Monday, September 17, 2012

Photoplay Stars in Color (1937)

Good afternoon! It sure is dreary outside today. I think it is p-r-o-b-a-b-l-y going to be one of those "go to Provence" days for this inside-the-library worker's lunch. If the library was open to the public today, I could just scoot in via the convenient located-inside-the-library connecting door! Unfortunately, I will have to schlep around the side of the building, in the rain, if I really care to grab the "librarian's lunch" special of a half sammie and soup. But I think it will raise my cheer to do so!

At any rate, the second thing to cheer me on this gloomy work day are the color insert pages of Photoplay magazine from 1937. Available in its entirety for that year, you can see the whole shebang via the Internet Archive. But if you're into instant gratification (and why wouldn't you be?) check out these GORGEOUS shots of some of the top stars of that year in (almost, kind of) full color!

Here's Bette Davis and her knitting. A lot of Hollywood stars had some kind of handiwork past-time to keep them occupied while sets and shots were being put together (did you see my post on Sylvia Sidney's needlework?)...Bette Davis was a bi-i-i-ig knitter.You can see her on set, doing her thing, here via Vintage Knitter's flickr set. I'm crazy about her hair and her collars-and-cuffs-match-blouse ensemble here. I also think her hair is about the exact color of mine! What do you call it? It's not brunette, but it's not blonde either.

Carole Lombard looking very modern in a black strappy evening gown. I love the huge mink to her left like "Oh...this? You mean my wrap? Yeah, it's a huge mink." I just bought another stole this weekend, against my better judgement, but it's gonna get cold eventually! Carole Lombard, besides being so impishly adorable and effortlessly soignée at the same time, had such an interesting life story that I think it's a shame the best Hollywood could make of it was that drecky seventies' biopic with Jill Clayburgh (?!?!!?!) as Lombard and James Brolin as her famous husband (James Brolin is a dreamboat, but he's no Clark Gable). God, it was bad. I had to run right out and grab Mr. and Mrs. Smith (not that one, this one) to rinse the taste out of my brain.

Claudette Colbert, looking positively Grecian in a long white gown in a green room. Do you LOVE the wallpaper and the silver urn filled with cut roses or do you LOVE the wallpaper and the silver urn filled with cut roses. The older I get, the more I envy that early forties', Dorothy Draper home decoration look of bold colors and harmonizing furniture. Alas, I have too many tchotchkes!

Frances Farmer, who I know more from being infamous than from being famous, in an adorable beret, an agressively plaid suit, and a red neckerchief. Along with the anemone, this is a look I can really get behind!

Fred MacMurray, in a non-Dad capacity, is actually SERIOUSLY handsome. He made a handful of semi-screwball movies in the thirties' with the aforementioned Carole Lombard, and it always wigs me out that he's not the fatherly figure from sixties' tv. Weird!

Gary Cooper looking blank and handsome as usual. I would really like to have a full-sized poster of this in my kitchen to eat cereal in front of. It would be a great way to start the day, looking at Gary Cooper's big beautiful mug.

Gloria Stuart is a pretty blond woman whose horrified face makes up a lot of the great, classic horror movie poster for The Old Dark House, which she starred in five years before this picture was taken. Did you recognize her as being the old woman at the beginning and end of Titanic? I thought not! I really want to read her autobiography that she wrote around that time-- imagine starting out in early sound movies (~1932) and being in freakin Titanic (1997)....that's sixty five years in the biz!

Joanie!!!!!! Ever my very favorite, La Crawford models a gorgeous print evening gown in the Photoplay Fashion spread above. Look how long the peplum skirt comes down on it even considered a peplum at this point? This weekend, I watched two Crawford movies from a new box set I got the other day with my grandma...I can never decide whether I like feisty, can-act and is-older Joan from the forties', or over-mascara'd, over-enunciating, sleek-as-a-racehorse thirties' Joan, so we saw one from each period (Flamingo Road and Sadie McKee, respectively). The girl really knows how to make you root for her! In the first, she was an ex-circus dancer who's pitted against a government machine boss who wants to elect Zachary Taylor to a governorship, without Joanie in the way (though why someone would be gaga over Zachary Taylor is a mystery to me-- and she did it twice, once before in Mildred Pierce!). The other has later real-life husband Franchot Tone as the second love-interest in a from maid to high society type story, and features a LOT of heavily mascara'd eyelid batting and blinking back tears on JC's part. It's what I love!

Loretta Young in a PIP of a playsuit! From what I can see, you've got striped harem pants with matching hooded coat, all over a white midriff baring top! Cuckoo, but as usual, I love it.

Last but not least, I had to share this completely insane "casual" shot of Bette Davis. How did they take such a glamorous lady and make her look like a little nerd! How! (I secretly love this photo)

Which Hollywood star in color do you like best? Are you a "fan" of old fan magazines like Photoplay? Who's your go-to favorite old time Hollywood star?

Gotta get working on the afternoon's book chores...have a great Monday and I'll see you tomorrow!


  1. Thanks for posting! Love Bette and her knitting. RE: La Crawford, I have a special place in my heart for 30's Joan. My favorite is her role as homewrecker Crystal Allen in The Women, after she wins the guy and lets her hard-bitten, impatient personality come out.

    1. LORD THE COSTUMES CRAWFORD GETS TO WEAR IN THAT MOVIE! Remember the gold (well, ostensibly gold, it's in b & w) sequin evening dress? Actually the living end!

  2. I don't think I've ever seen a yarn holder as large as Bette Davis' before but now I want one. And now that I've seen the background in Claudette's picture, I totally want that wallpaper and matching chairs. Snazzy!

    My go-to Hollywood faves have to be Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant, especially when they're together. But I love Carole Lombard and William Powell in My Man Godfrey very, very much too. And Mae West is just amazing.

    I hope you'll post a picture of your new stole soon!

    1. Re: yarn holder: That IS an industrial sized one, now that I think about it. Bette is SERIOUS about knitting! Haha. Cary Grant, Bogart, and Clark Gable are probably the top of my list-- I think I've seen every major movie of all three of their careers! And Crawford in the women's category, all top three places, haha. William Powell, what a suave character he was. Stole pictures are definitely coming down the pipeline-- I bought it (out of weakness mainly, at a good price, but also) to wear to a friend's wedding next weekend. Nothing says "showstopper" like mink! :)

    2. I have a definite weakness for vintage fur, especially at a good price, so I completely understand. And a wedding is such a fun occasion to debut it!

      Oh, how could I have forgotten about Clark Gable! It blew my mind when I found out that he and Carole Lombard were married, and that she had been married to William Powell before Godfrey.

      After all your Crawford love and her stupendous outfit, I think I'm going to have to make it my mission to watch at least one full film of hers this weekend!

  3. oh that playsuit! im in love, and the nerd look at the bottom.



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