Thursday, December 31, 2009

Gene Marshall: A Touch of Hospitality, Pt. 2

As promised many moons ago, here is part 2 of A Touch of Hospitality, this time featuring the outfit that Gene wears when she initially shows up at the Ladies Auxiliary. The rest of the story card:

So with excited chatter, the Ladies Auxiliary headed down the hall to a bright sunny room, where a large group of children wearing casts, bandages and hospital gowns sat playing. When the visitors entered, the children grew quiet. Then suddenly, Gene stepped into the room, dressed in a jolly holiday costume, holding a telephone. “Yes, Santa,” she said into the receiver, “I’m there now. And I have all the presents you sent. What? Yes, I’ll tell them all you said hello!” With that, she hung up and said, “Does anyone here want a present from Santa?”

The hubbub that followed will long be remembered. Surrounded by young patients, Gene had soon passed out presents, and gotten one and all laughing—which everyone knows is the best present of all!

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

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Request Day: Gene & Scarlett

This post is catch-up for a few requests that I've had. First one is a closeup of the embroidery of Gene’s “wings” on her uniform for “Champagne Flight.” It really is a shame they didn't do an airline pin instead of the embroidery.

Next are a few shots of Scarlett’s hairdo from the recent Christmas with Ashley release from the Franklin Mint:

Hope that covers it! To see more Gene Marshall & Scarlett O'Hara photos, visit my regular website.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Gene Marshall: Pierrette

Yes, the shocking pink hair of Pierrette is a little strange, but I do like this particular Gene doll. I thought that in her outfit, she would look perfect with a few scenes from the 1952 Gene Kelly classic “An American in Paris” in the background. These scenes are from the Black & White Ball sequence; naturally Gene needs a little pink to help her standout from the rest! From the storycard:

It was a romantic classic; a Cinderella story for modern times.

It was Gene's film, Lover in Disguise,-and even though there was no glass slipper to try on, Gene got her Prince Charming in the last reel (played by everyone's favorite leading man, Trent Osborn).

In “Lover in Disguise,” Gene stars as a hardworking shop girl at a dress shop run by a society woman (Madra Lord at her haughtiest).

The shopgirl becomes enamoured of one of the shop's regular customers, a dashing (and apparently well-to-do) older man. Even though they're at a distance in social standing, the two click, and just as the shopgirl thinks she has a chance at happiness, into the picture walks her Prince Charming's fiancée-none other than the haughty store owner.

What to do? Should the shopgirl sit back and let her Prince Charming get away? Or should she take matters into her own hands? No time to wait for a fairy godmother-knowing that the man of her dreams will be attending a charity masquerade ball that evening, she spies a perfect costume in the shop's window display: a pretty Pierrette.

Leaving behind a now naked mannequin, our Pierrette dashes off in disguise to the ball and to the arms of her lover.

Will he recognize her? Will he admit to his true feelings? Even though they were sure of the outcome, audiences held their breath, as Pierrette made her way down the ballroom stairs.

To round out the post, here are a few other scenes from the MGM Musical:

And a painting I did a few years ago commemorating the same sequence, which is the trigger for Gene Kelly’s legendary ballet:

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

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Gene Marshall: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

“Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” is one of my favorite movies from the Golden Age of Hollywood. A classic cast (Marilyn Monroe & Jane Russell), memorable songs (“Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend”), a light and breezy script (Charles Lederer, Joseph Fields, and Anita Loos) all boxed together in glorious Technicolor. What a treat! And it holds up very well some 45 years later. In this special edition, Gene is modeling one of Marilyn’s gowns, worn during a hilarious scene where her voluptuous curves get caught in a porthole window. It takes the quick-thinking of a pint-sized hero (played by George Winslow) to save her. I love his line to Marilyn here: “You've got a lot of animal magnetism!”

Jane and Marilyn never looked lovelier (I almost sound like Louella Parsons):

For this photo, I used a screen shot from the movie as the background. Looks like Piggy (played by Charles Coburn) is about to find Gene! From the storycard:

1955. It was the 20th anniversary of 20th Century Fox, and they were celebrating with a gigantic gala. All Hollywood was invited to attend, wearing a costume from any of the 20th Century Fox's many successful films to the gala event.

Monolithic arranged to borrow some prints of some of 20th Century Fox biggest hits so that their roster of stars could pick and choose their favorite 20th Century Fox costumes. There, in a private screening room on the Monolithic lot, Monolithic’s best and brightest huddled in the darkness, costume department personnel close at hand, eager to see which costumes would suit them best.

