Friday, July 30, 2010

Trent & Ivy

Here we have two shots of Moss Rose Ivy Jordan and Men’s Club Trent. I wasn’t crazy about the fit of the Dreamy Trent suit (it seems a little too big and baggy), but the outfit for Men’s Club Trent fits him to a “T.” At some point, I’ll have to get a shot that include Trent’s feet, as his tassled loafers are pretty darn cool, too!

If you’re wondering why Ivy looks a little uncomfortable in the photos with Trent, this previously unpublished photo taken by the paparazzi might explain why. Trent unsuccessfully tried to put the moves on Ivy, who promptly slapped him afterwards.

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ivy “Vee J.” Jordan: Moss Rose

Loved the outfit, and liked the doll; I decided that one Ivy Jordan doll was enough for my collection, so the Moss Rose outfit found itself on my Pink and Pearls doll. The purse is something that Ivy borrowed from Gene.

From the story card, which is an excerpt from The Moss Rose movie description from Classic Flicks Network:

“Moss Rose” was a rare starring vehicle for Ivy Jordan. Long accustomed to wisecracking best friend and character roles, Ivy was thrilled to be asked to star in this romance drama set in the glamorous world of fashion magazines. As the title character, Ivy was required to wear a succession of flattering outfits designed to represent what the American working girl wished her professional wardrobe could be. Moss’s climb up through the corporate world of fashion publishing is played against her relationships with two men, the wealthy boss of the publishing company and a jazz musician she befriends while working as an assistant on a fashion shoot. Ivy relished the chance to display her acting chops in tandem with two of Hollywood’s most appealing leading men, while looking nothing less than spectacular.

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Dreamy Trent

I wasn’t terribly crazy about this Trent outfit from the Stardust Convention; but I was very curious to see if Integrity had added any articulation since this was their first Trent doll. When I got the doll, I realized that the Ashton Drake molds had been used...or else this was just leftover AD stock that had been freshly painted. Although disappointed about the lack of new articulation, I think I prefer the Integrity paint job. The highlights in the eyes bring it closer to a Mel Odom drawing. I was also pleasantly surprised when I removed “Dreamy Trent’s” suit jacket; I loved his vest! And of course the shoes were way cool, too. One question though—what happened to Trent’s name? At Ashton Drake, he was Trent Osborn; with Integrity, his last name is now Osborne.

From the story card, which is an excerpt from “Trent Osborne Remembers Hollywood by Mel Odom”:

“Yes, that’s true. I was Gene Marshall’s date for the premier of ‘Blond Lace’. Of course, it was a studio-arranged thing and we rode in the same car as Dr. and Mrs. Marshall. I was also a bit older than her too, so you really couldn’t consider it a date in any true, romantic sense. I was in a new tux, very spiffy looking, when I picked her up in the limo from the bungalow she was sharing with Vee…I mean Ivy Jordan. Then, we drove to where her parents were staying while Dr. Marshall was in town. Dr. Marshall was there for the premiere. Mrs. Marshall had been in Hollywood a cople of times since Gene got there, mostly to watch out for her and made sure no one got to their little lamb. And Gene, when she first came to the coast was really that, a little lamb. Sooo pretty, so unselfconscious about it. And smart. She didn’t miss anything; you could almost see her recording it all in that pretty head, everything that was happening around her, especially on set. She wanted to know everything, the lights, the way the sound worked, just everything.

See more Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel photos at my website. See more Gene Marshall and Friends photos at my regular website.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tonner outfit: Dinner at The Roosevelt

When I first saw this outfit on the Tonner website, I immediately wanted it. I waited awhile and finally got it on ebay at fairly discounted price. When I received it, I had the same reaction that I often get when I open a new Tonner outfit: semi-disappointment. Sure, it looked like the photo, but the stitching on the lining is extremely obvious; the sleeves are EXTREMELY difficult to get a doll’s hands through, as the fingers kept snagging on the netting and barely fit through the fur cuffs. With the Ashton-Drake and Integrity outfits, the tailoring, fit, and quality of the outfit is usually of a very high level, which is amazing because the Tonner costumes are typically the same price or higher, yet are much more fragile and seem to snag easier. The huge plus for Tonner is their customer service; they are right on top of that area, as they always respond back quickly and seem to go out of their way to make the customer happy. Whether I will bother to complain about the tailoring of the Roosevelt outfit is debatable.

I also feel that Tonner missed the boat with their Hollywood Glamour line; how many people know that the Roosevelt is a historic hotel in Hollywood? Probably very few nowadays; but having this information on the website and creating a connection to the outfit would definitely add value to the buyer. Mel Odom obviously understood, and this is why Gene Marshall stands the test of time and the collectors feel so passionately about her. You didn’t just buy a doll costume; you bought a story with historical facts and emotions tied to it. Brilliant!

So back to the pictures here; Gene is posing at the actual Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, wearing Tonner’s creation.

Although it looks like the dress wraps in front, the fur is only decorative. The dress actually snaps in back...kind of odd. The silvery blouse underneath is also faux and sewed into the dress. For the original retail price of $130, a separate blouse and fur-trimmed robe/dress is definitely not too much to ask for! Just another reason I like Ashton-Drake & Integrity’s outfits; they functioned like real clothes. By the time I finally got Gene’s hands through the sleeves, glitter was everywhere from the dress! Between the sleeves and Manhattan Holiday Gene’s flyaway hair, I was cursing a blue streak!

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

What Becomes A Legend Most?

