Wednesday, May 4, 2011

My "Fans" on eBay, Part One (Updated)

Although I haven't put anything up for sale on eBay for at least a couple of years, there was a time when I had a lot of fun with it. Most of my item descriptions were pretty straightforward, but once in a while, especially around 2003 (for no particular reason), I got a little loopy... and something along the lines of what you generally find here on my blog ensued!

Believe it or not, two of my more off-beat listings received what I can only refer to as "fan letters." Here's one of those listings. My next post will feature a second example.

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1930s MOVIE STAR SCRAPBOOK Famous & Obscure

This is an incredible collection! Forty-seven pages of clippings, comprising at least seven years of Hollywood history (1931-1937 inclusive, from all indications)! Someone lovingly glued all this stuff on lined paper, then just-as-lovingly placed them in a 2-ring binder. They even took the time to use glued reinforcement stickers on all the little punch-holes! On both sides of the paper, even! Serious project, this!

There are some incredible full-page shots of Maureen O'Sullivan, Fredric March, Lillian Bond, an overwhelmingly sultry-looking Myrna Loy, Gilbert Roland, Robert Montgomery, Marion Marsh (see scan), Anita Page, an even younger Robert Montgomery, John Barrymore as "Svengali" in, well, "Svengali," Lupe Velez, Nazimova, June MacCloy, Loretta Young & Spencer Tracy in "A Man's Castle," John Boles, Norma Shearer, Marion Marsh, Pola Negri, Miriam Hopkins, and your favorite & mine, Alexander Kirkland (see third scan)! "Alexander Kirkland?" Uhhh, yeah, Alexander Kirkland. I never heard of him before I started going through this scrapbook, but he gets a whole darned page to himself. Who'da thunk it?

Oh, yeah, almost forgot: There's one more full-page photo. It's an absolutely gorgeous shot of Jean Harlow aping "Venus de Milo." (Sorry, I won't scan that one fer ya. Bid, baby, bid!) Ummm... okay... I didn't actually forget it... I was gonna scarf it for myself... Heck, you never would have known! But I didn't... because I'm honest... because I'm fair-minded... because I'm stupid...
[By the way, fellow babies, I'm gonna share something with you that the eBayers never got to see! Here's the scan of the Jean Harlow shot. I sold the scrapbook, but scanned Ms. Harlow -- and bled out the color to "reverse" the aged look of the scrapbook page -- for myself before I did so!]


So, what else? Some pages has... Oops, I mean, some pages have... (Starting to sound like Leo Gorcey, here!) gorgeous two-shots of such luminaries as Garbo, Bebe Daniels, and Vilma Banky. And admit it, you've always wanted to own a scrapbook with an entire page dedicated to Vilma Banky, haven't you? Come on now, 'fess up. Haven't you?

Rounding out the issue are one or more shots of the following (Deep breath, here): Toby Wing, Shirley Temple, Alice Faye, Rochelle Hudson (*sigh*), Billie Dove, Baby LeRoy, Johnnie Weissmuller, Dorothy Mackaill, Joan Blondell, Marion Davies, Leila Hyams, Peggy Shannon, Bette Davis (in a swimsuit, believe it or not!), Lilyan Tashman, Marlene Dietrich, Ben Lyon, Constance Cummings, Arline Judge, Jack Oakie, Douglas Fairbanks (Senior) & Mary Pickford, Helen Twelvetrees, a stunningly exotic-looking Claudette Colbert (see photo above, lower right -- but don't get your hopes up, guys, or haven't you heard...?), Dorothy Lee, Warner Baxter, Janet Gaynor, Jeanette MacDonald, George Brent, Ruth Chatterton, Ricardo Cortez, Hugh Herbert, Dickie Moore, Ann Harding, Dolores Del Rio, Joan Bennett, Mary Astor, Bert Wheeler, Jack Mulhall,Gary Cooper, Max Baer, Walter Huston, Sally Eilers, Flora Robson, Victor Jory, Mae West, Cary Grant, Jack La Rue, Ida Lupino, Virginia Cherrill, Jackie Cooper & his brother Bobby Cooper, Mae Clarke, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Alice White, Marion Shilling, Kaye Francis, Lyle Talbot, Rose Hobart, Constance Bennettt, Carole Lombard, Natalie Talmadge, Mary Brian, Kathleen Key, Betty Furness, Marjorie Rambeau, sultry Mary Duncan (I never heard of her before, and I am so sorry for that!), Tallulah Bankhead, Lee Tracy... *yawn*... Oh, darn, I really wanted to name everybody (Can't you tell?), but I'm beat! I'm about a dozen short of the whole list. Anybody else worth mentioning? Oh, yeah. Clark Gable.
Seriously, I wonder why people like Clark Gable, Fred Astaire, and Gary Cooper get one crummy little still here or there, while Alexander Kirkland gets a full page?!? What is up with that?!?
By the way, anybody who is really interested in Alexander Kirkland and his films should click here. (I tend to research things once my interest is aroused!) I know I learned a couple of interesting facts! Kirkland's third wife was Gypsy Rose Lee, but the child born during that marriage was actually fathered by director Otto Preminger!

