Rare Vintage Photos from the Golden Age of Hollywood
Rare Vintage Photos from the Golden Age of Hollywood

Rare Vintage Photos from the Golden Age of Hollywood

Trista - June 12, 2022

Rare Vintage Photos from the Golden Age of Hollywood
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41. A bad Santa.

There is something so “odd” about vintage pictures of Santa Claus that might bring some terrifying memories about that Mall Santa when you were young. Nevertheless, there’s something so bizarre about seeing a celebrity as an actress like Ida Lupino spanking Santa that makes us wonder what was going on. We guess this was taken at a Christmas party, and Ida was having fun with the naughty Santa. No matter the reason behind the photograph, it’s always so interesting seeing prominent Hollywood actors of the time doing goofy things.

Rare Vintage Photos from the Golden Age of Hollywood
Express UK

40. The musical film that never happened.

Did you know that Shirley Temple almost got the role of Dorothy in Wizard of Oz before they went with Judy Garland? While Shirley was six years younger than Judy, everything went down when Temple’s Studio 20th Century Fox prevented her from taking the role. A few years later, Judy, Shirley, and actor Mickey Rooney were meant to star in the musical Babes On Broadway. However, the idea was scrapped. Imagine this trio of talented actors together on the big screen. All we have is this beautiful picture of the three together in perfect harmony. Keep reading for more rare images from the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Rare Vintage Photos from the Golden Age of Hollywood
Refinery29

39. Photobombing a legendary beauty.

Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood (now known as the TCL Chinese Theater) is the perfect place to find hand prints of the biggest celebrities in Hollywood’s golden era. So it is no shock that Elizabeth Taylor is part of the legendary theater’s Legacy. There are many pictures of the event. However, what’s interesting about this one is that you can see the handsome Rock Hudson photobombing Liz Taylor’s image. We are sure his charisma and charm made it OK for him to pose for the camera with his friend leaving her prints in the cement.

Rare Vintage Photos from the Golden Age of Hollywood
Pinterest

38. An epic party at Venice pier.

In the history of celebrities, we can see that they know how to party in style. What we know about this epic party is that it was hosted by Carole Lombard in June 1935 when she invited some of her cool celebrity friends for a night at the pier, enjoying all their activities. Here we can see (from left to right) Betty Furness, Cesar Romero, Marlene Dietrich, and William Haines having the time of their lives. It’s always nice to take a break from the movie set to have fun with your friends.

Rare Vintage Photos from the Golden Age of Hollywood
Photobucket

37. The historical end of a war.

Imagine: it’s August 15, 1945, the day Japan surrendered, which brought the end of World War II. You are working at a radio station in Los Angeles at the time. Three of the biggest celebrities are hanging there when all goes down. What do you do? Tell them to go live and give the bulletin all night long. Furthermore, that’s precisely what happened to Rita Hayworth, her husband at the time, Orson Welles, and Marlene Dietrich, who spent the night bringing bulletins about the end of the war, which Orson was excited about to announce. This picture was taken right after they finished, celebrating with a mug of coffee.

Rare Vintage Photos from the Golden Age of Hollywood
Getty Images

36. It’s coffee time!

Marilyn’s last comedy musical, “Let’s Make Love,” starring Italian-French actor Yves Montand, with a cameo by actor, singer, and choreographer Gene Kelly. The film features an extended cast of big names, making it a big hit in theaters, and seeing a candid picture of the three of them enjoying a coffee break while on set feels like a wholesome thing to witness. Gene’s big smile contrasts with Yves’s pensive stare to the distance while smoking a cigarette. It is rumored that Marilyn and Yves had an affair while working together, but this was never confirmed.

Rare Vintage Photos from the Golden Age of Hollywood
Wikipedia

35. Taking care of the family.

Many stars in the golden age of cinema had very humble beginnings. For instance, Debbie Reynolds’s family was not wealthy at all; her father was a carpenter, and her mother would do people’s laundry for a bit of cash. So there’s no wonder that when Debbie made it big, she made sure to take care of her parents. This picture shows her father, Ray Reynolds, and Grandmother O. Harman at a banquet in 1955. She was always thankful that no matter how poor they were, food was always on the table for her and her brother. Keep reading for more rare images from the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Rare Vintage Photos from the Golden Age of Hollywood
WalterFIlm

34. Directing a dark film noir.

The 1940s brought a lot of mystery to the big screens, with one of the most popular genres of the time being Film Noir. Director Fritz Lang loved working for his cast that included Joan Bennett (In the picture), Edward G. Robinson, and Dan Duryea so much in the film The Woman in the Window that he recast them for his next movie: Scarlet Street. The film is based on a French Novel called “La Chienne.” Scarlet Street was so dark and disturbing that it was banned in New York, Milwaukee, and Atlanta.

