For over ten years, eBay has been a daily part of my life and has proven itself time and again to be a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, we collectors have access to items from all over the world that we might not encounter without online auctions. On the other hand, having access to items all over the world on a regular basis can really drain the bank account. I am always shocked by my monthly total on the “Items Won” section of “My eBay.”
Traditionally, I have found myself paying far more for items on eBay than I would in person. I guess there’s a sense of urgency and paranoia that once the auction ends you will never see the item again. Add onto it the sense of competing with the entire world and one can go a bit crazy with the bidding.
If there is one thing that 10+ years of collecting movie memorabilia has taught me, it’s that stuff always shows up again. It may take 5 years, but the poster or photo that got away on eBay will be yours eventually (esp photos which the studios printed and distributed in large quantities). Still, sometimes bidding can get out of hand and we are left with the consequences.
Which brings us to the week’s Collection Spotlight. I bought this still from The Way to Love a few years back on eBay. Behind the scenes shots are always pretty cool, but this particular photo showing Ann and director Norman Taurog is especially striking. Not only is the lighting very dramatic, but the two of them look so intense, you’d never know this was a comedy. I was so taken with this photo that I put in some ridiculous ceiling bid on eBay, never thinking that I would have fierce competition for it. While it is one of my favorite Ann-D photos, every time I look at it all I can think is “I can’t believe I paid 80 dollars for this!” Of the 845 photos I own of Ann, there are very few that I have paid more that $20 for, which is why this particular purchase was so painful, though I probably would have been really upset if I had not won the auction. Since then, I usually try to shy away from putting in high bids that I am not serious about.
The Way to Love was Ann’s first film in almost year, after walking out on her contract in July of 1932 to honeymoon in Europe. Warner Bros loaned her out to Paramount for this Maurice Chevalier musical, and interestingly, Ann replaced Sylvia Sidney who had been giving the studio a hard time. It’s a sweet film and a little bizarre, as early Paramount films tend to be, with Ann playing a forlorn gypsy.
Up next time…when eBay goes right.
So, I just realized today that when I relaunched the site last November, the firstname.lastname@example.org email address stopped forwarding to my Gmail. Yes, I thought it was a little odd that I had not heard from other Ann fans for awhile, but apparently not odd enough to look into it. Now, I have around 900, mostly spam, emails to sort through, but it looks like a few admirers of Miss Dvorak have been kind enough to drop me a line.
For those of you who sent me an email sometime in the last six months, my apologies for being so lame, and you will be hearing from me in the next couple of days.
The Crowd Roars is going to air on Turner Classic Movies on Friday, May 9 at 2:30am EST
While this website is designed to be all Ann Dvorak all the time, I am going to stray for this one post to promote a side project I have been invited to contribute to.
Richard and Kim are a couple of regular patrons at the library who run the Estouric Bus Adventures around Los Angeles and for the last three years have recruited locals to contribute to The 1947 Project, which is a blog reporting a crime a day in LA on a particular year.
This year, Kim has switched gears and decided to highlight Bunker Hill and was kind enough to invite me along for the ride. For those unaware, Bunker Hill was an elevated area of Downtown Los Angeles that was developed in the 1880s as residential neighborhood with beautiful Victorian mansions. Most of the homes eventually became boarding houses and the area was pretty rundown, though still very interesting, by the 1940s and was used as a filming location for a lot of noir flicks. In the 1950s & 60s, the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) razed the ENTIRE neighborhood and now it’s the area that forms the Downtown skyline.
A group of us locals have been furiously typing away and I hope you’ll get a chance to check out the contributions, even though they have nothing to do with Ann-D!
And now back to our regularly scheduled program…