DescriptionJack P. Pierce's Scrapbook.
Jack P. Pierce was the true Dr. Frankenstein of Universal City.
The most legendary makeup artist in Hollywood history, Pierce was a scrappy genius, an unassuming artist, and a genuine creator of folklore. His name is synonymous with Golden Age Universal, where he was makeup chief from 1927 until 1947. Pierce designed and protected the beauty secrets of actresses, designed and applied brilliantly believable age makeups, and worked cinema magic.
Most famously, he created monsters.
Boris Karloff's Frankenstein Monster and Mummy, Claude Rains' bandaged Invisible Man, Elsa Lanchester's Bride of Frankenstein, Lon Chaney Jr.'s Wolf Man -- indeed, every Universal creature of the night who inspired nightmares throughout the Depression and World War II came into being via the tricks, tools, and remarkable imagination of Jack Pierce.
This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own Pierce's personal scrapbook. It's an amazing artifact, so packed with original photos, clippings and correspondence that lifting the massive 18-pound, 16.5" x 18" book provides the spine-tingling sensation of actually holding classic Universal history in your hands. Although the consignor has removed some of the horror material to preserve in his own collection, a gothic treasure-trove remains -- and all of the shots are originals (with some of them actual proofs, pre-dating the originals), as are all the clippings. Among the material, all personally attached to the book by Pierce with makeup tape, are:
A newspaper photo of Jacques Lerner in Pierce's simian makeup in 1927's The Monkey Talks; a magazine photo of Conrad Veidt with Pierce on 1928's The Man Who Laughs; newspaper and magazine clippings on 1931's Frankenstein; a two-page spread on 1932's The Old Dark House, with photos of Karloff as Morgan and Elspeth Dudgeon as the 102-year old Mr. Femm, plus reviews; multiple pages on 1932's The Mummy, with stills of Karloff and Zita Johann, trade paper coverage of Karloff presenting Pierce the Hollywood Filmograph award for makeup (with trade paper photos of Karloff and Pierce with the trophy), a Universal Weekly page devoted to the film, congratulatory telegram to Pierce and Karloff on the film, the magazine feature "Makeup Secrets of Movie Horror Pictures;" a Spanish magazine feature; Claude Rains portraits (in goggles and bandages) from The Invisible Man; magazine photo of Elsa Lanchester in Bride of Frankenstein, separate magazine photos of Karloff and Lanchester, clippings including a New York Times story on the film (May 10, 1935) and Spanish magazine feature; trade ad for Werewolf of London, two stills of Henry Hull, the Variety review and a Feg Murray newspaper sketch of Hull as the lycanthrope; Douglass Montgomery in old age makeup from The Mystery of Edwin Drood; magazine photo of Karloff in The Raven; portrait photos of Karloff and Lugosi in The Invisible Ray; two Karloff portrait photos from Night Key; candid photo of Pierce with Karloff, Lugosi and director Rowland V. Lee clowning on Son of Frankenstein, plus page from the press book, a Feg Murray color newspaper sketch of Karloff's Monster, Buffalo Times rotogravure two-page spread sketch entitled "Monsters in the Making"; Karloff "attacking" Pierce candid from Tower of London, plus photos of Basil Rathbone, Ian Hunter and Vincent Price; candids from Black Friday of Pierce with Karloff, and of Karloff with Stanley Ridges; photos of Vincent Price and Margaret Lindsay in House of the Seven Gables; four shots from The Mummy's Hand, including two of Tom Tyler's Mummy; two photos of Pierce with John Barrymore on The Invisible Woman; two photos of Lon Chaney Jr. in Man Made Monster; three shots of Chaney Jr. as The Wolf Man, plus clippings; two photos of Chaney and Lugosi in The Ghost of Frankenstein; Lionel Atwill in Asian makeup as "the Baron" in Junior G-Men of the Air; photo of Chaney in The Mummy's Tomb; Hollywood Reporter story "Bela Lugosi Collapses Under Monster Makeup" regarding 1943's Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, plus Newsweek review of film; seven stills from 1943's Phantom of the Opera; David Bruce in makeup as 1943's The Mad Ghoul; photos of Karloff and J. Carrol Naish in House of Frankenstein; photo of Vicky Lane in Jungle Captive; photo of Chaney in House of Dracula.
Of course, there's more than horror here -- in fact, the scrapbook dates all the way back to 1915 and covers a half-century of film and TV history. There's original material related to many Universal classics of the 1930s and 1940s: All Quiet on the Western Front, East of Borneo, Back Street (both the 1932 and 1941 versions), Great Expectations, Show Boat (both the 1929 and 1936 versions with a magnificent two-page spread on the latter), Three Smart Girls, Arabian Nights, and many more. The stars are here too: beautiful photo portraits of Deanna Durbin (including a candid of Jack attending her 19th birthday party), clippings of Abbott and Costello joining Jack in making an effigy of Hitler, photos of Tom Tyler (as Buffalo Bill), Sidney Fox (in Asian makeup), Edward G. Robinson, Irene Dunne, Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy, Maria Montez, and a 1931 full-length portrait of starlet Bette Davis (with original snipe en verso).
There are "thank you" letters from charities and wartime organizations that Jack assisted, a spread of photos from 1948's Joan of Arc (which Jack worked on after leaving Universal), candids of Jack from various phases of his career, and finally, a page with a horseshoe drawing, signed by the company of Mr. Ed -- Jack's professional swan song -- signed by stars Alan Young and Connie Hines, director Arthur Lubin, and the voice of the horse (of course), Allan "Rocky" Lane, who's signed his own name as well as Mr. Ed's.
The book is brown leather, inscribed on the lower right corner: "Jack Pierce from Harry Gladstone." There is some minor tattering on some pages and a few cracked edges on some pictures, and Jack has written names and/or dates on some photos. Still, the overall quality of the material is Very Good and the impact of this material and its history nearly overwhelming.
Jack Pierce died in 1968, fearing that Hollywood had virtually forgotten him. Fans of classic cinema have embraced him with a respect he never enjoyed in his lifetime, and this scrapbook is an intimately personal testimony to his genius. The Jack Pierce scrapbook is a wonderful relic from a bygone Hollywood, carrying the very essence of the man who once was this scrapbook's proud custodian.
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