Jerry Gladstone, an accomplished entrepreneur with more than 25 years of experience, currently serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer of American Royal Arts (ARA). In addition to owning publishing and distribution rights for Elvis Presley Enterprises and Frank Sinatra Enterprises, ARA acquired a number of limited editions, original drawings, and production cels from the long-running animated sitcom The Simpsons.

Before launching The Simpsons as a sitcom, creator Matt Groening pitched the idea of an animated short series featuring a dysfunctional family to the producer James L. Brooks. Groening modeled the characters after members of his own family, using Bart to represent himself, and earned a spot on The Tracey Ullman Show in 1987. Because the show’s producers chose to use Groening’s rough sketches instead of a finished product, the characters were somewhat crudely drawn during this time only loosely resembled their current forms. After three seasons as a sketch on The Tracey Ullman Show, Fox approached Groening to develop a half-hour, prime-time show based on the characters in the sketch. The Simpsons enjoyed a large measure of success during the first season in 1989-1990, capturing a spot in the Top 30 ratings for the first time in Fox’s history.

Today, The Simpsons is the longest-running American sitcom, animated program, and American prime-time entertainment series. Since the show’s creation more than two decades ago, the series has earned 27 Primetime Emmy Awards, 27 Annie Awards, a Peabody Award, and status as Time magazine’s best television series of the 20th century. The Simpsons has also profoundly influenced culture over the years, including the admission of Homer’s famous cry of “D’oh!” into the English lexicon. Similarly, the ambivalent term “Meh” and the word “Cromulent” have earned spots in the Collins English Dictionary and Webster’s New Millennium Dictionary, respectively.

American Royal Arts possesses a number of limited edition cels from the hit show, including images of Bart and Lisa quarreling, and an interpretation of a music album featuring characters from the Simpsons. To learn more about memorabilia from The Simpsons and other collectible items available at American Royal Arts, visit the website at
Millions of people collect movie posters, lobby cards, autographed star photos, props, wardrobe pieces, and other items for the sheer enjoyment of it or as a financial investment. Here are some ideas, based on my years of experience running an entertainment arts business, to help you get more out of this exciting hobby.

Consider supplementing your collection of memorabilia with a library of books or magazines featuring your favorite stars. Celebrity biographies have been popular for decades. The movie magazine “Photoplay,” which had its heyday in the classic film era of the 1920s through 1950s, presented interviews and behind-the-scenes glimpses. EBay and other online auction sources can help you acquire out-of-print titles, often at bargain prices. 

Try an aspect of the hobby that started in Europe. Collect movie postcards, which only originated in Europe about two decades ago. Some designs can be quite valuable, because they were produced in limited numbers for distribution only in their countries of origin.

Consider giving your collection a focus around a specific theme or title. If you love a very popular film, such as “The Wizard of Oz,” remember that manufacturers have produced a wide variety of tie-ins, such as character paper dolls and children’s coloring books.

Be selective and always choose quality over sheer numbers of items that will only clutter your living space. And if you get tired of a particular line of collectibles, there are thousands of fellow collectors who might pay excellent prices to acquire them.

About the author: At the age of 26, Jerry Gladstone founded his own entertainment arts company, A.R.A., with an initial investment of $2,000, and subsequently built it into a leader in its field.