Posts Tagged ‘Joan Crawford’

What Lurks In Your Walls Or Some People Have All The Luck

October 20, 2010

As I have stated many times before, I love the Antiques Roadshow[1].  I especially love hearing the stories of how people happened to find their treasures. Usually people find things at yard sales, estate sales, tucked away in an attic, a basement, a closet or even curbside. Well, not too long ago there were two people who found treasures in their home that would astound the appraisers at the Antiques Roadshow.

First there’s Blair Pitre of Lacombe, Alberta, Canada. He bought a turn of the century bungalow and started work on renovating it.  As he was tearing down the walls, he found movie posters from the late 1920’s/early 1930’s featuring actors such as Greta Garbo, Charlie Chaplin and Joan Crawford. This is an important period in the history of motion pictures because the industry was transitioning from silent to talkies. The previous owner, an 80-year-old woman who died in 2009, was the granddaughter of an early twentieth century movie theater owner in Pitre’s town. As to why the posters were in the wall, most likely she used them as insulation and never thought that they would be worth anything. Pitre had the posters auctioned off to help pay for renovation of his house. One poster, Bulldog Drummond, a drama from 1929 sold for $9,000. Pitre hopes to find more posters in his home. In particular, he is hoping to find Metropolis, since that poster is worth a million dollars.

Next there’s retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Martin Kober. For as long as he could remember, a painting of the Virgin Mary crying over the crucified Jesus has been in his family.  Family lore said that the painting was a Michelangelo. The item hung over the sofa of his parents home, until the day when the younger Kober threw a tennis ball and knocked it off the wall. His parents then wrapped it up and kept it behind the sofa. When Kober retired in 2003, he decided to research the history of this painting. One expert, Antonio Forcellino says that the painting is a actual Michelangelo painting, another expert, William Wallace says that it isn’t. Forcellino bases his claims on his expertise as a restorer, as well as the painting’s similarity to a drawing Michelangelo did that is now at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Wallace states that while the piece is impressive, it was not done by Michelangelo. So, who’s right? Time and more examination by experts will tell.

Still, what I want to know is why are Pitre and Kober so lucky? How come their treasures were right under their noses and all that’s in my walls is insulation and all that is behind my sofa are dust bunnies? This inquiring mind wants to know.

Sources:

http://www.montrealgazette.com/entertainment/movie-guide/Lost+found+Vintage+movie+posters+fetch/3300921/story.html

http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/10/12/new.york.painting


[1] Antiques Roadshow is the American version of the BBC television show of the same name that airs on PBS. This show has people bringing their antique and collectible items to appraisers and the appraisers tell them if their items are worth anything. Sometimes the items are worth something and sometimes they aren’t.

 

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When the Famous Become Infamous

May 26, 2010

Recently there was a bench warrant issued for Lindsey Lohan’s arrest after she failed to appear in court.  Lohan has been in and out of court, since her 2007 drunk driving conviction and it was reported that she had been partying big time at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Before anyone start complaining about how spoiled some actors and actresses are these days and stating how actors and actresses of the 1930’s, 1940’s and 1950’s conducted themselves differently, think again. Some actors and actresses of the past were just as bad.

Errol Flynn drank heavily, shamelessly chased after women and died in the arms of his teenage mistress when he was 50 years old. Joan Crawford was reported by her daughter Christina in her famous book Mommie Dearest as having been both physically and verbally abusive towards her and her brother.

Of course, this information came about after these persons died. Back in the day, there wasn’t TMZ, or Extra reporting about their exploits and the studios were willing to “bail out” a particular actor or actress, both literally and figuratively, when that person got into trouble.  While studio executives weren’t happy to learn about a particular star’s infamous exploits, they “protected” their stars.  They considered it the cost of doing business with these people. After all, the movies of Errol Flynn and Joan Crawford and others, made money for the studios, so the executives put up with “that” kind of behavior.

When the studio system dissolved, so did the protection it afford people. Yes, actors and actresses have more freedom to pursue projects to their liking, the flip side of being an independent contractor is that they are vulnerable to a spurned boyfriend or girlfriend, ex-employee or other person leaking information about drug habits, relationship problems or other juicy tidbits to the press and no one can do anything about it.

So, the next time you hear about some famous bad boy or girl du jour, remember this:  They’re just continuing a long and not so illustrious  tradition.

Sources:

http://www.tmz.com/2010/05/20/lindsay-lohan-bench-warrant-jail-court-dui-hearing-probation-passport-judge/

http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Lindsay+Lohan+longer+large/3057692/story.html

http://www.inlikeflynn.com/flynn.html