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Hollywood Nostalgia
through September 6, 2003
Second Floor Gallery
Curated by William J. Dane

Hollywood’s notable films and stills are warmly saluted in an exhibit at The Newark Public Library through September 6, 2003. Carefully selected stills and posters donated over several decades to the Library’s Special Collections Division make up a tribute to films showing the wide range of moving picture creativity include drama, comedy, musicals, suspense, westerns, tales of good-versus-evil, extraordinary personalities and a glimpse at the amazingly complex business arrangements involving producers, powerful studios, Wall Street and the unforgettable megastars who appeared in a burst of fame at least for a few years.

Brandon De Wilde and Alan Ladd in the classic Western, Shane.

Posters on display announce the famed western, Shane, the Astaire/Rogers, Top Hat , the musical Call Me Madam featuring Ethel Merman, the all-time favorite classic Casablanca with Bogart, Bergman and Claude Rains with Dooley Wilson playing that great song. Two of the large posters have Newark connections. These are Scared Stiff with Dean Martin and Newark’s Jerry Lewis who attended Weequahic High School and The Red Badge of Courage by the celebrated American writer, Stephen Crane. 

Shirley Temple and Slim Summerville in Captain January.

Particular tribute is paid to early stars of the Silent Screen such as Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin and later film celebrities including Katharine Hepburn, the legendary Greta Garbo, Clark Gable, Shirley Temple and Mae West. Contemporary stars are represented by Brad Pitt and certain screen couples who were adored by millions of fans. These glossies show Marie Dressler and Wallace Beery, Gary Cooper and Marlene Dietrich, Laurel and Hardy, Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy and Myrna Loy and William Powell. African-American personalities loved on the silver screen include Paul Robeson, Hattie McDaniel and actresses in the 1995 film, Waiting to Exhale starring Newark’s Whitney Houston and Angela Bassett with Gregory Hines as the male leading player.

Orson Welles in Citizen Kane.

The Hollywood Dream Machine made American manners and customs universally known and copied throughout the world and in the era of silent films, many pictures told absorbing stories with world-wide dramatic appeal. The studio system flourished as millions of picture-goers fantasized about the great stars whose careers were so extravagantly and endlessly written and commented about in magazines and on the radio while squarely aimed at adoring fans.

Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman in Notorious.

During the Golden Age of the Hollywood film industry, stars and supporting players gathered together after major scenes and posed especially for the still cameraman. These carefully set-up photographed vignettes were used to sell the film in vitrines outside theaters all across the land where the films were shown. This precise and detailed product disappeared in economy drives, but the crisp attention to detail and dramatic arrangement made still photos of special interest and historic value to later film enthusiasts.

Luke Skywalker, a featured player in Star Wars.

All of the film memorabilia on display are from The Special Collections Division of The Library and were selected by William J. Dane, Keeper of the Library’s works of Art on Paper. Nearly all the items were donated to The Library over the past four decades and more. The film salute is on view in the Second Floor gallery of The Newark Public Library at 5 Washington Street in Downtown Newark on Washington Park. As is usual, the show is open without charge to all visitors during regular summertime hours for 2003. For additional details of specific questions, please call 973-733-7745.

Greta Garbo and John Gilbert in Flesh and the Devil.


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