Monday, May 23, 2011

Collecting Celebrities

I love movies.  Ever since I was about 13 and able to go to the movies myself (we had a theater really close to our house that I could walk to) I've loved spending afternoons or evenings seeing movies.  My friend Robin and I saw a LOT of movies in high school and her taste ran really mature for our age, so when everyone else was sneaking into "Porky's Revenge" we were sneaking into "Sweet Liberty" and "Compromising Positions".

As much as I love movies, though, I'm not big on celebrities.  Growing up, there wasn't an actor that I was in love with where  I'd HAVE to see his movies.  Now, I certainly have my faves (George Clooney, I'm looking in your direction) but it's because he's in wonderful movies and he's a fantastic actor.  Okay, so he is very nice to look at.  But that's just the icing on the cake.  Really!  :D

In the past century, it seems as though the entire free world has been at the least, interested and at the worst, obsessed with celebrities.  Case in point:  these German-Austrian collectible cards from the 20s and 30s.  Do you know who Mady Christians, Lil Dagover, Jack Buchanan or Lillian Gish are?  Me neither (okay, I DO know who Lillian Gish is.  Have I mentioned that I was one of those geeky kids who used to watch "Matinee at the Bijou" on PBS on Sunday afternoons?).  I love that at one point, beginning with the silent era, all of these actors had enough star power to land them on tobacco cards.  Yet here I am, 80-90 years later, still talking about them but only in their anonymity with all but the most fervent film buff.

On the flip side, if you're reading this and you're an American over the age of 35, I'm pretty sure you know who Roy Rogers is, if only because of his roast beef restaurants (I can't believe those still exist!).  These little cards came in a lot of ephemera that I purchased off of Ebay and Roy is pretty darn young here! Alas, the era of singing cowboys is long gone, but Roy seems to have staying power.  I was surprised to learn that Roy would've been 100 this year and Dale Evans, his wife, would be 99.  Roy's horse, Trigger (who in his heyday was as big a star as Roy himself) is stuffed and mounted in the rearing position.  I believe Roy and Dale's museum, late of Branson, MO, is now permanently closed.  But that's where Trigger was displayed.

All of these anecdotes beg the question;  when we're long gone, will someone be writing a blog post (or telepathically sending a blog post or whatever people are doing then) about forgotten actor George Clooney?  Or will he survive as a celebrity like Elizabeth Taylor or Paul Newman?  Chances are we'll be forgetting celebrities like Paris Hilton and Charlie Sheen (which is sad, because at one point the guy could actually act).

I don't use actors or musicians in my cards very often, and when I do, they're pretty obscure.  For example, the two cards I've made below are of Ossi Oswalda and Richard Barthelmess, respectively.  Nope, I didn't know who they were, either.  :D

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