recognition for the sign painter's skill if nothing else.

Recognizing a "fake"

Lettering on movie signs isn't as meticulous as legitimate signs since they only appear on camera for a few seconds, if at all. The artists could certainly match the sign painter's skill if they had time. We're sure some of the older set painters are former wall dogs. Some set artists for the movie Hope Floats (filmed in Smithville) have even painted faux ghost signs - creating false layers of faded paint bleeding through the "real" ghost sign which may be for a product that did or didn't exist. Confused? Just watch the movie until the sign appears (if you can manage to stay awake).

Another way of telling a false ghost is the peeling and flaking of the paint. The current "safe" paints used by Hollywood degrade and flake off in a few years. Smithville's once outstanding Bright and Early Coffee ad has in 3 short years become almost invisible.


John Troesser
December, 2002

More Ghost Signs

Recommended Books on Ghost Signs
  • Ghost Signs of Arkansas by Cynthia Haas, Photos by Jeff Holder, U of A Press, 1997
  • Ghost Signs: Brick Wall Signs in America by Wm Stage, ST Publications, 1989


  • Texas Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history, stories, landmarks and vintage or recent photos, please contact us.

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