Captured by Scotty Welbourne for Warner Bros. Studios, Marshall is seen in a glamorous fur trimmed robe applying soothing lotions and cosmetics to her sunburnt shoulder.
Attached press snipe reads: “DUST YOUR SUNBURN LIGHTLY … Brenda Marshall has discovered that dusting powder can be very soothing to a sunburned skin. After the star of THE SEA HAWK (opposite Errol Flynn) has applied a cooling lotion to her ‘overdone’ skin, she pats on a light bath powder. She finds it relieves her skin of that stretched and hot feeling.”
Measures 8″ x 10″ with margins on a glossy, single weight paper stock. Photographer’s ink stamp on verso.
The upcoming Auction At Graceland includes a special section of early Elvis merchandising memorabilia from various owners and includes rare items from the collection of Darlene Parker Tafua, daughter of Ed and Leilani Parker. (Ed Parker was a martial artist who ran the Kenpo Karate Studio in Pasadena, California; Parker trained Elvis Presley along with other stunt men and celebrities.)
And how about the original receipt for Elvis and Priscilla’s Wedding at the Aladdin Hotel in Vegas?
It was quite the shindig! More than $10,000 in charges for the chartered flight, the limos, the judge, the champagne, the fruit baskets, the security (of course), the musicians, the gloves and the floral arrangements. No expense was spared by Elvis for his blushing bride Priscilla and their guests, who assumed two suites and 21 rooms at the Aladdin. The bill was sent to the William Morris Agency in Beverly Hills and this copy to Colonel Parker at MGM Studios. We know this because of the included (and formerly paper-clipped) note concerning possibly being double-charged for the private jet flight. It is written in pencil and reads: “Jim: – Is this in order to pay – How about the plane chg [charge]? Remember pmt [payment] to Lear Jet in amt [amount] of 1774.50 – Please call me Pattie.” Accompanied by a letter of authenticity from Graceland Authenticated. Each page measures approximately 10 by 6 1/2 inches (25.4 x 16.51 cm).
Elvis touched the hearts and lives of fans across the globe, and our goal for the Elvis Week 2015 Auction at Graceland was to include artifacts from across the spectrum of collecting, including items owned by Elvis, gifted by Elvis, written by Elvis, used by Elvis and created to promote the king and his career.
This Elvis auction starts at 7:00 PM CST on August 13, 2015; online bidding is available.
These cool pieces of circus history will be available to purchase at an estate sale in West Allis (part of Milwaukee), Wisconsin. Sale starts Monday, July 27, 2015. My parents, No Egrets Antiques & Estate Sales, are running this sale. More info and photos here and here. If you like circus memorabilia, don’t be a bozo and miss it!
Featured here are a poster from The Great Circus Parade in Milwaukee, 1992; a photo signed by Bozo the clown (to “Joey”), and, the most unique, a check signed by the legendary Emmett Kelly.
The collection was assembled by Jim Tumblin, who spent 22 years working at the Universal Studios hair and make-up department. The collection began in the 1960s, when Tumblin spotted a dress while doing some research at Western Costume.
“I saw this dress on the floor and a docent told me not to bother to pick it up, because they were throwing it away,” he said.
“I asked if he would sell it to me. I had noticed there was a printed label saying Selznick International Pictures and ‘Scarlett production dress’ was written in ink.”
Tumblin got the dress for $20 — and now bidding for the dress worn by Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara will start at $60,000.
The entire collection is estimated to go as high as $1 million.
The auction takes place Saturday, April 18, 2015, in Beverly Hills. Online bidding ends April 17th.
In the early days of motion pictures, movie theaters were experiencing a number of public attacks as to their safely for patrons. Among the numerous concerns regarding the dangers movies and theaters presented to families there were the fears for women, primarily of the white slave trade, and the usual new media concerns of eye strain. Naturally, the movie industry sought to calm the public down, including offering movie-goers premiums, which were primarily targeted at women. They also sought to approve amenities, including the screens that the movies were shown upon. Of course, this lead to fierce competition between companies who sought to capitalize on all the money to be made in the film industry.
