An ill-fated autograph page   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2015.06.08 at 08:28

Current mood: contemplativecontemplative

One of Carole Lombard’s proudest possessions was this photo John Barrymore autographed and gave to her following the filming of “Twentieth Century” in the first few months of 1934. Little did she know that both she and Barrymore would be dead about eight years later, or that both would be part of an autograph page alongside at least three other stars who themselves would pass on within two years of Barrymore’s inscription.

Below is — assuming all the signatures are authentic — an extraordinary autograph page, given how fate intervened for more than half of those who signed:

Lombard’s signature is enhanced by how carefully it was cut, something I never would dream of doing:

And here’s Barrymore’s:

Now for the others, led by the trio who left us in the mid-1930s. First is probably the rarest autograph from this group, someone projected for stardom but a victim of an auto accident in June 1934 at age 19 — Dorothy Dell:

Three months earlier, Lilyan Tashman — who had worked with Lombard in 1931’s “Up Pops the Devil” — died following cancer surgery at age 37:

The best-known of the ill-fated three is someone Facebook friend Michelle Morgan recently completed a book about, so I’m certain she could verify the authenticity of this autograph — Thelma Todd’s:

Others with signatures include the first Academy Award winner for best actor, Emil Jannings…

…Werner Oland, who was of Swedish descent yet gained his greatest fame as Charlie Chan before his death in 1938…

…vaudeville and radio star Joe Penner of “Wanna buy a duck?” fame…

…blackface comics Moran & Mack, known as the “Two Black Crows” (not sure which of them signed this)…

…and finally, a celebrity whose inscription the seller couldn’t make out, and neither could I. Anyone have an idea?

The page is 11 1/4″ x 8 3/4″, according to the seller, who adds the page is fragile and there is light brown discoloration on the page (presumably age-related).

Bidding starts at $500, although for a few of these celebs (Lombard, Barrymore, Dell, Todd), an authentic autograph of many of these alone would go for about that much. And since the auction isn’t scheduled to close until 9:22 p.m. (Eastern) Sunday, I would be amazed if the winning bid for this isn’t in four figures. (Just my thought.)

To bid or learn more about this remarkable page, visit


Posted June 8, 2015 by vp19 in Uncategorized

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