Props, Props, Props

Movie stars of the Golden Age were often photographed with props.  The props ranged from sensible, having something to do with a film, to silly.  In the silly, or at least puzzling category are ladders, duck decoys, monkeys and globes.  The following are good examples of the use of props.

Animals

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From left: a beaming Robert Taylor points at a monkey, 1930s; Mr. Taylor and Barbara Stanwyck give a treat to a baby Cheetah, 1930s.

Apple

RT4561In the sadly overlooked Johnny Tiger, 1966, Robert Taylor plays a teacher who is trying to bring learning to the children of a Seminole Indian tribe.  Here the teacher somewhat wistfully holds an apple.

 

 

Babies

RT2789This is specific to the film “Stand By for Action,” 1942, in which babies are the subject of a major sub-plot.  Mr. Taylor seems quite overwhelmed by his small charges.

 

 

Books

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Mr. Taylor wasn’t a great reader, sticking mostly to magazines; this photo probably advertises a film made from a book.

 

 

Dogs

Robert Taylor loved dogs, both hunting dogs and pets and often posed with them.  They helped to bring out his down to earth, non movie star personality.

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From Left: Camille, 1936. The dog, an Irish Setter may have been named Jack. 1930s with a Boxer; Robert Taylor with a Setter and a Dalmatian, 1930s; Robert Taylor and Barbara Stanwyck with a Jack Russell Terrier(?), 1930s.

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Mr. Taylor with two Boxers, 1930s; with a Yellow Lab, 1940s; with a Pointer, around 1950.  Please let me know if I’ve any of the dogs wrong.

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Robert Taylor with a Black Lab, 1950s; with a Pointer, late fifties, early sixties.

Duck Decoy

RT3617Mr. Taylor was a noted outdoorsman, who in 1954 won the first Winchester Award as Outdoorsman of the year. The decoy and tree motif are appropriate to his lifestyle. This picture looks to be from the mid 1950s, the time of the award.

 

Fireplace and Saddle

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A faux scene of domestic tranquility where Mr. Taylor broods romantically while he contemplates a saddle and a fireplace.  The other photos are from the same series.

Furniture

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From left: promotional photos using couches for When Ladies Meet, 1941and Her Cardboard Lover, 1942.  The actors draped on couches motif was very common.

Gardening Tools

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This series, from the 1930s, represents Robert Taylor as a keen gardener who doesn’t get dirty.  He wields a hose in color and black and white, then admires his garden.

Gavel

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As far as I know, Mr. Taylor never played a judge (perhaps on Death Valley Days?) but this does suit the gravitas he had as a mature actor.

 

 

Globes

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From left: 1930s with paper and pencil; 1940s; 1940s Robert Taylor with Barbara Stanwyck.  Maybe he’s showing her where he will be stationed; Mr. Taylor with Stewart Granger, his co-star in All the Brothers Were Valiant; 1953. They were sea captains so the globe makes sense.

Guns:

Guns are the prop with which Robert Taylor was most often photographed.  Given that many of his films were Westerns, adventure films, or cop films, this makes sense.

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From left: publicity photo from the mid-fifties; Westward the Women, 1951; Ride Vaquero, 1953; Rogue Cop, 1954; Saddle the Wind, 1958 publicity photos.

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From left: High Wall, 1947.  The High Wall pictures have nothing to do with the movie. The Taylor character never used a gun and never wore a suit and hat; The Last Hunt, 1956; The Law and Jake Wade, 1958; Return of the Gunfighter, 1967.

Ladders

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From left: 1930s; 3 from the 1940s; The Detectives 1959-62.  Why ladders? I have no idea.

Peace Pipe

abcThis is specific to the movie Devil’s Doorway, 1950 and represents the main idea of the film, that a man only wants to live in peace and others won’t let him.

 

 

Ship Models. 

Presumably the ship models were to make Mr. Taylor seem like a sophisticated world traveler, which could also apply to the globes.

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From left: 1930s; 1940s.

Sphinx

RT4770This is a publicity shot for a rather dreadful Italian film, called in English The Glass Sphinx, 1967.  Robert Taylor and Anita Ekberg have what is supposed to be a steamy shower scene in the film.

 

 

Sword

RT825Lancelot in Knights of the Round Table,  1953.  Lancelot, as portrayed by Robert Taylor, was the “perfect gentle knight.”  This photo evokes the character beautifully.

 

 

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About giraffe44

I became a Robert Taylor fan at the age of 15 when his TV show, "The Detectives" premiered. My mother wanted to watch it because she remembered Mr. Taylor from the thirties. I took one look and that was it. I spent the rest of my high school career watching Robert Taylor movies on late night TV, buying photos of him, making scrapbooks and being a typical teenager. College, marriage and career intervened. I remember being sad when Mr. Taylor died. I mailed two huge scrapbooks to Ursula Thiess. I hope she got them. Time passed, retirement, moving to Florida. Then in 2012 my husband Fred pointed that there were two Robert Taylor movies that evening on Turner Classic Movies--"Ivanhoe" and "Quentin Durward." I watched both and it happened all over again. I started this blog both for fans and for people who didn't know about Robert Taylor. As the blog passes 200,000 views I'm delighted that so many people have come by and hope it will help preserve the legacy of this fine actor and equally good man.
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9 Responses to Props, Props, Props

  1. dlin389 says:

    Ivanhoe (1952) is playing on Sunday, November 23, 2014 at 6:00 PM EST.

  2. giraffe44 says:

    Yes it is, for the second time in a couple of weeks. Thanks.

  3. dlin389 says:

    Undercurrent (1946) is playing on Monday December 29 2014 at 6:00PM EST.

  4. giraffe44 says:

    It is? Good grief, how did I miss that? Thanks so much.

  5. These are SO GOOD. The Keen Gardener- hahahaha

    • giraffe44 says:

      I’m glad you like them. Thanks for writing.

      • What an honor! Thank you immensely for responding. I just recently fell head-over-heels for the lovely man and have made over 46 tribute videos to him on my youtube channel. Thank you for your amazing page. Your articles never cease to maje me smile and make my heart go.

  6. giraffe44 says:

    I’ll have to take a look at your You Tube Channel.

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