Many of these ground-breaking and creative companies did not last long. But even if they dominated the industry for a time, both the companies themselves and the technology they provided remain but a footnote in books on film history. This is why ephemera, particularly advertisements from the period, remain so important.
Testimonials on the back page include The Thomas A. Edison Electrical Establishments, the Nicholas Powers Company, Havana’s “The Fausto”, the United States government, John H. Kunsky of Detroit “who probably controls more high class picture houses than any single man in America or probably in the world” and many others.
In the 1920s, the Glifograph Corporation (located at 280 Broadway, New York City) promoted their Glifograph movie screen with this brochure. Glifograph said their screen “makes every seat a good seat”, with “perfect pictures from any angle” due to “stereoscope view”. Promised “no eye strain — no distortion”.
Also, in the 1930s, there was the “Lustro-Pearl” made by Mandalian Manufacturing Co., of North Attleboro, Mass. If that name sounds at all familiar to you, it’s because Mandalain made those metal mesh purses! Well, at least until the company was bought-out by Whiting & Davis. But just imagine, a film screen made of mesh metal!
The first-ever Auction at Elvis’ Graceland is taking place August 14, at 7:00 p.m. at the Graceland Archive Studio — and online.
While none of the 72 items are from the official Graceland collection (the collection, Graceland Archives, etc. continue to be owned by Lisa Marie Presley and are not for sale), there are some very cool items.
Book lovers as well as Elvis Presley fans will like the library card. This library card from Tupelo has one of the earliest known signatures of Elvis. The signature is so early, that even the Graceland Archives has none pre-dating it — and the auction lot includes a letter from the Graceland Archives stating that the archives has no full Elvis Presley signature pre-dating the one on the library card.
Speaking of kings… This 18-karat gold lion’s head (with two emerald eyes, a ruby mouth, and diamond eyebrows whiskers) was designed specifically for Elvis. It is one of those pendant-brooch jewelry pieces. Elvis wore it as a pendant for his meeting with President Nixon, among other places.
Looking for something bigger? The 1977 burgundy and silver Cadillac Seville V8 automatic being offered was not only the last Cadillac Elvis purchased for his personal use, but the very vehicle driven by Elvis himself on the day prior to his death.
On December 21st, hundreds of movie props spanning the silent era through today’s blockbusters will auctioned off by Profiles in History. And these aren’t random odds and ends left behind on a set; they’re one-of-a-kind pieces of film history that will demand top dollar from collectors.
You may have read the news about the titular movie prop from film noir classic The Maltese Falcon (1941) going up for auction — expected to fetch $1.5 million. The 50 pound falcon statue is valuable not only to those who love film or who are fans of Humphrey Bogart and Mary Astor, but to art lovers as well, for the prop was created by Fred Sexton.
The story of the Maltese Falcon statuette begins the same year the movie was filmed – 1941 – when Huston hired Los Angeles-based artist Fred Sexton to sculpt the prop for his directorial debut. Huston and Sexton were high school classmates and close friends, and the film director collected many of Sexton’s paintings.
In an on-camera interview with Vivian Sobchack in August 2013, Sexton’s daughter, Michele Fortier, discussed her father’s distinctive and familiar signature, and described her childhood experiences amongst Hollywood’s early elite and on movie sets.
Hank Risan owns two authenticated Maltese Falcon statuettes from the 1941 film production that bear Fred Sexton’s distinctive “F.S.” markings and they are widely regarded as two of the most valuable film props in the history of cinema. In 2004, UCLA Professor Richard Walter, a court-approved expert appraiser, supported the high valuations in an eloquent comparison to another highly-prized film prop: one of four pairs of ruby red slippers worn by Judy Garland in the iconic Wizard of Oz, which sold for $666,000 in 2001. “But whatever the slippers’ value,” Professor Walter wrote, “it has to be less than that of the falcons because the slippers are merely one prop, albeit an important one in the movie. The falcons on the other hand are the namesake props that define the picture itself. It is significant in the extreme that in addition to being important props they are also the title of the film.”
