June 20, 2019

Jerry Ohlinger, Colorful Dealer in Film Memorabilia, Dies at 75

Mr. Ohlinger had hundreds of thousands of movie stills.

“You can really see details that you don’t see in the film, because the film doesn’t pause for you,” he explained to The New Yorker. Also, he said, most such images were taken not during filming (because of concern about shutter noise), but during rehearsals, so they often caught a unique moment slightly different from what filmgoers saw.

The man was just as quirky as the store.

“I loved him dearly because of and despite all of his peculiarities,” Dollie Banner, a longtime employee, said by email. “Your quintessential New York proprietor, but also a singular one-of-a-kind character. Thrifty to an absurd degree, cigar dangling or left perched somewhere catching you unawares. The high-pitched voice and even higher laugh. Most gleeful when he could buy something cheaply and sell it for a top price, even if he had to wait decades to do so.”

By the 1990s the combination of higher rents and competition from online traders was putting pressure on Mr. Ohlinger. He tried to adapt by getting into online sales himself, but kept the store open too. After the building that housed it changed hands and he was faced with a near doubling of his rent, he moved to West 35th Street in 2004. By 2014 that space had also become too expensive, and a spate of articles reported that the store would be closing.

But Mr. Ohlinger again showed his resilience, opening the smaller operation on West 30th Street, which Mr. Marlborough said will continue.

Mr. Ohlinger leaves no immediate survivors.

His presence always made the shop more than just a place to buy things, Ms. Banner said.

“I think a lot of customers came to spend some time talking to Jerry and not just to obtain their particular piece of movie memorabilia,” she said. “His knowledge of movie paper was spectacular, covering all kinds of distribution and printing anomalies, multiple rereleases, etc. His taste in movies was random, very subjective, but he found value in every title, no matter the quality.”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/16/obituaries/jerry-ohlinger-dead.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

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