Monday, August 30, 2010

Gene Marshall: Manhattan Holiday



From the Gene Marshall Fall 2006 Fashion Line comes Manhattan Holiday. For hair and facial paint, this is one of my favorite Integrity Genes. This special FAO Schwartz limited edition of 300 is a…

knock-your-heels-off-gorgeous cocktail dress of “tortured black taffeta,” with an elaborate side pouf and floor-length sash. The sweetheart neckline blouse is topped by a short, fire engine red jacket with mandarin collar, beaded in black and tapered to vest points. Gene’s shoes are sleek black pumps with red corded soles, polished to a high sheen.

Tortured taffeta? What the heck is that? I have no idea, but it’s a beautiful outfit! Photo #1 finds Gene appropriately posed in Central Park.











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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Blush Gene: A new hairdo and a Tonner outfit



With both the Ashton Drake Simply Genes and the Integrity Essentially Genes, these dolls are created with the intention that their hair could be styled by the owners. Essentially Blush Gene came with dark raven hair, woven together in a long braid. Since styling hair is not one of my talents, I enlisted the help of Kathy. In case you haven’t seen the intricate dioramas that she has created as well as the miniature hair salon photos that she has posted, well...get your butt over to this url: http://www.picturetrail.com/dolllover1

In the first few photos here (taken by Kathy herself), you can see Gene’s visit to the salon as she was transformed from plain braids to a va-va-voom 1960’s up-do! I couldn’t have been more pleased with Kathy’s skill at styling.





Here’s Gene wearing a Robert Tonner outfit called Jonquil Sass, designed for the Monica Merrill line.







As with my other Tonner outfits, I do love the concept and design, but as for the actual fit and craftsmanship, it doesn’t hold a candle to Ashton-Drake or Integrity.

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Zita Charles: Variations of an outfit



With my personality type, I have a tendency to want to attain perfection and make the dolls match the publicity photos EXACTLY. However, in an attempt to be a little more creative and produce something a little more unique, I have taken Zita’s “Wrap Party” outfit and tried a few different variations with the waist wrap. Here are the results.











I feel like this ability to actually play and create with Gene and her friends was another of the reasons that these dolls have created such a following. Mel Odom...what a genius!

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Gene, Marilyn, and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes



Time for another “unknown” story about Gene Marshall in Hollywood. It was late 1952, and Gene was getting ready to enjoy a day off. She had slept in and was looking forward to a leisurely day at home by the pool, enjoying a little sunshine and curling up with the wildly popular book “Giant” by Edna Ferber; Gene was probably the only person in Hollywood who hadn’t read it yet! Jane Russell interupted all that when she called Gene in a panic.

“Gene, I really hate to ask you, but boy do I need a favor!” said the famously curvy brunette. “We’re supposed to do a run-through of the musical number today and I can’t be there. Bob & I are trying to adopt a little boy and we have to meet with the attorneys today. Marilyn is so scared about doing a dance number and I just know she’ll panic without me there to help her. Could you go there and do the rehearsal with her? The number is a breeze but that poor girl has no confidence, and Darryl will kill me if production gets held up even by one day.”

Gene knew well of Darryl F. Zanuck, famous producer at 20th Century Fox, and sympathized with Jane’s plight.

“Oh Jane, I would be happy to help! Don’t you worry about a thing, I’m on the way right now. And congrats on the new baby; I had no idea you were adopting another child! I think that is so wonderful!”

“Thanks Gene—I owe you one! I’ll call Marilyn and let her know that you’ll be there to help.”

Gene got out of her swimsuit, quickly put on a casual outfit and scarf, and she was on her way to the soundstages of 20th Century Fox. She’d heard quite a bit about Fox's blonde sensation, Marilyn Monroe, but had never met her before. Although she wanted to help her dear friend Jane, curiosity was a good motivator as she was anxious to see in person what all of the ruckus was about when it came to the young starlet.



