Hollywood photography...New York stylePosted by vp19 on 2012.02.24 at 01:24
Current mood: surprised
Not all of what we call "classic Hollywood" was made in Hollywood; heck, a good deal of it didn't come from southern California. Paramount had a flourishing New York presence for much of the '20s and a little into the '30s until tottering studio finances forced it to sell its complex in Astoria, Queens. The Marx Brothers, initially major Broadway stars, made their first few films in Astoria, as did Maurice Chevalier and Claudette Colbert...
...and Ginger Rogers.
Even some westerners headed east for temporary work, such as Carole Lombard, shown at top in a scene from 1930's "Fast And Loose."
We also sometimes forget that these satellite studios not only handled moviemaking on sound stages, but other parts of the film process. Portrait photography, for instance. Paramount's Astoria branch had its own studio photographer, Herman Zerrenner, who took all those star portraits above, and among the other pictures he took for the company was this one of Lombard, with the back also shown for provenance:
This 7.25" x 9.5" borderless publicity portrait, deemed in "very good to excellent condition with a light crease over the top left-hand corner and slightly trimmed borders," is being sold for $125 straight up, or make an offer. The seller believes the photo to be from 1932, as there is a "circa 1932" marking on the back. However, "Fast And Loose" -- the only film Lombard ever made in New York -- is from 1930, and note the snipe refers to "Carol Lombard"; she reverted to "Carole" for good later in 1930, so any '32 photo from the studio would have included that "e." Finally, there's an identical portrait in Lombard's p1202 file -- p1202-2, to be precise, obviously among the first she made after signing a contract with the studio and receiving a "p" code number:
Knowing Zerrenner took this probably means that several other of Lombard's earliest p1202 images, such as p1202-1, 4 and 5 below, were taken not in Hollywood by Otto Dyar or Eugene Robert Richee, but by Zerrenner in New York -- and these were issued not long after Lombard received a contract from Paramount:
To buy, bid or examine the photo on sale, visit http://www.ebay.com/itm/Original-1932-C