The 2017 TCM Film Festival: Revisiting Adventures in Paradise — Part 1
It was the best of times, y’all.
On April 4-9, 2017, I attended my fifth Turner Classic Movies Film Festival. Held in the heart of Hollywood, California, this four-day event features wall-to-wall movies, celebrity sightings, fascinating presentations and interviews, and friends, food and fun! (Not to mention my latest discovery – the basil gimlet. Yum.)
As I did with last year’s fest, I plan to cover the 2017 event year-round, because I just don’t want to stop talking about it! So strap yourself in and come on along for the ride!
This time around, I traveled to L.A. two days before the festival started, in the hopes of getting in some sightseeing. I did a tour of Warner Bros. Studios and movie star homes, but by far my favorite “extra” was the Hollywood Museum. Located in the old Max Factor building near Hollywood Blvd. and Highland Avenue (and right next door to my favorite Hollywood eatery, Mel’s Diner), the Hollywood Museum features three floors jam-packed with all sorts of memorabilia, from the silent era to the present. But there was only one reason for my visit this year: the museum’s exhibit on Jean Harlow. Not only is Harlow one of my very favorite actresses, but I’d heard from several reliable sources that the Harlow display was not to be missed.
And, boy, were they right!
My pictures can’t begin to capture the wondrousness of seeing so many personal Harlow effects – it was like stepping back in time! – but I hope you’ll get some idea.
This is Harlow’s baby picture and her silver diaper pins.
Harlow’s “Dolly Dingle” doll.
If you look closely, you can see the embroidered footstool and the green cigarette holder on the right in the accompanying photos.
These rattan chairs were part of the furnishings in Harlow’s last house, on North Palm Drive in Beverly Hills.
This was part of a mural commissioned by Harlow’s first husband, Paul Bern, for Bern’s German hunting lodge-style home in a remote canyon in Beverly Hills. The mural depicts Harlow’s ascension to the “inner circle” at MGM. Harlow is in the middle; to her left are Irving Thalberg (standing), Joan Crawford, and Norma Shearer. Others in the painting include David O. Selznick, Ben Lyon, Bebe Daniels, John Gilbert, and writer Gene Markey.
Harlow’s charm bracelet.
This is the actual closet door from Harlow’s home on Club View Drive.
Harlow wore this dress in one of my favorite films, Bombshell (1993).
This beautiful 1932 Packard Sport Phaeton was purchased by the actress in April 1933. She kept it until her death.
A complete setting of Harlow’s silverware (with an ‘H’ on the handle), some of her embroidered or hem-stitched handkerchiefs, and tissue on which she blotted her lipstick.
A letter on Harlow’s personal stationery.
In May 1937, Harlow attended a boxing match and carried this navy blue handkerchief, which can be seen in the photo. It was her last public appearance.
After Harlow’s death in June 1937, her mother, Jean Bello, commissioned this portrait of her, entitled ‘Farewell to Earth.’ According to Mrs. Bello, when her daughter said goodbye, she never waved as most people do. Instead, she “flung her arm over her head in a sort of gallant salute.” The painting remained in Mrs. Bello’s possession until she died in 1958. At that time, it was passed on to her longtime friend, Ruth Hamp, but when Mrs. Hamp died, the painting all but disappeared, and remained missing for more than 50 years. In 2016, the painting resurfaced in a private collection in Missouri and was returned to Hollywood.
If you have a chance to take in this breathtaking exhibit, don’t miss it!
(You only owe it to yourself.)
And stay tuned for more from the 2017 Turner Classic Movies Film Festival!