“Life imitates art,” stated Mr. Risan. “What’s amazing is that in the film Spade and Gutman discuss the value of the falcon in similar terms. The rara avis has a unique backstory as compelling off-screen as in the film. The black birds are truly objects d’art.”
However, in the auction held today, The Maltese Falcon did not fetch the predicted million dollars or more — in fact, it didn’t sell at all.
The official language for that is “passed” and it happens when the reserve price is not met. While the reserve may have been set too high, this can happen simply because everyone thought everyone else would be bidding and so they assumed they wouldn’t get it. Auctions are rather like elections that way; people stay home thinking everyone else is going to take care of business. But, be it auction or election, those who care ought to show up.
It remains to be seen how long it will take for this Maltese Falcon to show up at auction again.
If you prefer something more intimate, there’s Elvis Presley’s signature on a Humes High School library card from 1948. The card proves then 13-year old boy who would become The King checked out a copy of The Courageous Heart: A Life of Andrew Jackson For Young Readers. The card was discovered years later by a Humes High librarian while clearing some old books from inventory and is offered with the copy of the book along with a COA from Richard Consola. Estimated value is $4,000 — and up.
A 1950s Country & Western band from Harrisville, Rhode Island, named Uncle Jim and the Westones sometimes played gigs at county fairs in Tennessee, appearing on the same bill with a young upstart named Elvis Presley who occasionally sat in with them. After an occasion where Elvis played this very same resonator guitar, he signed it for its owner, Westones leader Jim Riley. The signature is between the slots on the headstock of this beautiful, original instrument. Presley apparently used a blue ballpoint pen and he pressed down hard enough to break though the varnish and leave a deep, permanent impression into the wood. Careful viewing shows much of the blue ink remaining.
Two pages, mimeographed copies of the original typed document, dated “March 5, 1956,” outlining the agreement Hal B. Wallis and Joseph H. Hazen of Paramount Studios made with the then 21 year old Presley as he was embarking on his film career; eleven ‘boiler plate’ points are listed, including salary [“First yearly period $15,000 / Second yearly period $25,000,” etc.], transportation [“You agree to furnish me with round-trip first class transportation to Hollywood and to allow me $50.00 a day expenses…”], and other like terms; signed on the second page in blue ballpoint ink “Elvis Presley” and in blue and black fountain pen ink by the two producers; this document was likely a file copy as it’s mimeographed, though all signatures are actual ink on paper. 11″ x 8.5″. COA from Rich Consola. Estimate: $8,000 – up.
Among the personal and professional items from the actor, there are many documents, including Rock Hudson’s birth certificate:
State of Illinois certificate of registration of birth for Roy Harold Scherer, Jr. born November 17, 1925 in Winnetka, county of Cook in the state of Illinois. The certificate was issued in 1926 and lists the surname of Hudson’s biological father who later abandoned the family during the Great Depression.
For me, the item that most catches my fancy is the red silk-lined, black wool opera cape with black velvet collar which was worn by Hudson in performances at his home theater.
If you are unable to attend the Bonham’s auction, you can register as an absentee bidder.
Items belonging to Flaherty which do not sell at auction will be placed for sale back on his website.
Upon Lincoln’s death, apparently a number of locks of the President’s hair were removed as mourning keepsakes. This lock of Lincoln’s hair is approximate 3″ long and ranges in width from 1/2 to 1/8 inches. A small black bow has been added and the spine of the embossed leather case has been repaired with black tape. There’s “impressive” provenance for this historical auction offering as well. Heritage Auction’s estimate is $8,000 – $12,000.
The Americana Signature Auction will be held on May 12, 2012, in Dallas; absentee bidding ends May 11, 2012 at 10:00 PM CT.
