Friday, December 28, 2012

Back to the Sawmill

One of Vivien Leigh's most beautiful "Gone With The Wind" outfits can be seen (albeit briefly) in the scene where she is sharing a nostalgic moment with Ashley. The Tonner doll company did a fantastic job of capturing this outfit with their "Don't Look Back" Scarlett O'Hara 16" vinyl doll.

Today, she is one of the most rare and highly sought after Tonner Scarlett dolls, typically fetching $300 or more. Being a stickler for screen accurate outfits, I switched the Tonner hat, jewelry, and umbrella out for the Franklin Mint's versions.

Here are Vivien Leigh as Scarlett and Leslie Howard as Ashley, sharing a platonic embrace, reminiscing about the old days in the south before the war destroyed their world.

Trent Osborn does a nice job of standing in for Leslie Howard, don't you think?

See more "Gone With The Wind" doll photos on my GWTW doll web page.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Evil Queen: Designer-Style!

I rarely dabble in the 12" world, but something about the Disney Villains Designer Collection drew me in. It must have been a spell by the Evil Queen!

Here she is in all her wicked glory, reinvented with a modern twist. Most of the time I prefer my Disney characters exactly as originally imagined, but this particular take on The Evil Queen is a home-run.

Best of all, SHE'S ARTICULATED! I almost couldn't believe it. Disney went all out on this collection. Even when all of the tiny plastic threads that help keep the costume in the perfect pose are removed, this doll still looks gorgeous and is able to hold a variety of poses. I pulled The Huntsman's Heartbox away from the old Mattel Evil Queen doll and it made a nice prop.

Cruella also let the Evil Queen borrow her cigarette holder.

The one problem (there always has to be one) is that I cannot for the life of me figure out how to remove the doll from its stand. I guess they really did intend this one to be a display collectible!

UPDATE: Here is my response from Disney about removing the Evil Queen from the bondage of her stand:

Dear Disney Guest,

We are delighted to have received your recent email and we appreciate
your interest in There are no specific instructions on
removing the doll from the stand. Just take your time and release all
ties that have her bond and carefully remove her. I hope I have assisted
you in getting your doll off the stand the most careful way that I can.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have further questions. We
look forward to future opportunities to be of service to you.


The Team

See more Disney doll photos on my Disney doll web page.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

James Dean by Tonner

Since his tragic death in 1955, James Dean has become more iconic with the passing of each year. Now that they've done Marilyn Monroe, it's not too surprising that Tonner would tackle her 50's male counterpart. Naturally, they chose to do Dean in his classic "Rebel Without a Cause" outfit of the red windbreaker, jeans, and biker boots.

When Tonner released photos yesterday, I will admit I was disappointed. The outfit looks good, so I'll give a plus for that. The waist seems a bit high though, making this cool iconic outfit seem a bit dorky.

The biggest offense is the sculpt of the face.

Dean had a very thin build, and the face on Tonner's Dean is just too wide.

With a little photoshop, you can see a big improvement. I also shortened the sideburns for the sake of accuracy as well. I do give credit for rooted hair vs. a wig, which would really have made this doll look silly.

I just have to wonder who checks the sculpt and paint on these dolls? Comparing photos with the sculpt can't be that hard.

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 Marilyn Monroe doll photos on my Marilyn Monroe doll web page.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Time For Violet

With a new camera and a better knowledge of shooting these 16" marvels, I decided to revisit Violet Waters. Looking back at my first attempts at "Special Appearance," I was horrified! José D'Saenz's circa 1943 beautiful beaded creation deserved another session.

From the story card:

With the sound of applause still ringing in her ears, Violet Waters leaned against her dressing room door. Her debut at the little Beverly Hills jazz club had been packed, filled with eager jazz aficionados thrilled to hear the vocalist who had taken the music world by storm (and by the curious who wanted to see this plainspoken young woman who was so proud of her heritage and not afraid to say so!).

A knock came at the door, startling Violet for a moment. Then she turned and called out, "Yes?" From the other side of the door, she recognized the voice of the club's owner. As she opened the door, he burst into the dressing room, which was barely bigger than a closet. "Great job, Vi!" he cried. "You're the swinginest chick we've had here in ages! Here's to a long run. Oh, and hey, I've got a note for you from out front."

The owner handed her the note, gave her a quick hug, and walked out the door. Violet unfolded the napkin with trembling fingers. It was from Gene Marshall.

"I KNEW I saw her out front, in that jazzy black number," thought Violet. She read the note: " people here who would like to meet you...' Studio? Maybe this is the break I've been hoping for!!"

Then, adjusting the orchid in her hair, smoothing her sleek white dress, and taking a deep breath, Violet went out to meet Gene, the Monolithic Pictures gang—and her future!

