Friday, April 28, 2023

Atomic Redhead @ The Chateau

Recently I had the pleasure of meeting up with Janey (blogger supreme) at the Chateau Marmont. Almost eight years had passed since I last saw her (at the Disneyland Hatbox Ghost reappearance). The Chateau had been on her bucket list for two reasons: she appreciates all things vintage and Gram Parsons is her favorite musician (she’d already stayed at the Joshua Tree Inn). The weekend she had booked her visit I was going to be in Hollywood for a photo shoot - the perfect storm! We texted back and forth to make our Chateau lunch arrangements, and I was overjoyed to discover that she was staying in a room I’d never been in before. Hallelujah! Naturally, I had to document this momentous occasion. Janey put on a few finishing touches as I prepared to take some photos of her first Chateau Marmont stay.

The Chateau is not everyone’s taste; people’s reactions as they first experience it serve as a litmus test for me. So far, my close friends have fallen in love with it; Janey was no exception.

Finally, Janey emerged, ready for her closeup. I adore her energy and especially her ability to make vintage seem fresh.

Window with a view:

Relaxing in the living room of her suite with her partner, Patrick:

The large Chateau keys are not easily lost.

Janey will be the first to admit this is a completely posed shot. While she appreciates all things vintage, she is no Donna Reed in the kitchen. She focuses her energies and talents into other arenas!

I don’t drink much soda, but with Janey’s winning smile, I would definitely buy a Coke after seeing this shot!

Notice the shock on Patrick’s face as he sees Janey “cooking.”

A Twix bar served as the final choice; she must have burned whatever was simmering in that pot.

I showed the two a few semi-hidden gems in the hotel, beginning with the gym on the seventh floor.

I had never noticed before that this phone is truly vintage, complete with a rotary dial.

The sun was out as Janey relaxed poolside.

The three of us enjoyed a delicious lunch afterwards. Thanks to Patrick for capturing our reunion.

Gram Parsons shot the cover of his GP album in the same room where we dined. Janey pulled back the curtains to see what was behind them.

It was wonderful to meet up again with these two. Hopefully it won’t be another eight years before that happens again. Head over to Janey’s blog NOW to read her beautifully written account of her Chateau stay. She definitely passed the litmus test.

See more Chateau Marmont photos at my main website.

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Tom Sawyer Island: back when it was fun!

Before the attorneys, termites, and Jack Sparrow entered the picture, Tom Sawyer Island at Disneyland used to be a lot of fun! The exploration possibilities seemed endless to little kids who had a blast riding a raft over to the Island and then were turned loose like little savage beasts. Remember the Treehouse? Yes, you could actually climb to the top! Uh oh…look at how tall that is. Some little varmint might fall off. Better shut that down!

A closer view:

One of the most tragic losses of the Island is Fort Wilderness, as seen from the Rivers of America:

The entrance:

Yes, at one point, it actually looked like a Fort AND you could go inside, run around, and go through secret passages!

What can I say besides “sigh”?

See more vintage and semi-contemporary Tom Sawyer Island photos at my main website.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Temple Tuesday: Art & Shirley

In the 1949 film “Adventure in Baltimore,” Shirley Temple lays Dinah Sheldon, a young artist who goes against the conventions of the day by seeking equality, wearing 2 petticoats instead of 5, and wanting to paint nudes. Below, she paints a man sleeping on a bench while a group of onlookers critique her work.

Dinah gets into trouble for doing a painting of “The Spirit of Labor,” which portrays a scantily clad local young man, looking “half angel, half Hercules.”

As close as we get to the painting:

The Los Angeles Examiner reported that the portrait of “Tom” (Shirley’s then husband, John Agar) seen in the film was painted by artist James Korn, who also coached Temple for her painting scenes. Shirley herself dabbled in the arts. Below you can see her at home doing some fashion sketches:

Would you purchase a Temple original?

Since it’s been over 2 years since I last worked on a canvas, I decided it was high time to remedy that. Who would be my subject? Shirley, of course!

I picked a pose from “Poor Little Rich Girl” (1936) in her costume from one of my favorite dance routines of all time, “Military Man.” My first step in painting is to do a rough sketch with a gray colored pencil on the canvas as my guide (this one is 12" x 12"). I was originally going to do a posterized look, thinking it would be easier. Unsatisfied with how it looked, I decided to go full tilt and make it as realistic as possible.

I was a little bit rusty, but it didn’t take long for me to remember my number one passion. I was very pleased with the result.

I don’t plan on letting another two years go by before my next one!

See more of my paintings at my main website.

Monday, April 17, 2023

Unpaving "Paradise"

I’m not sure that I would call DCA “Paradise,” but for the purposes of a catchy title…let’s do it! The Disney Corporation did a reverse Joni Mitchell in 2001; what was once the main parking lot was now Disney California Adventure. Here’s how that space looked October 1972. Imagine being able to drive your car this close to the gate!

Another 1972 image shows the road leading into Disneyland.

