Inside Hollywood Heritage Museum’s Star-Studded Show

May 21, 2024

Stepping inside ...
Where magic was made!
Eve Arden (1908-1990) wore this in At the Circus (1939)

On a trip to L.A., I visited the Hollywood Heritage Museum (2100 N. Highland, L.A.), the site of the oldest movie studio Hollywood, and the place where the first feature film was made by Cecil B. DeMille (1881-1959) and Jesse Lasky (1880-1958) in 1912.

Two incredible garments, worn by Jane Russell (1921-2011) and Dorothy Lamour (1914-1996)
I guess Lucille Ball (1911-1989) flipped her wig ... and someone caught it.
When Lucy was on the clock

It was designated a landmark and officially preserved way back in 1956.

The famous popcorn blouse Judy Garland (1922-1969) wore in Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
Enduring kid star Margaret O'Brien (b. 1937) wore this frock in 1948's Tenth Avenue Angel. I hear she isn't feeling well, and wish her the best.
Beautiful girls ...

These days, it's a must-see museum space, and it's currently hosting dozens of unbelievably rare Hollywood-history items on loan from some of the most prominent collectors around in a show called Meet the Stars: 100 Years of MGM Studios and the Golden Age of Hollywood.

It's the exact outfit Shirley Temple (1928-2014) wore in The Blue Bird (1940).
The opposite of Shirley Temple? Mae West (1893-1980)

My friend Roy, who runs Baby Jane of Hollywood, took me His Hedy Lamarr collection was a major part of the exhibition, including a gown and photos and other one-of-a-kind pieces.

First back-to-back Oscar winner Luise Rainer (1910-2014) wore this fabulous coast to accept one of her awards.

Most spectacularly, he owns a dramatic painting of Lamarr (1914-2000) by the late actor Reginald Gardiner (1903-1980) that he first saw decades ago, tried to buy from Gardiner's estate and eventually tracked down at an auction. I love that kind of collecting story.

Me (R) with Roy
Lamarr's gown from Let's Live a Little (1948) and THE painting
Hedy's expression is priceless

He even discovered photos of Lamarr sitting for the image, and one reacting to it.

Hunting high and Harlow
Just an incredible piece of movie history

Darrell Rooney's Jean Harlow (1911-1937) goodies are also mind-blowing. The piece I couldn't believe was a signed guest page from the premiere of Grand Hotel (1932) — how could something like that survive? It was displayed with an image of Harlow signing the thing.

The beauty of Jack's Miller-abilia is that it includes many items related to her momager.

I also bumped into Jack Priest. In spite of being very young and Australian, he's not only a Hollywood-history buff, he is one of the world's leading collectors of Ann Miller (1923-2004). He has mind-blowing personal items of Miller's that anyone with even a passing interest in her needs to check out in person to believe.

Roy originally found this item at Western Costume. It was later verified to be Johnny Weissmuller's (1904-1984) original Tarzan loincloth!
Silent hero Francis X. Bushman's (1883-1966) personal items and movie goodies
I personally love how-did-this-survive? promotional items.
I loved this — it's a handprint and signature by Anna May Wong (1905-1961) that was either part of a movie-mag feature or possibly acquired by a palm reader in the '30s.
Have a seat!

I can't recommend the place highly enough if you're a fan of the movies. On top of all the history, its volunteers are super friendly and will be happy to explain who some of the stars are or answer any other questions.

Carmen Miranda (1909-1955) had the daintiest feet!
L-R Greta Garbo (1905-1990), Esther Williams (1921-2013) & Sonja Henie (1912-1969) wore these.

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