Remington Collection Vitural Art Museum

Larry Duke

In the early 1980’s an explosion of interest in sporting collectables: decoys, firearms, fishing, tackle, books, knives, and of course art.  Remington’s aim was not only to capitalize the receptive environment for “classic” products, but to market it in such a way as to emphasize its potential to become a collectible in and of itself.  A creative group came up with the idea of a poster that would be distributed to dealers as an integral component of the Bullet Knife promotion. Moreover, given that posters, to, had become highly collectible.  Mike Fountain the group supervisor had just the person in mind: California illustrator Larry Duke.

Dukes style blending strong composition and crisply delineated figures with a keen sense of whimsy, humor and nostalgia, would be perfect for the bullet knife promotion. It’s all breathlessly over-the-top, from the panicked expressions of the sports to the slewing canoe Bad Time for a Snag was exactly what fountain had in mind.

Ironically, given that the Bullet Knife poster almost didn’t happen, the promotion was enormously successful. So much so, in fact that Remington decided to reissue another knife the model R1173 “Baby Bullet”, the following year. Instead of commissioning Duke to create a new poster, however, Remington decided to save a few dollars and recycle the first one as a folded pamphlet.  The Baby Bullet was a success but feedback from dealers showed it was a mistake not to issue a new poster.  So from 1984-1997 Duke was assigned annually to create a new Bullet Knife poster. The last poster series came out in 1997 the posters’ popularity notwithstanding, Remington had originally indicated they decided to pull the plug.