Sunday, January 31, 2010

Gene: Champagne Supper, Pt. 2

Sure, it took awhile, but here’s the REST of the post for Champagne Supper. I thought these shots of Gene looked just fine by themselves; no need for a fancy background! From the story card:

That look in his famous eyes as she stood at the top of the stairs set Gene’s heart to fluttering. His reverent expression told her more in an instant of his tender new feelings than all the bouquets of roses he’d ever sent her. Her feet scarcely touched the ground, and as she took his hand in hers, she felt the warmth and gentle strength of his fingers through her gloves. From that moment on the evening passed in a rainbow-colored dream. They’d kissed dozens of times in the movies, but that was work. For the first time she found herself wondering what it would be like to truly kiss him. She wasn’t sure what she drank or ate at supper. All she knew was that she was giddy as a butterfly, and so lightheaded it must have been the champagne. Gene knew right then that this was the man her parents should meet…very soon.

Interestingly enough, this man is never mentioned by name. All that we know is that he and Gene starred in a number of movies together. The circa 1957 date makes it late enough in Gene history to mean that yes, she probably did marry this guy. To my knowledge, Mel Odom never acknowledges (even in his fictional Gene book) what happened to Gene Marshall after the movies. Will the storyline also be finished for us when Gene is "retired" this Spring? Personally, I hope it is Trent Osborn; who knows, maybe he was able to tame his womanizing ways for the likes of Gene!

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

Friday, January 29, 2010

Gene Marshall: Borrowing Madra's Stolen Moments & Upcoming Releases

I’m not really a Madra collector, but I do like a handful of her outfits. Gene’s face and design screams vintage to me; not so much for Madra. Fortunately for my wallet, I have been able to avoid her charms. Yes, as soon as I saw Stolen Moments I was captivated, as it looked like something from a Classic Hollywood film. For this photo, Gene borrowed the moon I photographed on a trip to Beacon Hill in Boston. Here is the info from Madra’s story card:

Critics and movie fans were always amazed at the richness of character Madra Lord brought to debutante roles (and Madra played debs longer than anyone in the history of film!). Madra was something more than just a poor-little-rich-girl; her portrayals had dimension and depth.

Maybe it was because Madra had grown up as Mabel-who never had to do without, but wanted to do with so much more. Maybe it was the nights of wide-awake dreaming, imagining what it must be like on the right side of the tracks that gave Madra the key to playing the kind of society girl movie-goers could root for.

Take, for example, the way Madra handled the lead character in Stolen Moments, one of her many box office smashes. In it, she laughs at the upper crust and foolishly falls in love with the son of the family's stable master.

In the film's climactic scene, she leaves a stuffy party to make her way through the wintry grounds of the estate to meet her lover. Hood covering her head and muff warming her hands, she steps into the stables to find...his father, the stable master brewing a pot of tea. "Care for a spot, miss?" he says, nodding toward a chair. Looking around questioningly, she sits. "Oh, he's not here, miss. I sent him to town. Because there's a little something you and me have got to discuss..."

Whatever the outcome, Madra knew audiences would be with her whichever decision was made. Because that's what made her a STAR!

Over on Shuga-Shug’s fantastic blog she has posted photos of the new Gene, which will be from Ashton Drake, not Integrity. My wallet is very relieved...I think I will be passing on this one. I like it even less than It's A Cinch. Nice photo though (which is the property of Integrity Toys); just not an outfit that appeals to me.

And while I'm on the preview mode, Tonner has just posted the rest of his collection. Again, my wallet is breathing a sigh of relief. The Scarlett 22" holds no interest for me; unless it has a new sculpt, their large-format Scarletts of the past have had no resemblance to Vivien Leigh at all. The BBQ dress is nice enough; wrong color though, and Scarlett's hair looks as if it’s fallen victim to a bad home perm.

No new "Wizard of Oz" dolls, other than an 8" piece of poo. The one mildly interesting new item is the Jessica Rabbit doll, curiously placed under the Disney Princess label:

Still seems like they really weren't ready for today's update, as many photos are missing, pending licensing approval. Can you hear my wallet breathe a sigh of relief?

