The seminal MGM Studios auction in May 1970 was a watershed moment for film scholars and the auction
business, which essentiality created a new market for an area of collecting that previously only existed among a
few film enthusiasts.  The studio's objective was to simply consolidate space on an already overcrowded lot by
creating a three day film memorabilia auction to clear seven soundstages. A vast assortment of costumes, film
props and related property from the studios beginnings dating from the 1920s were cataloged, tagged and placed
on the auction block.

In and among the multitude of items that were placed under the gavel were 350,000 plus costumes, furniture and
decorative-art related items, automobiles, busses, trains, tanks, boats, ships, airplanes and space capsules that
were previously incorporated into studio productions.  Highlights recall the full size sailing ship from Mutiny on
the Bounty (1935), Elizabeth Taylor's wedding gown worn in Father of the Bride (1950), Clark Gable's trench coat
worn in several films, a group of swimsuits worn by Esther Williams and Johnny Weissmuller's loin cloth worn in
Tarzan films of the 1940s.  However, the most coveted pieces sold were from The Wizard of Oz (1939) which
included a pair of ruby red slippers worn by Judy Garland that hammered on the auction block for $15,000.

Many of the treasures of MGM film were purchased by Debbie Reynolds.  Sadly these MGM relics will be up for
auction again this summer due to a bankrupt museum venture that Ms. Reynolds must settle.


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LA TIMES MAY 4, 1970
"Dreams Auctioned"


Props Become Stars in MGM Spectacular
By Dial Torgerson


The things dreams were once made of went on sale Sunday by auction, at Metro Goldwyn Mayer Studios.

"How much do we hear?" asked auctioneer David Weisz facing a crowd of 5,000 on Sound Stage 27. On a screen
flashed a picture of what the Weisz catalog described as Item 1. Decanter, cut crystal. Start at 10 I have 20.
Thirty bid by the lady.  Who bids 40? I have 40.  Fifty bid. Fifty-five. Sixty. Do I hear seventy.  Who'll make it 80
Going at 90. Fair warning. Going. Sold for 90.

And so for $90, Tom Hartzog, 32 of Memphis, Tenn. bought the first of more than 25,000 items from the vast
storehouse of props accumulated by MGM during the making of 2,000 films.

Many of them date to the 1930's remembered now as the golden age of movies, when MGM reigned as No. 1
among the Hollywood dream factories.  The first things to go, those auctioned Sunday, were the items of
furniture and decoration.

Debbie Reynolds purchase: Debbie Reynolds paid $1200 for the four-piece Louis XVI salon set used by Norma
Shearer in "Marie Antoinette" in 1938.

After spirited bidding by several professional antique buyers, a French boule mantel clock, which appeared with
Greta Garbo in Ninotchka in 1939, went for $3,750.  A seven piece Louis XVI salon set last used in Grace Kelly's
"High Society" in 1957 went for $6,750.

More than 6,000 persons have paid $100 each for admittance, to this auction-actually a series of auctions daily
for at least three weeks. The $100 refundable to those who buy nothing.  Two thousand persons signed up for
admission on Sunday.  The crowd included professional decorators, antiques dealers, amateur collectors looking
for some modest possession with the MGM cachet and Hollywood people seeking memorabilia of MGM's days of
grandeur.

Rock Hudson, Nanette Fabray, and Shirley Jones were among the celebrities present.  Some of them browsed
through an adjacent sound state where costumes from- Judy Garlands ruby slippers in "The Wizard of Oz" to
Marilyn Monroes "Asphalt Jungle" pants suit  were on display.

The Costumes, enough weapons to equip several armies of several centuries, rolling stock including Any Hardy's
Model A and Ulysses S. Grants presidential locomotive and models of everything planes, boats, trains, tanks,
buildings-go on sale on subsequent days.

MGM is selling off part of its sprawling Culver City lot and its stock of props because it needs the money, and
doesn't need the impedimenta of an earlier days filmmaking.

Weisz won't say what he paid for the props.  An aide said it would cost him a million dollars, including rental of
the MGM stages and salaries for 137 employees to conduct the sale.
In 1970 MGM sold off a whole bunch of movie props including the
original Time Machine, it sold for $10,000 dollars to an entrepreneur
who took the machine across country to be display in fairs and such,
then some time in the mid 70's it completely disappeared to the world..

But fortunately in 1979 the Time Machine was discovered in a thrift shop!..
Gene Kelly Sailor Hat and Scarf from "On The Town"
1970 MGM AUCTION
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