Category: Blog

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June is Pride Month celebrating our LGBTQ community and its history. In its honor, WalterFilm.com presents six posters of performers and plays that reflect LGBTQ’s diversity and creativity. From Dame Judith Anderson, doyenne of the classical American stage, fulfilling her long-held desire to, at the age of seventy-three, play the title role in Hamlet, to Charles Ludlam’s first playwriting venture, Big Hotel, that became the unofficial manifesto of his Ridiculous Theater Company’s artistic creed, we are to pleased to highlight their courage and contribution.


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Treemonisha - Scott Joplin

African American Musical Theater

Background:

Before the turn of the 20thth Century the idea of Black Musical Theater was a second-hand treatment of black life created by European-American performers, performing stereotyped “coon songs” in blackface.  This began to change as African American composers and lyrists such as Will Marion Cook and Bob Cole brought black-written musical comedy to Broadway in 1898.

Cook’s Clorindy, or The Origin of the Cake Walk, an hour-long sketch, was the first all-black musical to play in a prestigious Broadway house, Casino Theatre‘s Roof Garden. Cole’s A Trip to Coontown was the first full-length New York musical comedy written, directed and performed exclusively by blacks. 

Bob Cole and brothers John Rosamond Johnson and James Weldon Johnson focused on elevating the lyrical sophistication of African American songs. Their first collaboration was “Louisiana Lize”, a love song written in a new lyrical style that left out the watermelons, razors, and “hot mamas” typical of earlier “coon songs.”

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WalterFilm.com - Shirley Temple & Judy Garland

Hollywood Movie Memorabilia encompasses a fascinating range of material that appeals to an extraordinary number of collectors from almost every country.

In last December’s blog, “1939 – HOLLYWOOD’S GOLDEN YEAR OF MOVIES & DOLLS,” Woolsey Ackerman (Walter Films’ Film Researcher & Curator) shared an article he wrote for the 2019 United Federation of Doll Clubs Convention Souvenir Journal.” It focused on the dolls that related to the classic movies and stars of 1939 that were available for purchase during that Christmas season.

A good number of our readers expressed how much they enjoyed reading it and we thought that, given our current trying time, not unlike the Great Depression, Woolsey might like to share his thoughts and his extraordinary collection of dolls celebrating two of the greatest stars of that period, now icons of the entertainment world: Shirley Temple and Judy Garland.

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Jayne Country Singer

by David Ehrenstein

The Stonewall riots were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the gay (LGBT) community against a police raid that began in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City. They are widely considered to constitute the most important event leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBT rights in the United States. Wikipedia

What followed in the 1970’s was a rising tide of LGBTQ performers that “came out” to express their unique take on music, theater and sexual (transgender) identity. Here are 10 of those performers and a brief look at what they contributed to the movement and to our culture. Click on the image to learn more about the performer.

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Miles Davis Jazz Musicians

by Bill Reed

In the first half of the 20th Century these eight, great black jazz musicians, who helped to create one of America’s unique contributions to the musical canon, come alive in the wonderful posters, photographs and promotional pieces that are part of Walter Films’ collection of African Americana. Jazz, a music genre that originated in the African American community, is known for its soulfulness and complex musical variations. Click on an image to view offering.

MILES DAVIS

Background

One of the greats in the pantheon of African Americana is Miles Davis (seen above). Davis picked up the trumpet at age 13. Before it was all over, he’d won just about every honor and glory a jazz musician can achieve, including six Grammys and numerous best-selling albums. The Grammy Hall of Fame inducted ten of his releases, including 1949’s Birth of the Cool, and, from a decade later, Kind of Blue. *

The groundwork above and much more was laid down when, in 1944, he relocated to New York City. He soon became part of the wellspring of the new jazz sound, known as be-bop. His contemporaries included the likes of bandleader Billy Eckstine, alto sax giant Charlie Parker and trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie.

