Monday, November 30, 2009

Gene: Best Bet

Another case of once I saw this one, I really wanted to have it. Cool vintage outfit, nifty necklace, and the rare raven-black hair color on Gene. You’ll see this doll modeling some other fashions at another point I am sure. But back to this circa 1955 outfit designed by Sylvia Gallen! I shot Gene the other night and decided to meld her with a vintage slide from my collection that features the Pantages Theater in Hollywood (the movie on the marquee behind Gene is Elizabeth Taylor’s “Cleopatra”). Amazingly enough, The Frolic Room is still there today:

From the story card:

The Monte Carlo Ball was in full swing—but all bets were off when Gene came through the door!

The Monte Carlo Ball was held once a year for charity, raising thousands of dollars for good causes by holding a night of “gambling” in a Hollywood-ized “casino.” People came from all over to share the fun as famous stars doubled as blackjack delaers, croupiers, cocktail waitresses and waiters—and the inevitable “bouncer” (usually played by a star popular for his meek roles).

This year, Gene had been chosen to be one of the croupiers at the roulette table—a fact that had been utmost in her mind as she chose her gown for the gala occasion.

I’d say her choice was impeccable. What do you think?

To see more Hollywood photos, visit my regular website.

To see my Gene Marshall photos, visit my regular website.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Scarlett Goes to Bonaventure

Today marks the introduction of another character to my Gene Marshall blog: Scarlett O’Hara from "Gone with the Wind," as portrayed by Vivien Leigh. This is the Tonner version of the scene where Scarlett and Ashley Wilkes are caught in an innocent embrace by two of the local magpies. Called “Don’t Look Back,” it is definitely one of my favorite costumes from the film.

I have decided to place Scarlett in Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia. I have melded two of my photographs to make a portrait of one of my favorite movie characters. Hope you enjoy.

To see more Savannah, Georgia photos, visit my regular website.

To see my Gone with the Wind doll photos, visit my regular website.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Trent Osborn: Formal Introduction

I thought it was time to introduce Gene’s co-star, Trent Osborn. He is the perfect melding of Clark Gable, Errol Flynn, and Gary Cooper, with the stylized Art Deco touch that Mel Odom has bestowed upon him. Today’s photo is of Trent in his Formal Introduction costume (designed by Lynne Day), blended with a few photos that I took at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood. He fits in rather well, don’t you think? From the story card:

Oh, the tales these tails could tell…

I’ve worn these duds to many a fancy Hollywood bash. Grand premieres of films that I was in—and quite a few that I wasn’t. Broadway openings. Even to a couple of my weddings…

Sometimes I imagine I can still smell the perfumes of the various and sundry beauties that I’ve squired while wearing these tails. Mary, Madra, Greta, Gene, Veronica—even ZaSu. Faint whiffs of loveliness that spark memories of happy times (and an occasional slap or two—well deserved, I might add, and worth every smack).

To see more Gene Marshall photos, visit my regular website.

Friday, November 27, 2009

USO Accessories

The accessories and furniture that came with the Ashton-Drake Gene were almost as fantastic as the outfits. This USO accesory package is amazing in its detail; microphone, appropriately aged trunk, flag...what an excellent display addition for the USO doll. More from the story card:

The GI’s loved her. Gene was “Our All-American Girl,” the gorgeous pin-up in the black teddy come to life. Their thunderous applause would overwhelm Gene every time the famous comedian USO host would introduce her for their lively opening comedy ski.

To maintain military secrecy, Gene was not allowed to reveal her itinerary to anyone, or tell what units they’d already played to. Her troupe traveled in England and France, performing fourteen shows a week in castles, the back of supply trucks, and on hastily thrown-together stages in the middle of cow fields and combat zones. This soldiers’ courage and patriotism made Gene so proud to wear the uniform the studio made for her—not too authentic, so the enemy would realize she wasn’t a soldier in case she were captured (several actors had this terrifying experience). Gene will never forget the powerful emotions she felt stepping on the shores of Normandy, seeing the new hope for victory dawning in everyone’s eyes. On the plane flying home, she knew these two months were the hardest…and proudest…days of her life.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! To see more Gene Marshall photos, visit my regular website.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Gene is somewhat of a cross between Barbie and American Girl...but much better! Her story cards not only reflect on her movie career but they are also interesting (and fairly factual) glimpses of what the times were like. World War II features prominently in Gene’s life, especially in this circa 1944 USO outfit, designed by Doug James. Photo by Steven Mays. From the story card:

From July through early August of 1944, Gene performed the most emotionally and physically demanding role of her life…that of a USO/Camp Shows volunteer, touring the perilous Foxhole Circuit to boost the morale of American fighting men on the front lines. She was one of the “Soldiers in Greasepaint,” bringing laughter and a bit of home to war-weary men and women while bombs exploded just a few miles away.

