Category Archives: Actresses

Letter to Audrey Hepburn


Once upon a time (about 3 years ago) there was a perfectly marvelous independent bookstore in Weatherford, Texas. And my kind husband bought this perfectly marvelous book for me there.

The Audrey Hepburn Treasures by Ellen Erwin and Jessica Z. Diamond.

It’s a totally different kind of book than I’d ever seen before. Not just prose. Not merely prose + photographs.

Each chapter has a glassine envelope with reprints ranging from contracts to letters to the program from one of her early shows to greeting cards she sent. And lots, lots more.

Such an interesting format.

And here is the reprint of an early fan letter she received. I think it’s touching that she kept it.


Here’s the lovely lady playing a cigarette girl in the 1950 film “Laughter in Paradise”.

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Filed under 1950, Actresses, Bookstores, Ephemera, Femininity, Letters and Correspondence, Non-Fiction

Judy Garland Paper Dolls

When I was in elementary school at Mingo, one of the local television stations would broadcast The Wizard of Oz on Easter weekend. I don’t know what TWOO has to do with Jesus’ resurrection, but there it is.

This was way before personal movie collections, video rental, cable television or even home video recorders. If you wanted to watch something, then you’d better catch it when it was broadcast because it might take a long, long time to have a chance to see it again.

We didn’t even get to see It’s a Wonderful Life every Christmas.

But we did get to see The Wizard of Oz every Easter.

And if you were blessed enough to have a friend like Mary Jane Matthews, you got to watch it in color. (Mary Jane was a bright and lovely girl in her own right, quite aside from having a color television).

This set of Judy Garland paper dolls are from the book Glamorous Movie Stars of the Thirties Paper Dolls, by Tom Tierney, 1978.

Unfortunately, a few years ago I wrote the year of each movie under the title and it looks a bit messy.

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Filed under 1930s, Actresses, Easter, Ephemera, Fashion, Movies, Paper Dolls

Patty Duke and Cathy Paper Dolls, Part I

Patty Duke, Whitman 1965

Cathy, Whitman 1965

I apologize for the slanted view and cropped off part of Cathy’s hair. It was the only way I could see to scan it at full size, however, I’ll give it another try later and update this post if I’m successful.

Patty's clothes

Patty's clothes

Patty's clothes

Patty's and Cathy's clothes

Cathy's clothes

Most of the paper dolls that I buy are used and so I assume that there are pieces missing (unless the owner was very tidy and careful). Cathy doesn’t have nearly as many clothes in this set and I wonder why. Were her clothes prettier and became too worn and tattered to keep? Did the owner spill something on them (there are no stains on the dolls or other dresses)? Or did the family dog eat them along with her spelling homework?

Scanned page

Again I apologize for the quality of these pictures with printing being cut off on the side. It’s very difficult to scan these books without completely breaking the spine (which I don’t want to do, of course). Photographing them is only slightly better because, again, the pages won’t lie flat.

For legibility, click to enlarge, then click again. The print will then be clear enough to read.

Photographed page

The green page is from Carol Nichols book: Paper Dolls of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s: Identification and Value Guide, 2005, printed by Collector Books, P.O. Box 3009, Paducah, Kentucky 42002-3009.

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Filed under 1965, Actresses, Childhood pastimes, Ephemera, Fashion, Paper Dolls

Hayley Mills Paper Doll

Hayley Mills, That Darn Cat

Wasn’t she just the cutest thing? She’s probably the cutest senior citizen now.

Everybody loved Hayley Mills.


Younger daughter of the famous actor John Mills, sister of Juliet Mills (The Nanny and the Professor), she tugged at our hearts in Pollyana, made us laugh in The Parent Trap and That Darn Cat and typified the mid-60s teenager in The Trouble with Angels (one of my favorite movies of all time).

The paperdolls from That Darn Cat were in my small collection as a girl, but that folder has been long gone and I replaced it with some that I bought on ebay.

