Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Harold's Rogue's Gallery: now we know

This is a strange one, but it's an indication of Harold Lloyd's continuing popularity and his fans' eagerness to collect his memorabilia.

The Rogue's Gallery, which is being auctioned off here, is a collection of photographs Harold had hanging in his (long, long, underground) hallway at his estate, Greenacres. Whenever anyone visited him, his wife Mildred requested or required that they bring a signed photograph of themselves. I often wondered during the researching/writing of The Glass Character what happened to those photos. With Harold living on such a gargantuan scale, there may well have been hundreds of them. I did come across another writer who asked the same thing: the photos had been publicly displayed once, I think in the 1960s, but what had happened to them after that?

Now we know.

This isn't the kind of event I am able to get to, for various reasons. I have no money, for one thing. It looks as if it's by invitation only. Certainly I couldn't afford a Rogue's Gallery photo, but I don't particularly want one. The best part, in fact the ONLY part of The Glass Character that had real meaning for me was writing it. After that, it fell into a hole. 

I'm still trying to recover. I'm lousy at making contacts - I tried over and over again and was rebuffed, so I don't seem to have "luck" or the magic formula. Kevin Brownlow was nice to me: I think he's wonderful and a real gentleman (not to mention the world's foremost expert on silent film!), but he was the only one who would give me the time of day. To this day, I can ask him any sort of question about the movies, and he will promptly answer me (and with great enthusiasm). The rest of them either did not respond at all, or showed only brief interest, then dropped it without explanation.

If this happens once or even twice, maybe it's just hard luck. Three times? You've misfired, done something very seriously wrong. And I'm still trying to figure out what that is.