WalterFilm.com was never meant to be a large website, it was intended to be an exclusive boutique featuring some of the greatest objects Walter Reuben could find. A website that would appeal to him as a collector of “movie memorabilia” – reflecting his own personal tastes and interests.
He deliberately chose to go after only the best original vintage film collectibles: posters, lobby cards, photographs, even costume designs. Today, that boutique has grown to include movie scripts, rare books, assorted memorabilia, African Americana, and LGBTQ related material.
The following videos explore the essence of what has come together to create WalterFilm.com – now one of the foremost dealers in providing museums, universities, libraries, and private collectors around the world, with an ever-changing collection of exceptional original vintage material.
Here are four extraordinary women, MARY ASTOR (above), JEAN ARTHUR, CLAUDETTE COLBERT and MYRNA LOY, who moved from silent film actors to famous leading ladies in the “talkies”. You name it, they did it, from exotic “oriental goddess” to screwball commedian; helping turn hollywood into… HOLLYWOOD.
When it comes to Hollywood Movie Memorabilia, much of WalterFilm’s vintage original stock might be considered “Hollywood” because a substantial amount of material either comes from Hollywood or references it. And when it comes to “Movie Memorabilia”, a large portion of what we offer could fit that description as well. But we do try to clearly define, describe and date each object we present as a vintage original poster, photograph, script, etc.
However, sometimes items come along that are difficult to define and ‘Hollywood Movie Memorabilia” provides an excellent catch all.
MGM Advertising Pull-Outs
The first three items are of particular note: they are vintage original 9 x 12″ (22 x 30 cm.) Metro-Goldwin-Mayer advertising pull-outs on card stock for three movies starring Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney.
They were created for the industry publication The Lion’s Roar by the famous caricature artist Jacques Kapralik, They each were created in three dimension using elements of yarn, fabric, paper, buttons, sequins and miniature creations to highlight the themes and elements found in the film’s story.
BABES ON BROADWAY (1941)
See above photograph.
The film’s “let’s put on a show” theme was presented at its most spectacular in this Busby Berkeley extravaganza produced by Arthur Freed.
LIFE BEGINS FOR ANDY HARDY (1941)
The two stars are featured in a New York City setting when Betsy Booth (Garland), daughter to a Broadway actress, shows “Smalltown, USA” Andy Hardy (Rooney) the ropes of making it in the big city.
GIRL CRAZY (1943
The last and likely the finest of the grand MGM Mickey and Judy musicals featured a superb score by George and Ira Gershwin and a story set at a dude ranch college.
LUCIFER RISING (1972)
Kenneth Anger (filmmaker, artist) Original artwork used for the opening shot of Kenneth Anger’s experimental film LUCIFER RISING, which was his attempt to depict the age of the hippies. In this film, Egyptian gods summon the angel Lucifer to usher in a new occult age.
HOTEL SAHARA PRESENTS… CHRISTINE JORGENSEN (1953)
“A New York Daily News article in late ’52 that brought instant notoriety to Christine Jorgensen, the first person in the US to become famous for having sex reassignment surgery. Celebrity agent Charles Yates teamed with Jorgensen to turn this notoriety into an unlikely nightclub act. The Sahara booked Jorgensen for a summer 1953 engagement with singer Marguerite Piazza and dancer Gene Nelson, but was fired when both Piazza and Nelson protested the co-billing.
Jorgensen sued the hotel.“Jorgensen was a controversial figure in the press, treated with sensationalism, praise, respectful curiosity, and indignantly. The Sahara’s firing was done with a public letter that began, ‘Dear sir’. Despite this, Jorgensen was rescheduled at the Sahara and opened in November that year. A mostly-positive column about the show in the Las Vegas Review Journal commented that Jorgensen was ‘either an opportunist of supreme magnitude or an individual of indescribable courage.’ Jorgensen returned to Las Vegas later for a show at Silver Slipper.
ED EMSHWILLER (ca. 1980) Signed letter
A letter from pioneering experimental filmmaker Ed Emshwiller to Doug Edwards, who was at that time the leading figure in Los Angeles for the showing of avant-garde film. In this fascinating letter, he lists each of the four films which he has selected for Edwards to screen, with a succinct paragraph describing each one: LIFE LINES (1960); THANATOPSIS (1962); RELATIVITY (1966); and SCAPE-MATES (1972).
PAUL ROBESON AUSSTELLUNG ZU EHREN SEINES 70 GEBURTSTAGE AM 9 APRIL 1968 German pamphlet
A pamphlet issued to honor Paul Robeson’s seventieth birthday. Contains photos documenting Robeson’s varied visits to the USSR and then-East Germany, as well as commentary on his artistic and political careers.
SHE’S A HE – Lynn Carter (1957) Vinyl record
The front sleeve states “Introducing Mr. Lynn Carter, America’s foremost female impersonator.”