To see more Gene Marshall photos, visit my regular website.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Stand Up And Cheer!

This 1999 fashion (circa 1944) is one of the few that I just do not like at all. Don’t know what it is; probably the fact that sparkly costumes just look cheap unless the scale is just perfect, and for me, this costume doesn’t cut the mustard at all. Even with the firecracker hand prop! This costume was created for Gene to wear in the finale of the USO.

To see more Gene Marshall photos, visit my regular website.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Farewell Golden Moon

While I continue to try to get caught up, I'll be posting more publicity images. This circa 1944 fashion ensemble was designed by Tim Kennedy in 1999.

To see more Gene Marshall photos, visit my regular website.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Cocoa Crisp

When Gene transferred over from Ashton Drake to Integrity & Jason Wu, somehow her facial painting or new sculpt appeared to take her out of her vintage world and made her seem more contemporary. At that point, I lost interest in purchasing any of the new dolls. “Cocoa Crisp” was definitely an exception to the rule. Limited Edition 800, I could just picture Gene in this outfit lunching with the ladies at B. Altman’s or any one of the many other fashionable department stores back in the day that had a tea room. Once again, I did a little experimentation of blending my travel photography with a photo of Gene, placing her at the Chateau Marmont in Hollywood. I can’t say I’m totally happy with this particular shot, which shows that I need to spend more time with the lighting, posing, and blending. Time is something I haven’t had much of lately, so the next few posts will most likely consist of publicity photos.

Instead of storycards, these new dolls came with script excerpts. This particular production is called “Green Eyes,” and is circa August 1956.

Here’s the publicity photo that was released for this doll:

I’ll be back Monday with a new post. To see more Chateau Marmont photos, visit my regular website.

To see more Gene Marshall photos, visit my regular website.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Press Conference, Pt. 2

One more from “Press Conference” along with the rest from the storycard:

Gene stood poised nd proud between the USO sign and the American flag. She didn’t use notes, but instead spoke directly from the heart, making a heartfelt appeal to the American people to help in the war effort. “We are the soldiers without guns,” she said to the rapt audience. “Your contributions, your sacrifices, both large and small, are just as vital to winning this war as the soldiers fighting on the front lines. Do your part, and together we’ll bring our boys home victorious.” As one, the press corps surged to their feet and cheered. And Gene Marshall’s name was proudly added to the growing list of Hollywood stars fighting their fight on the front lines.”

To see more Gene Marshall photos, visit my regular website.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Press Conference

Dolly Cipolla designed this circa 1944 outfit that Gene wore when announcing her upcoming USO tour. From the storycard:

When Monolithic Studios was asked to do their part for the war effort and temporarily release several stars from their contracts to tour with the USO Camp Shows, Gene Marshall’s name was at the top of the list. People were still singing the catchy tunes from her movie “Sea Spree,” that made Gene’s reputation as “Our All-American Girl.” And GIs were adoring her innocently provocative pin-up that had just been released. The publicity garnered from this tour would be sensational.

But for Gene, publicity was unimportant next to the opportunity to bring a little bit of home to the boys fighting on the front. That’s what she told the journalists crammed in the room where Monolithic was holding a press conference to announce the movie stars going overseas on the upcoming USO tour.

Stripes and simplicity...I had to get this one and so I did. More to come from the publicity photos and story card...stay tuned!

To see more Gene Marshall photos, visit my regular website.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Usherette, Pt. 2

Thanks to a suggestion from one of my readers, I was inspired to place Gene at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, located on Hollywood Boulevard. I have yet to go inside the Egyptian, so an exterior view will have to suffice! I felt that a good outfit to use for this occasion was Usherette, so this post will begin where the last one featuring Usherette left off. More from the storycard:

One evening Gene leads a tall, distinguished man to his seat. He catches a glimpse of her face in the bean of her flashlight…and at that moment, Gene’s lfie changes forever!

