1917 Theda Bara Photographs
We lived in a building in Hollywood, and the gentleman who designed the costumes lived in the same building with us. We had a storage area in the basement, and one day there was a fire in the basement and our storage area was right next to his. He said, "I'll pay you guys $20 apiece if you'll go down and just throw it all out." And we said, "Throw it all out?" He said, "Yeah, I don't want anything down there." So we sort of went through the things that were there and found these, and I said, "Well, let's, you know, hang onto them."
Well, that gentleman was George Hopkins, and George was a very famous costume designer, and one of his very first projects was working with a very famous silent film star called Theda Bara. She was the sex symbol of her day. She was the Marilyn Monroe, she was the looker. She starred in only silent films. She did not ever utter a word.
Never did any talking.
Never. Her nickname was "The Vamp," short for "The Vampire." And she always had this very... evocative look. These are silver gelatin prints, and we can see the photographer on them, Albert Witzel. Very famous Hollywood photographer at the time. This one is also autographed and dated by her. A lot of these on the back also show what production they're from. A good deal of them are from Du Barry, a movie that she did in 1917. This woman was paid $4,000 a week to be in films.
She was one of the highest paid actresses of her day. And a very strange thing happened to the 40 films that she made. In 1937, Fox Studios had a fire and most of her films burned. These are in really pristine condition and at auction, they would bring between $750 to $1,000 each.
And the signed one would bring between $2,000 and $3,000.
Oh, my God.
So the value altogether of this would be about $6,500 to $9,000.
Holy moly! That's amazing.
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