We still like aliteration, so we’ve come up with Motoring Mondays — Stars and their Cars.
Yes, that’s Jimmy Stewart, posing with his Plymouth in the late 1930s.
Hello everybody, Joe Morella and Frank Segers, your classic movie guys, here to announce that for reasons completely beyond our control, our Mug Shot Monday series is in hiatus. Seems the old-time studio apparatchiks were amazingly successful in sweeping under the carpet all dirt relating to the many indiscretions of big time stars.
In short, we ran out of available mug shots of anyone close to the description of a classic movie star. It was either Tim Allen or stars-and-their-cars, and we chose the latter.
The public of the 1920s and 1930s loved photos of their favorite movie stars AND they loved cars. So some clever press agents in the movie business decided to put the two together.
Over the decades there were many publicity stills of major stars with the autos they drove. This was a way to keep stars names and pictures in the newspapers even if they didn’t have a picture in release.
The fan magazines followed Jimmy Stewart’s private life quite closely. He was an eligible bachelor who dated some of the most popular and glamourous stars, such as Ginger Rogers and Olivia deHavilland (who looks surprisingly sexy in the photo below).
The public could imagine him squiring the girls about in his latest vehicle. Stewart was in his late 20’s when he was photographed (above) with his Plymouth, about the time he embarked on such memorable movie titles as 1938’s You Can’t Take It With You and 1939’s Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
Although he looks pretty spiffy here, Stewart was ill cast as a Hollywood Lothario. The 6-foot-3 Princeton man remained single until 1949 when he married his one and only wife (of nearly 45 years), Gloria, a former model. Still, Stewart managed to get around town at the time the above publicity shot was taken.
The idea of stars posing with their impressively expensive vehicles is amusing today. Can you imagine, say, Sean Penn next to his car of preference? Since movie stars have always been deeply embedded in the economic 1%, such a stunt would not go over well in these populist times.
Still, the photos we have are fun, and we intend to run as many as we can. And some of the cars accompanying the stars are doozies, not your average Mercedes or BMW. We are delighted to report that old time Hollywood made and spent without public apology.