Sunday, November 27, 2011

wacky tacky goes Hollywood: Part II

Earlier this year we made our way up to The Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills for the auction preview of Debbie Reynolds' vast collection of Hollywood costumes and memorabilia.  The costumes were amazing and Debbie Reynolds' foresight in collecting and preserving these pieces of Hollywood history was truly profound.  Fortunately, we made it (see blog post) - but just barely - on closing day.  When we heard that there would be a second exhibit of even more costumes, we committed to going but being the world-class procrastinators that we are, we again put it off until nearly the eleventh hour (the exhibit ends this week with the auction on Saturday, December 3).  Luckily, I was able to meet up with some friends, including fellow-bloggers Beth from V is for Vintage and Lauren from Wearing History.

The costumes that were on display this time were a little less spectacular than the previous exhibit - Marilyn Monroe's dress from The Seven Year Itch, Maria's dress from The Sound of Music, Dorothy's ruby slippers.  Also, it appears that a little less time was taken in the curation; not every piece in the auction was on display and not every piece was described in detail as was the case in the former exhibit.

This dress, for example, was described as "MGM dress worn by Joan Crawford."
It's funny sometimes how fine a line is drawn between stunning,
1940's glamour gown and crazy "Golden Girls" nightmare.

Having aired my grievances, it must be said that the entire preview catalog is available online and in spite of my minor gripes, the exhibit was still pretty spectacular.  If Reynolds' collection consisted only of the pieces we saw this time, I would still consider her a wise and wealthy woman.  I didn't get pictures of every item, so perhaps the best way to present these photos is by the stars who wore them, starting with Reynolds herself.


It Started with a Kiss (1959)
worn by Debbie Reynolds

What's the Matter with Helen? (1971)
worn by Debbie Reynolds

What's the Matter with Helen?
This is too "goody, goody" to miss.


Show costume
worn by Sonja Henie

Show Parasol costume/prop
worn by Sonja Henie

Show costume
worn by Sonja Henie

Show costume
worn by Sonja Henie


My Blue Heaven (1950)
worn by Betty Grable

The Girl Next Door (1953)
worn by June Haver

Both films co-starred Dan Dailey!

Sweet Rosie O'Grady (1943)
worn by Betty Grable

Springtime in the Rockies (1942)
worn by Betty Grable


Star! (1968)
worn by Julie Andrews

Star! (1968)
worn by Julie Andrews

 Details of the beautiful beading

"The Physician"
Star! (1968)


Niagara (1953)
worn by Marilyn Monroe

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
worn by Marilyn Monroe

Bus Stop (1956)
worn by Marilyn Monroe

Let's Make Love (1960)
worn by Marilyn Monroe


Remember the Day (1941)
worn by Claudette Colbert

Without Reservations (1946)
worn by Claudette Colbert
This one is going to get the
Mr. Tiny treatment.


Billy Rose's Jumbo (1962)
worn by Doris Day 

Billy Rose's Jumbo (1962)
worn by Doris Day

Billy Rose's Jumbo (1962)
worn by Doris Day

The Glass-Bottom Boat (1966)
worn by Doris Day

 I was pretty excited to see the Doris Day costumes.
She is one of my favorite stars and I have always
thought the mermaid costume was awesome!

The Glass-Bottom Boat (1966)
This movie is about as corny and awesome as it can get -
Paul Lynde as an undercover, transvestite, NASA security guard.


Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957)
Jayne Mansfield 

With a Song in My Heart (1952)
worn by Susan Hayward

The Opposite Sex (1956)
worn by June Allyson

Ziegfeld Girl (1941)
worn by Eve Arden

Detail of the illusion bodice with 3-D, wired stars.

The Unfinished Dance (1947)
worn by Cyd Charisse

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954)
worn by Jane Powell

The Great American Broadcast (1941)
worn by Alice Faye

The Greatest Show on Earth (1952)
worn by Dorothy Lamour
Loving the modesty pearls...

Hello Frisco, Hello (1943)
worn by Lynn Bari

Hello Frisco, Hello (1943)
worn by June Havoc

Showboat (1951)
worn by Marge Champion

Kiss Me Kate (1953)
worn by Ann Miller

Jitterbugs (1943)
worn by Stan Laurel

Up in Central Park (1948)
worn by Deanna Durbin
Deanna is another one of my absolute favorites!

The Thin Man Goes Home (1945)
worn by Myrna Loy

20th Century Fox dress
worn by Carmen Miranda

This hat had the reverent duty of resting atop
Maureen O'Hara's most beautiful head!!!

Overall, it was another great showing of Hollywood history - Irene, Adrian, Helen Rose, Edith Head, Jean Louis, Walter Plunkett, and more.  A serious "thank you" is owed to Debbie Reynolds for being clever enough to save all these things from the ravages of time and studio dumpsters!

I guess if I could have stolen anything from the
 exhibit, it would have been this piece.
Doris Day's boobies were here!


Mr. Tiny


  1. Great photos! So glad we got to go together this time. Yeah! And we'll have to do that Doris Day marathon sometime soon. I haven't seen barely any of her movies. I have seen Romance on the High Seas, though, and loved her in that one :)

  2. I'm so envious you got to see all these costumes in person, I wanted to move up my L.A. trip just to see them exhibits! It's amazing that she saved all these costumes but sad that they won't go to a museum. Hopefully the future owners will cherish these pieces.

  3. So many marvelous costumes. Wow! How funny to think of Sonja Henie skating around with a parasol way back when!

  4. If you could've stolen anything from this show, I wish it had been Doris Day's mermaid flipper. I want to go for a walk in them!
    I guess photos are the next best thing. Thanks for sharing them!

  5. Don't even know where to begin. They're ALL so beautiful. And then I start reading the captions and my heart skips several beats in a row. Wasn't it the best of times, classical Hollywood era costume design! Swoon, swoon, swoon. I bet they were even more beautiful (and tiny, as my experience with seeing screenworn things in real life) in person! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Thanks everybody!

    Lauren - However brief the visit, I had tremendous fun. At least you started at the right place; "Romance on the High Seas" was Doris' first picture (another one of the films where Judy Garland was to play the lead but had to replaced).

    Leilani - When do you come out to LA? There is a great exhibit at LACMA of clothes, cars, pottery, etc. from 1930-1965. I believe it runs through March 2012; it is definitely worth checking out!

    Tasha - Not just a parasol, but a sequin-covered parasol! Just picture her doing those crazy spins with that thing!

    Kevin - How does the old saying go? "You can't judge a mermaid until you've swum a mile in her flippers...."

    Lisa - It is awesome to see all of the pieces that I grew up watching. It is incredible to know that they were worn by some of my very favorite Hollywood stars. Fortunately, at this exhibit we were able to get up close enough to see all of the amazing details.

  7. WOW these costumes are amazing thanks for sharing the pictures I wish I could have seen them up close