Astonished at her beauty and taken with her poise, the man—a famous Hollywood producer—leads Gene out into the lobby to get a better look at her. He is not disappoitned! Gene wears a tailored velveteen uniform in robin’s-egg blue, smartly accented with satin trim and “pearl” buttons. Her tasseled usherette’s cap sits at precisely the right angle to accentuate her wide eyes and lovely cheekbones. The producer boldly announces he has made a “new discovery.” As flashbulbs pop, Gene can hardly believe what is happening to her!

This outfit also comes with a matching pair of short, interchangeable with the long pants. For this post, I decided to photograph my Gene wearing the long version...just seemed more appropriate!

To see more Egyptian Theater photos, visit my regular website.

To see more Gene Marshall photos, visit my regular website.

Monday, November 16, 2009

She’d Rather Dance

Gene looks like she’s ready for Vegas in this brightly colored outfit and headdress. Released in 1999, Tim Kennedy was the designer on this circa 1948 outfit. From the story card:

Technicolor was never so vividly breathtaking as when “She'd Rather Dance” lavished eye-popping color onto silver screens across America. Audiences were dazzled by the array of costumes and sets suffused in a brilliant kaleidoscope of flamboyant colors across the spectrum.

Gene played the high-spirited daughter of an old distinguished Boston family, one of the most sterling lineages on the Social Register. At every party Gene was always on the ballroom floor, dancing with man after man, loving every waltz, cha-cha, foxtrot, and quickstep. Her family's reputation was impeccable, unsullied even by a breath of scandal. So they were properly disdainful when a Broadway producer spotted Gene dancing at a cotillion and asked her to be the star of his new hit musical, She'd Rather Dance. But when Gene actually said yes...the scandal horrified the family and titillated the society gossips!

The big showstopper of the Broadway extravaganza (and the film) was the title song. It followed a chorus line of tuxedoed men singing a song in her honor… “But if you want a chance at romance, ask her to dance.” Gene emerged from upstage into the spotlight, gorgeous in a vibrant frosted tangerine dress with a plumed hat and dramatic long shawl. She proceeded to dance a different dance step, from turkey trot to a tarantella, with every man in the chorus. The audiences went wild, both on film and in the movie houses. Success triumphed over scandal, and the family was reconciled for the brightest of all technicolor endings!

To see more Gene Marshall photos, visit my regular website.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Fit For A Queen, Pt. 2

The end of this tale from the story card:

Hurrying to her stateroom, she took stock of what had made it onto the ship. “All right,” she smiled. “If I mix and match this blouse with this skirt…”

That night at dinner, a resplendent Gene stepped into the Queen of the Sea’s plush dining room. And from the applause of the other diners (and the smile on the handsome captain’s face), she knew her ensemble was a success. “What a funny scene. I’ll have to remember this in case I ever do a movie on a cruise ship,” Gene thought, as she accepted the captain’s outstretched hand and sat down to dinner…

Today’s photo that I shot shows the alternate “outfit” that Gene creates when necessity (and misplaced luggage!) forces her to become creative. To see more Queen Mary photos, visit my regular website. To see more Gene Marshall photos, visit my regular website.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Fit For A Queen

Soon as I saw this one on the Doll Peddlar website, I had to have it. It had the perfect vintage look to it with the tweed fabric and the tailoring, and the accessories were amazing! The purse, the luggage, the cape...yup, had to have it. This circa 1948 outfit was created by Hollywood costumer Lynne Day. For today’s setting, Gene is aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach. From the story card:

“All ashore who’s going ashore!”

Gene watched as the gangplank of the Queen of the Sea took leave of the side of the ship. Standing at the rail, she waved goodbye to the crowd on the dock—and to her luggage, which she saw sitting comfortably on a cart next to a dockworker frantically waving back!

Hurrying along the deck, she found the purser. “I don’t mean to be a bother,” gasped Gene, “but most of my luggage is still in New York…”

The purser leaped into action. Shortly, he returned with a sheepish look. “I am so sorry, Miss Marshall. We’ll try to get your luggage to the ship as soon as possible. In the meantime your luggage that did make it on board has been placed in your stateroom—and the Captain requests the pleasure of your company at his table this evening.”

