Friday, May 4, 2012

Photo Friday: Souvenir Photo Edition

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Good morning! It's Friday, so you know I'm about to hit the estate sales, but I thought I'd take a quick minute to share with you these two souvenir photos. Very different, yet very adorable, and both part of the "Lisa Compulsively Buys Strangers' Photographs" collection I will someday bequeath to the Smithsonian (who will, in turn, some day bequeath to the BFI dumpster out back of the Museum of History).

Above and below, it's old folks day at Mann's Chinese Theater in fabulous Hollywood, California! One of the top items on my bucket list is to make it out to the West coast some day and see all the vestigal traces of the classical Hollywood studio system still lying around in the city "with more stars than in the heavens"... and here are a quintet of oldies who beat me to it sometime in the 70's. The back features a bevy of sketches from the front cement pavement which holds the footprints and signatures of the likes of Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, and everybody-else-you-can-think-of from 1920's-1950's Hollywood, but my scan was bad so you'll have to use your imagination.

No, thank you, Jimmy Stewart!! (source)
 The movie palace was originally called "Graumann's Chinese Theater", after owner Sid Grauman, who had an equally successful location that was Egyptian themed, back in the heyday of the 1920's film colony. Myrna Loy worked as one of the cigarette girls/dancers who would mill about the lobby in Egyptian garb to add ambiance and exoticism (I love the idea of this, by the way). Ted Mann bought the historic location in 1971, and from 1971 to 2002, when the property was acquired by Warner Brothers, the marquee and souvenirs bore his name. I'd place this photo squarely in the mid 1970's, and the subjects somewhere in their late fifties'/early sixties', standing proudly for a souvenir snap in their best holiday polyester ensembles.

The couple on the left are my favorite, boasting both sunglasses and color-coordinated pants-and-shirt sets. The women in the middle both have purses I may or may not have owned at one point, and I love that the guy on the right has, unlike his contemporaries, removed his sunglasses for the taking of the photo. Would he have looked cooler with them on? Probably. But this way, his grand kids can tell which one he is in the photo! Make sure to take notice of the sassy passerby to the far right. Photo bomb!

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I wasn't able to find any history on the next tourist destination, but the cover lists the location as "The Sky Club and Cocktail Lounge" at 36th Avenue and Tamiami in Miami, Florida (Tamiami Managment Group on 36th Avenue in Miami was the closest I could get, but I don't think they bear any relation to one another). Remember the little "fightin' Irish" boy from a few Fridays ago? I'm pretty sure this is his son, of whom I have another dozen photos from WWII and the forties', wearing a killer art deco tie and with a pretty, bright eyed woman in a great dress. See the two tone yoke? The oversized collar? The slightly belled sleeves? You know this number was a knockout in real life, if we could only see the colors and the handbag that went with it.

I miss the idea of people having their photographs taken at the time of visit as a souvenir! I know you can still do this at places like theme parks, but wouldn't it be neat if you went out to a fancy dinner and cocktails and a roving photographer took your photo at the table? Even if it wasn't the most flattering (and I know there are probably better photographs of either of these people in existence, somewhere), wouldn't it be neat in the pre-Facebook, pre-camera phone age to go "And here we were, at the world famous blah blah lounge in blah blah Florida..."

I certainly think so!

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Do you have any professional souvenir photos in your collection? Where would you most like to have your photo taken on vacation in this fashion? Know any places that still do the old fashioned in-a-portfolio photography? Lemme know!!

See you guys on the other side of the weekend, wish me luck at the sales!!

7 comments:

  1. i hope you go to the michael taylor sale in madison! there is some great kistch (i left a little behind..haha) they have amazing photo albums. i bought one, it is pictures from all around tennessee and florida in the 1930's and 40's. they are incredible, all labled with paper ephemera. i left a bid on the other two that were left. i hope i get them! one is titled "our first trip out west" and i'm kind of obsessed with the idea of taking a vacation based on her pictures.

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    1. Dang it, I did not get to go. Had a jostled-jangly-bluh! experience at the Patterson sale off West End and just went "aaah, the heck with it". So cool about your photo album finds, ya gotta share that mess! :)

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  2. how cute! i love Jummy and the last picture!

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    1. There's even more Jimmy to come!

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  3. I have a great photo of my grandparents with other relatives/friends at a cocktail bar I'd like to send for your "enjoyment" but not quite sure how to do it. If you would shoot me an email addy, I'd be happy to send it to you.

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    1. I would love to see it! My email address is shewasabird at yahoo dot com.

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    2. Just sent the email with photo attached.

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