Hope you like these shots better; I know I do!

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 Violet Waters doll photos on my Violet doll web page.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Gene Marshall Premiere

The very first Gene doll, released in 1995, wore this outfit titled "Premiere." Designed by Tim Kennedy, this circa 1941 creation is modeled by Fashion Plot Gene instead of the original doll that it came with. For those of you that own this doll, beware...this outfit is notorious for staining Gene's delicate white "skin"!

From the story card:

"Would you know a new star if you saw one?" ask the hundreds of fans who flocked outside Monolithic Studio's latest film premiere of Blonde Lace. Fans were dazzled by the up-and-coming new star Gene Marshall—the studio's hottest new property. Miss Marshall turned all heads in a gown of black velvet and burnished gold. In this film she stepped into a starring role at the last moment...and her performance has all of Hollywood buzzing. This is a new face and talent to reckon with.

Premiere is a two-piece evening gown created for the limelight! The velvet jacket is cut straight off the shoulder and fully lined with gold lamé. The breathtaking skirt is black lace over antique gold taffeta, shimmering with hundreds of hand-applied beads and sequins, and hemmed in black velvet. Circa 1941.

Her name was actually Katie Marshall. It was only after she was discovered by a famous Hollywood producer that she adopted her beloved grandfather's name, Gene—because he had always urged her to follow her dream to Hollywood stardom.

The movies were Gene's passion, even as a young girl. Inspired by the world's great movie actresses, she developed her acting skills by winning the leads in every school play. She quickly won the hearts and admiration of everyone who saw these early performances...for even then, Gene was surely touched with stardom.

Gene was a typical, gawky young woman...but the movies taught her grace and passion, and made her heart sing with their glamour and drama!

Because Gene was single-minded about pursuing her dream, she managed to find her way to New York City. She became an usherette at a fashionable movie theater frequented by celebrities.

On a night that changed her life forever, Gene led a tall, distinguished man to his seat in the darkened theater. Her flashlight fleetingly revealed her lovely face to him. Astonished at her beauty and poise, this noted producer declared her his latest discovery, took her to Hollywood, and helped make Gene the star she always deserved to be.

Just imagine...the whole town of Hollywood is watching and the spotlight is on you. You're no longer the little girl waiting in the ticket line at the theater...or the helpful usherette, quietly leading people to their seats.

Instead, your image has been carved in light on celluloid, shining larger than life on the silver screen. The world has declared you a rising star. And now you're ready to attend your first premiere, dressed in a gown that's the stuff dreams are made of.

At Gene's premiere, stardom is still very well new to her. Gene wears her natural blonde hair parted in the center and pulled off her lovely face, then secured with small jeweled combs. Her dramatic make-up is as flawless as her complexion.

Gene's two-piece gown dramatizes her exquisite features. Her velvet jacket is cut straight-off-the-shoulder, drawing attention to her face. The shimmering gold lamé lining adds unexpected, breathtaking glamour.

Her lace skirt, over a taffeta slip the color of antique gold, shimmers with hand-applied sequins. And her "diamond" teardrop earrings are the final, radiant reminder of how far she's come in her exciting new career as a movie star!

See more Gene Marshall doll photos on my Gene Marshall doll web page.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Marilyn, Scarlett, and Dorothy

Robert Tonner's recently announced Fall line has a whopping number of 6 new Marilyn Monroe doll outfits, 2 of which include a Marilyn doll. First up is Marilyn as Pola Debevoise from "How To Marry A Millionaire."

I still can't say I'm crazy about the face sculpt; there's something off about it, mainly around the mouth area. Still, the number of outfits and the fact that many of them have never been available in 16" size will be a huge enticement to many collectors.

3 of the new releases are from "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," with my favorite being "I am Lorelei Lee" (outfit only):

"I Just Adore Conversation" outfit only (previously released in a less accurately colored pink version by the Franklin Mint):

16" Diamonds outfit and doll:

From "Love Nest" comes a never before released outfit, "Roberta Moves In":

And finally, a classic outfit from the movie "Niagara":

Adding a mini record like the one from the movie that Marilyn carries would have been a nice touch to add, but unfortunately, no go on that.

There is one new release in the Scarlett O'Hara "Gone With The Wind" line, featuring the outfit only seen in silhouette in the final shot of the movie, called "My Tara":

I was disappointed that photos of the James Dean doll by Tonner were still not available; I am curious to see how accurate the sculpt on this one will be. Over at Ashton Drake, they have announced the upcoming release of a Scarlett O'Hara doll as well. Labeled as a "fashion doll," it would appear that it's not articulated. There will be others in the collection, but no announcement if that will be other characters or other outfits. Scarlett, Belle Of The Barbecue Fashion Doll, priced at $129.99, appears to be a nice sculpt of Vivien Leigh, but AD has a habit of heavily retouching their photos; so much in fact that the final product rarely matches the pre-release photos.

