Pulford Publicity
The Pulfords

The following is an extract from Eric Pulford's obituary by Sim Branaghan, The Guardian, 15th September 2005
Eric William Pulford (seen above with wife Alma) was born in Leeds on the 8th August 1915 .At Cockburn high school,
an art teacher encouraged his drawing abilities, and he was apprenticed to a local commercial printing house.
His first printed artwork was apparently for a Brocks firework box, and he also sold still lifes through
a Leeds Art Gallery exhibition. In 1940 that Pulford began painting posters for Leeds Rank cinemas.
Titles included Gaslight, The Bluebird, and Thief Of Baghdad.

In 1943 Rank invited Pulford down to London to set up a design studio and work on the company's publicity.
Rank had acquired an interest in the Fleet Street agency Downton Advertising, and Pulford Publicity was initially
set up nearby, and funded through Downton.
Pulford initially did much of the finished poster artwork himself - classic early titles include Henry V (1944)
Odd Man Out (1946), Oliver Twist (1948) and several Ealing films. In the early 1950s he began to personally
focus more on design, employing a band of illustrators for the finished art.
As Downtons increased in size, Pulford's role became increasingly executive - although he kept a grip on the
most important Rank series, designing many of the later Norman Wisdom comedies, the "Doctor" films, and Carry Ons.
He sometimes watched films in production - including the 1959 Ben Hur chariot race in Rome - and won a US poster
award for his design for Disney's The Island At the Top of the World. (1973)
Eventually Pulford Publicity was employing 44 artists and photographers. By 1963, having bought a
controlling interest in Downtons, it became, as Downtons, Britain's main film agency, handling Rank and its
Gaumont and Odeon chains, Universal, RKO, United Artists and British Lion. Following a 1965 merger with the
Dixons agency it took on Columbia and Disney, and later Avco-Embassy and Brent Walker.

Eric Pulford died 30th July 2005

There Was A Crooked Man
From a design by Eric Pulford and finished by Derek Stowe