I'm pointing you elsewhere today as The Kitty Packard Pictorial includes a fine and lengthy interview with Darrell Rooney and Mark A. Vieira, authors of the soon to be published Harlow in Hollywood: The Blonde Bombshell in the Glamour Capital, 1928-1937.
Everything about this project appears to be perfect. From the dead-on timing of the March release as we celebrate the centenary of Harlow's birth to the exciting combo of authors in Harlow collector Rooney and Vieira, author of not only Sin in Soft Focus, but my own favorite recently read film biography, Irving Thalberg: Boy Wonder to Producer Prince.
I've included some Harlow related links here on Immortal Ephemera down below, and plan some new reviews of Harlow films myself between now and the end of March--by the way, Jean Harlow is also appropriately TCM's Star of the Month in March 2011.
Thanks very much to The Kitty Packard Pictorial for allowing me to post a few excerpts from their introduction and interview right here:
This bit from Kitty Packard's introduction gives a great view of the why and the what:
Written by award winning Animation director and Harlow collector Darrell Rooney, and Hollywood historian Mark A. Vieira (Sin in Soft Focus, MGM and the Rise of Irving Thalberg), this is the first major work on Harlow since David Stenn’s myth-busting 1993 Jean Harlow biography, Bombshell: The Life and Death of Jean Harlow. This lavishly illustrated work boasts rare, previously unpublished photos of the legend, and is being released just in time to commemorate the screen legend’s 100th birthday, as well as a very special, first-time ever Exhibition of Harlow Memorabilia at ‘The Hollywood Museum at the Historic Max Factor Building’ in Hollywood. The exhibition is curated by Rooney and Vieira, and will run from March till September.
Kitty Packard asks Darrell Rooney about the origins of his Harlow collection:
KP: How long have you been collecting Jean Harlow memorabilia?
Rooney: Off and on for thirty-odd years.
KP: Did you start off thinking ‘I’m going to be a collector’ or was it more like... osmosis?
Rooney: I was making movies so I wasn’t thinking along those lines at all. I think all that is in hindsight. I knew people with extraordinary collections, and they had the most amazing personal items in their collections. I just couldn’t compete with that and never will be able to. My hat is off to them. So I focused on photographs and built a library of everything ever written on Harlow. Seven binders eventually became sixty binders and I knew I had something significant here. Then I started to collect really key things, for example the Grand Hotel ledger.
And then there's the KP Pictorial's wonderful segue to Mark A. Vieira, an author I've personally long admired, through his photography:
Suddenly I remember that I am sitting next to one of George Hurrell’s pupil’s. Not only is the scholarly, contemplative Vieira a leading Hollywood historian, he is a true Hurrelian photographer. Vieria’s photography studio is located in the same building as Hurrell’s old studio and he uses Hurrell’s actual equipment.
KP: Mark, how long have you been doing portraits a la Hurrell?
Vieira: Since the early 70s. Back when I was a student at film school I owned quite a lot of magazines and was struck by Hurrell’s work. ‘Look at his lighting! Look at this!’ And I met him [and got] his phone number. You gotta remember, Hurrell wasn’t a huge name then. Even though he was in his 60s, he was still working on sets doing still photography, still on the company payroll.
These and several other questions about the book, collecting and Harlow herself are included in the full interview of Darrell Rooney and Mark A. Vieira on the Kitty Packard Pictorial.
Also from the Pictorial comes news of The Blonde Bombshell Centenary Bash during which they'll be giving away not only a copy of Harlow in Hollywood but a copy of the new Jean Harlow DVD set to, well, potentially you!