Among the over 800 items of Hollywood memorabilia and historic Americana, the Houston tems up for sale include a pair of earrings and a brown satin vest worn by Whitney in The Bodyguard (1992) as well as a black velvet dress owned by the legendary performer.
Celebrity auctioneer Darren Julien said Sunday the pieces and other Houston items became available after the singer’s unexpected death on Feb. 11 and will be included among a long-planned sale of Hollywood memorabilia such as Charlie Chaplin’s cane, Clark Gable’s jacket from “Gone With the Wind” and Charlton Heston’s staff from “The Ten Commandments.”
Julien said celebrity collectibles often become available after their namesakes die.
“It proves a point that these items, they’re an investment,” Julien said. “You buy items just like a stock. Buy at the right time and sell at the right time, and they just increase in value.”
But could it be too soon to profit from Houston’s passing? She was just buried on Saturday.
“It’s a celebration of her life,” Julien said. “If you hide these things in fear that you’re going to offend someone — her life is to be celebrated. These items are historic now that she passed. They become a part of history. They should be in museums. She’s lived a life and had a career that nobody else has ever had.”
Houston is “someone who’s going to maintain a collectability,” he said. “For people who are fans of Whitney Houston and never would have had a chance to meet her and never got to talk to her, these are items that literally touched a part of her life. They are a way to relate to her or be a part of her life without having known her.”
Accumulating these coveted treasures is often a twofold endeavor; obtaining tangible nostalgia and making a sound investment choice. Acquiring such a collection gives buyers the opportunity to gain intimacy with fond memories anchored in the property. The other reason is based on the steadily increasing prices, which has been recently noted as a solid asset for Wall Street investment bankers and executives around the globe.
If there is any such thing as a cultural rule about the length of time which ought to pass before we profit by selling off items connected to a recently deceased celebrity, it is far less a matter of morbidity and more a matter of our capitalistic nature. The market dictates that we bid as high as our emotions run; and emotions run pretty high when there’s a death.
As my friend and fellow columnist at Collectors Questsaid upon the passing of Michael Jackson, “One’s fame is directly proportional to how fast people will learn the intimate details of your life, or death, as the case may be… Where celebrity meets mortality, there is eBay.”
Celebrities thrive by this very rule — they use our emotions to sell us less than proper things while alive, such as Michael Jackson “Thriller” panties. So why wouldn’t we buy-buy-buy when they die?
Etiquette rarely, if ever, applies to celebrity.
And how can Perez, of all people, complain about this when he’s “beyond tacky” and a “bloodthirsty” parasite living off celebrities himself?
I’m not sure there’s anything inherently wrong with buying Whitney Houston’s movie-worn clothing weeks after her death than there is buying Clark Gable’s jacket from Gone With the Wind decades later. Do you?
The first scene filmed for Gone With The Wind (1939) was the burning of the Atlanta Depot. And it remains some of the most iconic film images of all time.
Shot on December 10, 1938, using some nine cameras — including all seven of Hollywood’s then-existing Technicolor cameras, the 40 acre set was actually many old MGM sets that needed to be cleared from the studio backlot. Flames 500 feet high leaped from old sets, including the “Great Skull Island Wall” set from King Kong. The fire was so intense, Culver City residents, thinking MGM was burning down, jammed the telephones lines with their frantic calls. Ten pieces of fire equipment from the Los Angeles Fire Department, 50 studio firemen, and 200 other studio help stood by throughout the filming; three 5,000-gallon water tanks were used to put out the flames after shooting. This and other costs put the bill for this famous film fire at over $25,000 for a yield of 113 minutes of footage (some of which was later used in other films; for more on this and the special effects in Gone With The Wind, see Matte Shot).
Now it seems fire plays another role in Gone With The Wind; on February 10, 2012, a fire spread through Hudson Self-Storage in Stockbridge, Georgia. Though firefighters extinguished the fire, all 400 storage units and their contents were damaged, sustaining some degree of fire, smoke, or water damage. Among the storage units, was one leased by the Road to Tara Museum, containing rare memorabilia from Gone With The Wind.
