Sunday, March 17, 2013


Who doesn’t love Lucille Ball!

This wonderful 50’s gown was designed for and worn by Lucille Ball in the 1954 comedy hit “The Long, Long Trailer”. Costumes were designed by Helen Rose.

The gown of striped blue and cream satin with lace floral accents has a very full skirt and self collar. Helen Rose who created this costume designed for many MGM greats including Lana Turner, Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly and Doris Day. This is very Helen Rose in terms of its design and at the same time very what you would expect Lucille Ball to dress in for the 1950s. It’s a great piece.

The following photo shows the bodice with beautiful self collar, button design and lace.

This photo shows the detail of the floral lace which circles the full skirt.

Here also is Lucille Ball in a test photo with the costume.

Lucille Ball costumes are rare and do not come to market often. When they do come up they are much sought after. 

This was also the first film that both Ball and husband Desi Aranz would make together. MGM studios were wary at first of making a film with the married couple based on the fact that the public could watch them both for free on television with the ‘I Love Lucy’ series, which was continuing to be made and aired at the same time. 

They had nothing to worry about and the public turned out in droves to see the picture. In fact the film went on to make more money than the current highest earning comedy at the time, which was ‘Father of the Bride’.

The Long, Long Trailer is a movie based on a novel and tells the story of a couple who purchase a travel trailer home and spend a year travelling across the United States. 

The film is best remembered for the wonderful sight gags and situation comedy moments that Lucy was best remembered for on her shows. The dangerous mountain road and manoeuvring the giant of a trailer is one of those scenes.

Here is another series of photos of the gown being worn by Lucy in the scene who is doing her best to convince Desi that buying a trailer home will be the best thing for them.

Here also is the orignal trailer to the film:

The costume can be seen at 0:33.

The studio spared no expense in marketing this film and ensuring its success with the public. Even Leo the Lion loved Lucy! 

With Long, Long Trailer, Lucy and Desi did what few actors of the time could do, transition from television back to film and to have done it successfully.

A wonderful piece of MGM and Lucille Ball history.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Over the last four months I have been lucky enough to display some of my costume pieces for the public in my first exhibit. Its been a lot of fun and the response has been amazing. I wanted to share with you some of the photos from the exhibit.

The exhibition is called All Dressed Up: Costumes from Broadway to Hollywood. The theme of the exhibit look at the influence of film on live theatre and in most recent years how we have seen film turned into live theatre.

When sound was added to film, it was possible to recreate the biggest musical hits for a wider audience. At first the movie musical fed eagerly on Broadway’s brightest talents. Stage-bound productions were recreated ever more lavishly. Soon Hollywood began to develop its own style, adapting plays or books, or even starting with original ideas. But the biggest stage hits still became even bigger movie hits. In recent years the flow seems to have reversed. Over the past decade an increasing number of popular stage successes have been developed from well-loved movies as Broadway explores the movie back catalogue for new ideas.

All Dressed Up: Costumes from Broadway to Hollywood explores the changing relationship between stage and screen. It includes costumes from films based on stage shows, such as the film version of Annie, costumes from original films that have been made into stage shows, such as Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, and costumes created for the stage. Costumes worn by Judy Garland, Sammy Davis Jnr., Bette Midler, Julie Andrews, Ray Bolger, Ethel Merman, Liza Minnelli, Carol Channing, Nathan Lane, Peter Allen, Eddie Murphy and others are featured in the exhibition.

The exhibition is my first go at exhibiting some of my collection and celebrates a wide range of well-loved personalities and performances. The exhibition contains more than thirty costumes and accessories from my collection, ranging from the 1930s to the 2000s.

Here are some of the pieces in my collection which looks for the most part at another side to my collecting being the theatre and how it relates to film and film personalities.

Hope you enjoy having a look.

This first costume was worn by Rhonda Fleming in the 1949 Paramount film "Connecticut Yankee in King Arthurs' Court".  Costumes were designed by Edith Head.

Secondly are two costumes from the 1967 film "Doctor Dolittle". Costumes worn by Samantha Eggar as Emma Fairfax and a coat worn by Anthony Newely as Matthew Mugg. Costumes were designed by Ray Aghayan.

From the 1949 MGM musical classic "The Harvey Girls" are costumes worn by Ray Bolger and Marjorie Main.

Some of my favourite pieces are these worn by Bernadette Peters, Ann Reinking and Aileen Quinn in the 1982 musical film "Annie". Costumes by the legendary Theoni Aldridge.

These are just amazing pieces of workmanship. From two of broadways greats, Liza Minnelli and Chita Rivera wore these Halston designed originals for their curtain calls each night in the 1984 Broadway show "The Rink".

The next two costumes were worn by Judy Garland and Sammy Davis Jnr on "The Sammy Davis Jnr Show" 1966. They were worn in an amazing 10 minute song and dance that has been saved on film. 

Here also are the Judy Garland and Sammy Davis Jr costumes as they appeared on The Sammy Davis Jr Show in 1966:

From Judy Garland to Judy Davis as Judy Garland in "Life With Judy Garland: Me And My Shadows". Made in 2001 and costumes were designed by Dona Granta.  I love this show.

This jacket was worn by Nelson Eddy in the 1940 MGM feature "New Moon". Costumes were designed by Gile Steele.

This is a rare and special piece. This was worn by Ethel Merman when she appeared on "Shower of Stars" in 1955. She reprised her role of Annie Oakley and sang from "Annie Get Your Gun".

Here is the Ethel Merman costume as it appeared on televison:

Keeping the theme of theatre greats, here is Carol Channing and Pearl Bailey in "Carol Channing and Pearl Bailey on Broadway" which they did together in 1969 and was filmed for a television special. Bob Mackie designed for them both. 

Here is the Pearl Bailey coat from the television special they did:

Wonderfully talented Julie Andrews wore this Army uniform in the 1968 film "Star!" The film is based on the life of Gertrude Lawrence.

And here is Julie Andrews in the costume as it appears on screen.

This is a Peter Allen sequinned suit from his Broadway show "Legs Diamond" produced in 1988. Costumes were designed by Willa Kim.

The hat gloves and scarf ensemble were worn by Liza Minnelli in the 1977 Martin Scorcese classic "New York, New York". Costumes were designed by Theoni V. Aldredge.

Bette Midler wore this amazing gown when she portrayed Dixie Leonard in the film "For The Boys" in 1991. Costumes were designed by Wayne Finkleman.

Also in the same picture is a dance costume from "Gold Diggers of 1937" with costumes designed by Orry-Kelly.

I love this film very much and wanted to include it in the exhibit to show the move from origninal film, to musical theate with La Cage and back again with this version of the much loved story. Here are Nathan Lane and Robyn Williams costumes from "The Birdcage" 1996 and costumes by Ann Roth.

Here is the video also of Nathan Lane in costume, when the schnecken beckons...

Keeping up with the modern, from "Connie and Carla" in 2004 is a costume worn by Toni Colette as Carla. Costumes were designed by Ruthe Meyers. The run away story after witnessing a murder was the centre piece to "Some Like It Hot" which was what this film was based on. I love everything about this film.

Finally here are three costumes worn by Hugo Weaving, Guy Pearce and Terence Stamp in the 1994 film "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert".

Here are the costumes in action. In this scene you get to see just what you can do with a ping pong ball.

I have enjoyed doing the display a great deal and look forward to more and more. 

I was interviewed for the exhibit as well. Here is the story that went with it.

Also an article that appeared on the exhibit in a magazine.