WalterFilm Insights and News

Miles Davis Jazz Musicians

by Bill Reed

In the first half of the 20th Century these eight, great 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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WalterFilm.com’s fourth catalog (#45/2020) contains 96 pages that include vintage original photographs, posters, programs, pressbooks, lobby cards and film scripts. The categories encompassed are: Featured, Film Noir, Directors, Poster Art, LGBTQ, Comedy, Women, Literature and African Americana.

The catalog’s cover (above) is the original poster from the play PORGY by Dorothy and Du Bose Heyward, which became the source for the opera PORGY AND BESS with book by DuBose Heyward and music and lyrics by George and Ira Gershwin.

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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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JOSEPHINE BAKER – a photograph in La Creole (1934)

JOSEPHINE BAKER  – above photograph from “La Creole” (1934)

Walter Film.com offers a range of vintage African-American Collectibles or Black Memorabilia that celebrate the achievements of actors, artists, musicians, athletes, politicians, and other members of the black community.

Vintage African Americana (vintage original star photographs, posters, lobby cards, film scripts, newspaper articles, rare books and advertising or marketing collectibles)  identified with all types of black celebrities is highly valued, as exampled by Walter Film’s own offerings that includes the following:

PINKY – a group of 14 8 x 10″ photographs from the 1949, Twentieth Century Fox Film starring Jeanne Crain with an Oscar nominated performance by Ethel Waters, directed by Elia Kazan;

Ethel Walter in "Pinky"

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Walter Film: Items Of LGBTQ Cultural History

Since the Stonewall Riot in June of 1969, there has been a growing interest in LGBTQ social history as is describe here in the Queer History Social Media Project of the Society of American Archivists.

          The Queer History Social Media Project is an initiative aimed at bringing the skills and insights of professional archivists, librarians, historians, and other social scientists involved in the study of LGBTQ history to bear in the improvement and enrichment of Wikipedia articles on topics, individuals, and organizations related to the LGBTQ experience throughout history.

And so, in 2011 – forty-two years after Stonewall –  Walter Reuben Inc. made its first sale  to a major institutional library of relevant items of LGBTQ cultural history, which includes: vintage original star photographs, film and theater posters, lobby cards, film and play scripts, newspaper articles, rare books and advertising or marketing collectibles and LGBTQ memorabilia. The sales continued to be made to an ever growing number of institutions and now Walter Reuben Inc. is an essential resource for material related to LGBTQ Cultural History and Memorabilia.

To view the material we have on our website please click: WalterFilm LGBTQ

LGBTQ items from our 2018 and 2019 Catalogs.


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Marlene-Dietrich in Shanghai-Express

1930s movie posters proclaimed, week after week, what Hollywood had to offer to an eager world during the days of the great movie studios and the Great Depression. No better example of this is the above exquisite 1932 vintage original Belgian poster of Marlene Dietrich in Shanghai Express.

The Beginning

In the beginning, as the fledgling studios began to grow, and knowing that a portion of their potential audience was illiterate, they took their cue from vaudeville, fairs and the circus to create colorful artwork that depicted scenes from their movies in order to promote their films.

From the mid 1920s through the 1940’s, movie studios developed their own artwork styles for their posters, lobby cards and other marketing materials. They hired well-known artists and illustrators, such as Al Hirschfeld, John Held Jr., Hap Hadley, Ted Ireland, Louis Fancher, Clayton Knight and Armando Seguso, to create the illustrations and graphic designs.

The introduction of the color offset lithography printing technique in the 1920’s changed the artistic quality of posters, sharpening the image and, over time, shifting the emphasis from illustration to photography.

At the same time, Hollywood Portrait Photography evolved as a result of the work of six individuals that became the photographers of choice for “shooting the stars:” Albert Witzel, George Hurrell, Clarence Bull, Ruth Harriet Louise, Milton Greene and Cecil Beaton.

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