“Hmmmmmm,” thought Gene Marshall, as the rest of the viewers laughed as the beautiful Lorelei Lee ever-so-clumsily-on-purpose spilled her drink on her co-star’s suit in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.” “That's my dress – sexy and smarter than anybody would guess – just like Lorelei! I could get away with that! I know what I prefer—thanks ever-so!”

And with that, she was off to the hairdresser’s to change her hair to a breathless shade of blonde…

As a side bonus, here are some costume tests of Marilyn herself wearing this outfit, designed by Travilla. You’ll note that there is no jacket in these photos, even though it appeared in the final movie.

A publicity shot with Gilbert Roland at the piano accompanying Marilyn and Jane Russell:

To see more Marilyn Monroe photos, visit my regular website.

To see more Marilyn Monroe doll photos, visit my regular website.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Franklin Mint Vinyl: Scarlett & Christmas with Ashley

Just in time for Christmas, Scarlett arrived yesterday. And although her new price tag was mighty steep (thankfully I was able to get a discount!), she really does look fantastic...even better than the publicity shot on the Franklin Mint’s website. For her first shot, I pulled out the black coat that she wore to the depot to greet Ashley (expertly tailored by Alana of Doll Fashions by Alana!) and added the Paris Hat that Rhett bought for her. For the background shot, I used a photo that I took in the San Jacinto Mountains above Palm Springs (snow in Southern California???).

And for the rest of the shots, it’s just plain ol’ Scarlett. The detail is amazing; beautiful fabric (albeit a little sticky), the tiny buttons down the front of the top, the lace collar and cameo, and the! As if she just stepped out of the movie. At some point, I might have to repaint her glowing green eyes!

Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and Holiday Season, whatever you may celebrate!

To see more Palm Springs photos, visit my regular website.

To see more Gene Marshall & Scarlett O'Hara photos, visit my regular website.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Gene Marshall: Champagne Flight

Champagne Flight came in three versions, and all are very hard to come by now: a light blue and a light green uniform with blond hair, and the one pictured here featuring a tan color outfit and a red-headed Gene. I love the uniform, expertly designed by George Sarofeen, but the hair...Good Lord it is awful! I believe this doll is going on ebay and the uniform will be modeled on a different doll very soon. Even if the permed auburn mess is authentic to the circa 1952 era that this outfit hails, I just do not care for it. And true to fashion, the shoes also annoy me; I’m sure it was a cost-saving measure, but Ashton-Drake sure did skimp on this area for poor Gene. The color choice (black) definitely does not match well with the tan colored uniform, and besides that, they are very cheaply made. Onto more positive things...she really does look spectacular with her hat, bag, and crisp uniform—ready to give directions to passengers. For this post, I have put Gene in front of a vintage photo that hangs on the wall of the popular attraction “Soarin’ Over California” at Disney’s California Adventure in Anaheim. From the story card:

1952’s “Somewhere Summer” starred Gene in the story of a stewardess whose dreams flew high enough to reach the stars.

It all started in New York City on a flight layover. The stewardess sat in the automat, leafing through an old copy of “Posh Living” magazine. Sundely, a voice roused her from her daydream. “Is this stool taken?” She looked up, only to see a handsome stranger by her side—with incredible hazel eyes. Moments after he’d put down his coffee and picked up the conversation, she knew she was in love.

To see more Disney’s California Adventure photos, visit my regular website.

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

Monday, December 21, 2009

Franklin Mint Vinyl: Vivien Leigh as Mrs. Kennedy

The Franklin Mint seems to have ceased selling outfits for Scarlett and only releasing fully dressed dolls. On one hand, it sucks for the wallet; on the other, at least each doll comes with a hairdo that matches the one we see in the film, saving us nit-picky collectors from having to attempt to restyle her hair!

For the scene in the film where Vivien Leigh wears this outfit, she is inspecting the lumbermill and learns from the foreman that he is using convict labor. What a juxtaposition to see Scarlett’s finery and the tattered uniforms of the convicts. For this photoshoot, since I didn’t have any photos of a lumbermill, I placed Scarlett in the Main Street U.S.A. Bank at Disneyland. Seemed appropriate since she had the books of the lumbermill with her!

And just how true to the film is the Franklin Mint version? Here are a few scenes from the film for comparison's sake:

When I first saw the costume, I thought the orange color of the fabric was a little garish; however, it is very true to the film; much more so than the Tonner version of the same outfit (more on that at a later date). Even the book is a faithful replication of the one that Scarlett holds. Thumbs up to the Franklin Mint on this one!