Now it was Gene’s turn to leap into action.

For the second shot, I posed Gene in the Bridge of the Queen Mary (thanks, Lee!). Apparently, the Captain gave her a tour after dinner!

Come back tomorrow for the conclusion to this one! To see more Queen Mary photos, visit my regular website. To see more Gene Marshall photos, visit my regular website.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hello Hollywood, Hello

This was one of the first Gene dolls for me; very reminiscent of Alice Faye, a favorite musical star of the 30’s & 40’s. Faye was unique; beautiful as could be, she was also very grounded and real, too. She told it like it was and could sing like nobody’s business. I like to think that Gene was like this as well. This circa 1941 outfit was designed by Doug James and Joan Greene. From the story card:

The producer, Eric von Sternberg, inspected his newest starlet through a monocoled eye. “You climbed onto this train, clutching your Daddy and your teddy bear, a little girl—a nobody! But when you step off this train in Hollywood, Miss Marshall, you’re stepping off this train a star!”

Gene didn’t know how true his words were until the train pulled into the depot. To her amazement, a crowd of photographers and curious onlookers were swarming around a billboard bearing her picture and new name!

Today’s post marks the first time I am displaying a photo that I took myself. Featuring the Los Angeles Union Station, this is most likely the station Gene would have arrived at in 1941. Hope you like my first attempt.

To see more Union Station photos, visit my regular website. To see more Gene Marshall photos, visit my regular website.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lucky Stripe

This particular doll/outfit was one of the most recent ones that joined my collection. I’m a sucker when it comes to bold stripes, and this circa 1949 outfit has ’em in spades! From the story card:

“Bird of Paradise” has wrapped for a long weekend. And Gene has decided, quite on the spur of the moment, to pamper herself with some time away from the glare of studio lights.

Without a plan in her head, she hops out of bed and throws some clothes into her valise. Then she puts on her “lucky” outfit and lets the chips fall where they may.

First, a quick call to her agent. What luck! She’s been offered the lead in “Monaco.” That’s the way to start the weekend!

At the train station, the porter takes her valise. “Where you headin’, Miss Marshall?” he asks. She leaves it up to him. “Well, Palm Springs is awfully pretty this time of year…”

To see more Gene Marshall photos, visit my regular website.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Simply Gene

In 1999, to the delight of those who just wanted a few different Genes to dress up, Ashton-Drake Galleries released Simply Gene in Blonde, Brunette, and Redhead versions. Each one came in a vintage swimsuit and heels. Perfect for those who wanted to restyle the hair without the guilt of messing with a hairdo that was styled to perfection to coordinate with the outfit that Gene was dressed. Also perfect for artists who wanted to dabble in a little One-Of-A-Kind work. As for the hatboxes used in the publicity stills...they are wonderful. Another little touch that makes Gene so extra special to her fans. Because as all her fans know, Gene loves hats.

To see more Gene Marshall photos, visit my regular website.

Monday, November 9, 2009


I usually know immediately whether I like something or not. My first inclination on this Gene was to pass. Sometimes a cheap price on ebay can sway me to think, “What the heck.” Such is the case with “Savannah.” The dress is pretty enough, but as for scale and authentic design, this one falls a little short and instead looks more like a costume than a period outfit. The designer of this circa 1860 outfit was Katie McHale, winner of the Ashton-Drake Young Designers of America Student Competition. Kudos to Mel and Ashton-Drake for supporting up-and-coming young talent. From the story card:

“Look Away, Look Away” was a Saga of a Simpler South, where chivalry still was the order of the day—and a strong-minded woman was a rare treasure.

Gene stars as just such a heroine. After her mother’s untimely death, Gene assumes her mother’s duties, from running the plantation in Savannah for her politician father and serving as his hostess to raising her twin sisters and finding them suitable husbands.

But when it comes to her own life, there has yet to be a cavalier to sweep her off her feet. Except…

I can almost hear the “Theme from Tara” now!

P.S. Where can I find a cool Gene-sized staircase like the prop in the publicity photo? Wow!

