Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Norma Jean, Betty and Clark

The most iconic female figure of the twentieth century is Marilyn Monroe. Her career began quite modestly at age 18 with her first appearance in print when she was asked to model in a publication of her employer, Douglas Aircraft, in their journal Douglas Airviews in the January 1946 issue. She appears inside the magazine as well and in later issues in some related advertising later in the year.
Her next magazine appearances, the first to feature her exclusively on the cover, was for the April 13, 1946 issue of the british magazine, Leader (very rare), followed shortly by the April 26 issue of american The Family Circle. Both of these photos were by Andre de Dienes, with whom she had more than a professional relationship. A very rare french magazine, Votre Amie, republished a colorized version of the Leader image on September 3, 1946.

The Douglas Airviews appears on EBay once a year or so and sells for over $1000. The british and french magazines are extremely rare and valuable. I bought the only copies that I've seen for sale in the last twenty years. The Family Circle is fairly common and goes for about $350.

Other early appearances of future celebrities on magazines are fun to collect. When Howard Hawkes was looking for a fresh face for his latest movie in 1943, his wife suggested an unknown model from the cover of Harper's Bazaar. Hawkes liked what he saw and hence the "discovery" of the alluring Lauren Bacall! Interestingly, when Ms Bacall appeared on the David Letterman Show a few years back, they needed a copy of the magazine to show and contacted me, so this image is the one that American public saw that night.

Here's another beaut that I came across one day at a paper show, Clark Gable, years prior to his movie career, on an obscure San Franciso magazine, The Wasp. The Wasp was in it's agonal years at ths time after being a major and important illustrated humor monthly since the 1870's.
Many stories to tell, many pictures to show. This is one of my favorites.

No comments: