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Tag Archive: Debbie Reynolds auction


Most reality TV and competition shows aren’t worth watching when compared to all the great TV writing available these days.  Two weeks ago in our Spring TV Wrap-up, we discussed the best of this past season, and you’ll notice there are no reality shows listed there.  Why?  The reality TV formula got old fast as the past decade moved along, as did competition shows generally.  Sure, American Idol and Top Chef still get big viewership numbers, and we drift back for an episode of Iron Chef once in a while, but at some point even their fans will dwindle.  Let’s face it, there’s something for everyone and we won’t knock it (it’s why having several hundred channels to choose from seems to be a very “American” thing) and fans of reality shows probably aren’t also watching our sci-fi, fantasy, and other genre programming.

That said, one of the more fun reality-esque shows because if its unique subject matter is starting its second season this week: the Syfy Channel’s Hollywood Treasure, which airs on Tuesday nights.  I was impressed that they changed up the show a bit for the season two premiere, and offered a lot of content anyone can enjoy.  Three key things make the series work.  First, although Hollywood Treasure has the obligatory formula for reality shows, including the repeated scenes that straddle each commercial break and make you race for the fast forward on the remote, the plain coolness of the subject matter of the show outweighs any reality show annoyance factor.  Second, the show focuses on the guys who run Profiles in History, consistently the entertainment memorabilia auction house that pulls in the highest sales of any auction house in the world, and items they sold at auction in the past year.  These guys run into all sorts of neat props and costumes from Hollywood and occasionally an actor or show creator.  Third, the guys who run the auctions and are featured in the show, Joe Maddalena, Jon Mankuta, Brian Chanes, and Fong Sam, are actually fans of genre films and comic books as much as they are businessmen.  I’d dealt with these guys in the past and they are always great to work with.  Some of the scenes are formulaic and more than a bit contrived, but their passion and excitement for memorabilia always shines through.

The highlight of episode one of this new season, and what will certainly keep watchers coming back for more if they can keep bringing in similar guests, is a segment where actor Sean Astin discussed movie props he owns (and used to own) from Rudy, Goonies and The Lord of the Rings.  Astin always has such an aura of authenticity that you can ignore all the theatrics and just enjoy seeing this guy simply talk about making movies.  The personal items he retained from playing Samwise Gamgee are certainly treasures any LOTR fan would love to get his hands on.

Astin kept his screenused backpack and pans, his Elvin pin, his bread pouch, and leather wineskin from The Lord of the Rings films.

Other sequences in this episode were an attempt to auction one of the four original sets of ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz for $2 million, which Profiles was only able to sell after the fact by direct sale, still attaining the $2 million the owner wanted as a minimum reserve price.  In this sequence Profiles also revealed that they actively solicit buyers after sales for items that don’t meet the minimum reserve price–buyers that kick themselves later for not bidding, thinking the sell price will be out of their range.  In reviewing the slippers they got to visit what seemed like a private collector’s own Fort Knox lockdown facility.  Another segment featured Joe Maddalena buying a Jim Carrey hat and cane from Batman Forever, then trying to flip them at auction for profit.  And Maddalena also visited the Dreier collection of costumes and props, which is being auctioned off over a few years.

Profiles in History is the same auction house we discussed here last year that made all sorts of records selling off the Debbie Reynolds movie costume and prop collection, including the famed Marilyn Monroe Seven Year Itch subway vent scene dress and an Audrey Hepburn My Fair Lady dress, among millions of dollars in other sales, and the Captain America auction last month.  And these are the guys we caught up with last year at Comic-Con showing the Back to the Future III DeLorean.  Their auction website is www.profilesinhistory.com.  We hope they can keep up the momentum started in their first episode of season two all season long.

C.J. Bunce

Editor

borg.com

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Debbie Reynolds, film star and mother to Princess Leia’s Carrie Fisher, spent the past 50 years acquiring what Hollywood was throwing out.  On June 18, 2008, she sold off the crown jewels of her collection, and the dress worn by Marilyn Monroe in Seven Year Itch broke an entertainment memorabilia auction record, selling for a whopping $5,658,000.  Movie memorabilia auction house Profiles in History will be auctioning off more costumes, props, filmmaker tools and other items from Reynolds collection on December 3, 2011, at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills.

Reynolds had been collecting costumes and props since 1970 when Warner Brothers started selling off key pieces of Hollywood history.  Reynolds financed her purchases over the years with the plan of building a museum for the public.  But last year her business filed for bankruptcy protection and her holdings, including probably the best Hollywood costume collection of all time, had to be sold off to pay off creditors.

Next week’s auction has a broad array of items.  Again, mostly costumes from A-list and B-list actors and actresses, but this time mainly from less recognizable films of Hollywood’s golden age.  No doubt for sci-fi fans the key lot being sold is George Lucas’s Panavision PSR 35 mm motion picture camera used to film Star Wars.  It has an auction estimate of $100,000 to $200,000.

Also for sale is a Panavision Mitchell 65mm AC Rack-Over camera used to film Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey estimated to sell for $30,000 to $50,000, an RKO camera crane used by Orson Welles to film Citizen Kane expected to fetch between $30,000 to $50,000, and a Bell & Howell Model 2709 hand-cranked 35mm camera , once owned by Charlie Chaplin and used to film The Kid and Gold Rush, expected to sell for $200,000 to $300,000.

No doubt the highlights of the auction in the costume department will be more Marilyn Monroe screen-used costumes, including outfits worn in Bust Stop, Let’s Make Love, Niagara, and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.  Other actress costumes featured were worn by Judy Garland, Barbra Streisand, Betty Grable, Deborah Kerr, Mitzi Gaynor, Susan Hayward, Teresa Wright, Ginger Rogers, Virginia Mayo, Kim Novak, Katherine Hepburn, Jennifer Jones, Claudette Colbert, and Ava Gardner.  There is also a variety of classic Mary Pickford and Leslie Howard costumes, all available for previewing between now and December 3, 2011 at the Paley Center.

Key classic Hollywood films represented in the auction include She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, Show Boat, an Al Jolson costume from Swanee River, a costume from The Little Princess worn by Arthur Treacher, Yankee Doodle Dandee, Without Reservations, The Three Musketeers, Snows of Kilimanjaro, The Greatest Show on Earth, and Stars and Stripes Forever.

A full suit of armor worn by Jean Seberg as Joan of Arc in Otto Preminger’s film Saint Joan is estimated to sell between $15,000 to $20,000.

For more articles on the first Debbie Reynolds auction click here.  For more articles on Profiles in History click here.

More information is available at www.profilesinhistory.com. Happy bidding, movie fans!

C.J. Bunce

Editor

borg.com