And hey, kids, see that scan with the shadowed profile hovering expectantly over Anita Page? Guess who that is! "Valentino?" No, he was already dead. "John Barrymore?" Nope, wrong again. "William Powell?" Wrong again! "Rod La Rocque?" Nope, he didn't play "The Shadow" for a couple more years! Give up? It's Buster Keaton!

(Now, how'd I arrive at the page count? Well, the front cover of the binder has the cover from an old issue of Movie Classic glued to it. This cover features a Marland Stone painting of Ruby Keeler and a rather effeminate-looking Dick Powell (see scan). So I counted it. The back cover sports a 1937 Modern Screen cover (It's not dated, but I happen to own a copy of the original... ) featuring an Earl Christy painting of Olivia de Havilland... ummm... enjoying a peppermint stick (see scan... Lord, things seemed so much more innocent, then...). So I counted that. The inside front cover sports a large color photo of Anna Sten, and the inside back cover lists the addresses of  dozens of movie stars, whether said stars worked for major studios (Paramount, MGM, Universal, etc.) or were "free-lance players," like Harold Lloyd, Ralph Bellamy, Neil Hamilton (and this was years before the Batman TV show!), etc. So I counted both of those. Finally, the binder holds 22 pages of loose-leaf notebook paper, and all but one side has something on it!)
Last Chance!
Hmm. I ran this sucker for seven days with an opening bid of $24.99, and nobody bid. (Wahhh.) So this is it, folks: This time I'll run it as a five day auction with an opening bid of $14.99. If it doesn't sell this time, I'll grab the Jean Harlow page mentioned above for my own collection and burn the rest. No joke. 

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Well, fellow babies, as mentioned in my brief aside above, I didn't have to burn the thing. It sold for about $30, if I recall correctly.

I received a few emails from fellow eBayers, as I mentioned. Here are quotes from two of them:

~~"I don't have a question. I just want to compliment you on your auction. I thoroughly enjoyed reading through it. Your comments about Alexander Kirkland cracked me up! It's not often that I get to read something so enjoyable. Thanks and I hope you do well on this auction."

~~"Hmmm, it's spectacularly detailed, grammatically correct, and there's that delightful hint of being off color without possibly offending the severely conservative. Even more disturbing than that rather suggestive peppermint stick illustration (someone passed their casting couch audition with flying colors!), is that the name Alexander Kirkland was ringing a dim bell. I plead guilty to reading the autobiographies of Eric Lee Preminger and Gypsy Rose Lee. It's nice to meet you. I'll keep an eye out for your future auctions."

Today's post was for Subby... kinda. Part Two will be for Betsy... again, kinda.

 Thanks for your time.


  1. how could you not seel this with a write up like that...and choice pictures too that you teased with....umm...peppermint stick...

  2. Have you noticed, I always seem to find these suggestive covers? I'd added a copy of that same magazine to my own collection years before I purchased that scrapbook. What a coincidence.

  3. Good to know your writing abilities and sense of humor were sharp even back then! :)

    And I was just sure Brian would say, " crack me up!"

  4. hahaha wow that was quite the write up and you got complimented on your grammar, that had to be a high point..haha

  5. That was a great write up! Love the cover with the peppermint stick. It was great to read the e mail fan fan mail (glad you included that in the post). Just so much fun to read.

  6. @Pat: Yeah, it was nice to be complimented on my grammar.

    @All: By the way, everyone, I updated this post to include the shot of Jean Harlow a la Venus de Milo, which the eBayers -- except for the auction's winner -- never got to see! Just for y'all.


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