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    Description

    Beatles - Original Tony Curtis Cut-Out from the Cover of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (U.K., 1967), in Framed Display. A 14" x 17" B&W cardboard head and shoulders portrait (circa late 1950s pose) of Curtis mounted on fiberboard. It is signed on the verso by Curtis (September 2007) in black felt tip: "The Beatles chose/ ME For/ Sgt Pepper/ Tony Curtis". Curtis was one of sixty-one people (plus several props) appearing in Michael Cooper's album cover photograph for what has turned out to be the greatest Rock album of all time. Looking at the cover, Curtis can be seen in the second row down from the top, between singer Dion DiMucci on the left and artist Wallace Berman on the right. He is just below W. C. Fields and above Oscar Wilde. Those names should indicate the widely divergent group of people chosen for the cover. The Curtis cut-out is contained in a 16" x 20" shadow box frame with an engraved plaque. These original figures are extremely rare and desirable. What a privilege it would be to add this significant piece of Beatle memorabilia to your collection. Some wear at the edges, a small vertical line across his forehead, and a light horizontal streak along the bottom, overall Fine condition. Photos of Tony Curtis holding this prop and of him wearing a Sgt. Pepper T-shirt are included.

    The music is only part of the mystique surrounding this release. In 1967, an album cover usually consisted of a posed photo or piece of artwork on the front for which the record company usually budgeted under £100. This sleeve artwork ended up costing nearly £3000, but after all, it was the Beatles and they got what they wanted. Quotes from The Beatles Anthology (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2000) explains the genesis of the cover:
    Paul McCartney: "This album was a big production, and we wanted the album sleeve to be really interesting. Everyone agreed. We liked the idea of reaching out to the record-buyer, because of our memories of spending our own hard-earned cash and really loving anyone who gave us value for money. So, for the cover, we wouldn't just have our Beatle jackets on... To help us get into the character of Sgt Pepper's band, we started to think about who our heroes might be. Well then, who would this band like on the cover? Who would my character admire? We wrote a list. They could be as diverse as we wanted- Marlon Brando, James Dean. Albert Einstein- or whoever. So we started choosing- Groucho Marx and so on. It got to be anyone we liked."
    Neil Aspinall: "I remember being in the studio, and everybody was asking 'Who do you want in the band?' All these crazy suggestions were coming out."
    Paul McCartney: "We got artistic people involved. I was very good friends with Robert Fraser, the London art-dealer, a guy with one of the greatest visual eyes that I've ever met. I look the whole album-cover idea to him He represented the artist Peter Blake, and he was very good friends with the photographer Michael Cooper Robert said, 'Let Michael take some pictures. We'll get Peter to do a background, and then we'll collage it all together.' I went down to Peter's house and gave him a little drawing of mine as a starting point. It all came together and we had the photo session in the evening [March 30, 1967]. We had all the plants delivered by a florist- people think they're pot plants - marijuana plants - but they're not. It was all straight."
    Neil Aspinall: "The sleeve was the result of conversations with Peter Blake They had a list of the people they wanted standing in the background, so Mal and I went to all the different libraries and got prints of them, which Peter Blake blew up and tinted. He used them to make the collage, along with the plants and everything else you see on the cover."

    Not all the Beatles' suggestions made it to the final cover: Gandhi, Jesus, and Hitler were all excluded for various reasons. EMI feared lawsuits so a letter was written to everyone asking permission for the use of their image. That eliminated Leo Gorcey who demanded a $400 fee.

    Paul McCartney commented about the album package: "We wanted the whole of Pepper to be so that you could look at the front cover for years, and study all those people..." He was obviously right. Here it is fifty years later and we are still looking at that magnificent album cover.


    More Information:

    Transcript of article from autograph magazine regarding Tony Curtis signing the cut-out.

    TONY CURTIS

    Tom Fontaine - Woodridge, IL

    On September 23, 2007, my wife Mary and I took my big brother Mark on an autograph journey for his birthday. We set out from Woodridge, Illinois to Hollywood, California for a film festival that was showing Some Like It Hot to meet the guest, a true legend and star of the film, Tony Curtis.

    I have been a fan of Mr. Curtis since I was young and always wanted to meet him. We arrived about one hour before his meet and greet, and we were second in line. When the time came closer to his appearance, the line extended through the theater, out the door and down the sidewalk.

    I had brought something very special for Tony to see and to sign. I own the Tony Curtis cut-out head that was used on The Beatles' Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band LP cover in 1967.1 have owned it for several years and I was hoping that one day Tony could see it and sign it. To my knowledge, Tony became the only artist pictured on the cover to sign his own image and less than ten cut-outs have survived.

    When I approached Tony, I took out the cut-out and my brother said he saw him shed a tear. You could tell he was truly amazed seeing it. I had several items for him to sign, but this was the first. He shared a memory about The Beatles and he graciously signed the back of it, "The Beatles chose me for Sgt. Pepper. Tony Curtis." He also signed a Sgt. Pepper album cover and he circled his image.

    Tony was having a great time. I gave him some original items to keep, and he signed a movie script, two movie posters and a photo for Mark. This is one birthday we will never forget.

    The few short minutes we had with Tony were indescribable and made the journey worthwhile. Tony was so appreciative of what I gave him. He grabbed my hand and, with the utmost sincerity, simply said, "Thank you, Tom." I told him it was an honor and a pleasure.

    After Tony signed and took pictures with us, we went into the movie theater, where Tony shared a few stories about Some Like It Hot and The Great Race. Then, he said, in the way only Tony Curtis could, "Lets watch the movie." The entire time I watched the movie, all I could think about was what had just happened.



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    Auction Dates
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    17th-18th Saturday-Sunday
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