Lynn Carter was a headliner in the Jewel Box Revue, a racially inclusive traveling revue of what were then dubbed female impersonators. The show was staffed almost entirely by gay men and one lesbian. OCLC only records one known copy.
AGNÈS VARDA (ca. 1965-77) Archive
Collection of vintage original French promotional materials, all just about fine or better.
LE BONHEUR [HAPPINESS] (1965) Pressbook
LES CRÉATURES [THE CREATURES] (1968) Pressbook
LION’S LOVE (1969) US two-sided poster, 23 x 19″ (59 x 49 cm.)
THE ABOVE PHOTOGRAPH – Vintage original 27 x 38″ (70 x 98 cm.) poster, Sweden. Lon Chaney, Loretta Young, Nils Asther, Gwen Lee, dir: Herbert Brenon, MGM. In the role of the circus clown who could not laugh, known as Pagliacci, Lon Chaney, in perhaps his finest film performance, ran the gamut in the story which spanned a 25-year period in the his life.
Regarded as one of the most versatile and powerful actors in both silent films and talkies, Lon Chaney (April 1, 1883 – August 26, 1930) was renowned for his characterizations of tortured, often grotesque and afflicted characters, along with his groundbreaking artistry with makeup.
Chaney had a breakthrough performance as “The Frog” in George Loane Tucker‘s The Miracle Man (1919). The film displayed not only Chaney’s acting ability, but also his talent as a master of makeup. Critical praise and a gross of over $2 million put him on the map as America’s foremost character actor.
How Many Faces?
Makeup in the early days of motion pictures was almost non-existent, except for beards and moustaches to denote villains. Most of what Hollywood studios knew about makeup stemmed from the theater and actors were expected to do their own. Studio makeup departments were not yet in place prior to the mid-20s,
In the absence of such specialized professions, Chaney’s knowledge and skill with makeup gave him a competitive advantage over other actors. He was the complete package. Casting directors knew that they could place him in virtually any part, and he would thrive. An extreme case of this was the film Outside the Law (1920), where he played a character who shot and killed another character, whom he also was playing. This ability to create elaborate makeup and prosthetics to completely transform himself earned him the nickname “The Man of a Thousand Faces.”
A Heart Beneath The Horror
As Quasimodo, the bell ringer of Notre Dame Cathedral, and Erik, the “phantom” of the Paris Opera House, Chaney created two of the most grotesquely deformed characters in film history. “Phantom … became a legend almost immediately,” wrote the Los Angeles Times in 1990. “The newspapers of the day reported that women fainted, children bawled, and grown men stepped outside for fresh air after the famous unmasking scene.” “The unmasking of the titular Phantom is one of the most well-known moments in silent film,” wrote Meg Shields in 2020. “Arguably, it’s one of the most horrifying images ever put on screen.” However, Chaney’s portrayals sought to elicit a degree of sympathy and pathos among viewers not overwhelmingly terrified or repulsed by the monstrous disfigurements of these victims of fate.
Ray Bradbury once said of Chaney, “He was someone who acted out our psyches. He somehow got into the shadows inside our bodies; he was able to nail down some of our secret fears and put them on-screen. The history of Lon Chaney is the history of unrequited loves. He brings that part of you out into the open, because you fear that you are not loved, you fear that you never will be loved, you fear there is some part of you that’s grotesque, that the world will turn away from.”
Learning From The Master
He also earned the respect and admiration of numerous aspiring actors, to whom he offered mentoring assistance, and between takes on film sets he was always willing to share his professional observations with the cast and crew. During the filming of The Unknown (1927), Joan Crawford stated that she learned more about acting from watching Chaney work than from anyone else in her career. “It was then,” she said, “I became aware for the first time of the difference between standing in front of a camera and acting.”
MGM At The End
In the final five years of his film career (1925–1930), Chaney worked exclusively under contract to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, giving some of his most memorable performances. His portrayal of a tough-as-nails marine drill instructor in Tell It to the Marines (1926), one of his favorite films, earned him the affection of the Marine Corps, who made him their first honorary member from the motion picture industry.
And The Finale
During the filming of Thunder in the winter of 1929, Chaney developed pneumonia. In late 1929, he was diagnosed with bronchial lung cancer. Despite aggressive treatment, his condition gradually worsened, and he died of a throat hemorrhage on August 26, 1930, in a Los Angeles, California hospital.
Chaney was interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, next to the crypt of his father. His wife Hazel was interred there upon her death in 1933. Ever the private man, In accordance with his will, Chaney’s crypt has remained unmarked.
His dedication to his craft and his unique ability to physically transform himself on screen set a remarkable precedent for future actors, particularly within the horror genre. His collaborations with directors like Tod Browning helped define the horror genre and laid the groundwork for future horror films. Chaney’s legacy continues to inspire actors and filmmakers today, reminding them of the power of exceptional performances and the importance of pushing the boundaries of character portrayal.
Approximately 102 of the 157 films made by Chaney are currently classified as lost films. A number of others exist only in extremely truncated form or suffer severe decomposition.