Monday, August 29, 2011

Crème de Cassis

Released in 1998, Crème de Cassis is a circa 1953 design created by the Timothy Alberts. Now that Gene is pretty much finito, it has been fun going back and re-discovering the outfits that I purchased long ago but haven't had a chance to photograph yet. The gaudy bracelet is actually the necklace from another outfit, but I thought a little extra sparkle would be okay for Gene. "A Touch of Hospitality" is the doll modeling for you today.

Journalists loved to interview Miss Gene Marshall. Unlike so many world-renowned Hollywood stars, she was charming, unpretentious, and refreshingly modest about her meteoric rise to fame. Her highly intelligent conversation was peppered with wit and acute insights into world events. And as she turned her glorious blue eyes on them with flattering attention, even the most jaded columnist melted.

Gene unveiled:

In his memoirs, a society columnist recalled a memorable interview he had with Gene in August of '53, sipping crème de cassis cocktails at the famous Hemingway Bar of the Ritz Hotel in the heart of Paris. He remembered their absorbing conversation—current fashions, American artists and writers in Paris, and the recent, bitter end of the Korean War. He remembered her dress—an en vogue ensemble with a certain je ne sais quoi. This was a time when haute couture reveled in a tiny waist, voluptuous curves, perfectly matched accessories, and yards of rustling, luxurious fabric hemmed twelve inches above the ankle—in celebration of the end of wartime clothing restrictions.

But most of all, he remembered the incredible glory of Gene's eyes. They mesmerized him—luminous, shimmering eyes the color of fresh spring gentians, fringed with long, sweeping lashes, enticing him with an utterly feminine mystique behind a wispy veil of black lace. Sensuous, alluring, and fascinating, his interview with Gene Marshall was a treasured, never-to-be-forgotten chapter in his life.

You may kiss Gene's hand now.

See more Gene Marshall & Friends doll photos at my regular website.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Love Letters

Another fave that has taken me awhile to shoot is this Circa 1947 fire-engine red concoction, designed by José Ferrand and released in 2000. From the story card:

The film Love Letters was set for a Valentine's Day release—and couples all over the country had marked their calendars with a big red heart to make sure they'd be there for the most romantic picture of the year.

In Love Letters Gene is a shy young woman who answers a lonely hearts ad. Quick and courteous postcards turn to long and loving letters—and finally a marriage proposal. They arrange to meet at the train station on Valentine's Day. “How will I recognize you, my Mysterious Lady?” he writes in a postcard.

"I'll wear something red, for the occasion," she replies in a card.

Valentine's Day finally arrives. As he enters the train station, his arms filled with heart-shaped candy box, bouquet, and corsage, his eyes search the crowd for even a hint of red. And there is Gene, resplendent in a red dress, red hat, red shoes—and a sign that says, "Be Mine!"

Rushing to her, her bespectacled pen pal suddenly stops short. His face turning as red as her dress, he takes off his glasses and whispers, "I hope you're not disappointed. Will you still marry me?"

"Does Niagara have Falls?" says Gene, with a slight catch in her voice. "Let's get on that train." But before they turn to go, she points a stern finger at his nose and says, "But NO picture postcards to any Mysterious Ladies, okay?” And, laughing, they make their way to the Honeymoon Express.

The last two show Gene modeling a rare red Tucker automobile from 1948. Uniquely designed (just like Gene!), the Tucker had the engine in the back and the trunk in the front.

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Monday, August 15, 2011

Breakfast at Tiffany's: Mattel-style

Since Integrity is releasing their own line of "Breakfast at Tiffany's" dolls this September, I decided it was time to take my Mattel version out of storage and do a little pre-comparison to figure out what would stay...and what might go.

Attempting to put the Mattel head on an Integrity body, I discovered that the Mattel clothes were too short, as the Integrity body is longer than Mattel's. Besides that, the skin tones were different; Mattel has the New Jersey orange tan look, and Integrity's is a more natural caucasion skin tone.

I had never really looked too closely at all the "Breakfast at Tiffany's" outfits from Mattel; upon doing so now, I see that the tailoring, attention to detail, and quality are what you would expect from Mattel. In all fairness, Mattel has a price point to meet, and they do it very well. Does it appeal to a high-end picky doll collector? Not at all. Would it appeal to a casual collector who doesn't want to pay more than $25-35? Sure.

So here I present to you Mattel's Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly from the opening scene of "Breakfast at Tiffany's."

Despite the flaws in craftsmanship or fit, Mattel gets high marks for how close they do get in the accessories: the sunglasses, the coffee cup, the donut bag, and the purse. Amazing!

Here's a closeup of the sculpt. Although it definitely resembles Audrey, it more closely resembles what would happen if Erica Kane/Susan Lucci were crossed with Audrey Hepburn. I would hazard a guess that this sculpt was used for both dolls. I definitely prefer this sculpt over the dreaded frozen-bitch sculpt that perpetually comes out of Integrity.

The white shawl is huge though; you could wrap a third world country in it. As you can see, I cropped the photo close so that you wouldn't see the abundance of material.

With Integrity, and I am guessing that the clothes will be pretty amazing; most likely I will ditch my Mattel versions but keep the doll. The Integrity doll's face is awful though; I will either do a repaint or a Frankendolly with the Mattel head. Check back in October!

See more Audrey Hepburn/Holly Golightly doll photos on my Audrey doll web page.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Lucy & Ethel Wear The Same Dress

On October 19, 1953, America learned about “Friendship,” as Lucy and Ethel ended up buying the same dress for their duet at the local talent show. They both agree to get different dresses, but at the last minute, they both change their minds.

Onstage, they discover that they've double-crossed each other, and the catfight begins...during the song!