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

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Lucy: LA at Last by The Franklin Mint

Before I saw the Mattel version, the Franklin Mint vinyl Lucy was more than adequate in my opinion. I thought the sculpt did a fairly good job of capturing Lucy (although not as good as their porcelain sculpt) and I loved the fact that most of her memorable TV outfits were available in fashion-doll size. Once I saw the Mattel version (and popped the episode in my DVD player to refresh my memory), I was able to see just how much they had missed the mark by.

The facial sculpt is more of a "beautiful Lucy" than a comic Lucy, and I think this is a huge mistake. On top of that, there are many subtle details that Mattel was able to capture that the Mint chose to ignore. This is even more astounding when considering that Mattel's doll is a much smaller scale. FM has no sparkles on Lucy's tie or waist, they omitted the rhinestone glasses, there is no coffee cop as a prop, and no putty nose is available to make the situation laughable. Instead, they released a barebones classic 1950’s outfit that is true to the period, although somewhat misses the mark of its inspiration.

To see more I Love Lucy doll photos, visit my regular website.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Lucy: LA at Last by Mattel

"I Love Lucy" is still one of my favorite TV shows, and "L.A. at Last" ranks as one of my all-time-favorite episodes.

After a particularly grueling cross-country car trip for the Ricardos and the Mertzes, the gang finally arrives in Hollywood where Ricky is to do a movie. Anxious to see all of the movie stars, Lucy goes to their "watering hole": The Brown Derby. There she encounters her ultimate dreamboat, William Holden. Tired of being stared at by too many fans, a playful Holden turns the tables and focuses his gaze on Lucy. Unable to handle the situation, Lucy promptly leaves the restaurant, but not without repercussions: she runs into a waiter who accidentally dumps a pie onto Holden’s face.

Wanting to please his wife, Ricky decides to bring his new Hollywood film-star friend home to meet her: William Holden. Lucy is terrified to leave her bedroom to meet him, so she dons an outlandish disguise: fake rhinestone glasses, a turban, and a large putty nose, which continues to change shape as Lucy itches her nose.

When Holden lights her cigarette, her nose catches on fire and Lucy's ruse is over. All ends well as Holden graciously changes the story from their previous encounter so that Ricky won't be angry with her.

This episode must be seen; words just can't describe the comedy. The facial expressions (of which Lucille Ball had a mastery), the lines, the is absolute perfection.

Speaking of perfection, Mattel's version of this particular show is also perfection. Not only is the costume the most accurate one ever done, it captures the comedic beauty of Lucille Ball. My one regret is that the nose is not removeable. Other than that, they have captured just about every other detail, including the sparkles on her waistband and necktie.

Kudos to Mattel on a job well done, which is even more astounding at this small scale. And yes, the coffee cup is included!

To see more I Love Lucy doll photos, visit my regular website.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Tonner Scarlett: My Mother's Portières

In my opinion, Vivien Leigh is one of the most timeless beauties I have ever seen. For this reason, I am somewhat critical of the sculpts that I have seen of her. Tonner does a good job of capturing her beauty (I still prefer the Franklin Mint version though), but there is an "edge" to her features that they seem to have missed, and as many have noted before, the hair is definitely the wrong shade. This is quibbling though when it comes to this particular doll, as the fabric, drape, and accessories are very well done. The feathers on the hat are ridiculously large, but if one wanted to fix/trim them, it could probably be done with ease.

This particular outfit is pretty much the standard whenever a doll company attempts to do Scarlett, and I would say this is for three reasons. First, it is obviously a beautiful dress; not very complicated, it is rather simple yet elegant. The two shades of green, the soft velvety fabric...costume designer Walter Plunkett knew his stuff! Reason #2 is because of how it was 'created' according to the book and movie. Way before Maria Von Trapp yanked her curtains down for playclothes in the movie "The Sound of Music," Scarlett O'Hara was pulling down her mother's portières for a much more dire reason: survival. Reason #3: this signifies a turnaround in Scarlett's maturity. She has fulfilled her father's early prophecy that eventually her "love of the land" will take over her. Misguided as it is to sell herself in marriage to a man she doesn't care for (Frank Kennedy) to save Tara, it is a far cry from her first marriage (attempting to make Ashley jealous).