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Filed under Actresses, Childhood pastimes, Entertainment, Ephemera, Fashion, Paper Dolls

Doris Day Paper Dolls

Doris Day, Whtiman Publishing Company, 1955

Among serious paper doll collectors, I’d be considered a rank amateur. And that would be accurate, because I don’t collect things that I think might become valuable someday.

First, I buy what I can afford. No matter how much I may want something, I simply won’t buy it if it’s not affordable now.

Second, my favorites are replacements of what I had when I was a child and foolishly (arghhhh!) took to the burn barrel right before I got married. That was stupid on many levels, one of which is that I’ve forgotten several of them. Seeing paper doll clothes sometimes triggers a memory even more than the doll itself. I didn’t have all that many paper dolls, because even though they were cheap (the typical price was .25 for a package), most girls I knew didn’t have lots and lots. We were not an over-indulged generation. (I had one Barbie and was thrilled to have even that.)

Third, I prefer to buy vintage, and pre-loved (use, played with) dolls and/or their clothes. Although I do have several books of new ones, I get the urge to get out the scissors. I usually don’t, but I want to. There are several booklets of Dover paper dolls in my box, and a few from other places (mostly museums, like the Bath Costume Museum) and they all remain uncut.

Doris Day Paper Doll Clothes, 1955

The only uncut vintage book I have are these Doris Day, 1955 issues by Whitman. I bought them back in the early 1990’s at an antique store in Kingwood, Texas and I paid way too much for them. Paper dolls were hard to find. This was before anyone except hackers and professionals had even heard of the internet. Now anyone from anyplace can post them and they’re more affordable (which is great). In fact, the prices have come way down (probably due to their ready accessibility). About 1999, I bid on an old set of Lucille Ball paper dolls on ebay. Chagrin prevents me from disclosing how how I bid, but let’s just say that it was well below the $160.00 that was the winning bid. Those same dolls can be bought now for far less and many laser copies are available, too.

Doris Day Paper Doll Clothes, 1955

Anyway, in the case next to the Doris Day set, was one of Elizabeth Taylor from the same era. They were priced a little more and since I just like Doris better than Elizabeth, I bought them.

Doris Day Paper Doll Clothes, 1955

Now it’s 17 years later, and they’re probably worth about the same as what I paid for them. Which, all things considered, isn’t really all that bad. It’s a better investment than that lousy Mexican meal I had in Kingwood.

*Go here for more Doris Day paper doll clothes.

*Update: April 20, 2011 – When enlarged, the paper dolls get very pixily and unpleasant. I tried scanning them in on the highest resolution setting I could, and it didn’t change them at all.

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Filed under 1955, Actresses, Childhood pastimes, Ephemera, Fashion, Femininity, Paper Dolls, Updates

The Desire for Style


What is it in human nature that drives the desire for attractive clothes, hair, shoes, jewelry? How innate is this desire?

Proverbs 31 describes the virtuous woman: “She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.” (Thank you, http://www.biblegateway.com)

Silk and purple are far from being simple, plain clothing. Tapestry is labor intensive but stunning.


Then Jesus said in Matthew 6:28 (Amplified):
“And why should you be anxious about clothes? Consider the lilies of the field and [a]learn thoroughly how they grow; they neither toil nor spin.”

What I believe the Lord is teaching us here is that it’s no sin to want or wear beautiful clothes, that it’s actually considered a virtue for a woman to clothe herself thusly.

It becomes sin when we obsess and become anxious about it.

What a relief! Because I do like pretty clothes. I don’t have very many due to … what? Laziness? Lack of planning? The Proverbs 31 woman seeks wool and flax and works them willingly with her hands. I need to do more of that because I can sew. I’d never win a 4-H competition but I can put together a garment. Hopefully I just need more practice.

This line of thinking began today after reading Robert Avrech’s May 10, 2010 post, Friday Fashion. (He doesn’t have a direct link to that post; just go to his website and page down to it.)

Mr. Avrech is a Hollywood screenwriter and he describes the change that comes when a plain looking actress is dressed and coiffed by movie studio professionals. The transformation even changes how the actress feels about herself; she becomes much more self confident.