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

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Gene: Calendar Girl, April Showers Pt. 2

I took Gene out of the rain today and let her enjoy a beverage at the Coca-Cola Corner on Main Street U.S.A.. at Disneyland. From rest of the storycard from:

Gene laughed. “How, how could I even think of turning down an offer that swell? I’ll definitely come and pose for you—I can’t wait to see you again!”

The next afternoon, Gene was dressed in a lovely dress and raincoat, and holding an umbrella, a bottle of Coca-Cola and a perky pose. And as Sally quickly sketched her, the two old friends’ conversation bubbled along—effervescent and refreshing as a freshly poured Coke!

To see more Disneyland Main Street U.S.A. photos, visit my regular website.

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

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Gene: Calendar Girl, April Showers Pt. 1

This circa 1957 outfit is a faithful recreation of a Coca-Cola illustration found on a vintage calendar. Even the Coke bottle and umbrella are included as well as a miniature of the calendar itself. Gene herself is looking a little like a cross between Donna Reed and Loretta Young. From the storycard from:

It was the end of a long day. Gene had just poured a cold Coca-Cola into a glass and herself into a robe and slippers. Then the phone rang. Gene picked it up and a voice said, “So how’s my favorite Girl Star?”

The voice on the other end transported Gene to another time and place—to her modeling days in New York just before her spectacular rise to fame. For the caller was none other than her old friend Sally, formerly one of the junior illustrators at DeLuxe, a haute couture magazine that had used Gene in many a fashion spread.

“Darling, I’m with an agency now and we’re putting together a campaign for Coca-Cola,” Sally said. “I’ve been asked to assemble some rough sketches as part of our presentation for next year’s Coca-Cola calendar and I wondered if you’d like to model for me? It would give us a chance to catch up and you’d be doing me a big favor! And I’ll supply a cooler full of Coca-Cola!”

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

Friday, December 18, 2009

Gene: Midnight Gamble, Pt. 2

The rest of the storycard from “Midnight Gamble”:

One morning the paper treated its readers to a photograph of Gene exiting through the unique revolving face card doors of the famous Le Rouge et Le Noir casino club. Gene and her date had earlier attended a private exhibit of the innnovative art of painter Jacques Zoli, then went to the casino near midnight. Gene had never gambled before, so her escort recommended the roulette wheel. “Faites vos jeux,” called the croupier, and Gene placed several chips on number 17 black—her birthday. “Rien ne va plus,” the croupier called to end the betting, then spun the wheel in a dizzying kaleidoscope of red and black, the silver ball spinning, tripping, then clacking musically into…17 black! Gene threw her arms up with surprised excitement, her sumptuous Prussian blue silk jacket flying out like the wings of an exotic buttefly. Even Lady Luck is a big fan of the so-beautiful American cinema star, Gene!

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

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Gene: Midnight Gamble, Pt. 1

Doug James is the mastermind behind this circa 1953 blue sheath. With Las Vegas in the background, Gene is ready to meet Lady Luck head-on! From the storycard:

Paris in 1953…what an exciting time! Art, music, literature, architecture, and especially fashion are flowering with a new renaissance as France gloriously rises from the ashes of war. The restoration of Versailles has begun, a new President and Premier are in office, and Gene Marshall is the toast of Parisian society, a favorite of both the cultural intelligentsia and the general public. Every moring people avidly read which glittering ball, fashion show or elite salon she attended the night before, gossiping over what she wore, the witty things she said, and every elegant, gracefulmove she made.

To see more Las Vegas photos, visit my regular website.

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

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Gene: Midnight Romance

Timothy Alberts designed this circa 1954 vision of blue that looks like something Cinderella might wear when she’s trying to capture the heart of her prince. Posed in front of Beverly Hills for the first photo, I realized after I snapped the shot that I left her necklace off. Something to redo at another time! From the storycard:

Hollywood is the American mecca for gifted artists to come together and create the special magic that enchants our hearts for all time.

Gene first met Johnny Harmon at a premiere party. Gene had slipped away for a breath of air when she heard an exquisite melody drifting form the music room. Enthralled by the haunting refrain, she peeked in and saw a slender, sandy-haired man alone in the room playing the piano, his face enrapt with artistic joy. Gene listened for awhile, then, unable to resist, began to hum the melody. It was as if the song had been waiting for Gene’s rich, seductive soprano voice to make it complete. They played and sang the night away…and a deep, abiding friendship was born.

To see more Beverly Hills photos, visit my regular website.

