Saturday, May 30, 2009

Mae West: John Kobal

In many ways, John Kobal's Hollywood career caught fire thanks to MAE WEST.
• • Years ago, one interviewer whipped up this creamy prologue: "Like so many stories about John Kobal, the one about his notable role as a connoisseur, collector, and chronicler of Hollywood photography begins with a movie star. Working as a journalist in 1969, Kobal visited the set of Myra Breckinridge with the goal of interviewing screen legend Mae West. His reporter's credentials granted him access to the set and while awaiting summons from Miss West, Kobal had the opportunity to meet members of the film's crew. ..."
• • In his book "People Will Talk," he offered chatty testimonials from 43 notable Hollywood veterans. This is a snippet: Mae West's refusal to marry is symptomatic of narcissism, then and now: "Every time I look at myself, I become absorbed in myself, and I didn't want to get involved with another person like that. ..."
• • John Kobal [birthname: Ivan Kobaly] was born in Linz, Austria during the month of May — — on 30 May 1940. Clearly, he decided he'd never become the outsider at his own party. The author of over 30 books on film and film photography, he was known for his creative and exuberant personality, as well as his voracious knowledge of the minutiae of film and photography lore. He is credited with essentially 'rediscovering' the great Hollywood Studio photographers — — George Hurrell, Laszlo Willinger, Clarence Sinclair Bull, Ted Allan, et al — — who were employed by the motion picture studios to create the glamorous, iconic portraits of the most famous and intriguing stars of the day that came to spit-shine the Tinseltown myth.
• • "Made In Hollywood" • •
• • The prints in the Kobal Collection, which include many images of Mae West, form the backbone of the "Made In Hollywood" exhibition, which finished its run in Santa Barbara, California [July 12th – October 12th, 2008], and which is now on view at the Knoxville Museum of Art, Knoxville, TN, USA [May 7th – October 27th, 2009].
• • John Kobal, prolific and hard-working, died of AIDS when he was 51 on 28 October 1991 in London, England.

• • Come up and see Mae every day online:
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