Rare Vintage Photos from the Golden Age of Hollywood
WalterFilm

33. A look behind the Seven Year Itch iconic shooting.

In Marilyn’s short life, she left us with many iconic moments that made her the legend she is today. I’m sure you have seen the iconic picture of Marilyn in her white dress being lifted by a gust of wind. However, maybe you didn’t know that it was taken by her friend photographer Sam Shaw who was on set for the film Seven Year Itch. The scene was filmed on location in New York City, with a big crowd trying to get a glimpse of the Blonde Bombshell, making the shoot’s audio so bad that they had to re-shoot it in a movie set.

Rare Vintage Photos from the Golden Age of Hollywood
Pinterest

32. A foreign affair indeed!

In 1948, while filming A Foreign Affair, Hedy Lamarr (left) decided to pay a visit to the set where Billy Wilder was directing Marlene Dietrich (right) when this moment happened. The expression on Billy’s face says it all; it was totally unexpected and funny banter between them that ended in this picture which, at the time, it could have been considered a taboo to have two women almost kissing each other on the lips. Sometimes, a Foreign affair can also be fun, ending in this fantastic photograph with three iconic personalities.

Rare Vintage Photos from the Golden Age of Hollywood
DearMrGable

31. It’s time to play.

Carole Lombard (left) and Clark Gable were an iconic couple who spent years being secretive until they got married in 1939. While this picture was taken in 1933, people were already suspicious of their relationship with them hanging around very often. In this picture, in particular, they were at a party with actress Constance Talmadge (right), playing a marble game that was very popular at the time. It mostly looked like a pinball game, which was a blast to play, judging by their faces. Celebrities back in the day knew how to boogie.

Rare Vintage Photos from the Golden Age of Hollywood
Weird Vintage

30. The fun house doesn’t stop.

Carole Lombard’s party at Venice pier fun house in 1935 was a celebrity gathering of epic proportions, so it’s challenging to choose which pictures are the best. On this one, we can see Gail Patrick checking the magical attributes of a carnival mirror, turning heads to make them look bigger. It’s always refreshing seeing glamorous actors of this era being ordinary people, enjoying things everyone else likes. It was a simpler time when cameras weren’t following every second of their days, so moments like this happened when they looked relaxed and had a good time.

Rare Vintage Photos from the Golden Age of Hollywood
Tribeca

29. What happened to their bodies?

If we could go back in time to this party, we would! Just seeing the pictures is more than enough to feel a bit jealous of Carole Lombard’s Venice party with all the fun things they had for her guests. Here we see Claudette Colbert with Carole showing their curves to the guest. Both were very good friends, with Colbert once saying, “When Dietrich, Lombard, and I were all working at Paramount, I was the girl next door, but a chic girl next door. Marlene was sexy, and Carole Lombard was the girl next door, but crazy.” Keep reading for more rare images from the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Rare Vintage Photos from the Golden Age of Hollywood
WalterFilm

28. It was just what the doctor ordered.

Between the late 1920s and early 1930s, a period of films broke the boundaries of what was acceptable to show at the time, called the Pre-Code era. In it, filmmakers would do explicit stories or violent films that were too taboo to show in theaters. Moreover, that’s when the film International House” came to be, starring Gracie Allen, George Burns, W.C. Fields, Bela Lugosi, and Franklin Pangborn. The movie is about a group of people who goes to a hotel in China to bid on an invention called Television. This publicity picture with some of the cast shows how silly this comedy was at the time.

Rare Vintage Photos from the Golden Age of Hollywood
Megan Abbott on Twitter

27. Light ’em up!

This candid picture of John Wayne and Marlene Dietrich says much about their relationship. He was head over heels over Marlene, who at the time they met was 40 while the Duke was 35. Their secret steamy relationship wasn’t well known publicly for a few decades. Nevertheless, there was no hiding from their peers who knew that something was happening between them. Their romance got so intense that Wayne brought many excuses so that he wasn’t drafted so that he could continue their affair. Well, he did go to war, but only in the movies.

Rare Vintage Photos from the Golden Age of Hollywood
Refinery29

26. Their glamorous special day.

Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner first met shortly before Natalie’s debut film Happy Land when she was only ten years old, and he was 18. However, it wasn’t until eight years later that they finally had their first date and a year later tied the knot in 1957, with a beautiful ceremony where you can see Natalie wearing a stunning laced hood and finger-ess gloves. The public was head over heels over their relationship, which lasted just five years. A few years and a divorce later, the two tied the knot again in 1972, until her mysterious demise in 1981.