While many items remain safe in the museum, such as the priceless signed first editions of the movie script, Frenda Turner of the Road to Tara Museum fears much of the $300,000 collection in storage was lost. Turner said that among the items not currently on display at the Jonesboro museum and stored in the unit included the large oval paintings of Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh seen hanging prominently from the front of the Loew’s Grand Theatre during the movie premier — Loew’s itself caught fire on January 30, 1978, the damage led to the demolition of the historic venue.
Along with being signed by the author no less than three times, this screenplay has a well documented history (primarily) in Rice’s newsletter, Commotion Strange, regarding the arduous process of getting the film underway — even though it had been optioned by producer David Geffen. A brief synopsis of the grief is given here by Rice herself, but the details are so complicated and frustrating, that it prompted Heritage Auctions cataloger Paula Bosse (who researched well) to say, “If ANNE RICE — one of the most popular novelists of our time — has this much trouble finding a home for her baby, how much more difficult is it for an unknown to get a project produced and released?”
Normally Inherited Values is all about antiques and vintage collectibles, but when I met Anne Olivares & Ashley Lampton, dedicated collectors of all things Drew Barrymore and curators of the The Drewseum, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at relatively modern collecting in comparison to vintage movie star memorabilia.
Hello, ladies, when did you begin collecting all things Drew?
Coincidentally, we each first became fans of Drew around the same time, in 1998. By early 1999, we’d both started collecting magazines featuring her, and our collections quickly branched out to cover all facets of memorabilia.
Did you know each other when you began collecting, or meet because of your collecting?
We met online in 1999 through Drew fansites and quickly formed a friendship. We only lived a few hours from each other at that time, so we met up many times. Later we ended up living even closer to each other, so we were able to hang out frequently and do many Drew-related things together. We started working on our website to showcase what we consider our combined collection in 2005.
How many items are in your Drew Barrymore collection? Across what categories?
It would be near impossible to count the number of items in our combined collections, but we estimate it somewhere in the thousands. Not everything is displayed on The Drewseum quite yet as it’s a constant work in progress.
On the site, we have our collection broken out into 10 main categories, including photos, movie memorabilia, books, magazines, apparel and more. There’s a large section for miscellaneous items as well since over the years we’ve acquired items that don’t fit into a specific category.
Drew Barrymore is part of a family with a great acting and film history; do you collect memorabilia from anyone else in her family?
We do have a small collection of items relating to the Barrymore family. We don’t actively seek them out, but if we come across something special, we jump on it. We’ve also bought vintage Barrymore pieces as gifts for Drew in the past knowing she’d have a deeper appreciation for them.
Gifts for Drew?! Have you actually sent things to her — has she or her staff ever acknowledged them?
For several years for her birthday, we’ve had a tradition of putting together picture frames with prints of Drew’s family as gifts for her – some reprints, some originals. Usually, we’ve either dropped them off with her staff or mailed them in to her production company. This year we got the chance to hand-deliver it to her personally, which was really exciting for us and she was unbelievably appreciative of the gifts. The whole story can be found on our site.
That’s amazing! And truly something that collectors of say, silent film stars can’t even dream of — without a time machine. *wink*
What are your collecting standards?
We consider ourselves somewhat frugal in our collecting. Unless something is truly exceptional, we generally hold off spending too much money and are often rewarded by later coming across it at a more affordable price.
When we first started collecting, we didn’t take great care of our items and often bought things like bad copies of photos without realizing it. We keep these damaged or poor quality pieces in our collection, but these days shop with a much more discerning eye.
I’m glad you mentioned conditions; what painful lessons have you learned from collecting?
Don’t use sticky photo albums or glue anything down in a way that is permanent.
Don’t try to use undersized page protectors for oversized pages.
Sadly our items have incurred a lot of damage in years past due to these poor practices.
