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During the Great Depression, just a thin dime was all it took to whisk you away to a cinematic wonderland, the neighborhood movie theater. American cinema at this time was entering its Golden Age, a time where the star-making capabilities of the major studios were at their peak. These powerful studios magnified their human properties' positive attributes to god-like proportion and went to equally great lengths to hide their faults, creating an unshakeable sense of awe in the viewers. Every movie goer had a favorite director, favorite hero, favorite villain, favorite love interest, or a favorite perennial victim, and even the regularly appearing character actors had their own fan base. Offered here are 13 autographed portrait sketches of some of the brightest lights of Hollywood's Golden Age, all sent to their respective subjects during the years 1934-1940. Jean Tool's portraits in this lot include: Eddie Cantor (1934), Joe E. Brown (1934), Shirley Temple (1935), W. C. Fields (1935), George Arliss (1935), Rudy Vallee (1935), Lionel Barrymore (1935), Claudette Colbert (1935), Stepin Fetchit (1935), Fredric March (1936), Cecille B. DeMille (1937), Fred Astaire (1937), and Charlie McCarthy (1940). (A copy of the hardcover book that reproduces all of the Jean Tool collection of autographed portrait sketches and items is included with this lot.) A detailed listing of this lot's contents and their respective grades is shown below. LOA from Steve Grad/PSA DNA.
The 13 included 7" x 9" portrait sketches are:
Eddie Cantor (questionably 1892-1964; drawing dated 1934; black ink personalized signature and salutation, grading "7," due to signature's intersection with the portrait illustration; EX/MT appearance with two small age spots on the portrait's extreme right border), Joe E. Brown (1892-1973; drawing dated 1934; black ink signature, "8-9"; light wrinkling on surface and some small age spots on the extreme edges cause us to grade this VG/EX), Shirley Temple (1928-; of all the personages that were depicted in the many autographed portraits by Jean Tool, the 77-year-old former child star is the only subject who is still living; drawing dated 1935; black ink, block letter signature in Shirley's 7-year-old hand that reads, "LOVE - SHIRLEY TEMPLE," "9"; sketch is EX in appearance, with a few small age spots, all in the outer area and far from the illustration and signature; return envelope with 4/23/35 postmark is also enclosed, with Shirley's Fox Studios return address probably filled in by her mother), W. C. Fields (1880-1946; drawing dated 1935; EX/MT appearance with a couple of small age spots on the extreme edges; black ink "W. C. Fields" signature, "10"), George Arliss (1868-1946; this portrait of the Best Actor of '29/'30 is dated 1935; small age spots on extreme edges; EX/MT appearance), Rudy Vallee (1901-1986; drawing dated 1935; black ink signature, "10"; EX/MT appearance with small age spots on extreme edges), Lionel Barrymore (1878-1954; drawing is dated 1935; black ink salutation and signature reads, "with best wishes - Lionel Barrymore," "9-10"; EX/MT appearance with a few small specks of age spotting by the extreme outer edges), Claudette Colbert (1903-1906; drawing dated 1935, the year Colbert won her Oscar for It Happened One Night; EX appearance, with small age spots at the extreme edges and a 1" split in the left edge of the lower horizontal fold; black ink signature, "10"), Stepin Fetchit (1902-1985; drawing dated 1935; strong ink personalized salutation and signature that reads, "To Jean - Best wishes - From - Stepin Fetchit," all "10"; approaching EX in condition, due only to thin strips and spots of aging effects that do not touch the signature and that just barely intersect at one thin point of the portrait), Fredric March (1897-1975; drawing dated 1936; black ink personalized signature and salutation, "To Jean Tool - Best wishes - Fredric March," "9-10"; EX/MT appearance, with a few small age spots on the extreme outer edges), Cecille B. DeMille (1881-1959; drawing dated 1937; personalized black ink signature that reads, "To Jean Tool. - Sincerely - C. B. de Mille," "10"; VG/EX in appearance, due to age spots that are far from the portrait or signature), Fred Astaire (1899-1987; drawing dated 1937; black ink signature grades "8-9," due to intersection with black area of portrait), and Charlie McCarthy (phenomenal 1940 portrait, by a slightly older and artistically more sophisticated Jean Tool; black ink signature, "Sincerely - Charlie McCarthy," "10").