Rare Vintage Photos from the Golden Age of Hollywood
Refinery29

25. The rodeo is about to start.

Clark Gable and Carole Lombard knew how to party and dress up in style, especially when it was a costume party with a Circus theme. At William Randolph Hearst’s (middle) birthday celebration, the pair had a gay ol’ time with other guests like Mervyn LeRoy, with everyone dressed for the occasion. Parties at the time were more like cocktails with mini-games and live music. It is no wonder why celebrities of the time looked like they were always having a blast at every party; when Clark and Carole were involved, it was a guarantee that the party would be off the hook!

Rare Vintage Photos from the Golden Age of Hollywood
WalterFilm

24. The king has spoken.

King Vidor was a veteran film director with an over 60-year career under his belt that started in the silent era of films. Here we can see him giving direction to Ruth Hussey, Fay Holden, and Van Helfin in the 1941 film HM Pulham, Esq at a wedding sequence. The movie was based on a novel with the same name about a businessman who, while living a “normal” quiet life, couldn’t keep his mind away from a young woman who took him out of his comfort zone to live with more passionate and charismatic energy. Keep reading for more rare images from the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Rare Vintage Photos from the Golden Age of Hollywood
BTS Photo / WalterFilm

23. One last technicolor film.

The film Let’s Make Love starring Marilyn Monroe and Yves Montand, was a total flop at the box office and brought a lot of drama behind the scenes. Rumors swirled that Marilyn and her co-star Yves Montand were having an affair while her husband was working on the script for the film. Even this picture shows a lot of animosities backstage. There were many tensions which, in the end, damaged the production. This was Marilyn’s last technicolor film which she only did because she was still under contract with 20th Century Fox.

Rare Vintage Photos from the Golden Age of Hollywood
WalterFilm

22. An escape to the past.

Here, we have a very young Audrey Hepburn preparing for her role in Secret People. She was just around 23 years old in this image, which is the start of her storied career in acting. In this film, Hepburn plays the part of Nora. She was the youngest daughter of a man who was set to be executed by a brutal dictator in their home country. She and her sister flee to London and try to lead a peaceful life. However, it all goes awry when they get involved in a plot to assassinate the dictator.

Rare Vintage Photos from the Golden Age of Hollywood
IMDB

21. Not the man who knew nothing!

Are you ready for a little-known fact about this film? Doris Day was upset that Alfred Hitchcock was paying her no attention. He seemed to spend far more time worrying about lighting, set matters, and other little minutiae. She eventually talked to him about it. Here is his famous reply: “My dear Miss Day, if you weren’t giving me what I wanted, then I would have to direct you!” As it turns out, she was giving exactly the performance he wanted in the first place. Thus, he felt no need to correct her.

Rare Vintage Photos from the Golden Age of Hollywood
Wikimedia

20. Mirror, mirror in the mountains.

Springtime in the Rockies was a significant hit for the era and especially for Betty Grable. Altogether, it managed to pull in just over 2 million dollars, which is around 34 million dollars today. That might not sound like much. However, it was enough to make it one of the top ten films of 1942. It was even popular enough to catch the eye of Disney, who had Donald Duck quacking a version of the lead song while in the bath. The story was initially filmed under the title Second Honeymoon with the director Walter Lang.

Rare Vintage Photos from the Golden Age of Hollywood
WalterFilm

19. If I only had a… heart?

Ray Bolger is shown here taking the time to do Promo photos for the iconic Wizard Of Oz film. However, Bolger was not the original casting for the role; that fell to Buddy Ebsen, who agreed to change positions with Bolger and instead became the Tinman. This led to Ebsen becoming sick from the makeup of the Tinman and having to leave the production. Bolger was also affected by his makeup as the Scarecrow, as the prosthetics left his face with scars that took over a year to go away. It sounded like a harrowing experience, but it was all worth it in the end.

Rare Vintage Photos from the Golden Age of Hollywood
Pinterest

18. Party for a war-time hero.

Life seemed to be one big party for Carole Lombard. She grew from a small-time country girl into one of the most iconic screwball comedy actresses of her time. Twentieth Century was the film that made her a major star. She landed the role after the director Howard Hawks found her drunk and hilarious at a party. However, a crashed plane flight cut her life short after it hit a mountain. She was on her way home from a Wartime event to raise money for war bonds. At the time, Carole Lombard had a goal of 500,000 dollars and managed to secure over 2 million. Keep reading for more rare images from the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Rare Vintage Photos from the Golden Age of Hollywood
Wikipedia

17. The beginnings of the blonde bombshell.

Marilyn Monroe’s career took off after being discovered while working in an aircraft factory assembling planes. That’s when she decided to quit and sign with a Model Agency, which was just one step closer to becoming an actress. So she divorced her husband and took off to find fame and fortune. Shortly after, 20th Century Fox signed her, where this picture was taken as a screen test. Interestingly, this is the first time we see Marilyn with her signature blonde hair, saying bye-bye to her brunette curly locks. This goes to confirm that gentlemen prefer blondes.

