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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

HOT SPOTS in CA: TCM's Moguls and Movie Stars Exhibit

Moguls and Movie Stars: Nov. 18, 2010

As many of you certainly know, Turner Classic Movies has been playing a very informative docu-miniseries detailing the world of Hollywood cinema from its birth thru the end of the studio system. (The show airs Mondays at 8pm EST). In addition to these seven episodes, TCM also featured a traveling exhibit, which displayed the many different details and artifacts more thoroughly described on the show. This exhibit recently made a pit-stop in Los Angeles as part of its pilgrimage at "The Grove" shopping center in Beverly Hills.  I was able to attend the presentation last Thursday and saw the different pieces, which I share with you now.

Timeline of Innovation

Fairly small, the exhibit still was able to boast some impressive pieces of movie history, most specifically in their large standing timelines, complete with important historical dates, film clips, and varied physical elements from Hollywood's heyday. One very interesting portion revealed the initial visual illusion of the "running horse," which was a primary form of entertainment before actual moving film took hold of the nation.

Casablanca Oscar

One such piece, that I found the most impressive, was an actual check signed by Irving G. Thalberg himself and made out to John Gilbert, one of the most tragically forgotten male stars of silent cinema. To have a piece of paper that passed through the hands of two of the greatest representative pillars of moviedom was quite a sight to see.

Famous Check!

Additionally, there were several movie magazines on display, showing some of the biggest box office draws throughout the years. Watching how the magazine covers changed over time from illustrations to photographs was a very interesting metamorphosis, and altering social attitudes were clearly delineated from cover to cover.

Ga-Ga for Greta

However, the most jaw-dropping portion of the exhibit was the display of different costumes worn by some of the biggest stars in some of the most famous movies of all time: Christopher Plummer's suit from The Sound of Music, Vivien Leigh's dress from Gone with the Wind, Rudolph Valentino's costume from The Sheik, and Marilyn Monroe's sweater suit from Niagara. Seeing these pieces of fashion-- once worn by various legends-- up close and personal evoked two things: 1) The surprise that stars on the silver screen are much smaller than they appear and 2) Pure awe and wonder-- "My God... Marilyn Monroe wore this?" (sigh)

Marilyn's Suit from Niagara

The tour has sadly come to an end, having made stops in New York, Atlanta, Denver, San Francisco, and finally L.A. La Land. It was a real treat to witness it, and I hope that TCM will continue to do such interesting exhibitions in the future. It is always nice to witness first hand the curiously beautiful ghosts of the past in the fast-paced and grueling nature of the present. 

(To view the rest of my pics from the show, go to my Myspace Album, here).

Happy Thanksgiving!!! [From Groucho and all the Stars of LALaLand ;)]


  1. so glad you were able to go! it's always such fun to see costumes up close and personal, especially as an addition to an already great series from tcm.

  2. Looks fabulous - wish I'd been there.

  3. At first I was a little frightened at the thought of the documentary series. I had just started my historical walking tour company and thought, "Oh great, all of the content of my tour will be on tv!"

    But, just like Hollywood itself, there are so many events, stories and anecdotes that each enhance, rather than repeat, each other.

    And typical of TCM, the series is exquisite!

  4. Lucky you, I would have loved to have seen that!