Take Four: Flea-ing the City
Where is that zippy 1930’s dance tune coming from? I’ve timed my flight back to New York so I could spend my last day at the famous monthly Rose Bowl Flea Market in Pasadena, where I am sure I will find, among the 2,500-plus stalls, the perfect examples of Hollywood ephemera. And after hours of looking at stunningly inexpensive Midcentury furniture and acres of vintage clothes, my wish is granted. The music is wafting from booth B02, where Steven Ranger has a stock of movie memorabilia, much of it dating to the earliest years of Hollywood, when Pasadena provided the backdrop for Tom Mix westerns and D. W. Griffith extravaganzas. And here I find what is for me the ultimate Hollywood souvenir: a set of 12 delicate spoons, issued by Photoplay magazine and the Oneida silverware company in the 1920’s and decorated with portraits of silent-film stars and facsimiles of their autographs. I hesitate for a moment, but in the end I succumb: though a hot southern California sun is beating down, I have a vision of myself on a snowy New York night, curled up in front of a stack of DVD’s, deciding whether to stir my hot chocolate with Douglas Fairbanks, Gloria Swanson, Mary Pickford, or Marion Davies.
Lynn Yaeger is a T+L contributing editor.