Profiles In History: ‘Debbie Reynolds – The Auction Finale’ May 17-18, 2014

Image courtesy of Profiles In History.
Image courtesy of Profiles In History.

We’ve talked about Joe Maddalena and his team from Profiles In History on the Retroist on more than one occasion. You might know them from their ‘Hollywood Treasures’ show on Syfy but they’ve contacted us today about the upcoming final auction featuring items from Debbie Reynolds lifetime of obtaining Hollywood memorabilia. Some of the items up for auction include this VistaVision Motion Picture camera that just so happened to be used on Mary Poppins, Tron, and was borrowed for a little film called Star Wars!
Image courtesy of Profiles In History.
Image courtesy of Profiles In History.

How about Harpo Marx’s top hat and wig?

Image courtesy of Profiles In History.
Image courtesy of Profiles In History.

From the Press Release:
“-Profiles in History, the world’s largest auctioneer of Hollywood memorabilia, is proud to present the third and final auction of Debbie Reynolds’ Hollywood collection May 17-18, 2014. ‘Debbie Reynolds-The Auction Finale’ will feature treasures from virtually every discipline in movie making, including hundreds of costumes worn by such stars as Grace Kelly, Ingrid Bergman, Mae West, Barbara Stanwyck and Fred Astaire. In addition to the “star” wardrobe, Profiles in History will offer original costume designs and meticulously tailored studio gowns and wardrobe by legendary designers Adrian and Edith Head from Romeo and Juliet (MGM, 1936) and The Ten Commandments (Paramount, 1956). Also included are cameras and other studio equipment used to film Mary Poppins, Star Wars, The French Connection and The Exorcist. Over the past 40+ years, Debbie assembled a large collection of star portrait photography, movie scene stills, lobby cards and movie posters, including possibly the only three-sheet poster from Singin’ in the Rain in existence. Rounding out Debbie’s collection are the contents of the 20th Century-Fox wardrobe department, featuring studio sewing machines, thousands of ornate, vintage buttons, rare fabric and other elements used to create and repair costumes. Original studio furnishings and set decoration from the Hollywood “Golden Age” also accompany the collection. This sale represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire such artifacts from a Hollywood bygone era.

Auction highlights include:

Vivien Leigh “Scarlett O’Hara” ecru lace hat with chiffon scarf and pearl hat pin from Gone With the Wind (MGM, 1939). Worn by Vivien Leigh in the memorable scene when Scarlett O’Hara and her brother-in-law Ashley Wilkes (Leslie Howard) are discovered by India Wilkes (Alicia Rhett) and Mrs. Meade (Leona Roberts) hugging each other in the mill.

Grace Kelly “Linda Nordley” safari outfit designed by Helen Rose from Mogambo. Worn by Grace Kelly as “Linda Nordley” arriving at the priest’s compound. It was also worn in the final scene of the film as she and her husband board the boat to return home in Mogambo (MGM, 1953).

Gregory Peck “General Douglas MacArthur” military jacket and shirt from MacArthur. The dark olive wool Eisenhower style jacket with 8th Army Air patch, chest pin, pair of stars on the epaulettes and a pair of U.S. pins on the lapel was worn by Gregory Peck as “General Douglas MacArthur” on television with the Japanese leader and when he is informed of his retirement in MacArthur (Universal, 1977).

Harpo Marx signature vintage top hat and wig acquired directly from him. The vintage 1930’s collapsible pop-open fur and felt top hat with internal attached blonde wig was acquired directly from Harpo Marx, and attributed by him to numerous appearances.

Disney Studio’s VistaVision Motion Picture Camera used to film Mary Poppins, Tron and other features through the 1980s and borrowed for use on Star Wars. This was Disney’s only VistaVision camera and was used for visual effects composite shots on Mary Poppins (1964), Tron (1982) and other Disney films throughout the 1980s. Academy Award-winning visual effects genius Richard Edlund of Industrial Light & Magic borrowed this camera for use in creating the effects shots on Star Wars (1977).

Ingrid Bergman “Ivy Peterson” period dress designed by Adrian from Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and later worn by Angela Lansbury in Gaslight. Worn by Ingrid Bergman as “Ivy Peterson” when she visits Spencer Tracy (as Dr. Jekyll) at his office in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (MGM, 1941). Three years later under the costume supervision of Irene, dark grey pleated material was added to the collar and back bodice for Angela Lansbury’s Oscar-nominated role as “Nancy” when she is across the street from the house when Charles Boyer is apprehended in Gaslight (MGM, 1944).

Mae West “Ruby Carter” black and ivory period dress designed by Travis Banton for Belle of the Nineties (Paramount, 1934). Worn by Mae West as “Ruby Carter” when she goes to the big fight with Ace Lamont (John Miljan) in Belle of the Nineties.

Wooden chest from Quo Vadis, Julius Caesar and Valley of the Kings. Wooden chest with gold painted metal ornaments and Greek key decorations. Used in Nero’s (Peter Ustinov) bedchamber when he receives the news of Petronius’ (Leo Genn) death in Quo Vadis (MGM, 1951) and in Julius Caesar with Louis Calhern “Julius Caesar” threatening Lana Turner (MGM, 1953) and in the tomb of the Pharaoh with Robert Taylor “Mark Brandon” and Eleanor Parker “Ann Barclay Mercedes” in Valley of the Kings (MGM, 1954).

Extremely rare Singin’ in the Rain three sheet poster (MGM, 1952). Widely considered the most attractive poster for one of the best Hollywood musicals of all time, as well as the most beloved and respected title in Debbie Reynolds’ extensive film repertoire. This exceptionally well-preserved and complete oversize poster is, to our knowledge, the only known complete original in this format to be publicly offered for sale, as only a single incomplete version shows in auction records as changing hands some years ago. This is quite possibly the only opportunity in the conceivable future to own one of the greatest rarities in vintage film-poster collecting.

“We are excited to produce our third and final auction for Debbie Reynolds, who spent most of her lifetime amassing the single greatest Hollywood collection in the world. Her first two sales generated a world record $25 million so it’s nice to see the market appreciate the time and energy Debbie devoted to her collection,” said Joe Maddalena, owner of Profiles in History.”

Now it’s been stated before that everything that Profiles In History does is top notch, that is why their hardback catalogs for this auctions start at $200 (That is signed by Debbie Reynolds by the way), though if you are like me you’ll be more than glad to settle for the paperback catalog for $39.50 version.

Check out this video from the first auction uploaded by Movie Prop Collector featuring Debbie Reynolds explaining the importance of the collection in regards to the Golden Age of Hollywood and her moving thank you to those that would become the new caretakers of such film treasures.


Editor at Retroist
Searching through the alleys for useful knowledge in the city of Nostalgia. Huge cinema fanatic and sometimes carrier of the flame for the weirding ways of 80s gaming, toys, and television. When his wife lets him he is quite happy sitting in the corner eating buckets of beef jerky.

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