Rare Vintage Photos from the Golden Age of Hollywood
WalterFilm

16. A hole in one for two.

Spring Fever is a silent-era comedy film. Many consider it to be the fundamental starting point for the popularity of Joan Crawford and William Haines, even though it was just their second time starring in a film and their first time together. However, three years later, the film was remade into a comedy musical of all things. Not many films can go from the silent era to a full-blown musical in scope. Dorothy Jordan replaced Crawford, and Robert Montgomery replaced Haines.

Rare Vintage Photos from the Golden Age of Hollywood
WalterFilm

15. Carefree and Footloose!

Carefree was a powerhouse in design. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers made it, and Irving Berlin wrote all the songs. Incidentally, it is also the shortest of the Astaire and Rogers films, coming in with only four feature musical numbers. Four of the featured songs were written by Irving Berlin in just a few days. While he was on vacation, at that. Most notably, the track “I Used To Be Colorblind” was recorded at four times speed, so when played back at normal speed, it appeared to be in slow motion.

Rare Vintage Photos from the Golden Age of Hollywood
WalterFilm

14. Posing for posterity.

Sometimes an actor’s or actress’s work isn’t all acting. They have to pose for pictures, often for publicity, and sometimes for charity. Here, we see the gorgeous Loren Bacall posing in a suit made for the film Dark Passage. It is an all-wool suit that is suitable for all seasons. Plus, it also boasted huge patched pockets, a semi-flared skirt double stitched in the center, and full, long sleeves. Designer Bernard Newman created the ensemble for Warner Brothers. This is just a little taste of the fashion extravaganza of the era that is still admired to this day.

Rare Vintage Photos from the Golden Age of Hollywood
Pinterest

13. There are 24 beers in a case and 24 hours in a day.

That is part of a quote associated with Paul Newman’s original statement, “24 hours in a day, 24 beers in a case. Coincidence? I think not.” However, it has never been proven that he ever said it. In fact, the actor is squarely against it and has fought it for years. Even though we can see the actor here, behind the scenes of his film Paris Blues enjoying a frosty one, Newman himself is outspoken against substance abuse and has aided several charities in this cause. He even created a substance abuse center after his son passed. Keep reading for more rare images from the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Rare Vintage Photos from the Golden Age of Hollywood
WalterFilm

12. A clash of rouge.

In this little behind-the-scenes peek, we see Barbara Stanwyck having make-up applied on the set of Clash By Night, a film noir drama also starring the one and only Marilyn Monroe. Any actor or actress can tell you that sitting still for makeup can be one of the most tedious parts of the job. Thankfully, here it looks like Stanwyck takes it all in stride, with several other cast and crew members floating around. If they were lucky, sometimes only a little touch-up was needed between shots—all for the art of the movies.

Rare Vintage Photos from the Golden Age of Hollywood
ClickAmericana

11. There’s no time like beach time.

Most times, we as fans don’t have the luxury of seeing inside a celebrity’s home, which is understandable. If you were in the public eye all day long, you would also want some peace. Cary Grant found his peace alongside the beach at a beautiful home in Santa Monica. He would spend his time there, hating to be a shut-in, whenever he was not on set or after his retirement. Of his beachfront home, he said, “I like the ocean because no one can build a house in front of me or plant a high hedge or put up a billboard.”

Rare Vintage Photos from the Golden Age of Hollywood
IrishPhotographyArchive

10. You’re in the feud generation.

Not many Hollywood feuds last as long as this one did, and the two women had no problems airing out their dirty laundry in public as often as they could. Their feud was legendary and didn’t even end when Crawford passed away. However, even in the worst of rivalries, there is always little time for fun. As you can see in this picture in Dublin, Ireland. It was during a Press Conference that Joan Crawford held as part of a discussion for the expansion of Pepsi at the time. That didn’t stop Davis from installing a Coca-Cola machine on the set of What Ever Happened To Baby Jane, though.

Rare Vintage Photos from the Golden Age of Hollywood
ClickAmericana

9. The wonderful wizard of hair.

Before we get to watch anything on the big screen, even influential classic films start from the ground up. Part of that process is deciding what their characters will look like, and that’s what we have here. Every inch is considered, from clothing designs to hairstyles, to what color it will be, and how long, curled, straight, braided, or natural. As we can see, Dorothy’s hair could have been much different from what we got on screen. Whether you’re a Doctor of Thinkology or a Good Deed Doer, we can all appreciate good character designs.

