A few weeks ago we discussed scrapbooking the stars. How in the past (and who knows, maybe even today) fans filled scrapbooks with clippings and photos of their favorite stars.
We asked our readers if they knew of any such scrapbooks and one faithful reader, Jeff Woodman, fessed up.
OK, kind of ashamed to admit this, but at the back of a closet, on a nearly unreachable shelf, there resides to this day a cardboard box containing a few dozen overflowing manila envelopes of yellowing clippings, labeled variously, “large Susan Haywards,” “small Loretta Youngs,” “large Rosalind Russells,” etc…
I last opened it 20 years ago and basically “wallpapered” my kitchen with the most interesting ones. Haven’t seen the rest of its contents since, but I’m completely incapable of getting rid of it. I expect it will be carted out one day, along side my corpse…
Well Jeff, Joe has dozens of similar boxes, and a few “wallpapered” rooms as well. And he can’t bring himself to toss any of them out either. And bully for those of us who are helping to preserve these pieces of cinema history.
Not everything will be on the internet. And years from now film historians will want to have physical items to use as research.
The two most worthy archives of cinema history are The Margaret Herrick Library at The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles and The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. But there are dozens more archives spread around the country.
In East Los Angeles there is a branch of the L. A. County Library named for one of East L.A.’s most famous denizens, Anthony Quinn (pictured above).
There dozens of cardboard boxes held the personal “scrapbooks” of the first Mexican- American actor to win an Academy Award. Clippings date back to a 1939 ad for his film “Island of Lost Men,” with ticket prices at 10 cents. Photos shows life on the sets of other films, including Lawrence of Arabia, the 1962 David Lean epic in which Mexico-born Quinn portrays a hotheaded Arab, Auda Abu Tayi of Howitat tribe.
Historians are using the material as a glimpse of how Hollywood treated ethnic minorities.
“It has incredible value for writing the history of Latinos in the U.S. film industry,” according to USC film school professor Laura Serna, an expert on Latino cinema.
Serna told the L.A. Times that even through such mundane objects as expense accounts and contracts the collection can provide details about how actors “negotiated the ethnic and class divides in an arena in which Mexican Americans were generally marginalized —- except, of course, as a possible market.”
The point is that all those cardboard boxes in all those closets across America can not only provide entertainment but historical perspective to future generations.
So loyal readers and loyal fans ask your friends and relatives and fellow film buffs if they have any scrapbooks they’d like to share.