How do you store your Drew Barrymore collectibles and movie memorabilia? What’s one tool, organizer, etc. that you cannot imagine being without as a collector?
We both have slightly different storage ideas, but we’ve also learned a lot from each other over the years. (Anne keeps a lot of her magazines with cover features intact while Ashley usually keeps only the relevant Drew pages.) We store any non-flat movie memorabilia in storage bins, a lot of which can’t be displayed due to lack of space.
The most vital tools for us are binders with appropriately sized page protectors as magazine articles, clippings, photographs, movie ads, etc probably occupy at least 75% of our collections.
I can’t bear the idea of cutting up magazines and newspapers, vintage or not — however, I do love finding the clippings and scrapbooks others have made and saved. What are your thoughts on clippings?
We’ve become quite used to cutting apart paper items over the years. In fact, our collection of clippings is so vast that we don’t really know if we’ll ever catch up on properly organizing and displaying the items in binders. We came across a collector who kept magazines together even if they just had 1 small clipping of Drew inside and that’s something we could never see ourselves doing. The space taken up by 1 entire magazine versus 1 clipping page or partial page is too big in the long run. Our main reasoning for making clippings is for easy access and display, at least once they’re in binders.
Those of us who collect vintage movie memorabilia know how hard it is to find certain items; paper and other little things were tossed out over the years. How does that affect how you shape your collections, what items you focus on?
We are definitely more attracted to items that relate to Drew’s early career and teenage years as we know they’re constantly becoming more difficult to come across.
We cringe at the thought of our most sought-after items having been printed in mass production at one point and now feel impossible to find.
On the other hand, we often don’t feel as excited about the newly released pieces until years later for the same reasons. For example, we’re attracted to items such as newspapers that are only on stands for a day, later making them so difficult to find. As with any collection, the rarer the item, the more desirable it becomes.
What items do you think collectors of contemporary film stars or celebrities make the mistake of overlooking?
It’s possible that collectors of contemporary stars make a lot of the mistakes we made at first, including attaching collected magazine pages to the walls of our bedrooms as teenagers.
One of the most amazing things we’ve found over the years is that foreign magazines often print outtakes from common photo shoots, usually years after they were taken in the states, so collectors should always be on the lookout for those.
How has running the Drewseum affected your collection, your collecting habits?
Since we started The Drewseum, we’ve had a quite a few of our fellow fans decide to stop collecting and either donate or sell their collections to us. We’ve had many people tell us that after seeing our site, they felt their Drew items really belonged with us. It’s sort of a strange phenomenon that we constantly joke about, as the pool of major collectors has dwindled quite a bit.
Also because we’re eager to display our items on the site for our visitors to see, we are more encouraged to stay on top of the collecting game and seek out the best items. It’s also interesting to see the difference in credibility we have with the contacts we make because they can go to the site and see how serious our collecting is.
Being that your collaborate on the Drewseum, yet you are still individual collectors, have you ever found yourselves competing for items? If so, do you have any rules — or is it still just a matter of whoever has the deepest pockets wins?
Although there have been situations where one of us may have the money for something that the other doesn’t, we’ve never had a hard time being fair when it comes to splitting up or deciding who will take the offer on amazing deals. People might be surprised as to how easy it is for us to decide who gets what, but it’s based on how well we know each other’s interests. Also, it helps that we always remind each other that the collections are shared and that when one of us has it, both of us do. The concept still makes sense for us despite the fact that 90% of our collections are clones of each other.
What I enjoy most about individual collections is, well, the individuality! In this case, your collecting is relatively contemporary, preserving what will be the history of an icon for future generations — but from the fan point of view, not some “corporate preservation.” What are some of the most prized items in your collection? What makes them so key to the collection as a whole?
Some of the most prized items in our collection are costumes and props from Drew’s films. We have some rare magazine items that we’ve only come across a handful of times on eBay and from other collectors over the years. We have a massive collection of original photos that are very near & dear to our hearts, many of which are extremely rare.
