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Historical preservation group to auction show-biz stuff and more
by Nancy Ford
Gulf Coast Archive and Museum of LGBT History, or GCAM as it is better known to its fans, is having a purging, of sorts. And those who are collectors of entertainment memorabilia are in for a good time.
On February 19 at the GLBT Cultural Center, an array of enviable show-biz items and more are up for auction, all benefitting the history-sustaining programs of GCAM.
“We aren’t calling it the ‘Hollywood & DeVine Broadway Lights, & Television Sets Auction and Sale’ just because we’re fond of long names—although, obviously, we are!” GCAM curator Judy Reeves says.
Bidders should expect to see some interesting, if not downright eclectic, pieces on auctioneer Loyd Powell’s auction block.
“From the Broadway aspect, we have a full-sized color poster of Mame starring Judy Garland, put out by the company that did that PR back then.
“Now, we all know that she never starred in Mame on Broadway, yet here’s a poster,” Reeves explains. “The story we got was that they made it to the contract-signing paper and the Broadway money pulled out, stating she was too much of a risk for a strong part like that. It was near the end of her career.”
Sheet music for songs from many of Garland’s Broadway plays including “You Made Me Love You,” “Little Nellie Kelly,” and “Babes on Broadway”—some of which are autographed—are also to be auctioned.
“It’s not all Judy, though,” Reeves adds. “We have more sheet music from Torch Singer with Claudette Colbert, Love in the Rough with Robert Montgomery, and some black-and-white studio shots.” A selection of vinyl records in original jackets are also among the auction items.
The auction’s Hollywood collection includes a set of seven limited-edition, numbered, Wizard of Oz sculptures. “Each is under a glass dome and has the title of a song from the movie, which it plays,” Reeves adds.
Television-related items include several Star Trek limited edition/numbered plates, Star Trek: Next Generation film cels, an All in the Family collage autographed by actor Jean Stapleton, a Howdy Doody doll, and more.
“We have 11 different pencil-and-ink drawings done by Fred Hinton, circa late 1970s. They are, for lack of a better description, Erté-esque in fashion.” One drawing, in particular, has a definite Montrose theme: it depicts Torchy Lane with the phrases “Mary’s Lounge,” “Houston Motorcycle Club,” and more embedded in the infamous local drag performer’s feathered headpiece.
Other works of art include a stained glass piece by Houston-based artist Jimmy Brown.
Perhaps the most notable among the auction items are two bar tops rescued from the historic, now-closed leather bar, Mary’s Naturally. “One will be, hopefully, fully refurbished by the event; the other is in its original condition,” Reeves says.
“It is a long and arduous process to clean these pieces and not cause any more damage than is already there. As our leather collection has grown in size, we are also planning to flank the bar tops with some of the vests of those who frequented the place for so many years.”
GCAM received many of the auction items from the collection of a community member’s grandmother after she passed away.
“We feel this would be a great way to remember the life of someone who really loved history,” Reeves says. “Her collection of memorabilia from the Hollywood and Broadway era is immense.”
Auction items, such as the Hinton art, came from former Houston LGBT bookstore owner Larry Lingle, with Reeves herself donating the Oz pieces and Star Trek plates.
“We also have many celebrities of days-gone-by postcards that Jimmy Carper has thrown into the mix just to make it interesting.
“GCAM has a policy that we do not buy/sell/barter/trade for anything, so all of our items come to us as gifts,” Reeves adds.
Pieces remaining from Jack Dorlan’s “Spectacular Damage” series, which was exhibited last month by GCAM, are also available for purchase.
Reeves says the purpose of the auction is twofold: there’s a need, she says, to have shelving in the office for some museum items that either need tender loving care or could too easily be lost.
“We are planning to give that project some priority with some of these funds. There is always the ongoing—the supplies for hanging exhibits, those frames and nails, etc. It can add up. It gets expensive after a while.”
Hollywood & DeVine Broadway Lights, & Television Sets Auction and Sale
February 19, 2 p.m.
GLBT Cultural Center
401 Branard Street, 1st floor