Hollywood: No Laughing Matter
This sale feels personal
By Bruce McKinney
For a few days in LA this month it is going to seem like Hollywood memorabilia is a dime a dozen. This is because it literally will be. The contents of the Collectors Book Store in Hollywood with its three to four million items will be dispersed over three days as 3,009 lots. This works out to more than 1,100 items per lot, two lots a minute, 1.2 million items a day. When its over the largest concentration of Hollywood kitsch to come on the market in decades will have been dispersed. We know it will sell because the reserves have been set low, typically $200 to $300. The sellers don't want the material back.
What's there? It of course depends on who you speak to. What's interesting is that many people have opinions and many of them are unprintable. The same is not true for the descriptions that have been printed in a deluxe 386 page catalog on 40 pound glossy stock. The catalogue notwithstanding, about this sale the only thing everyone agrees on is that no one knows what's really there. The lots are so complex that they are more akin to secret-Santa packages than traditional auction lots.
Lot 2331 is "Large Lot of 160+ signed books including actor, actress, and director biographies and autobiographies, books on film and movie tie-ins, as well as books about Hollywood culture." The lot includes copies signed by Ronald Reagan, Nancy Reagan, Richard Nixon, Charles Bukowski , Edward Abby, Ann-Margaret, Yul Brenner, Eddie Cantor, Jackie Chan, Michael Crichton, Tony Curtis, Kirk Douglas, James Ellroy, Lillian Gish, Spike Lee, Janet Leigh, Jay Leno, Leonard Nimoy, Anne Rice, Neil Simon, Jane Smiley, Gloria Swanson, Lars von Trier, Fay Wray and many others. The estimate is $200-300.
Lot 2,332 is another "Large Lot of 350+ signed books including actor, actress, and director biographies and autobiographies, books on film and movie tie-ins, works on fiction, as well as books about Hollywood culture." Estimate $200-$300. This sounds like an instant collection or an eBay seller's inventory acquisition.
Lots 2333-2485 is "the script archive." I know you are now wondering which movies are involved. Think again and focus on an actor or director. Lot 2333 is 21 Barrymore items, 2334 4 Clara Bow pieces, 2335 15 Brando items, 2336 10 Cagney, 2339 16 Gary Cooper, 2341 24 Bing Crosby, 2342 7 Bette Davis, 2351 13 Judy Garland, 2352 20 Cary Grant. The list is long.
Now let's think about categories of scripts. Lot 2383 is 50 musicals. If you miss that one 2384 is 18 more. For those who prefer vintage material lot 2397 is scripts from 11 Laurel & Hardy films, 2398 2 Harold Lloyd, 2393 13 W. C. Fields, 2399 3 Marx Brothers. Perhaps you'd like material from the 'Our Gang' comedies. Lot 2402 includes 27 pieces. Do you prefer genre? There are 16 'Universal Horror' lots. If you feel incomplete with 'Planet of the Apes' material check out lot 2433. How about the Muppet movies? Lot 2431 contains scripts from 7 films. In this auction you can be fussy. For specialists [in what?] 2438 is 'Giant Monsters and Savage Beasts.' Twenty-seven items from 16 films will keep you occupied. If you prefer a director's perspective there are separate lots of scripts for Frank Capra, Frances Ford Coppola, Cecil B. DeMille, Brain De Palma, John Ford, Howard Hanks, John Huston, Sam Peckinpah to mention only a few of this group.
Hollywood: No Laughing Matter
Lot 3009. 4000 scripts. Est. $200-$300
If you missed you comfortable to see 'culture' and 'Hollywood' in the same sentence and LIKE to read lot 2488 is '10,000+ issues of Film and Hollywood Culture Magazines.' You will never have to buy Hollywood Confidential again at the grocery store check-out. YOU will be the inside source.
For 'students of' as opposed to 'collectors of' Hollywood lot 2491 is your gateway to researching tinsel town. It includes more than 150 general film and TV reference books.
Do you own a barn and feel a hankering to fill it? Lot 2492 will go a long way. It's 140,000 photographs of various stars. Lot 2493 will get you another 500,000 photographs. Lot 2494 will add 60,000 more. And then there is lot 2495. It's 160 cartons [estimated to contain 200,000+] of photographs. If you remember liking your school pictures and trading them with friends here is a chance to go global as a free lance agent. "I'll trade you one Marilyn Monroe for your signed Morely Schaffer and throw in a Captain Kirk." Your world may never be the same.
There are also posters. A typical lot includes about a thousand of them. A small lot includes 300 and a large lot 5,000. There are many such lots and something for every taste. Lot 2774 is a thousand+ adult film posters. Decorators, collectors and eBay resellers will all be buyers of posters, most of which are for wholesome entertainment.
For one and done collectors of James Bond lot 2775 will both begin and end your collecting. Hundreds of posters as well as ancillary material movie material is included.
For older folks lot 2776 is a complete archive of Lucille Ball material. To understand what's included in the lot think of every conceivable item and then multiply by two. You'll be close.
For thirty somethings lot 2777 is a Star Wars archive. I'll give you a hint. You'll never need to buy wallpaper again.
I started this story at lot 2331 so you must be wondering if the lot numbering begins there. The answer is no. It begins at 1. The first two thirds of the sale are photographs of some very famous people. The subjects, sizes and number of photographs vary from a single image to more than 10,000 in a single lot. Here is a random list of the famous, not-so-famous, and the once famous and now forgotton. This is .001 of the list. The number of images is almost beyond calculation.
Hollywood: No Laughing Matter
Delores Del Rio
Who will show up for this sale? The greedy, the needy, the in-love and out-of-sorts and that's just to bid on the first page. Many fortunes will be made and perhaps a few lost. This auction isn't about facts. It's all about emotion. So plan to inspect ahead of time, register for a paddle, bid online or in the room. Buy yourself a holiday gift. It's something you'll be talking about years from now. Hopefully your story will have a happy ending.
Here is a link to the Collector's Bookstore auction. The material can be inspected in LA at the Collector's Bookstore, 6225 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028. Check the site for days and hours.