Costumes Summer 2013

by Sharon Shore, Costumes Chair

“ELEPHANTS” PARADE DOWN OVERLAND AVE FOR “JUMBO”

Due to its unique history as home to several famous movie studios, Culver City has witnessed many intriguing events.

Heads must have turned in 1962 when a small group of elephants, including Sidney the Elephant, strolled down Overland Avenue on location for the Metro Goldwyn Mayer film musical Billy Rose’s Jumbo. Unfortunately, our collection doesn’t include the custom sized black top hat and magician’s cape worn by Sidney in her starring role as “Jumbo” in the film.

We do have the next best thing, however. Our collection includes the complete clown costume worn by Jimmy Durante as Pop Wonder, owner of the traveling circus and Jumbo.

The costume is surprisingly complete and in relatively good, exhibitable condition. It includes a hat, a pair of clown-sized red and white wing tip shoes, cartoon-sized mittens, a detachable collar, cuffs and bib-like shirt front, a red silk vest with oversized buttons, and plaid pants with matching tail coat! The entire costume will be displayed for the summer season in the ARC museum.

Leopard print leotards worn by Doris Day as Pop’s daughter, Kitty, and Martha Raye, as Lulu the fortune teller and Pop’s love interest, are also included in the book, display.

The film was directed by Charles Walters and based on a musical play by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur. Costumes were designed by Morton Haack.

MORE ABOUT STORING YOUR COSTUMES, KEEPSAKES AND HEIRLOOMS COLLECTION

The challenge of preparing valued collections, including costumes and other types of textiles, for long term storage can be a bit daunting. However, identifying the appropriate wrapping materials such as “buffered” or “un-buffered” paper and special storage containers designed to house a range of shapes and sizes is important. The choices you make can affect the condition of the items in the stored collection over time.

One way to begin the process is to set aside a few minutes to look through the archival materials catalogs on file at the ARC. The catalogs are divided into categories for types of art to be stored, such as photos, books, textiles, etc. The products featured in each category are usually illustrated by photographs and have some explanation about their archival qualities and intended use. Most products come in a range of sizes. Although you might decide not to purchase any of the catalog products, the information might be helpful in establishing some practical “dos” and “don’ts” for setting up storage conditions for your collection. The catalogs are available by request to members for use in the ARC.

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