KENNETH ANGER PHOTO ARCHIVE (1922-68) Set of 5 photos


This group consists of five (5) pieces from the personal archive of legendary filmmaker, artist and writer Kenneth Anger. Most photos were for research and/or inclusion in his notorious books Hollywood Babylon and Hollywood Babylon II.

An artist and underground filmmaker who made his life in Hollywood, he also made his life about Hollywood and was an avid connoisseur of movieland history, mystery and gossip. Salacious is the description which comes to mind, in tone most definitely, but even more so in the images portrayed. His stories were not in-depth but there was some research. Some were facts, some were rumors, and some were outright lies. The stories launched urban myths now known to be false.

In the years since publication, the deeper facts about the people and their stories have been more fully explained. The books did introduce the public (his first publishing as early as 1959 in Paris and 1965 in the U.S.) to the true dark side of the movie industry.

Starting his research before the nostalgia craze allowed him to gather up original source material, including police photos, newspaper and studio-release prints. Hollywood Babylon III was intended, and some of these photos may have been collected for that unrealized work.

  • CARY GRANT, RANDOLPH SCOTT AT POOL (1935) Kenneth Anger-stamped research photo [Los Angeles: Paramount Pictures, 1935]. Vintage original 8 x 10″ (20 x 25 cm.) black-and-white single weight glossy silver gelatin photo. Emulsion missing at top center of image, wear to blank white margins. Kenneth Anger Collection ink stamp on verso. Very good. 

    This photo was used for illustration on page 157 of the E. P. Dutton first edition publishing of Hollywood Babylon II from 1984 and is part of a 4-page photo layout in a chapter called “Odd Couples”. 

    Cary Grant and Randolph Scott moved into their beachfront home in 1935 and were professionally photographed together in a series of photos for magazine layouts which basically presented them as a couple. Though they both married at several points they maintained the beach home and roommate situation for a number of years and continued a relationship throughout the rest of their lives. 

    Photo is coded P1374-196, a Paramount Pictures coding as both actors were working at Paramount at the time and the photos of them at their shared home were official studio images.

  • VIRGINIA RAPPE (1922) Newspaper research photo for Kenneth Anger’s Hollywood Babylon Los Angeles: Examiner International Syndicate, 1922. Vintage original 6 1/2 x 8 1/2″ (16 x 21 cm.) black-and-white single weight glossy silver gelatin photo. Minor wear. Near fine. 

    Photo includes address label from personal collection of Kenneth Anger. There is also the original attached paper blurb describing the party which led to Virginia Rappe’s death at the time of original publication use, as well as ink stamps from Los Angeles Examiner International Syndicate. 

    This photo was issued at the time of Rappe’s death and at the height of the Fatty Arbuckle scandal, and is the print which Anger used in the original book layout for Hollywood Babylon. The image appears on page 31 of the Dec. 1981 Dell Paperback edition of the book. 

  • ALMA RUBENS ARRESTED FOR NARCOTICS (1931) Newspaper photo Los Angeles: International Newsreel Photo, 1931. Vintage original 6 x 8″ (15 x 20 cm.) black-and-white single weight glossy silver gelatin photo. Photo shows signs of use, including creasing along the bottom right edge. Very good. 

    Verso includes the newspaper ink stamping and the original attached paper blurb dated Jan. 5, 1931, which describes the predicament Alma Rubens found herself in, including being placed in jail for the possession of narcotics (her second arrest), she having recently taken a “cure”. The photo appears in a two-page spread on pages 94-95 of the Dec. 1981 Dell Paperback edition of Hollywood Babylon. Her ultimate death by drug addiction is discussed in the book.

  • WILLIAM DESMOND TAYLOR AS ACTOR (1922) News agency photo [Los Angeles]: Vitagraph Company, 1922. Vintage original 6 3/4 x 8 3/4″ (16 x 21 cm.) black-and-white single weight glossy silver gelatin photo. International News ink stamp on verso as well as original paper blurb dated 2/14/22, which shows director William Desmond Taylor when he was an actor for Vitagraph. 

    Photo was used for illustration in Kenneth Anger’s book research and came from his archive, though not stamped. This original news photo was also used in stories at the time of William Desmond Taylor’s murder which occurred on Feb. 1, 1922, and which was one of the biggest scandals of Hollywood’s silent movie period. His story is told on pages 47-60 in the Dec. 1981 Dell Paperback edition of Hollywood Babylon. 

  • POLICE REMOVE RAMON NOVARRO’S BODY (1968) Press photo New York: UPI, [1968]. Vintage original 10 x 8″ (25 x 20 cm.) black-and-white print still photo, slight bend at extreme bottom right, with UPI stamp and holograph notation on verso. Just about fine. 

    Ramon Novarro (who was gay but closeted) brought home two young men, who then tortured and murdered him. This is a photo of the police removing his body after it was discovered.

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