Old Hollywood: Photos, Autographs, a Car, and Entertainment
Billed as the world's biggest collection of movie star photographs, the thousands of framed and autographed photos on display at Club Hollywood Casino in Shoreline, Washington, virtually define an era of glamour.
Collector Mark Mitchell, now 77, began pursuing the Hollywood stars for photos and autographs when he was 4 years old, thanks to his newspaperman father who interviewed and wrote stories about the stars. After Saturday-night gigs by front page stars such as Groucho Marx, the news staff brought their wide-eyed children on Sunday to meet the entertainers. When he was in his teens in Las Vegas, Mitchell got a napkin from the famed Sands Hotel in Vegas signed by Frank Sinatra.
Only a portion of his extensive collection is now displayed at Club Hollywood Casino, at 16716 Aurora Avenue North, with much more in his Seattle home. The collection also includes a large number of sports greats. Some of these photos are at Hamburger Harry’s in Ballard and Edmonds, where Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb keep tabs on the number of hamburgers sold.
Club Hollywood Casino was literally designed and built around a car owned by Marilyn Monroe, who purchased the vehicle not long before her early death. Bought by Mr. Mitchell some 35 years ago, the limousine was placed on site, and the building constructed around it, leaving it now sitting in the front window of Club Hollywood. Mitchell drove a generation of Little League ball players around in that car when he was a coach.
On Club Hollywood's upper floor rows of photos line every wall. John Wayne, Judy Garland, Clark Gable, Marlon Brando, Jimmy Steward, Elvis Presley, Rudolph Valentino, Sophia Loren, Marlena Dietrich, Goldie Hawn, Jean Simmons and thousands of others, gaze back at fascinated visitors. Although the collection focuses on Hollywood actors, there are also photos of some directors, producers, and musicians, along with a sports star who appeared in films…a memorable Mickey Mantle.
A show that features entertainment from the era of this photo collection opens at Club Hollywood on August 19 and returns on September 16. The Hollywood Variety Show includes songs, comedy, instrumental music, and magic. Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley won't be there, but it will be fun to reminisce.
See these shows August 19 or September 16, both Sundays, at 3:30 pm at Club Hollywood. Tickets are $20 at the door.