Freda & Stella Sexton, 1917


And that reminds me of something my mother used to say: casual dress leads to casual behavior. I grew up during the late 1960s – early 1970s and jeans and a t-shirt were fine with me, even for church at a time when that was considered a little too radical.

But now there’s been a lot of water under my bridge and I not only see her point, I agree with it. I’ve noticed that when I dress up, I behave more lady-like. My husband dons a suit and he becomes Mr. Debonair.

This subject fascinates me – in fact, there are 22 entries under Fashion in my Categories list. And as I mentioned before, what someone wore on a particular occasion usually sticks in my memory. On Saturday my sister and I were talking about the Christmas trip back home to Oklahoma that she and her husband made in 1965. I recalled her outfit when we picked them up at Tulsa International Airport: a royal blue suit (skirt and jacket), made of a wool-like fabric.

Dorothy Provine Paper Dolls
The news about Dorothy Provine’s death last week reminded me of her paper doll. Included in the set were some costumes from her television show The Roaring Twenties. I just loved them. Ebay usually has a set of them and you can go here to see them.

Girls just naturally want to have and wear pretty clothes. Paper dolls fulfilled that desire by making it much more affordable to have lots of changes. The creator of the Barbie doll observed her daughter playing with paper dolls and changing their clothes. Her idea was to make a doll with a big wardrobe which could be attained one piece at a time, by marketing them separately from the dolls.

The Thoughtful Dresser

Back to Mr. Avrech’s post: he mentioned a new book by Linda Grant titled “The Thoughtful Dresser“.
If you click on the link, you can read a few pages from the book. I found it very interesting and hope that the rest of it lives up to my expectations because I’ve put it in my cart.

Miss Grant tells of a requisition for lipstick for females liberated from a concentration camp. How puzzling.

Lipstick? They needed so many things!

Why lipstick? It was an attempt to restore their human dignity.

Which reminds me of a documentary, Steal a Pencil for Me
. (Available for free viewing at hulu.com). It’s the story of a man and woman who survived the Holocaust. Of course, the very subject matter is deadly serious. How could it be otherwise? But the featured couple are wonderful, uplifting people and survived with a joy for life.

The tie in to fashion? Manja Polak tells of her style efforts in the camp: she had taken with her a few hair curlers. Even though she was unable to wash her hair, she used the curlers every night. In the midst of the squalid conditions, she did what she could to beautify her appearance.

What a lady!

She’s still lovely.

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Filed under Actresses, Fashion, Holocaust, Paper Dolls

Books Read in February, 2010

Pilgrim's Inn Pilgrim’s Inn, Elizabeth Goudge This was the second Elizabeth Goudge novel that I’ve read. Unfortunately, I was a little disappointed. Others consider it their favorite novel by her.

Perhaps the difference is that the book was too mystical for me. I don’t care for fantasy and a little whimsy goes a long way for me.

The basic story line was intriguing: a family exhausted after World War II purchases a very old inn. As they settle in, they begin to discover it’s history, as well as aspects of their own character.

I enjoyed the “Scent of Water” much more. Next, I think I’ll try “Green Dolphin Street”.

The Best Old Movies for Families The Best Old Movies for Families-A guide to Watching Together, Ty Burr

Being a classic movie fan, I ordered this one from Amazon after seeing that all 15 reviews gave it 5 stars. What a great idea! A cohesive plan for introducing classic movies to children!

Then I read it.

My objection to the book is based on a whole lot more than simply what I disliked about it: his fawning idolatry of Katherine Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe, his preference for the MGM musicals, inclusion of several movies and omission of some of my favorites . And his worldview. I can overlook all of that because I expect that a book written by a critic will include all of those things. I expect it and mostly ignore it.

What I can’t ignore is his profaning the name of Jesus. It is offensive to those of us who are called by His name, i.e. Christians.

And what’s more, the book is really not necessary. I’ve seen about 75% of his recommended titles. Part of the remaining titles are ones that I don’t want to watch (such as Nosferatu the Vampire).

There are plenty of other books available that discuss classic films without all the politics, profanity and smugness.

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Filed under Actresses, Books, Faith, Fiction, Movies