Before long, Davis became well-known enough to start up his own small music group. It included name musicians, like Sonny Rollins and Art Blakey. Its descriptive title . . . “The New Sounds.”

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2020 New York International Antiquarian Book Fair

Rare & Valuable Books, Manuscripts, Autographs, Graphics, Photographs, Print Ephemera & Much More

From March 5-8, 2020, Walter Reuben Inc. can be found in Booth D20 at the 60th Anniversary New York International Antiquarian Book Fair located, as always, in the  legendary Park Avenue Armory, Manhattan at 643 Park Avenue (between 66th and 67th Street).

Our focus is on the glorious history of the European and Hollywood motion picture business as well as African American cultural history, black memorabilia and LGBTQ social history. As a result, we will be featuring the finest selection of vintage original movie postersmovie star photoslobby cardsmovie scripts & rare books, Hollywood movie memorabilia, African Americana and LGBTQ cultural history.

Here is a sampling of the areas that Walter Reuben represents:

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Liberace - Five Gay Actors in Mid-Century Hollywood

by David Ehrenstein

Now that gay actors like Nathan Lane, Jim Parsons, Victor Garber, Jonathan Groff, and Neil Patrick Harris are “out of the closet” and on the rise, it’s hard to imagine just how different things were in the relatively recent past. Not only was the notion of being openly gay and having a viable career unimaginable, but gayness itself was also a concept polite society couldn’t countenance. “Homosexuals” subsisted on society’s margins, mentioned only in whispered gossip, fearsome psychiatric studies, and Conservative diatribes decrying perversion.

Hiding In Plain Sight

Still, in spite of it all, gay men managed to make their way to very top of the acting profession in the gilded closets of Hollywood. In this covert context, bigtime careers and personal lives proceeded with a calculated risk that can fascinate us today. Here are five of the most noteworthy examples of gay actors in mid-Century Hollywood.

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Hollywoods Golden Season - 1938 Hollywood Dolls

Imagine it’s Christmas 1939 and you, as a movie aficionado, or just someone who loves going to the pictures, have enjoyed a year of groundbreaking brilliant entertainment.  You have no idea that in 80 years “1939” will be the year that the world will crown as, “Hollywood’s Golden Year.”

Also, just imagine that under your Christmas tree there are a plethora of toys and dolls created in the likeness of those Hollywood movie characters presented as marketing tools and designed by those who would become legends in their fields.  Well, child or adult wishing for such and looking at the Christmas store windows or under the tree— it did happen.

Hollywood's Golden Year - The Movie Dolls of 1939

Hollywood’s golden year of movies also became the golden year of movie merchandising and today those dolls and toys created for that season represent the apex in that arena of movie and doll related collecting.

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Walter Reuben Blog Cover

WalterFilm.com’s third catalog (#44/2019) contains 84 pages that include vintage original photographs, posters, programs, pressbooks, lobby cards and film scripts. The categories encompassed are: Warhol, LGBTQ, Movie Musicals, African Americana, Pre-Code Hollywood, Literature, Film Directors and Women.

The catalog’s cover (above) is graced by a in-flight image of a dancing Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth (attributed to photographer George Hurrell) from the 1942 poster of Columbia Picture’s You Were Never Lovelier” (see below).

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Walter Film Catalog Cover - Belle de Jour

WalterFilm.com’s second catalog (#43/201) contains 84 pages and encompasses ten categories that include The Saint Poster Collection , (33 posters (1982-2004) from one of New York City’s most notorious gay discos) and a Katharine Hepburn Archive of 230 vintage photos chronicling her 62-year motion picture career.

The catalog’s cover (above) is graced by a stunning Japanese poster of Luis Bunuel’s masterpiece of erotica “Belle De Jour” focusing on a collage of images of the film’s star, Catherine Deneuve.

Below are several catalog pages and description of its contents or CLICK HERE if you’d like to view the entire catalog as a Flip File.

Walter Reuben Catalog - The Saint Poster Collection

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