In the background is the Disneyland Hotel. Somebody better pick up the traffic cones; looks like one of the guests failed the driving test.

Another image of the parking lot from December 1967:

Oops; there’s a lawsuit waiting to happen. J.B. Allen & Co.: please hurry!

Last one is from May 1968. Look at that sea of vintage cars!

See more vintage and contemporary Disneyland entrance photos at my main website.

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Temple Tuesday: Name That Dress!

It was one of those Shirley mysteries that has haunted us (meaning me and Melissa, aka “The Colonel”) for years. What did she wear underneath her René Hubert designed cap, coat, and capelet at the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre ceremony on March 14, 1935? The one publicity shot that I owned from the evening (above) shows absolutely nothing, other than cement artist Jean “Mr. Footprint” Klossner pushing Shirley’s tiny little hand into the wet concrete slab. Recently, I added this alternate shot to my library, and the mystery began to unravel!

From the publicity caption:

“Love to the world,” in solid concrete. On the floor of the Chinese Theatre forecourt in Hollywood went the famous handwriting of the world’s greatest baby film star, Shirley Temple. “The Little Colonel,” her latest Fox Film production, opened at the famous Hollywood theatre, and Shirley left her name, her footprints and hand-prints in the concrete for future generations to see.

The wardrobe shot below shows Shirley wearing the beret, white ermine cape, and wool coat without any clue as to the garment underneath. Melissa had previously told me that she thought this coat and hat were created for “Our Little Girl” (1935), but either never used or part of a scene that was deleted before release.

Many have surmised that the dress Shirley wore under the Grauman’s coat was the same one she wore to the Oscars on February 27, 1935 (seen below with Claudette Colbert).

This theory came about because of this porcelain Shirley Temple doll released by the Danbury Mint, which was a recreation of the Grauman’s ceremony…

and came with the Oscar dress underneath. Shirley herself authorized this doll, so it was assumed that the two went together.

Back to my recent photo acquisition: I zoomed in to see if the edge of the dress underneath showed at all, and sure enough: I saw what appeared to be a stripe in the fabric! 

The dress also appeared to have a bit of a sheen to it. Two clues! I sent the pics to Melissa and immediately called her.

In the game of “Name that dress in 20 pixels or less…” Melissa succeeded brilliantly. Within seconds she said, “Well, that could be the pom-pom dress from ‘Our Little Girl.’” Yup. Houston, we had a match.

Shirley fan Connie M. weighed in with a few photos from her archives, such as the wardrobe shot below for “Our Little Girl,” showing the pom-pom dress.

For confirmation, I reached out to the great Rita D., Shirley expert supreme. Not only did she confirm, but she also dropped another nugget of gold. The coat worn at Grauman’s was also used in a number of publicity photos, minus the ermine cape. Why had I never noticed this before?

From Rita:

I checked everything I have on the coat and the negative numbers line up to the filming of “Our Little Girl” (production dates according to the AFI Catalog database for the film were February 11 – March 23, 1935; retakes/added scenes: April 1935). I’m sure the coat was intended for “Our Little Girl” as well, since it was designed by René Hubert, the designer for the film. The shots above are the same coat without the ermine cape but with an added bonnet, used just in time for Easter 1935 and “Heaven’s Gate” (the original title of “Our Little Girl”) publicity. This may have been the way it was going to be used in the film. Here’s an example of a birthday layout from Photoplay, May 1935, using one of the alternate coat photos when the production was still called “Heaven’s Gate.”

There might have been a planned (and squashed) Easter scene in “Our Little Girl,” since there are a few photos of Shirley in the bolero dress with an Easter egg candy container, bunnies and a basket tagged for the film (photo below). It would make sense with this coat/bonnet outfit and those props, if so. It could also have been advance Easter publicity since the film was released in May, after the holiday.

At the 2015 Theriault’s ‘Love, Shirley Temple’ auction, the coat, beret, and ermine cape came up for sale. I was able to see them at the Santa Monica History Museum beforehand:

The pom-pom dress also came up for auction:

From the catalog description:

SHIRLEY TEMPLE'S SILK POM-POM DRESS FROM THE 1935 FILM "OUR LITTLE GIRL" Lot Number: 264. Of robin's egg blue and ivory silk crepe, the simply cut dress has alternate panels, softly draping short sleeves, and is trimmed by blue woolen knit pom-poms. Generally excellent. The dress has the original studio inventory tag "4753". Included with the doll are two vintage photographs of Shirley wearing the costume in her role of Molly in “Our Little Girl.” The dress is worn by Molly (Shirley) in the scene where she admits to her mother that she told Rolf that "we don't like him" and "we want him to go away and never come back".

In an amazing case of serendipity, luck, good fortune, you name it…the same person just happened to buy both the coat set AND the pom-pom dress…without knowing that they went together that historic evening at Grauman’s. Melissa immediately notified her and she was thrilled with the information!

And there you have yet another Shirley mystery solved by the trio of Daveland, The Colonel, and Rita D!

See more Shirley Temple photos at my main website.