I’m not exactly sad to see 2017 come to end, but if this year has taught me anything, it’s how important it is to find light, joy, and beauty, no matter how small and in what form. Recently, it did occur to me that this year marks a number of personal Ann Dvorak milestones, which for me is a reason to celebrate. If you don’t mind, I did want to take a moment and acknowledge my many Ann-versaries.
In the fall of 1997, I was on the verge of graduating with a B.A. in Film and needed to do an internship. I wound up at a below-the-line talent agency in Beverly Hills where I spent a fairly miserable 3 months with the demanding agents. It was also 3 amazing months because the assistant was a fella named Darin who knew more about classic film than anyone I had ever met, and who collected vintage Norma Shearer memorabilia to boot. In a desperate attempt to impress him, I conjured up the name Ann Dvorak and – the rest is history. Darin introduced me to the world of movie memorabilia by giving me my first scene still and I was sunk. 20 years later, Darin and I are still the best of friends and our collections are magnificently out of control. Darin even finally put up his own website dedicated to Miss Shearer. Had I not signed up for that miserable internship, I might not be typing this right now.
It’s crazy to think that this website has existed for a full 15 years, but it has! In November 2002, I somehow managed to launched the first iteration of this site which I designed in Microsoft FrontPage. No, it wasn’t the best looking site to ever hit the web, but I was still very proud of it, and launching the site also helped light a fire that got me to actually finish the book. Well, I finished the book 10 years later, but you get the point.
When I first started dating my husband in 2006, I ask what he thought of the Ann Dvorak site. He replied that it looked like site designed in FrontPage in 2002, which you know… He switched me over to WordPress which launched in November 2007. This switch gave me the ability to blog on the site and was also easier to update. That hot pink version of the site was up for a full decade until I did a redesign a couple of months back, which I hope you’ve been digging.
It’s been a full decade since my husband and I tied the knot at Ann Dvorak’s former Encino ranch home, which is truly mind-boggling. I’ve written about the wedding before, so I’ll spare you the details now, but I have to admit it was quite the Ann-tastic day. Sadly, Arne Scheibel, the former owner of the property passed away earlier in the year, but I will also be grateful to him for allowing us to have the wedding there and share it our friends and family.
So, there you have my many Ann-iversaries this year. I hope you’ve also had some good reasons to celebrate this year. Wishing you and yours a lovely holiday season!
Itâ€™s not often that Ann Dvorakâ€™s name comes up at the bigger auction houses, but last month Julienâ€™s delivered big. The Joseff of Hollywood Collection featured pieces made by Eugene Joseff, who for years specialized in costume jewelry that was utilized by film studios. The collection, apparently largely intact from Joseffâ€™s days went on the auction block on November 18th and included some impressive marquee pieces from Gone With the Wind, the Little Princess, and some Marilyn Monroe photo shoots.
Amazingly, there were also four Ann Dvorak pieces, all from Abilene Town, which made my little heart skip a beat when I saw them. I donâ€™t own any screen-worn items of Annâ€™s, so this was huge deal for me. What were the offerings?
First up was this necklace, which was also credited to Clarie Trevor for a portrait sitting. As you can see from this image, Ann wore it prominently in the film, as well as some publicity shoots.
Next we have these earrings, which also show up in many images from the film. These were also worn by Margot Grahame in The Three Musketeers, so the earrings date back to at least 1935.
Then, there is this cameo broach which is the piece I instantly fell in love with. I actually wear similar broaches regularly, so I may have drooled on the auction catalog when I saw it. This piece was only credited to our Divine Miz D in the auction.
Finally, there was this glorious necklace, which was also prominently worn by Ann in Abilene Town. Unfortunately, Bette Davis wore it in ONE photo shoot in the late 1930s which shot the estimate up to $5,000-7,000.
So, howâ€™d the pieces do? Well, the Bette Davis necklace did indeed hit the estimate, and the Claire Trevor necklace went above the estimates and became slightly out of reach.
As for the earrings and broachâ€¦
Thatâ€™s right. At long last, I am finally the proud owner of Ann Dvorak screen-worn jewelry!
If you get a chance, check out some of the other instantly recognizable items that were up for sale, which are sure to blow the minds of any tried and true classic film fan.