Rare Vintage Photos from the Golden Age of Hollywood
WalterFilm

8. Direction for a love triangle.

Not often do we get to see directors directly interacting with cast members. Still, in this candid photo, taken from Woman On The Beach, we can see Jean Renoir giving points and direction to Joan Bennett and Robert Ryan. Ryan plays a Coast Guard officer plagued with nightmares of a lonely, ghostly woman, and Bennett plays the wife of a blinded man who used to be a famous painter who mistakenly remarks that artists’ work is usually appreciated after they die. Together, they realize the bond they share that sets off a love triangle drama. Keep reading for more rare images from the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Rare Vintage Photos from the Golden Age of Hollywood
WalterFilm

7. Rhapsody of a classical pianist.

Sure, though the film was a musical and biography (albeit fictionalized version) of George Gershwin. But, Hazel Scott was no slouch on the ivory keys herself. A prodigy from a very young age, she could play anything she heard on piano and was even accepted as a student at the Juilliard School of Music at age eight. When she was old enough to start working in Hollywood, she was notoriously protective of her image by wearing her own clothing and jewelry. She also insisted in her contracts that she be given final cut privileges.

Rare Vintage Photos from the Golden Age of Hollywood
ChessBase

6. A game viewed through the rear window.

Actors have very little time between sets and shots; however, sometimes, there is ample time to grab a match in one of the world’s oldest and most popular games. Here we see Grace Kelly observing thoughtfully as Wendell Cory makes a move and attacks the back row of Jimmy Steward’s game pieces, potentially hoping to promote his pawn to a Queen. Perhaps she went on to play the victor of the round. Unfortunately, we can never tell as this piece of cinema history has flown out the window.

Rare Vintage Photos from the Golden Age of Hollywood
WalterFilm

5. Banging the old drums.

Marlon Brando has been in so many classic films and TV shows that we couldn’t list them all if we tried. Many people discuss how many awards he won or his salacious personal life. Nevertheless, few people knew that he had a love for playing instruments, one of those being the bongo. If you know where to look, you can find many a tale or image of Brando seated behind the small drums playing passionately and with a rock and roll attitude about him. Before he started acting, Brando played the drums in the Cockatoo Club in New York City.

Rare Vintage Photos from the Golden Age of Hollywood
WalterFilm

4. Long gone, but not forgotten.

The Duke Steps Out, a story about a millionaire’s son who wishes to become a boxer, is considered one of the long-lost greats in Hollywood Silent film history. Sadly, the film itself has been missing for decades. All that is known to remain are still photos, the soundtrack and sound effects of the film, and known reviews from critics of the era. William Haines has several more popular movies until his firing from MGM due to his refusal to enter into a fake marriage to hide his relationship with his long-time partner Jimmy Shields.

Rare Vintage Photos from the Golden Age of Hollywood
Life Photo Collection

3. Not candy, but just as sweet.

This wonderful image was captured behind the curtain after a performance of Sugar Babies, a Broadway musical that Rooney had starred in, his first ever. The show was an immediate success and went on to have over 1,200 performances during its nearly three-year-long running time. The show was written as a “send-off to burlesque,” featuring Rooney singing, dancing, and performing in drag. It was nominated for a total of 8 Tony awards but did not win any. Keep reading for more rare images from the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Rare Vintage Photos from the Golden Age of Hollywood
WalterFilm

2. A golden view.

This now iconic film, Reflections In A Golden Eye, is based on the novel by Carson McCullers and was shot initially using a gold-tinted filter to give the movie a shading that would match the title. However, it was also eventually released in black and white, as well as in retinted color. Interestingly, to get Elizabeth Taylor on board, the studio had to hire Montgomery Clift; however, he tragically had a heart attack before filming. The role was then cast to Brando, but only after Richard Burton and Lee Marvin turned it down.

Rare Vintage Photos from the Golden Age of Hollywood
MPT Images

1. Glaring side-eye or mistaken glance?

It all started as a party for Sophia Loren that was put together by movie-producing company Paramount almost 60 years ago. Still, Loren remembers it precisely as it was that day. The reason for that look was simply put – fear. Fear that Jayne Mansfield was about to “spill all over the table” in front of dozens of cameras. Everyone who was anyone from the cinema was there that day. However, Loren says she wants nothing to do with the picture and does not autograph it when asked, mainly out of respect for Jayne, who has since passed.

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