Sunday, January 12, 2014

Robert Preston costume worn in "The Lady From Cheyenne"


Here is a period frock coat worn by Robert Preston in the 1941 western comedy-drama "The Lady From Cheyenne" starring Loretta Young and made at Universal Studios...




It's the story of a school teacher in 1860's Wyoming who owns land that is wanted by a corrupt local businessman, and how she fights back and also fights for women's liberation... Along the way she is befriended by the businessman's lawyer so that he can try and get her land, but of course they fall in love... It's a fun movie with a great supporting cast and can be watched on youtube. He wears the coat about 13 minutes in, and then again in a later scene...


*********************************************************************************************


A little about the great "Music Man" himself...


A 1941 studio portrait


Robert Preston began his career doing theater in Pasadena California, after growing up in L.A. and attending high school there. A talent scout from Paramount Studios saw him in a play and signed him to a contract, and he went on to play supporting roles in many films for the studio during the late 30's and throughout the 40's. Most of the movies he did are forgotten today, aside from the ones he did with Cecil B. DeMille, like "Northwest Mounted Police" and "Reap the Wild Wind". He was also memorable in William Wellman's remake of "Beau Geste". Preston went out on loan to Universal to make "The Lady From Cheyenne", one of the few films he made outside of Paramount. He was also one of the many actors to leave Hollywood and join the Army during WWII. He was in the Army Air Corps and served as an intelligence officer.

After his time at Paramount in the 1940's, Preston went to Broadway and began doing plays. In 1957 he was signed to play the role of "Professor" Harold Hill in Meredith Willson's "The Music Man", and the rest, as they say, is history... After working in Hollywood and on Broadway for almost 20 years, he achieved international stardom in "The Music Man" and immortalized the role of Harold Hill. What's interesting is that he had never done a musical in his life, yet he took to this role so brilliantly that you'd think he had always done musical comedy. He won the Tony Award for the role, and went on to make the movie at Warner Bros. in 1962. 

Preston went on to do other Broadway musicals including "I Do, I Do" for which he won another Tony, and "Mack and Mabel" where he played movie comedy pioneer Mack Sennett. In 1974 he co-starred in the movie version of "Mame" with Lucille Ball, and in 1982 he made his last great movie "Victor/Victoria" with Julie Andrews. 

     *************************************************************************************************************************

Vera West is credited for doing the "gowns" for the movie, which probably means that she designed Loretta Young's wardrobe exclusively. She was the head of the Universal Studios costume department in the early 1940's, so she probably had a staff that would design costumes for the male stars and supporting players. But, it's a possibility that she did design the coat, since Preston plays the male lead.









Here's the snipe that's on the back of the photo above. It seems it was used at the Academy for an exhibit which is interesting... 


Below is the original "Western Costume Company" label with his name... 


Western Costume made all of Universal Studio's wardrobe in the 1940's, at least most of it as far as I know... Even ladies costumes I've seen from movies made during the 40's at the studio bear a Western label. However very few pieces have surfaced from this time. I think most are either still at Western Costume or in the Universal Studios wardrobe department...  


No comments:

Post a Comment