Play It Again, TCM Auction

LionFollow the Yellow Brick Road to Bonhams in New York City on Monday, November 24 for There’s No Place Like Hollywood, the “definitive movie memorabilia auction,” presented in conjunction with Turner Classic Movies.

Beginning at 1 p.m. (ET) in their Madison Avenue showroom, Bonhams will auction 378 costumes, props, scripts, personal items, posters, and all manner of movie memorabilia from the 1910s to the 2010s. And if you’re not able to be there in person, just click your heels – and your mouse – and log on to Bonham’s website, where you can follow the festivities live. (The auction is expected to last 5-6 hours.)

I attended a press preview on Thursday and got up close and personal with the original Cowardly Lion costume worn by Bert Lahr in THE WIZARD OF OZ. (There was a secondary costume used in the film and in live events which sold at auction recently for $1 million; this costume is expected to far exceed that.)

Designed by MGM’s famed designer Adrian, the Lion costume was constructed of actual lion skin and fur and contains a hidden front zipper and an attached tail. Archivist and collector James Comisar, founder of the Museum of Television, acquired the costume twenty years ago after it was re-discovered in one of the oldest buildings on the MGM Lot. I chatted with textile conservator Cara Varnell who told me about cleaning the costume hair-by-hair, to restore the Lion to his cowardly former glory. And you thought your job was tough.

You can see all my pictures from the press preview here.

And, since I know many of you won’t make it to Bonhams for the auction, I shot a little video tour of the Cowardly Lion costume and some of the other WIZARD OF OZ items.

The other signature item at the auction is Sam’s piano from CASABLANCA (1942). If the Maltese Falcon sold for a record $4 million (with Bonhams premium) at the first TCM auction last year, who knows how much the piano will go for. CASABLANCA is probably the bet known classic film of all time, and Sam’s piano is the most integral prop in the film. Outside of the ruby slippers, there may be no other item more representative of the Studio Era.

And if you don’t believe me, just ask Robert Osborne, who spent some time chatting with me at the press preview, and was nice enough to pose for this exclusive picture.

2014_11_20_Osborne_by-Will“Thanks for everything you do for the fans,” I said to the patron saint of classic film. “We really appreciate it.”

Here’s looking at you, Bob.

About willmckinley

I'm a New York City-based writer, video producer, print journalist, radio/podcast host, and social media influencer. I've been a guest on Turner Classic Movies (interviewed by Robert Osborne), NPR, Sirius Satellite Radio, and the official TCM podcast. My byline has appeared in and more than 100 times in the pages of NYC alt weeklies like The Villager and Gay City News. I'm also a social media copywriter for Sony's getTV and a contributor to four film-and-TV-related books: "Monster Serial," "Bride of Monster Serial," "Taste the Blood of Monster Serial," and "Remembering Jonathan Frid."
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7 Responses to Play It Again, TCM Auction

  1. kelleepratt says:

    Thanks for the video clip and the photo with Bob from us folks unable to attend. They did such a beautiful job of setting this up.

  2. Vienna says:

    Thanks so much for video clip.
    Sam’s piano looks so small.

  3. hilisie says:

    Wow! How cool Robert Osborne was there.I’m believe the kids call what I’m feeling “Jelly”.

  4. Randilustig says:

    Excellent, well done. I soooo wanted to go but had to work:( thank you for posting this for it now feels like I WAS there!!

    Sent from my iPhone


  5. It’s amazing how small the Casablanca piano is! Such a beautiful piece.

    Thanks for including a video of the Oz memorabilia. Real lion hair?! NO WAY!

    Also, what a stunning collection of movie posters that were available. Thanks for sharing these with us. 🙂

  6. Kelly says:

    Speaking of rarely holiday specials

    Look like Gettv score programming coup here they going show rarely seen Frank Sinatra Bing Crosby holiday special at 7pm est repeat on 10pm est start November 30 that this tommroow at this post

  7. Pingback: Bacall and Bogart Personal Items up for Auction | cinematically insane

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