Thursday, October 28, 2010

Trent at the Haunted Mansion



Monolithic Studio's head, Reuben Lilienthal, was close friends with Walt Disney. Both of them enjoyed the publicity machine and making the most of it. When Walt and his team began the design of his Haunted Mansion at Disneyland in 1961, he contacted Reuben about the possibility of reuniting Trent, Madra, and Gene for this attraction in some capacity. Reuben was more than pleased at the idea of getting his three favorite stars of yesteryear together again.

Flash forward to 1966; the construction of the exterior had been finished for 3 years, but the attraction itself was still in a state of turmoil. A sign outside of the Mansion gave a tantalizing glimpse of what was to come, but guests had to patiently wait to get inside for another few years. To keep the momentum going, Walt decided to stage some publicity shots to continue to whet the appetites of the curious public. By this time, Reuben had already passed away, but Trent, Madra, and Gene were still excited about the possibility of working with Walt.

Here are a few of the rare shots from that day. Trent played host:



Madra was filmed and used as the projection head for Madame Leota:



And Gene dressed up as the ghastly bride in the attic who was jilted by her fiance at the altar:



Sadly, it wasn’t long after these photos were shot that Walt passed away. It would be another 3 years before the Mansion would open, and the Disney Imagineers felt that the Monolithic Trio were no longer relevant to the current generation. So...these photos have sat in the dusty files of the archives until they were recently discovered. Hope you enjoy!

MANY thanks to Alana Bennett for doing an incredible job of recreating the Disneyland Haunted Mansion cast member outfit for Trent to model!

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Madra: Anything for Publicity



In this vintage 1951 photo from Union Station in Los Angeles, Madra Lord literally stops traffic by parading around in her lingerie. The things people will do for publicity!

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Gene: Starlight Canteen



For today’s post, Gene models “Starlight Canteen,” one of the beautiful dresses she wore to the Hollywood Canteen during World War II. Designed by Jim Howard, you can bet her dance card was full the evening she wore this beautiful blue gown. Here’s a little history about The Hollywood Canteen from the story card:

During World War II, the stars of Hollywood and Broadway banded together to make things a little easier for service men and women going off to fight by providing laughter, refreshment, entertainment, and compassion at Canteens on both coasts. In California, The Hollywood Canteen (founded by Bette Davis and John Garfield, among others), sometimes entertained as many as 10,000 guests a night. Free of charge, some of the biggest names in the Industry danced, poured coffee, chatted, told jokes—and did their best to give the fighting forces a proper send off.



In these rare vintage photos, you can see Gene heading towards the Canteen, with the NBC & CBS studios behind her.



This service man is so overcome with the amazement of seeing Gene blow him a kiss that he can barely contain himself!



Later, Gene recreated that moment in a photo studio for the possibility of a pinup poster:



Two views of The Hollywood Canteen; in the first, Gene attempts to get a camera-shy soldier to pose for the photographer:





Gene rests between dances:



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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Franklin Mint: Scarlett Final Farewell



The Franklin Mint has posted a new listing on their website for a Scarlett (mispelled "Scarlette") O'Hara doll titled “Final Farewell." The costume is the one Vivien Leigh wore towards the end of the film when Melanie is dying and when Rhett tells her, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.” Yup, it's a pivotal costume! While we are on typos, did anyone else also notice that this is a limited edition of "1,00"? I am sure they meant to put 1,000. Someone must have been in a friggin' hurry to post this doll.

Previously released by Tonner in purple (huh?), this one looks like it could be the best one so far. Whether Walter Plunkett designed it in purple or not, the one in the film looks like black. Remember, she is about to go into mourning, folks!

The picture posted on the FM site is not very clear; the description tells of the trapunto stitching in the collar, but since it is hard to see in the photo, many have already dismissed this costume as a bad copy lacking details. Another plus is the fantastic cameo, which is a beautifully detailed replica of the one worn in the film. Franklin Mint usually blows it out of the ballpark with their jewelry replicas for Scarlett. I'll admit the hairdo looks a little sketchy, but I am hoping it is just the result of the bad photo. I actually emailed the Franklin Mint about more photos, and here is their response (which arrived very quickly!):

Dear Dave,

Thank you for your email.

Please be advised that the image of the Scarlett O'Hara Final Farewell
Vinyl Portrait Doll that is located online is the only picture that is
currently available for this item. We are sorry to disappoint you in
this matter.

Sincerely,

Elizabeth Jennings
Client Service and Satisfaction Representative


I’ll probably still get it—crappy photo and all.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Gene wears Adrian: A Woman of Means



Barely remembered today, the 1934 MGM movie “Chained” starred Joan Crawford and provided her with a fantastic opportunity to wear a few gorgeous Art Deco creations by designer supreme, Adrian. Crawford plays Diane Lovering, the mistress of Richard Field, a prominent Manhattan businessman.



Though she really isn't in love with Field, she feels obligated to marry him when he divorces his wife. By the time the divorce is final, Diane has fallen for wealthy South American rancher Mike Bradley (Clark Gable). Out of loyalty to Field, she cuts off her relationship with Mike. Naturally, the plot resolves with a happy ending for Mike & Diane.



Gene Marshall is modeling the same Adrian creation, thanks to Sandra Stillwell, who worked with Adrian’s son and in partnership with Joan Greene & Lam/Greene design studios. Sandra plans to have future designs available. If interested, you can email her with your inquiry. It is a sumptous set with intricate details. One note to prospective collectors: I switched out the shoes for this photo shoot, as I preferred this set of pumps to the open-toed shoes that come with it.











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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Gene in Black



Just a little black dress and fur wrap that I couldn’t resist. The bonus cocktail fits in perfectly, too. Gene is ready to join the cast of Mad Men.



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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Triumph Gene



It’s funny what will change my mind about a particular doll or outfit. I wasn’t crazy about the final Convention Triumph outfit; I was even less crazy about the doll. However, I remember reading on one blog or board about how the Triumph outfit coordinated perfectly with Dreamy Trent’s tie. Sigh...

At least I didn’t change my mind about the doll. I felt that her facial paint (especially the eyebrows) was just too severe and bitchy looking for the character of Gene Marshall. So instead, I used a Gene that I already had to model this concoction of hot pink. Hairdo by Kathy of Oregon (she does great work; you can email her at sewkj@pcez.com).



Excerpt from “Gene Marshall: May The Love Never End,” by Mel Odom:

The headline had been simple but effective “Triumph.” Beneath the heading was an enormous photo of Gene Marshall, wearing the kind of gown that beautiful women wear to accept accolades in, looking radiant. The night before Gene had been honored with the top award her industry could bestow on her. Her performance in “Blue Avenue” had to be one of the most universally praised performances of the year. In a difficult and potentially unsympathetic role, Gene had impressed critics with a subtle and moving portrayal. A new sophistication was noted in her screen persona, as well perhaps as a sense of a private life perhaps spilling over into an artistic one. The long unmarried actress gave the role of an adulterous client in love with her divorce lawyer a grace and sympathy that lead many a movie-goer to wonder where the acting ended and the actress began.

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