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.
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 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.
Tags: Baby Sandy, Carmen Miranda, Charlie McCarthy Detective, Deanna Durbin, Gone With The Wind, Gulliver's Travels, Hollywood Movie Dolls, Judy Garland, Pinocchio, Shirley Temple, Sonia Henie, Superman
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).
Tags: African American Film Scripts, African American Movie Posters, African-American Memorabilia, Black Memorabilia, Collecting Movie Scripts and Screen Plays, George Edward Hurrell, Hollywood Movie Memorabilia, LGBTQ Original Vintage Film & Theater Poster, Original Vintage Film Posters, Original Vintage Lobby Cards, Vintage Original Film Scripts, Vintage Original Screenplays
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.
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;
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.
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.
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.
Tags: Columbia Pictures, Film Posters and Contemporary Art Curator, Fox, Hollywood Movie Memorabilia, MGM, Original Vintage Film Posters, Original Vintage Movie Posters, RKO, Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Brothers
Hollywood Portrait Photography came into existence at the beginning of the 20th Century following the relocation of the film industry to Hollywood from the east coast. These fledging studios needed to create interest in their motion pictures by promoting the actors that stared in them. From 1910 – 1970, there were six individuals that became the photographers of choice for “shooting the stars,” and each, in their own way (as seen above in George Edward Hurrell’s stunning portrait of Marlene Dietrich), helped define the look of the Golden Age of Motion Pictures and the Hollywood star: Albert Witzel, George Hurrell, Clarence Bull, Ruth Harriet Louise, Milton Greene and Cecil Beaton.
As the New York Times reported on September 6, 1936,
The cinema’s glamour machine that takes waitresses, debutantes, actresses, school-girls and their masculine parallels and by adroit veneering makes of them the dream children of the silver screen… Its product thunders from newspaper and magazine pages, from billboards and theatre lobbies. Its prime purpose is to make the customer go to the ticket window and lay down money. It must give the appearance of genius to very ordinary people. It must conceal physical defects and give the illusion of beauty and personality should none exist. It must restore youth where age has made its rounds. It must give warmth to neutral or rigid features. It is in short, the still department.
Tags: Albert Walter Witzel, Audrey Hepburn, Bette Davis, Cecil Beaton, Clarence Sinclair Bull, George Edward Hurrell, Greta Garbo, Hollywood Portrait Photography., Joan Crawford, Marilyn Monroe, Marlene Dietrich, Milton H. Greene, Movie Star Photos For Sale, Ruth Harriet Louise
As an addition to our WalterFilm.com website, we are delighted to announce that Walter Reuben Inc. has expanded its marketing profile to include a portfolio of catalogs that will consist of exceptional items, as exampled above. This first catalog in this series (#42/2018) is 126 pages and encompasses the breadth and depth of our collecting and connoisseurship.
Its cover is graced by a stunning photograph of Audrey Hepburn in the “little black dress” designed by Hubert de Givenchy and worn by her in the opening scene of the 1961 romantic comedy Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Here are two additional photographs of that scene from our collection.
Tags: Audrey Hepburn, Collecting Movie Scripts and Screen Plays, Hollywood Movie Memorabilia, Movie Star Photos For Sale, Original Vintage Film Posters, Original Vintage Lobby Cards, Screenplays For Sale, Vintage Original Film Scripts
WalterFilm is in the business of providing our clients, both private collectors and institutions, with the finest selection of original vintage movie posters, movie star photos, lobby cards, movie scripts & rare books and Hollywood movie memorabilia. We also deal in sub-specialties of theater and stage, African American cultural history and LGBTQ film, stage, art, and social history. In all instances, our objective is to search out and offer the most outstanding pieces we can find.
Tags: Collecting Movie Scripts and Screen Plays, Film Posters and Contemporary Art Curator, Hollywood Movie Memorabilia, Original Vintage Movie Posters, Vintage Original Film Scripts, Vintage Original Movie Scripts