“Racing Lady” Insert, Courtesy of Louis Leithold
Year of Ann Dvorak: Day 178
Racing Lady isn’t much of a movie, but at the very least it’s a rare starring turn for Ann Dvorak. A big plus to the film is that as the star, Ann is on most of the poster art, which means I have a lot of Racing Lady in my collection. In fact, my very first 1930s one-sheet from an Ann-D film was Racing Lady, but today we’re going to take a closer look at the insert.
For those of you who don’t obsessively collect movie posters like the rest of us, U.S. inserts measure 14×36″. The artwork can sometimes be markedly different from the rest of the pieces and is frequently more visually appealing. This is definitely the case with the Racing Lady insert which is much prettier than the one-sheet and lobby cards.
I bought this poster around 2004 from a man named Louis Leithold. I came across his name while thumbing through a telephone directory where he was listed in the movie collectibles section of the yellow pages. My friend Darin and I went to his home in Pacific Palisades and spent a memorable afternoon with him.
Leithold was a noted mathematician who wrote a seminole textbook on calculus. He was also a rabid movie poster collector and had the most amazing personal collection of memorabilia I have ever seen. His home had once belonged to an artist so one portion was a studio with high ceilings that was perfect for displaying large format posters. He didn’t stop with the studio and his entire home was floor to ceiling posters, including the kitchen. The items in his collection were premium – titles that even the most casual film fan would be familiar with. And everything was restored and framed. Not sure if it was because of calculus, but Louise had serious money and he spent it on his collection.
For some reason, the pieces I remember most were lobby cards from Private Lives and the six-sheet from All this and Heaven Too. And of course there was the Racing Lady insert. He sold it to me for $125, and considering it had been restore, was a fair price. I am fairly certain he didn’t need the money, and we walked away with the impression that we was just someone who loved to show off his collection and meet other collectors. He was a gracious and entertaining gentleman, and I feel fortunate to have spent some time with him.
Not too long after we me him, Louis passed away. I was surprised to find out he was so well known in the world math. He never mentioned it while we were at his home. This was probably because we were too busy discussing our love of classic movie posters. Even though I only met Louis once, and just for a couple of hours, it was an afternoon I will never forget. Once again, I have Ann Dvorak to thank for causing me to cross paths with a fascinating individual.