Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Bonhams and TCM present - "Lights, Camera, Auction", their yearly sale of Hollywood treasures, as well as Maureen O'Hara's estate

Each year around Thanksgiving, Bonhams in New York has their yearly sale of great Hollywood memorabilia that they do in conjunction with Turner Classic Movies. This year they're also auctioning the estate of Maureen O'Hara, one of the great actresses and beauties of classic Hollywood. I went to the opening reception on Sunday night which was a lot of fun, and had my picture taken with Judy Garland's "test" dress from "The Wizard of Oz" ... 


This dress was used during the early stages of filming, when they were trying different styles and shades of blue trying to find the right look of "Dorothy Gale". To the left is the image of Judy wearing it, as well as a pinafore apron that was also an early test piece. These are arguably the most important costumes in the sale... 

I also consigned a few pieces of my own, paring down the collection a bit, I decided to part with my Ava Gardner gown from "One Touch of Venus", my Betty Hutton costume from "The Perils of Pauline" and Jill St. John dress from "Who's Been Sleeping In My Bed". I'll post pics of those later, but first let's look at some highlights from Maureen O'Hara's estate since her auction is being held first... 


Since I mainly collect vintage Hollywood costumes, I was excited to see O'Hara's estate, since she saved so much of her vintage wardrobe, going all the way back to the 1940's. She had great taste too, elegant with a flair for glamour...

This is the earliest piece in her auction, a dressing gown she wore in the movie "Sentimental Journey" in 1946. Typically the stars didn't keep costumes from their movies back then, since the costumes were owned by the studios and often re-used or re-purposed, or just kept in studio wardrobe as property of the studio. So it's really neat that she kept this...





In the image above there is also the accompanying portrait photo of her wearing the gown. It was also most likely used as inspiration for the gown she's wearing in the painting of her which is featured prominently in the movie. 

Next are two jackets from the 1940's, the second one was worn for publicity for the movie "The Homestretch" from 1947... 





Here is one of the more glamorous pieces, a green silk and beaded gown she wore in the movie "Malaga" in 1954 - 



There were green silk panels at the hips which were apparently removed over time. Most likely by O'Hara herself so that she could give the gown a more modern look to re-wear it. Still a great 50's glamour gown. 

There is also a dress from "Malaga" in the auction, a beautiful shade of yellow with a pleated skirt and a mini bolero. She also posed for some great publicity shots wearing it - 



She's wearing it in the image above without the jacket. If I were bidding on one this would be the one I'd go for. I was just so taken with it looking at them in person, and I love that it was movie worn and photographed so well. 

Here is a beautiful rhinestone encrusted cocktail dress she wore to the 1955 Golden Globes... and below that an image at the dinner with Marlon Brando...

 

Here is a classic 50's Don Loper dress... "Doesn't Mr. Loper know any other numbers but 5-0-0!" ... Fans of 'I Love Lucy' will know this quote :)




This is another favorite of mine, mostly because of the suit. It's a classic 40's style, and I love black and white check material. She took a great photo with Barbara Stanwyck and Lionel Barrymore wearing it. It's being sold with a cape and purse that she wore on a separate occasion - 






This one is unique, a Mexican style red dress with black rick-rack trim and tassels, worn for a portrait sitting she did in the 40's on the beach... 








Very sexy and sultry, even for her! But worn at the height of her beauty so she really pulls it off. I love how natural she looks here instead of all gussied up by the studio for a portrait sitting. 


Here's a green beaded dress she wore on "What's My Line" in 1959... 




My photo of the dress doesn't do it justice. It's such a rich green and the beading and trim is just beautiful. Another favorite in the sale, mostly because she wore it on this show, my favorite classic game show. That panel! I always enjoyed Arlene Francis, Dorothy Kilgallen, and Bennett Cerf. 


Here's a dress she wore on the Dinah Shore - Chevy Show in 1957... 




A black sleeveless gown, no doubt worn to some event...


 

Here are two "Nudies" Rodeo Tailors vests that she had custom made. The Nudie pieces are collectible in their own right, and these are even better having been made for her... 
 

Some more of her beautiful wardrobe... 






 
Many of the pieces above have photo matches and provenance. I just don't want to get into the details of every single dress. But I have to say, for a celebrity estate auction, it is rare to see so many personal pieces having a photo match. That last time I saw this was with Edie Adams. Both she and O'Hara saved so many photos from their careers, as well as much of their wardrobe, so that matching up images of them wearing so much of their stuff is inevitable. 

In this image below, the dress on the left was worn to the 1957 Oscars, where Ralph Edwards did a live episode with her for "This Is Your Life". The gown on the right was worn on "The Bell Telephone Hour" in 1964 when she was host...



 


This beautiful green chiffon gown was worn on "The Andy Williams Show" in 1963 - 





This Pucci gown was worn in the movie "The Battle of the Villa Fiorita" in 1965 and also to the premiere of 'Mary Poppins' the same year - 

 


These two cocktail dresses are really something, being sold together, they're two of the nicest in the sale. In the second image she's with her daughter Bronwyn...


 


Here's a gown she wore on the TV special "The Fabulous Fordies" when she sang "I Don't Care" 


 

And another gown she wore on the same special, as well as to the AFI Tribute to John Ford in 1973...




And last but not least, the highest valued piece of wardrobe in her estate, her signature jacket from "The Quiet Man" arguably the most important movie of her career - 





Here are some more images from the sale, including some of her accessories, furniture, etc., and the carriage from "The Quiet Man"













 And her portrait, painted by Montagu Marks...


Here's the costume I have from her, a navy blue silk cocktail dress from "The Parent Trap". I plan to do a separate post for it sometime in the future, but since we're talking about O'Hara I thought I'd share it...







Designed by Bill Thomas, it was made by the Western Costume Company, who made all of the costumes for the Disney live action films and TV shows. It's one of the better pieces in my collection, for O'Hara, the movie, and how elegant the dress is. I love the mid-century glamour pieces.

Now onto part 2, or day 2 I should say, the main sale of Hollywood memorabilia...