To see more Gene Marshall photos, visit my regular website.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Gene: The End of the Line

By now, I am sure that most Gene fans have heard the news that Mel & Gene are “pulling a Garbo.” Yes, Gene is retiring at the top of her game (or pretty darn close) next year, and will no longer have any new outfits or hairdos for us to purchase. It’s a mixed reaction; on one hand, my wallet is very happy. On the other, it’s always been great to have something new to look forward. Still, I believe it was a very wise decision for Mel, who obviously has many other fish that he wants to fry. I can only imagine what this will do to the price of Gene; now that it’s official that she won’t be made anymore, I predict there will be a flurry of activity from people who will want to grab her up as fast as possible. This announcement will probably hike up prices on the secondary market—ouch!

Meanwhile, photos of the new Gene to be released next Spring have been released. Her title is “It’s A Cinch.”

“Gene wears a sophisticated black satin dress with puffed bell sleeves and a tiny belted waist, atop the trim skirt. The dress has a pussycat bow at the throat, stylish kitty's ears in emerald green felt atop the hat, and a handbag of stenciled leopard. Meow. Other accessories include wrapped ankle ties on the black, sling-back pumps, matching elbow-length gloves, and earrings of "emeralds" set in "gold". Gene's honey blond hairstyle is a tight, braided bun in the back and a sculpted roll from the crown to the forehead. She comes with pale grey brows and eye shadow and a vivid red mouth. It doesn't get any more glamorous than this!”

Although I believe I can pass on this outfit (it looks more Madra than Gene to me), I am very much looking forward to seeing what the final creations for Gene will be at the Convention. I am sure she will go out with a “bang”!

To see more Gene Marshall photos, visit my regular website.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Love, Paris

Although the tailoring is different, the hairdo and the coloration of this 1999 released outfit remind me of the iconic suit that Kim Novak was forced to wear in Hitchcock’s “Vertigo.” According to the story card, Gene receives this stunning circa 1947 suit (designed by José Ferrand) from a secret Parisian admirer. How many dolls come with their hair styled in a double french twist?

To see more Gene Marshall photos, visit my regular website.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Song of Spain, the Final Chapter

Our 15" beauty stands up well even to a closeup! Here is the conclusion of this tale from the story card:

The camera rolled, the music thundered, and Gene spun down the stairs, her feet flashing in a blur of movement. Her radiant smile never faltered. Halfway, the skirt billowed off in a dazzling flourish of gold, balck and scarlet, only to be swept close again as she fastened it to her neck on the next three perilous turns. She reached the floor and stopped on a dime in a proud, dashing matador’s pose. Jaws dropped in amazement, but there was no time to celebrate…the camera was rolling!

My jaw didn’t drop, as I had no doubt that she’d do it to perfection on the first take. To see more Gene Marshall photos, visit my regular website.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

More Song of Spain

We continue with the tale from the story card:

The choreographer had created white-hot flamenco dance moves for this show-stopping number, so difficult and daring that the twenty-four beautiful toreador dancers were complaining. But everyone gasped when the demanding choreographer told Gene to unfasten her mock skirt and re-attach it around her neck as amatador’s cape…while in full spin down a narrow, steep flight of slipper marble steps! “Impossible!”, “You’ll break an ankle!”, “Don’t do it, Gene!” cried the dancers, but Gene was silent. With a frown of concentration, she mounted the stairs and slowly, meticulously, worked out the necessary moves. After a long while Gene nodded and said, “I can do it!”

Come back for the conclusion tomorrow! To see more Gene Marshall photos, visit my regular website.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Song of Spain

Circa 1943, this Tim Kennedy creation was released in 1999 as the second doll in the Annual Edition Series. From the story card:

Gene Marshall was hailed as “Our All-American Girl” for her role as a plucky Broadway dancer in the 1943 flag-waving film, “Sea Spree.” But after the “Song of Spain” dance number was the shot, the cast and crew had another name for this rising new star—the “I-Can-Do-It Girl!”

I have included a closeup of the poster on the wall behind our star:

To see more Gene Marshall photos, visit my regular website.

Monday, November 2, 2009


This is one outfit that I have been able to resist; a circa 1956 outfit designed by Stephanie Bruner, and released in 1999. Fans and reporters await Gene's arrival to producer Eric Von Sternberg's 55th birthday bash.

To see more Gene Marshall photos, visit my regular website.