American Movie Memorabilia, ca. 1930

Value (2004) | $8,000 Auction$10,000 Auction

This gentleman, Sam Chapman, was the sound man for Paramount Studios in, I think, 1923 to 1932, and this is his private collection of all photographs of stars he worked with. And he also invented one of the sound booths. That's Mr. Chapman right there. He took this idea to Paramount, and then they hired him as sound director. And there are more, just photographs and things of all the stars he worked with.

I know you came in with a huge tub of photographs.

Yeah, I did.

So how did you come across all this stuff?

Well, I was out running around; I go hit flea markets and antique shops, and I heard a lady had some stuff for sale. And I handed her my phone number and she called me and then it just went from there.

And where was this?

In Atlanta-- he resided in Marietta, Georgia. I got this collection a couple of days ago and I wanted to find out whatever I could.

People who have seen "Singin' in the Rain" know the impact sound had on movies and how important it was. And movie stars always had good relationships with the director of photography, because they made them look good. They had a good relationship with their sound man, because he made them sound good. And you can see here that he received a lot of material from the people he worked with. These three items here these rather primitive children's drawings-- they're all by Shirley Temple. And she had a really close relationship with him, and she did all these personal drawings for him; and that's absolutely fascinating stuff. I love this photograph with Harpo. Of course it's autographed. And another Shirley Temple-related item, Bo Jangles, Bill Robinson. This is Walter Huston,who was John Huston's father and one of the great actors. He actually wrote a poem to him. So he obviously developed a very warm relationship with a lot of these people. Now, what did you pay for this huge tub of memorabilia?

I paid $500.

Five hundred dollars. The value of this collection, I would think, would be in the $8,000-$10,000 range. A piece like this alone, you know, is a good thousand dollars.

Appraisal Details

Heritage Auctions
Los Angeles, CA
Appraised value (2004)
$8,000 Auction$10,000 Auction
Memphis, TN (July 31, 2004)

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