For the first photo, I have placed Scarlett in Atlanta, with the Robert Schade Civil War Cyclorama as her backdrop.

To see more Scarlett O'Hara doll photos, visit my regular website.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Gene Marshall: Holiday Magic

Designed in 1996 by Tim Kennedy, this circa 1956 outfit was inspired by a dress worn by Grace Kelly. Anyone out there have a photo of the original dress Grace wore? This particular ensemble is difficult to get for a good price; I was able to secure this one at a semi-reasonable price because it was missing the pin that is attached to the shoulder of the dress. Pulling a piece from Facets by Marcia and voila, Gene is bejeweled again.

From the storycard:

Although you’re a movie star, it’s the new medium of television that gives you the chance to entertain your fans as they relax in the comfort of their own homes. When you appear on a TV holiday special in the mid-1950s, you have the thrill of performing live before an audience of millions!

Gene has looked forward to her appearance on the “Holiday Magic” show, broadcast from New York City on Christmas Eve, 1956. It gives her an opportunity to be home for the holidays with her family. And when she performs a wonderful song and dance routine, she surprises her movie fans by displaying talents she’s never fully revealed in her films. The applause of the studio audience—with Gene’s family cheering from the front row—proves, once and for all, that Gene won’t have to have her singing roles dubbed anymore.

Anybody able to send me a closeup of the original pin for this outfit?

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

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Gene Marshall: La Nina de la Plaza

I don’t know a whole lot about this outfit, other than it came from a 2002 Gene Convention in Albuquerque and was designed by Jim Howard. I also know that the particular one I purchased came without jewelry, a COA, a storycard, or the headscarf. Yet, I still bought it. In its simplicity, I thought it would make a great addition to my collection. Borrowing some hoop earrings from another ensemble and throwing in the lace mantilla from a Jackie Kennedy doll, voila...Gene was ready for her photoshoot! She looks like she belongs in Italy, perhaps crushing grapes with Lucy Ricardo!

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

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Trent Osborn: Skiing or “She-ing”? Pt. 2

Today, Trent finds himself on the Universal Studios lot with a 1960’s vintage image as his backdrop. The rest of the storycard:

However, I did make an appearance today on the slopes, dressed in my finest ski togs. Needless to say, the snow bunnies came hopping over, eager to share a t-bar with yours truly. But I declined each and every one of their pleas—that nasty ol’ football injury flaring up again, don’t you know. But I did make a few appointments to see them after their day of schussing for a quiet cocoa by the hearth. Then I went over and settled myself into a comfy snowbank to await a friendly St. Bernard and his equally friendly brandy cask. Ah, the great outdoors…

Now I bask in the warmth of my companions for the evening, here in the comfort of the lodge, listening attentively to the daily report. You see, you may call this recreation “skiing”—but I, my friend, prefer to pronounce it “she-ing”—see what I mean?

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

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Trent Osborn: Skiing or “She-ing”?

Sorry for the lack of posts lately; a trip to Orlando has put me behind, but I promise to be more regular! In response to my recent poll of who my readers want to see more of, here’s a shot of Trent Osborn wearing his “Skiing or ‘She-ing’?” ensemble, designed by Frank Ingenito. Trent is a blond here; I think he looks more at home with darker locks, don’t you? From the storycard:

1948. All right. Level with me. Whose idea was this in the first place?

Who ever decided that strapping two barrel slats on your boots and zipping down the mountainside at ungodly speeds in sub-zero weather was fun?

Not I! Oh, perhaps in my more foolhard days…

But here I am, in a little chalet in St. Moritz, lounging in front of the fire surrounded by enthusiasts from all over the world, ready to eagerly hurl themselves down the mountain to nearly certain bone breakage and freezing behinds.

