Roger Puckett, who founded the Manhattan poster mecca Triton Gallery in 1965, is retiring from the business.
The gallery will continue, however, under owner Nicholas van Hoogstraten, who bought the gallery from Puckett in 2013. Puckett, who stayed on at the gallery as its master framer, is planning to teach movement for seniors at the YMCA on 14th Street in Manhattan, and several New York senior centers.
Puckett came to New York to be a dancer and appeared in the chorus of the 1961 musical Kean, plus a gig at the 1964-1965 World’s Fair. In 1965 he bought Goldberg’s Frame Shop on 42nd Street, which had been in operation since 1875. As the business began evolving from framing show posters to the posters and window cards themselves, the rechristened Triton Gallery moved to its location on West 45th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues where it stayed for 42 years. The gallery moved around the corner to its current home at 630 Ninth Avenue in 2006.
Since selling the shop to van Hoogstraten, Puckett says he has been focusing more on more on getting back to dancing and physical movement. “I've enjoyed every minute of [working at the shop],” the Manhattan resident said, ”but it’s become difficult to do both.”
In addition to the gallery, Puckett’s work is abundantly showcased in the upstairs lobby of Broadway's Marquis Theatre, walls of which have been covered with window cards he framed himself. The interior of the refurbished Hudson Theatre, set to reopen this spring, will also be decorated with Triton’s poster images from the theatre’s many shows, dating back to the 1927 melodrama Wall Street.
Puckett’s favorite poster of all the thousands he‘s seen and handled? The one for Jerry Herman’s musical Dear World, a stylized drawing of Angela Lansbury peeking out from under the brim a huge feathered bonnet as the Madwoman of Chaillot. “It really set that show,’ he said.
New owner van Hoogstraten said Triton has more than 5,000 posters in stock, from shows going back to the 1920‘s, with access to many more. He said about 50 percent of the business now takes place online at the store’s Broadwayposters.com website, but people still like to come into the gallery and browse.
The owner van Hoogstraten is known as author of the book Lost Broadway Theatres, and as writer and producer of the Off-Broadway musical Johnny Guitar.