They also have a Dorothy "Wizard of Oz" doll, too. Dorothy, Over The Rainbow Fashion Doll, $129.99

This one doesn't appear to be articulated either, and it looks as if the socks are painted on. The material for these dolls isn't listed, so it's hard to tell if it's porcelain, vinyl, or resin.

I also find it surprising that both dolls clearly resemble the actresses that they play, yet the website mentions no copyright/licensing information for either Vivien Leigh or Judy Garland.

See more Marilyn Monroe doll photos on my Marilyn Monroe doll web page.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Trent Osborn: Neat As A Pin revisited

When it comes to getting photographed, my Trent collection often gets the "fuzzy end of the lollipop." Finally, I decided it was time to get him out of the trunk shoot some never-before-shot outfits as well as revisit a few old ones. Today's post shows a ginger Trent in "Neat As A Pin," released in 2002. He really is a handsome devil, channeling Errol Flynn, Clark Gable, and Gary Cooper all at the same time. What a great sculpt!

The detailing on this suit is incredible; handkerchief in pocket, suspenders underneath...very well done!

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 Trent Osborn doll photos on my Trent Osborn doll web page.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Gene Marshall is Unforgettable

It's difficult not to hum the Nat King Cole song when looking at these photos, as the name of this doll and outfit are "Unforgettable." Designed by Dolly Cipolla, this mermaid-style Circa 1957 dress was released in 1999 by Ashton-Drake. This is the original doll, with a new "do" by the talented Kathy Johnson.

From the story card:

New York City has always held a soft, sentimental spot in its worldly heart for Gene Marshall. After all, she was 'discovered' there working in a movie theater (which all the local point to with pride). Plus, her family is from Cos Cobb, Connecticut, and that's close enough for New Yorkers to consider Gene a hometown girl. So New York was thrilled when Gene came 'home' to film PERSONAL SECRETARY in Manhattan. All throughout shooting, the media kept anticipation at a fever-pitch with feature stories about Gene on-and-off camera. When the night of the premiere came, New Your City celebrated as only the Big Apple can. Massive spotlights swept the sky outside the same movie theatre that Gene once worked as an usherette. The excitedly buzzing crowds were held back by velvet-roped stanchions, while mounted police stood by. A platinum silver limousine purred to a stop at the head of the red carpet, and out stepped Gene. She uncurled from the shadowy limo like a sleek, curvaceous feline, wearing a sultry mermaid gown of rich dubonnet wine that lovingly graced every contour. Her platinum hair shone like sterling silver in the flashbulbs, and her acclaimed smile was as dazzling as her jewelry. With hundreds of fans cheering her. Mom and Dad in the front row, and lavish bouquets in her hotel suite form four well-known leading men…this night was unforgettable for both Gene and New York City.

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 doll photos on my Gene Marshall doll web page.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Gene Marshall in Encore

I have finally gotten around to shooting Lynne Day's "Encore" outfit; couldn't find the proper earrings or bracelet, so I substituted the closest things I could find in Gene's jewelry drawer. This circa 1947 reminds me of something a Gibson Girl might wear. "Midnight Gamble" Gene stands in for the doll that originally came with "Encore."

From the story card:

After the war, many who served in times of trial faced an even bigger trial themselves: returning to a peace-time existence. Hollywood was aware of this and did its best to give moviegoers a shot of self-confidence, surrounded by good old-fashioned entertainment.

One of these movies was Encore, the story of a G.I. who had not only served on the battlefield but had found his true calling by volunteering in the USO. One of the highlights of the picture's first half was a cameo appearance by Gene Marshall, as herself, performing in a USO show at the front. She is the one who brings the G.I. onstage to sing an inspiring impromptu duet—and inspires him to become a star.

Now the G.I. is back in the States and a big hit. But not so big that he can't host a benefit for "all those folks who don't have it as good as me." The benefit is a smash—and who should be sitting in the front row, resplendent in silver and purple, but Gene Marshall herself.

The G.I. smiles at her. "Y'know, there's a really great lady sitting down in front that made all this possible for me. She picked a simple G.I. out of the audience and gave me the guts to go on. Gene Marshall—it's my turn to ask YOU to come up onstage!" Gene joins him to thunderous applause, and together they "encore" the song that started his career.

And one by one, all the audience members join in the stirring anthem to the American spirit—and the guts to go on.

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 doll photos on my Gene Marshall doll web page.