The crew was appreciative of Gene helping to keep the film production going, and naturally they were all gaga to see the famous Monolithic Studios star in person. For Gene though, the experience started out with a less than stellar beginning. Her outfit was gorgeous: a skin-tight sparkly red dress and a huge feathered contraption for her head. On Jane Russell, the dress was a sensation; on the much smaller-framed Gene Marshall, the extra fabric made Gene look like a scarecrow. “Oh well...it’s not about me, and it’s not like anyone is going to see me in this dress anyway!” she said to herself as the wardrobe girl attempted to pin the dress for Gene.

Choreographer Jack Cole did a quick run-through of the number (“Two Little Girls from Little Rock”) for Gene, and naturally, she soaked up the steps like a sponge. This was an important song and dance number, as this is what audiences would first see when the movie began. Both Marilyn & Jane would be dressed in identical outfits, singing a song that let the audience know that they were two showgirls who’d had a rough time with men, but were able to use their "charms” to get a dinner and a bauble or two out of the deal.



Gene and Marilyn hit it off immediately; poor Marilyn was so nervous and sweating as if it were a hot day in Louisiana! Gene quickly put her at ease and gave her some tips on how to make the simple dance number look effortless.











Marilyn never forgot Gene’s generosity that day, nor did Jane Russell. But that’s just the kind of girl Gene Marshall was.

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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Restoring a repaint



I am the type of person that when I see something, I know immediately whether I want to buy it or not. In this case, it was love at first sight...with the exception that this doll had been repainted. I’m okay with the whole repaint thing, but personally I like Gene just the way she is. Let me repeat: it's just a personal preference and I am not criticizing those who repaint. There are MANY talented artists out there who do a fantastic job with their repaints, making them resemble movie stars or making them entirely new and fascinating characters. Regardless...I love Gene just the way she is. Had it not been for the way cool hairdo (yup, I’m a sucker for a well-done up-do), I would have just sold the doll and kept the outfit. Instead, I decided to try my hand at a "restoration."

The head appeared to be an original Ashton Drake, but the body was the articulated Integrity version. I decided to go back to an original Ashton-Drake face paint as well. This was the first time I really paid attention to the original face paints and learned that there are many tiny differences in color, shape, and location of the paint. Finally, I just dove in. The only thing missing now is a pair of lashes; Antina’s is out of black. Anyone know a good source for a pair of Gene-sized lashes in black?



Here’s a shot of the entire doll, showing all of her accessories as well:







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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Zita Charles: City Sleeker



Zita Charles joins the rest of the Monolithic Pictures crew today, wearing “City Sleeker.” From the official Gene Marshall website, here is Zita’s story:

As a major star of the late silent era, Zita Louise (as she was then called) was the epitome of the Jazz Age glamour. Known as the "Too Much Girl", Zita forged a reputation as a party girl and was a favorite of the Hollywood gossip columns. Counts and "princes" seemed always to be proposing to her in front of a fountain while the cameras were rolling. Everyone and anyone just wanted to be with Zita Charles! With her vampish look, sassy style and elegant vintage inspired gowns.



With her streak of white hair, Zita looks like a distant cousin to Elsa Lanchester in “The Bride of Frankenstein.” This is definitely my fave Zita doll, and since I am attempting to limit myself to one doll for Zita, this is the one I chose.



My one gripe on this one is the jewelry; dang does it seem cheap. The bracelet broke as soon as I got it; beads everywhere. I had to buy some extra matching ones and then get out the needle and thread to put it back together. The necklace also looks like a cheap tangled mess, and is not easy to handle. On the plus side: love the outfit, love the hairdo, and I also like Zita. Therefore, it all balances out!

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Gene: Blonde Bombshell Pinup



Thanks to a wardrobe malfunction in the Essentially Rouge lingerie, Gene Marshall (sporting a blonde Harlow wig) looks uncharacteristically sexy!







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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Violet Waters: Autumn Lace



It’s been way too long since Violet got a chance in the spotlight, so here is the Autumn Lace doll from 2002, released by Ashton-Drake.



According to the story card, Violet wore this outfit to her niece’s wedding. I’m sure she was a hit!



Autumn Lace was a limited edition of 3,000.



This last photo was my favorite of the shoot. I have to admit, it would have been nice for this doll to have more articulation!



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