COLLECTION OF PHOTOS AND LETTERS OF PIONEER HOLLYWOOD SET DESIGNER HARRY OLIVER: Oliver, Harry COLLECTION OF PHOTOS AND LETTERS OF PIONEER HOLLYWOOD SET DESIGNER HARRY OLIVER: Oliver, Harry

COLLECTION OF PHOTOS AND LETTERS OF PIONEER HOLLYWOOD SET DESIGNER HARRY OLIVER

Oliver, Harry

Used Condition: Good Soft cover
From Daryl Rule, bookseller IOBA (Santa Susana, CA, U.S.A.)

AbeBooks Seller Since November 3, 2000

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Offered is an exceptional find of a scrapbook album of early Hollywood photos that belonged to Academy Award nominated set designer Harry Oliver, including photos of miniature sets created by Oliver and photos of him working on the sets. Also included in this offering is a folding file containing numerous letters concerning Oliver's career in Hollywood. The album has 49 vintage photos in addition to many clippings from period newspapers. Most of this photo material seems to date in the 1920's. The file of over fifty letters and other pieces of correspondence includes several written by Oliver to his mother about his Hollywood experiences given back to him by his mother obviously. One outstanding letter on MGM letterhead is signed by Cedric Gibbons, husband of Delores del Rio and an important art designer in Hollywood in his own right who is credited with designing the Oscar statuette. Some of the letters are in their original envelopes and most of the letters date from the early 1930's. In one letter to his mother, Oliver tells of Irving Thalberg giving him a pat on the back for a job well done. The photos, mostly large format, include some studio publicity shots for movies Oliver worked on, but there are also many photos showing miniatures he made for various movies. Some of the miniatures are so life-like you would swear you are looking at real life scenes. One of the miniatures is of a train wreck on a bridge over a canyon. Several of the photos concern a movie that starred Jack Pickford (brother of Mary Pickford) titled The Hillbilly. (One of the most unlikely of roles for the cosmopolitan Pickford). Oliver also designed the bizarre looking facade of the Irvin Willat Film Studio in Hollywood, and there is an early original photo of it in the scrapbook. The main house of this studio is preserved in L.A. and now known as the Willat-Spadena Witch House. There is another original photo of this house in the album showing it as a miniature model. It is because of his spooky looking architectural design of the Willat Studio, and also his creation of the well known Los Angeles landmark Van de Kamp Windmill buildings, that Oliver has developed the reputation of being one of the very first "imagineers" in modern design. Many of his movie sets also reflected his vibrant imagination. Another wonderful photo shows Oliver standing behind a group of midget actors. Photo predates the Wizard of Oz by many years but some of the faces look familiar. Several other films besides Hillbilly represented in the photo album. A few photos are personal showing Oliver and his wife and friends at poolside. The letters show that even a Hollywod veteran as well regarded as Oliver was having trouble making money in the Depression years. Some of the letters are rejection slips or letters concerning projects he was interviewing for. A few of the letters have Studio letterheads including one of RKO Pictures signed by its president Sol Lesser. Oliver was a writer as well as artist, and later in life he settled in the desert community of Borrego Springs and wrote the well known Desert Rat Scrap Book. (The file includes a Palm Springs magazine featuring an article by Oliver from his Desert Rat later period of life.) The letters show that even as early as the beginng of the 1930's Oliver was planning on a getaway from Hollywood to the desert. One remarkable letter from Tristram Tupper, a noted Hollywood screen writer who became a general in WWII, indicates that it may have been Tupper who got Oliver interested in the desert. Unfortunately this letter is missing one of its small sheets of paper but most of it is still there. Scarce material. The best Hollywood archive I have come across in years of scouting for Hollywood memorabilia. Condition of the photo album rather rough from wear and tear with some of the photos having come loose. Most of the photos that belong in the album are still there and have helpful notations in dark pen written by Oliver at the edge. Bookseller Inventory # 2338

Bibliographic Details

Title: COLLECTION OF PHOTOS AND LETTERS OF PIONEER ...

Binding: Soft cover

Book Condition:Good

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

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