For the last seven years we’ve shared some photos from the Donald Gordon Collection with you.
Here today are four of the best.
At this point, you might well ask, just who is Donald Gordon, and how did we come by his stash of eye-catching photos?
John Madden, our late pal and fellow classic movie-lover, bequeathed to Joe a veritable treasure trove of informal, impromptu black-and-white photographs that more than anything we can think of provide informal, personalized glimpses of Hollywood in its Golden Age. Donald Gordon and John were close friends. (In fact, Gordon in his last years owned the New York City brownstone where John resided.)
Before he died Donald gave John this marvelous cache of photos. These snapshots taken by Donald are the kind often taken at parties, outings and family events of one kind or another. But this was HOLLYWOOD.
These photos were not the usual shots of unrecognizable or forgotten relatives at their leisure. No, the subjects in these snapshots were – and perhaps still are — some of the most recognizable faces on the planet. And in many of the shots there is also Donald Gordon.
Donald was a young actor who found himself under contract at Columbia Pictures during World War II. He was a genial, likable actor and stand-in, who actually became friends with most of the people he photographed. They appear to actually have enjoyed being captured by or with Donald. (He was considered a fellow professional, by no means an intrusively autograph seeker.)
As you’ll see on our blog, 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.
QUESTION: Can you identify the following folks posing with Donald?
HINT: She was the mainstay of a studio and a hugely popular World War II pinup.
HINT: A woman not to be messed with, as her then husband (Phillip Terry, left) discovered.
HINT: Hard to recognize her without the swimsuit.
HINT: “The Fat Man”