His photo is another gem from our private Donald Gordon Collection.
You are probably wondering — just who is this Donald Gordon, anyway? Thus these words of explanation:
Donald was a young actor who found himself under contract at Columbia Pictures during World War II.
The studios in this wartime period were a bit less fussy about male hires, so Donald made the grade although he never quite made it big. He appears to have spent much of his time making friends on and off the studio lot, made easier by the fact that Donald was an outgoing, amiable type, easy to like.
And, if you were a friend, Donald took your picture. Then to seal the deal he had someone else snap a shot of him posing with his famous pal.
As you’ll continue to see on our blog in the coming weeks, the amazing informality – almost intimacy – of Donald with his subjects is a pleasure to behold. No posed studio shots in full makeup, staged with the precision of a Swiss watch.
These were shots of some of Hollywood’s best-known personalities in mufti, so to speak, lounging around pools, front lawns, departing restaurants or in actual costume on the set. After Donald’s death we came into possession of his amazing cache of snapshots, which we are delighted to publish.
Now on to the identity of our handsome subject above.
He was a dashing leading man when Donald snapped this Forties-era candid.
This is Donald’s tribute of sorts to this then rising young Paramount star. He had recently appeared with Veronica Lake in a little film This Gun for Hire which featured a then unknown young lad named Alan Ladd.
Although today he is primarily remembered for his stage and screen portrayals of ‘Harold Hill’ in The Music Man, and ‘Toddy’ in Victor/Victoria, he had a long and varied career in film.
Does the name Robert Preston ring a bell?