Here's Mattel's version of the gals from this episode. Thanks to Photoshop, I was able to "erase" the joints as well as shorten Ethel's extremely long neck.

Who do you think looks better in the dress?

See more I Love Lucy doll photos at my regular website.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

We Still Love Lucy: The Operetta

In celebration of what would have been Lucille Ball's 100th Birthday last week, I am going to feature a few tribute posts to this comic legend. Today's entry features the Mattel Lucy doll based on an October 13, 1952 episode of "I Love Lucy" titled "The Operetta."

Always trying to crash her way into show business, Lucy is determined to be heard above the other (trained) singers during the number "Queen of the Gypsies."

Once you hear Lucy sing this song, you'll never get it out of your head!

Mattel has done an outstanding job of capturing her comic facial expression as well as the outfit with this 12" doll. The sculpt is out of this world.

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Monday, August 8, 2011

Friendly Connection & The Tucker Automobile

The 1948 Tucker Automobile was revolutionary in its day. Some of its features included:

• A directional third headlight (aka "Cyclops Eye"), which would activate at steering angles of greater than 10 degrees to light the car's path around corners

• A rear-engine and rear wheel drive

• A perimeter frame surrounding the vehicle for crash protection, as well as a roll bar integrated into the roof

• A steering box behind the front axle to protect the driver in a front-end accident

• A padded dashboard for safety

• A windshield made of shatterproof glass, protectively designed to pop out in a collision

• Seat belts, a first in its day.

Only 51 were produced before Tucker was shot down by a myriad of problems, including the possibility that The Big Three automakers and Michigan senator Homer S. Ferguson played a major part in its failure.

One of the best known Tuckers was painted Waltz Blue (matching the color of one of Mrs. Tucker's favorite dresses), making it the perfect one to attract Gene Marshall's attention.

Here, Gene models Love Letters while posing with a red colored Tucker:

That's right; luggage in the front, engine in the back!

See more Gene Marshall & Friends doll photos at my regular website.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Friendly Connection

This fantastic Circa 1956 outfit, designed by George Sarofeen, was released in 2000. I couldn't find the original purse, shoes, or bracelet (and didn't want to go rummaging through all my trunks) so did the best that I could to mix and match.

From the story card:

“WILL-BE-IN-LOS-ANGELES-SHORT-TIME-BETWEEN-FLIGHTS-STOP-ARE-YOU-AVAILABLE-FOR-COCKTAILS-AND-DINNER-STOP-LET-ME-KNOW-END” read the wire that arrived from a dear old friend from Gene's hometown of Cos Cob.


Then the fun began. Gene always loved planning an event—even a dinner for two. First, Gene called her favorite restaurant and made reservations and ordered dinner, so it would be ready and waiting. Then she called a limousine service and arranged to have her friend picked up at the airport and whisked to the restaurant. Then, finally, shopping for a new dress. She finally settled on a beautiful dark blue taffeta, with a flattering flare. Now, for all the accessories that HAD to go with it: beaded purse, jewelry—and oh, that hat with the feathers!

The evening arrived—and so did Gene's friend.

“As usual, you've outdone yourself,” said her friend.

"I knew you'd be in a hurry, so I wanted everything to be perfect," smiled Gene.

“And it is—but guess what? My flight's been canceled! So now we have all the time we need to catch you up on the latest from home…”

Here, Gene poses in front of a Tucker, the revolutionary automobile of which only 51 were ever produced:

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Ready for El Morocco, Pt. 2

Timothy Alberts is the designer of this circa 1955 outfit, released in 1996. Not sure what took me so long to photograph it, as again, it is one of my faves. It screams vintage, and I love the rich purple color of the dress. Once again, Derby Dreams Gene has the honors of modeling today.

From the story card:

Taking a break from your hectic film schedule, it's wonderful to go back East to visit family and friends in New York City. But it's not so easy to go out for a relaxing night on the town as it used to be! Now your fans are everywhere, photographers are your constant shadow, and what you do, who you see, and what you wear…makes the papers and the fan magazines within hours!

Still, Gene tries to be as low-key as possible when she travels home. She likes to stay with her parents in the house she grew up in, where she can relax and just be herself. But to commemorate her father’s fiftieth birthday celebration, she decides to treat the family to an evening of dinner and dancing at El Morocco, one of New York's most glittering nightclubs, well-known for its celebrity clientele.

For this special evening, Gene selects one of her most unique, chic cocktail dresses in a rich shade of plum taffeta. The form-fitting sheath has jet buttons, a full overskirt of black tulle, and a velvet bow at the waist…very fashion-forward details for the era! With this dress Gene wears a smart feathered hat with a face veil and carries a matching clutch bag. Two rhinestone scatter pins and a rhinestone and amethyst bracelet add tasteful glitter to a truly memorable ensemble. And Gene’s parents enjoy it all, taking her stardom in stride.

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Derby Dreams in Black Ribbon

I've always thought this circa 1942 outfit by Tim Kennedy (based on a Marlene Dietrich costume) was very cool, but didn't realize just how stylish it was until I did a photo shoot with Derby Dreams Gene last week. Now it is one of my faves!

Previously, I posted a publicity shot by Steven Mays which used a shoulder-length blonde Gene. Substituting a platinum blonde Derby Dreams Gene, I think I have found a much better combination! She sure is a knock-out!

Removing the overlay, Gene looks just as stunning in this form fitting black dress!

Even though I love this outfit, don't let Gene get TOO comfortable in it, as it is definitely a stainer!

I could already see faint hints of black on Gene's body after a few minutes of wearing it.

Follow my Gene Marshall, Madra Lord, Zita Charles, Violet Waters, Trent Osborn, Poppy Parker, and other classic movie star doll updates on Twitter. See more Gene Marshall & Friends doll photos at my regular website.