As much as I love collecting movie memorabilia from monster magazines to original posters and lobby cards to dusty old VHS tapes, I’ve never bothered with editions of Life Magazine though they catch my eye when a movie star makes the cover. All of which brings me to this edition featuring Gregory Peck front and center. Note the penciled Royal Wedding comment across the cover. Yes it features the wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Philip leading me to believe the magazine meant more to the original owner due to the Royals than the young actor destined to become an Icon of cinema.
Purely by coincidence this issue wound up in my hands while visiting a book dealer looking to unload a ton of paper thanks to a major cross country move. So while piling up a variety of subjects and genres in both soft and hard cover I figured I may as well bring Mr. Peck home too.
So let’s take a look at just how Hollywood and some of it’s well known personalities were featured in the issue starting with the Peck factor.
Gentleman’s Agreement, soon to be nominated for eight Academy Awards was featured in a number of photos over the five pages set aside for the film as noted above. The film would go on to win for Best Picture of 1947 as well as Director for Elia Kazan and a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Celeste Holm.
Also included in this edition was a full page ad for the new MGM production starring Lana Turner, Green Dolphin Street, that cast her opposite Van Heflin.
Not to be outdone was RKO Studios taking a full page of their own to highlight not one but four new releases. One of which, Mourning Becomes Electra, starring Rosalind Russell has a youngster costarring by the name of Kirk Douglas. Someone that I predict will make a name for himself in Tinsel Town rivaling that of cover boy Peck.
Good thing there was a caption atop this photo otherwise I’d never have recognized Rick’s Ilsa of Casablanca fame. Look closely and maybe you too will realize that’s Bogie’s gal, Ingrid Bergman.
If Williams Shaving Cream is good enough for Paul Lukas, a man who has an Oscar sitting on the mantel in his dressing room for his performance in 1944’s Watch on The Rhine, then surely it’s good enough for us mere mortals.
My eyes were naturally drawn to this ad featuring Miss Virginia Mayo. She’s long been one of my favorite actresses of the classic era. As a matter of fact she’d eventually team with cover boy Peck in the superior seafaring adventure of 1951, Captain Horatio Hornblower.
Spotting Alice Faye here was somewhat of a surprise. By 1947 she’d been off the screen for two years and wouldn’t step in front of a camera again until 1962’s State Fair.
Apparently in an earlier edition of Life, the Love Goddess herself, Rita Hayworth, was featured and has prompted some letters to the editor.
I’ll close with something I’d love to come across on my memorabilia hunting trips. A Bing Crosby board game that I could have had for a mere $2.95 had I been around 75 years ago. Paging Rod Taylor and his Time Machine.
Maybe I’ll have to take a closer look at the next Hollywood classic era edition of Life Magazine I come across featuring a cinematic icon on the cover.
That’s very cool Mike, I can still remember as a kid in the 90’s going with my Mom or my Dad to their Doctor and seeing copies of Life Magazine in the waiting room. I found this commemorative book of Life Magazine’s most famous photos in a bag of Elvis memorabilia I’m selling on eBay, though I’m sure to keep it or add it to my eBay shop.
I continually see old editions at antique shops but usually pass them by. Might have to slow down and look closer. Nostalgia reigns.
You got a good issue! So much of interest. Love the Rita Hayworth letters.
Fun to look back and I’m glad I took a look at the letters to the editor, there was even a comment on the next page about Robert Taylor I could have included.
I was always intrigued that endorsement was such a big thing back then. I did a trawl through our local papers 1950-1954 for a book I was writing and was amazed to see standardised endorsement had become usually linked to a current movie. Love all these old ads.
I think it’s reflective of just how much power the movies and the stars had on people in those early years and of course the actors were studio property and likely got little money for their likeness attached to products.
Never thought of that. Would be interesting to find out.