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

Friday, January 8, 2010

Gene Marshall: Fashion Plot, Pt. 1

Serendipity struck again when I was checking out the Los Altos Apartments in Los Angeles. The exterior of the building had been used in the TV show “Angel,” and something about its 1920’s elegance got me out of the car with my camera inhand. Looking through the locked front door I was dying to go in...and as it turned out, the Manager was walking his dog and gave me the grand tour of the place. How cool! First shot shows Gene standing in front of the building; the second shot shows her sitting in the same suite that William Randolph Hearts and Marion Davies used to live in. Seemed like a good place for Gene in her circa 1948 outfit designed by Tim Kennedy. From the story card:

Gene held her breath. The killer was going through her nightstand, looking for something. From her disadvantage point under her bed, Gene couldn’t see the face. But if she lifted the frilly bedskirt just enough, maybe she could see a reflection in her dressing table mirror…

The crowd gasped as Gene closed the book. “And to find out if I saw the killer’s face, you’ll just have to buy your own copy of Gene Marshall—Teen Marshal: The Case of the Cos Cob Killer! Now it’s no mystery that our hosts have provided plenty of refreshment, so enjoy!”

This was Gene’s first stop on the premiere book tour for the Gene Marshall—Teen Marshal series of teen mysteries. A teenaged Gene was the heroine, pressed into service as an honorary U.S. Marshal to combat crime in Cox Cob and around the world. Her mother and father were in it, too, with Dr. Marshal becoming “Doc Marshall, Town Physician and Forensics Expert” and Mrs. Marshall “Ma Marshall, Always There With Cookies and Advice”! The books were well-written and exciting—and Gene was thrilled to lend her name to the series.

She felt a tap on her shoulder. A young teen girl stood smiling behind her. “Miss Marshall, I was wondering…”

“Who the killer is? I’d love to tell you, but I’m bound to secrecy…”

“No,” the girl blushed. “I just wondered who designed your suit. It’s a killer!” And they laughed as they walked to the refreshment table.

To see more Los Altos Apartment photos, visit my regular website.

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

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Gene Marshall: Pas de Deux, Pt. 2

Two more photos today, no fancy background...just focusing on Gene in her elegant attire. The rest of the story card:

But the path she had taken didn’t mean that she still wasn’t allowed the tingle of anticipation as she stepped from the back of the limousine onto the sidewalk in front of New York City Center, home to the new company. Unconsciously, she found herself pointing her toe behind her with each step she took. Embarrassed, she looked around, then broke out in a little giggle when she realized her skirt was covering up her frivolity.

Suddenly, someone took her elbow. She looked up—and there he was! She felt the eyes of the crowd turn to them as she and her escort stepped through the doors, handing their invitation to the head usher. And she knew that tongues would be wagging as fast as a ballerina’s feet during an entrechat when the identity of her date hit the columns!

Wonder who it was? To see my Gene Marshall photos, visit my regular website.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Gene Marshall: Pas de Deux, Pt. 1

What a beautiful classic in the simple yet elegant way that it drapes around its subject, Gene Marshall. José Ferrand showed his ability to evoke the 1948 era from which this dress is supposed to hail. The fabric has just the proper amount of irridescence to keep it from looking cheap or like a costume. Well done, José! For this particular shot, I placed Gene in the lobby of the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego. From the story card:

Society was all agog—the New York City Ballet was about to debut! Dance aficionados from around the world had gathered to witness the opening night program: Serenade, Orpheus, and Symphony in C—all choreographed by the incomparable George Balanchine.

No one was more excited than Gene Marshall. As a little girl in Cos Cob, she had teetered for a while between becoming a famous actress or becoming a prima ballerina. Both professions were perfect outlets for her artistic talents—but, even though she spent many a year practicing at the barre, Thespis won out over Terpsichore and the world was blessed with her acting gift.

To see my Hotel del Coronado photos, visit my regular website.

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

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Tonner Scarlett: Mrs. Kennedy

When comparing the Tonner version of this doll & outfit with the film, it is almost difficult to imagine that they are supposed to be one and the same. Not only is the hairstyle somewhat off, but the fabric and color chosen are completely different as well. And those tassles...they just will not lay down correctly. Why would Tonner stray so far from the film for his creation? I can only give you a theory—for one, the Franklin Mint has already done a very faithful adaptation. Why do it again? The other reason is that even though the Franklin Mint’s version of this doll is more faithful, I believe that the Tonner outfit is more beautiful in its subtlety of color and fabric. Again, just a theory. Of course, it could be because there is a conspiracy plot to drive all GWTW doll collectors crazy—yeah, that must be it!

For comparison's sake, here are the film frames again:

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