Photos ©2009 Time
The new Google service of the Life
magazine photo archives has been active for the past two months, and it is quite impressive. To go there, click here.
The subject at hand is a good excuse to borrow the title of Elaine Dundy's autobiography for our heading at top. There's also the life.com site
, which we wrote about last March. It now has a link to the Google page.
Google claims it is offering "millions of photographs" from Life
, an eventual total of ten million pictures from "dusty archives in the form of negatives, slides, glass plates, etchings, and prints." However, it's the "never published" angle that's the real attention grabber. According to Google/Life
, 97% of these images have never been seen by the public.
I made a search for Dagmar, the first major female star of television (after Imogene Coca but before Lucille Ball). In 1950, she was hired by brash comedian Jerry Lester to appear as a dumb blonde on NBC's Broadway Open House, but when magazines and newspapers devoted pages to Dagmar and ignored Lester, he was furious. He was caught in a trap he had created. His only way out was to walk off his own show--which he did. Viewers could see the truth: Dagmar was quite clever and intelligent, while loudmouth Lester was the one who was not too bright. His trademark bit was to turn his glasses on his face at a 45-degree angle.
I've made successive screen captures to show the progression which eventually reveals 200 photos of Dagmar by Alfred Eisenstaedt and others. As some have noted, there seems to be a 200 limit on any subject; for instance, Dagmar gets 200, but so does Marilyn Monroe. I've never seen that July 16, 1951 cover story on Dagmar, but it must have displayed only about ten or less photos. Now we see her autographing still photos, on a Manhattan rooftop, in rehearsal, returning to her hometown of Huntington, West Virginia, riding a bicycle and more. It's evident why some of these photos never made it into print, with blurred movements (as in the autograph session above) or poor lighting, but even minus captions, one can connect synaptic dots to find a narrative thread throughout. Google astonishes yet again, this time unlocking a treasure trove of forgotten images. More info at the Official Google Blog
Photos ©2009 Time
Labels: archive, broadway open house, dagmar, Eisenstaedt, google, life, photo, time, tv, west virginia