Back in the day before wearing fur became a huge no-no, a mink coat symbolized the ultimate in glamour for a woman. An entire ad campaign has successfully run for over four decades for the Blackglama company titled, “What Becomes A Legend Most?” The seductive black and white ads feature photos of legendary women wearing nothing but a black mink coat crafted by Blackglama. How this company is still in business is truly a wonder; surprised the folks at PETA haven’t put them under!

For this post, Gene joins the other female legends from the Blackglama campaign, but naturally adds her own twist. Sweet as she is, Gene just had to wear white!

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What Becomes a Legend Most: The Blackglama Story

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Gene & Mary Poppins: The Untold Story, Pt. 3

As you saw from the first part of this story, Gene actually did a number of wardrobe tests for Walt Disney’s production of “Mary Poppins.” Gene was so excited to have been chosen by Walt himself for this exciting project; she voraciously read each one of P.L. Travers’ books to be as familiar as possible with the magical nanny. In this post, you can see a number of the photos taken at the Disney Studio showcasing Gene wearing the costumes designed for the role.

Even though she was Walt’s first choice and made it this far, it was definitely not smooth sailing for Gene. As Walt had feared, P.L. Travers was giving him a lot of difficulty about the casting of the film. Walt kept Gene’s name under his hat, wanting Mrs. Travers to be charmed by Gene in person rather than rejecting her based solely on her somewhat daffy opinion. The wardrobe tests seen in this post were under lock and key, as Walt wanted to make sure that news of Gene Marshall making a comeback in his film didn’t leak out to the press before Gene had a chance to win over Mrs. Travers. In the meantime, Mrs. Travers had already said “no” to Mary Martin as Poppins, yet had requested Julie Harris (who could not sing).

By August of 1961, Walt was frustrated that he couldn’t commit to Gene, so he invited her for a weekend in New York to join him and his wife Lillian to see a few Broadway shows. “Camelot” was the toast of Broadway, and he felt it would be a nice treat for Gene who had been spending countless hours working with a vocal coach to get her voice in shape for “Mary Poppins,” even though she knew that there was a good chance that she might not get the role after all.

Julie Andrews played Queen Guinevere in “Camelot,” and had previously starred in “My Fair Lady.” It wasn’t long after Andrews began singing that both Walt and Gene looked at each other; the 27-year-old English actress was the perfect choice to play Mary Poppins and would be a much less difficult sell than the All-American Gene Marshall. After the play was over, Gene graciously said to Walt, “Mr. know I would love to play Mary in your picture, but I think we both know after tonight’s performance that Miss Andrews is a much better choice.”

Walt appreciated Gene’s honesty and self-sacrifice; although he was sorry to miss yet another chance to work with Gene, he knew that she was correct. From then on, the two vowed to keep everything a secret and never to let it be known that “Mary Poppins” almost became her comeback film.

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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Gene & Mary Poppins: The Untold Story, Pt. 2

What to wear, what to wear...Gene finally decided to put on Park Avenue Prowl for her meeting with Walt Disney at the Disney Studios in Burbank, California. Even sunny southern California can be a little chilly on a January morning, so Gene naturally wore a coat and scarf. Exploring the lot on her own for awhile, she arrived at the Animation Building as directed and met up with Mr. Disney promptly at 10:30am. She gave him a friendly wave as he walked over to greet her; Walt himself snapped this photo.

A brief tour of the studio included a stop at the famous Pluto’s Corner, where this iconic sign is located:

Here’s Gene standing in front of the building where Walt’s office was located:

Once inside his office, Walt explained his upcoming film of “Mary Poppins,” based on the books by P.L. Travers. Walt thought that Gene was perfect for the part; and what a part it would be! Songs penned by the Sherman Brothers, live action and animation blended together in a very innovative dance number, as well as other special effects that would be guaranteed to make this family picture a hit. Gene had retired from the screen over 4 years ago, but an opportunity like this would be hard to turn down.

“My only concern,” said Mr. Disney, “is that P.L. Travers might have a problem with you cast as Mary Poppins. You are about as American as apple pie, Miss Marshall, and Mrs. Travers will probably put up a roadblock if you are to play her British Nanny. However, if we do some wardrobe shots for her and then arrange for you to meet her, I think you might be able to charm your way into this picture. She is a tough old bird though, and so far, has attempted to have her finger in every aspect of the picture!”

“Mr. Disney, for a chance to work with you, I am willing to give it the old college try! When do we start?”

More to come…

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Friday, July 9, 2010

Gene & Mary Poppins: The Untold Story, Pt. 1

I recently uncovered this blockbuster piece of info: Julie Andrews was not the first actress considered for “Mary Poppins.” Ready for the untold story?

It was January, 1961. Gene Marshall had been retired for almost four years from the silver screen; things had sure quieted down for her and she was finally able to enjoy life without the constant glare of the flashbulb in her face. However, a phone call promised to change all of that.

“Hello Miss Marshall—this is Walt Disney,” said the familiar voice over the phone. “I think I may have FINALLY found a project that we can work together on! I am so excited to share it with you. Any chance that you’d be interested in talking about it?”

“Oh, Mr. Disney! Of course I will meet with you. However, I have to tell you—I do feel a bit rusty. You might not be interested once we get together!”

“I find that hard to be true! You always were very modest about your talents, Miss Marshall! How about coming to the studio next Wednesday, around 10:30, and then we can head over to the commissary for lunch afterwards.”

“I would love that—it has been too long since we have visited! Thank you so much for thinking of me, Mr. Disney!”

As you can see from the photos here, that project was none other than “Mary Poppins.” These rare wardrobe test photos have never seen the light of day; as you can see from the first shot, it took a lot of restoration work to get the color back to normal.

I’ll be back with more of this tale—stay tuned!

View more Gene Marshall & Friends photos at my regular website.