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

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tonner Scarlett: Traveling with Mother to Savannah

Since the most popular Scarlett costumes have been done to death, The Tonner Doll company has done their best to breathe new life and creativity into their fashion choices for our favorite Civil War Heroine. By tapping into the costume sketches of Walter Plunkett, they have produced a few of the “lost” costumes that were either never produced or filmed in the 1939 production “Gone With The Wind.” Here are some of the original renditions of the GWTW costumes that Plunkett created:

I saw this costume and immediately liked it. I’m a huge fan of simple black and white design, and this costume has it in spades. Do I have a few gripes? Naturally! When looking at the doll as a Vivien Leigh as Scarlett likeness wearing a beautiful outfit, I give it an A-; however, at the point in the book that Scarlett would be wearing it, she was much younger than the hairstyle and outfit make her look. This is not so much the fault of Tonner as it might be of the original designer, Walter Plunkett. I do feel that Tonner could have chosen a different hairstyle that would have been more appropriate for the teenage Scarlett.

Photo #1 places Scarlett at the Visitor Center in Savannah, Georgia.

To see more Gene Marshall, Franklin Mint, and Tonner Vinyl Doll photos, visit my regular website.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Gene: Evening Encore

Released in 2009, this 1960’s Gene Marshall ensemble was created by the Mel Odom/Jason Wu team. I wasn’t interested in the doll, so I purchased the outfit by itself and put it on one of my Ashton Drakes. Very reminiscent of something Jacqueline Kennedy might have worn, it also comes with a faux fur muff and pearlized “leather” gloves. For this blog entry, I posed Gene at the Chateau Marmont Hotel in Hollywood.

To see more Chateau Marmont photos, visit my regular website.

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

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Doll Fashions By Alana: Scarlett’s Paisley Robe

Although a great majority of Scarlett O’Hara’s “Gone With The Wind” wardrobe has been produced by The Franklin Mint, Robert Tonner, and even Mattel, there are still quite a few of her costumes that have not been replicated for the 16" fashion doll market. This sumptuous paisley robe is one of them. The Franklin Mint created a version of it to fit their 24" porcelain Scarlett, but so far a smaller-scaled outfit has not been released. What does a picky collector do when they want to be able to have Scarlett wear ALL her costumes? Contact Alana at Doll Fashions by Alana! She has expertly replicated almost every costume that Vivien Leigh wore in the 1939 classic, and done them to a “T.” Need the New Orleans Honeymoon dress? Contact Alana! Wishing you could have the blue velvet robe & gown Scarlett wears on her Atlanta terrace while discussing her marriage to Rhett? Contact Alana! The Paisley Robe pictured here (with the Pink House Restaurant staircase in Savannah as a backdrop) was crafted by Alana.

To see more of Alana’s craftsmanship, visit her regular website.

To see more Gene Marshall, Franklin Mint, and Tonner Vinyl Doll photos, visit my regular website.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Franklin Mint Vinyl: Scarlett in Muslin

One of the reasons collectors love the Franklin Mint & Tonner Scarlett O’Hara portrait dolls is because Scarlett had so many fantastic outfits to wear in the movie. However, for a good portion of the film she was stuck in a plain old muslin dress. She tended to the wounded, evacuated Atlanta, and even worked on the plantation of Tara with her bare hands while wearing this worn out dress. It is to the credit of the Franklin Mint that they went to the trouble of releasing this outfit, complete with 3 different hats and an apron that is very faithful to the film. Of course on screen, the dress was aged and worn to look authentic to the storyline; the Franklin Mint’s is crisp and clean as the day Scarlett first put it on. Who could fault them for that? My first photo of Scarlett places her inside an actual church in Atlanta, Georgia.

For photos #2 and #3, I did retouch the eyes to make them less saturated, as well as move the pupils so that they didn’t have quite as much of a Stepford look as they sometimes do! On another topic, I have finally begun the art of dollpainting. My first attempts have been at 2 extra Franklin Mint porcelain Scarletts. I have always felt that the large-sized Franklin Mint dolls were dressed exquisitely, but the faces were absolutely awful. Armed with chemicals, the face paint just did not come off on the porcelain dolls (much different from vinyl!). So, with extremely fine-grit sandpaper, I removed the paint that I was not going to cover up. I like this Scarlett better, but it still needs a lot of TLC and finessing. More to come...

To see more Atlanta photos, visit my regular website.

To see more Gene Marshall, Franklin Mint, and Tonner Vinyl Doll photos, visit my regular website.