Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Classic Hollywood at Bonhams

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TCM and Bonhams had a very interesting auction this past Tuesday. I went to the Bonhams auction house on Sunset Boulevard to check it out. There was a lot of really cool science-fiction and fantasy items as well as classic Hollywood memorabilia. The Forbidden Planet was heavily featured. There were a lot of set pieces and costumes from that iconic movie.

One of the things that interested me was the replica prop of the Nautilus from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. The card said that it came from the Forrest J Ackerman estate. Just speculation on my part, but I think a lot of the items may have originated from Uncle Forry’s Ackermansion, especially the lobby cards and posters.

The centerpiece of course was the life-sized Darth Vader costume. Unfortunately it was withdrawn on the very last day as part of an agreement between the owner and the upcoming Lucas Museum. Hopefully that means it’ll be on display for Star Wars fans some day!

I really wanted to see a door knocker from MGM Studios in the shape of the MGM lion, but alas, that too was withdrawn. The owner probably had second thoughts about selling it. I would too – what a great part of movie history!

Check out the catalog!

History of the Kelly Bag

Grace Kelly – Hermes Kelly bag

Now an expensive status symbol, such was the popularity of Grace Kelly in the 1950s that the luxurious Hermès bag she carried with her everywhere became rechristened with her name, ensuring the late Hollywood actress-turned-princess a lasting legacy in the fashion world. It would make Grace Kelly, an actress of only seven professional years, a cultural icon.


The Sac à dépêches bag, as it was then known, was created in 1935, eleven years after the invention of the first leather handbag. Its earlier incarnations included high handles and smaller designs than most handbags of the day. It wasn’t until Émile-Maurice Hermès’s son-in-law Robert Dumas redesigned the bag that it became the Sac à dépêches we know today. With a little more glamor, a memorable trapezium shape, and studs on the bottom allowing the bag to stand, the Sac à dépêches was born.

Its uniqueness laid in its craftsmanship. Each bag is hand-designed, quite literally, by a single artisan, requiring a total of 18 to 25 hours of over 2,500 hand-stitches. For that reason, the Kelly bag holds its high retail price.


It was Alfred Hitchcock who introduced Grace Kelly to the Hermès bag. In the ’50s, she became his new muse – and he sought to use Kelly to bring elegance into his thrillers. With enough guidance from Edith Head, the Sac à dépêches bag became Kelly’s weapon of choice in To Catch a Thief, the picture that made Kelly fall in love with Europe. Her choice of preference was crocodile skin, either brown or navy blue, the two most popular colors to this day.


It was the birth of paparazzi. Elio Sorci was photographing Liz Taylor and Richard Burton. Years later, Marlon Brando would punch Ron Galella in the jaw. Grace Kelly was no exception to high-profile scrutiny. Her engagement to Prince Rainier III was the talk of the town. She would be the first American princess – famous in her own right. She used her handbag to shield her pregnant belly from the paparazzi. In 1956, Life magazine featured such a photograph of her bag, and so iconic was that image that the public began referring to it as the “Kelly” bag.

And the name stuck.


To read the other blogposts celebrating Grace Kelly please click here and follow The Wonderful Grace Kelly Blogathon co-hosts The Wonderful World of Cinema & The Flapper Dame!



Acquiring Little Lord Fauntleroy Memorabilia

My former professor recently acquired this vintage French poster of the 1936 film Little Lord Fauntleroy signed by star Freddie Bartholomew. He was kind enough to gift it to me, knowing my love of classic films.


A fun little story after I got it: I went over to Larry Edmunds Bookshop on Hollywood Blvd. to pick up a copy of Chaplin’s novella Footlights. I asked the owner – the very lovely Jeffrey Mantor – if he knew how much it was worth or if anyone would be interested in it. He told me that Michael Jackson used to come into the shop all the time (usually in disguises), and he was a massive fan of Freddie Bartholomew – and if he was still around, he’d drop big bucks on my poster!

In any case, this very nice one-sheet will find a good home in my classic film collection!