We also treasure our stationary & Christmas cards from Drew’s production company Flower Films.
There is a scarce catalog from Drew’s 1993 campaign with Guess that we both tried to obtain for years and luckily we now each own a copy; we’ve seen it sell for upwards of $800 as it’s somewhat of a “holy grail” for Drew collectors.
What remains the most elusive item that you’ve yet to acquire for the Drewseum?
We’ve been lucky enough to acquire most of the items we’ve sought after, even if it’s taken years of a searching. We are always on the look out for rare photos or items she’s personally used, like movie costumes. There are still a few elusive magazines and ads from her modeling campaigns we’re hoping to track down. Although we already own a handful of autographed items and they aren’t really a priority to us, it would be really special to have something signed that was made out to “The Drewseum”.
I’ve no doubt that day will come!
I’d like to thank both Anne and Ashley for sharing their collection of Drew Barrymore items and movie memorabilia — and I wish them many more fun years of collecting!
The headboard appears to be hand painted or, if fabric, embroidered with the titles of her husband’s books. What a lovely idea! …If not your book titles, why not the names of your children, special dates, etc.?
EBay’s Comic Book Superhero Auction Event event, timed to run alongside the box office premiere of Iron Man 2 starring Robert Downey Jr., runs through Sunday May 9th, 2010.
During this event several rare and collectible comic related items — many never before offered for sale on eBay — will be featured. Along with vintage comic books (single issues and complete runs), the auctions include original art, signed prints, memorabilia, and specially designed artwork such as an Iron Man drawing rendered specifically for this promotional eBay event by comics artist Joe Linsner.
Bidding starts at $0.99 for most items; for items valued over $1,000, the bidding starts at $99.99. All items are available as auctions with free shipping and no reserve.
We purchased a lot of ephemera from a dealer going out of business — and when I say “a lot,” I mean “a lot of boxes.” So many that we almost couldn’t fit boxes and the one slender child we had with us that day into the van. While we did manage to get all that belonged to us home, it took some time to be able to inspect each piece — and the investigation of each may never ever be completed because I love to research everything.
In fact, that’s part of my problem. I’m supposed to find something from these boxes to sell — to recoup some money, feed the kids, whatever. But I keep falling in love with things. Things I didn’t know existed. Things I don’t even know about enough to love them. But in the researching of them, I become utterly smitten.
Like this 8 x 6 3/4 inch piece of now quite tanned brittle paper. It charmed me with its illustration of a man playing piano — with a photo of a man’s head pasted in place (all printed in blue ink). The signature seemed authentic; the ink not mechanically reproduced but signed with a personalized “To Wayne.” But I wasn’t sure of the name, let alone if the guy was of any importance.
I quickly discovered this comical piece depicts and is signed by Vincent Lopez, one of America’s most popular bandleaders for decades.
In 1917, at the age of 19, Lopez was already leading his own dance band in New York City. In 1921 he began to leverage the power of the new medium, radio, into popularity — and he, in turn, helped create the popularity of radio.
He began his band’s weekly 90-minute radio show on Newark, NJ station WJZ by announcing, “Lopez speaking!” (The station and Lopez would become fixtures in the NBC family.) The show theme song was Felix Arndt’s novelty ragtime piece Nola, causing Lopez to became so identified with the song that he’d satirized it in his 1939 Vitaphone short, Vincent Lopez and his Orchestra, by having the entire band singing Down with Nola.
(Sadly, attempts to find a clip of this performance only resulted in “removed” notices at YouTube.)
In 1925, Lopez gave the first-ever Symphonic Jazz concert at the Metropolitan Opera House; later that same year, he took his orchestra to London and met with great success.
Comparable to Paul Whiteman, the “King of Jazz,” Lopez became one of the most popular musicians leading Big Band, dance bands, and/or jazz bands. Charles Hamm calls them “white ‘jazz’ bands,” saying they were of the Tin Pan Alley style of jazz as opposed to the “authentic” black jazz of the time. (In his book, Putting Popular Music in Its Place, Hamm notes that even performers like Josephine Baker had their music “mediated for consumption by white European audiences.”)
