Vintage movie posters found at Jax Restaurant

Customers of Jax Restaurant & Lounge can now have a beer with Woody Allen, Candice Bergen, Mel Brooks, Sean Connery and Diane Keaton.

Or they can enjoy a steak with Elliot Gould.

And owner Sherry Perkins and staff can rightfully say they made it possible.

Colorful visages of Allen, Brooks, Connery, Keaton, Pacino and more Hollywood stars appear on large, colorful movie theater-style advertising posters displayed throughout the Marshalltown eatery.

“Billy Jack,” “Blazing Saddles,” “Godfather, Part II,” “The Exorcist” and “San Francisco” film posters among others were restored and put on the walls.

Perkins and staff found a number of the vintage posters hidden under wall coverings while cleaning and remodeling after a May 15 fire closed the business for seven months.

The original posters are from movie studios for films released or re-released in the 1960s and 70s.

“We know ‘Gone With the Wind’ is a 1939 film which was re-released to theaters using a copy of the original poster,” Perkins said.

Not all could be saved.

“There was soot and other material over them,” she said. “Some could be cleaned with a special sponge provided by Servicemaster. Those we could save were then framed by employee Nick Eipperle.”

Perkins said Eipperle used wood salvaged from the restaurant.

She complimented her employees for working hard to restore the posters.

“I have loyal employees,” she said. “I could not have re-opened without them.”

Perkins worked at the restaurant three years before purchasing it nearly four years ago.

She and veteran staff had no idea the posters were on the walls, waiting to be found.

Perkins was told they may have been installed by a previous owner whose spouse worked at Marshalltown’s Orpheum Theater.

An employee learned the “Bullit” poster from the 1968 film starring the late Steve McQueen may be the most valuable of all found.

The “Blazing Saddles” poster, placed near the bar is the most popular, she said.

The 1974 satirical Western was a box office hit, and the eye-catching poster depicts comedian-director Brooks wearing war paint and Indian headdress with a caricature of actor Cleavon Little as a black cowboy on a white horse.

Discovery of the posters was but one positive that resulted from the fire.

“The fire was actually a blessing,” she said. “In addition to finding the posters, we were able to completely remodel the interior. We will install new siding and a new roof when warmer weather arrives.”

Since reopening Dec. 11, Perkins said customers have been pleased with the business’s new look.

“They told me they are thrilled with the remodeling from wall colors to new windows,” Perkins said. “Our customers are loyal … many have come back after we were closed and they remember how things used to be.”

Additionally, antique-lover Perkins found a number of wooden tables which she placed in the dining room, complimented by numerous turn-of-the century photos and sketches of Marshalltown, State Center and Melbourne.