In 2019 Gentleman Scholar Signs was tapped to hand paint some original and historic paper signs for the Netflix show “Tales of the City”. One of the signs was the famous “Banned Books” sign that hung inside City Lights Books in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood. In the photo below Lawrence Ferlinghetti stands proudly in front of his iconic sign. Ferlinghetti and his store would be a major flashpoint for free speech as well as a vanguard of publishing Beat era literature. They are still publishing today.

Below is a shot from “Tales of the City” with Anna Madrigal walking by City Lights Books, the “Banned Books” sign clearly in view. The hand painted sign was carefully recreated for the filming of the Netflix show.

“Banned Books” sign clearly in view as Anna walks in to City Lights Books

Beyond the Banned Books sign, other signage was hand lettered for the shoot. In this next shot, you can see a handful of paper grocery store signs that were lettered for the scene. Paper grocery store signage was once common place across America, but computer printing and advertising has largely made them disappear from our landscape. Hand Lettered signs are still part of our landscape and need not be relegated to a past era.