Many famous and still recognizable musicians passed through Vincent Lopez’s band, including Artie Shaw, Xavier Cugat, Jimmy Dorsey, Tommy Dorsey, and Glenn Miller.
Lopez is also credited with giving Betty Hutton her first big break, resulting in both being showcased in two Warner Brothers’ Vitaphone shorts. Shot in New York in 1939, the following video clip of the afore mentioned Vitaphone performance features 18-year old Betty Hutton performing a fantastic (classic Betty Hutton!) jitterbug to Vincent Lopez & His Orchestra’s rendition of Old Man Mose.
In 1941, Lopez and his band took what was supposed to be a sort engagement at the Hotel Taft Grill Room — where they remained for 20 years. And in 1949, The Vincent Lopez Orchestra and the Martin Sisters recorded a song called Potato Chips, which played on air along such songs as Rum and Coca Cola and The Popcorn Polka. What’s not to love about that? Other than not being able to find a copy of Potato Chips, I mean.
Lopez’s popularity meant he was widely interviewed as an authority on jazz. To this day, he remains quoted in several works discussing both the origins of the word “jazz” (proffering a story that, in essence, “jazz” came from the name of a musician named Charles, shortened to “Chaz”) as well as, in 1924, it’s definition as “contrary to music.”
Sadly, these footnotes, his recordings (including a few CDs and Mp3s), appearances in advertisements, and a few other collectibles like my autographed bit of ephemera are about all that’s left to prove the former popularity of Vincent Lopez.
But it’s time to get back to the drawing board — back to my vintage drawing of Lopez.
There are no markings to identify the illustrator or to indicate the paper’s purpose, so I’m left to conclude this was a promotional piece printed by Lopez — possibly for the purpose of providing autographs. I believe it dates to the late 1920s or early 1930’s, based on the simple caricature style of the illustration (quite popular in the 20’s — in fact, Cugat and Enrico Caruso both drew caricatures) and the youthful photographic image of Lopez.
Will I be selling it? Mmm, probably not. I don’t think I’m done investigating Vincent Lopez yet. (Stay tuned!)
PS You can keep on eye on my eBay listings to see if and when hubby twists my arm enough to make me selling it.
The scan of autographed Vincent Lopez promotional vintage ephemera piece, circa late 1920s or early 1930’s, is my own.
This packet of Jack Frost Tablet Sugar not only features the famous sports figure (and his “Best Wishes”) but it’s from his restaurant, Jack Dempsey’s Restaurant Bar & Cocktail Lounge located on 49th & Broadway in New York City (there were apparently several locations). So this particular item contains more cross-collectible appeal (vintage advertising, ephemera, restaurant items, and sports collectors as well as fans of Dempsey) than there are calories in the sugar — not that you should even think of tasting what is probably at least 60 year old sugar.
The item was found at, and the image credits belong to, noegretsantiques. (And, in the interest of full disclosure, No Egrets Antiques are my parents!)
Mary Ann Cade doesn’t only preserve silent film history, she also collects movie and television props: “It is fun to watch the program and see if you can see the item worn on the show by an actor or actress or see the piece as part of the set decoration. It also makes one pay attention to other things going on during a particular scene instead of just the actors. The fact that a famous person or someone I admire or respect held that piece, touched that piece, is also quite exciting.”
Among her recent acquisitions, glamorous jewelry from one of my favorite films, Holiday Inn (1942). (I’ve always preferred it to White Christmas (1954), which was really just a remake — or at least a cannibalized movie “update” that’s not as good as the original.) Here are the brooch and earrings from the classic film that Cade now owns:
As the collector herself point out, “The neat thing about jewelry or wardrobe is that one can wear it too instead of it sitting on a shelf collecting dust and taking up space.”