Monday, June 17, 2013

Photo Autographed By Thelma Todd, Zasu Pitts, And Stax

Something that turned up on ebay.

 "This photograph was taken by Bug "Stax" Graves, the renowned stills photographer who worked at the Hal Roach Studios and features his rubber stamp credit on the verso (PLEASE CREDIT - Photo By - STAX). This photograph has been inscribed by both Zasu Pitts and Thelma Todd to film editor JACK OGILVIE, who left his employ at the Roach Studio after the making of THE BARGAIN OF THE CENTURY (1933), co-starring Zasu Pitts and Thelma Todd.  Miss Pitts' inscription is written in blue ink and reads: "To Jack - Success in your new venture - Sincerely - Zasu Pitts."  Miss Todd's inscription is written in a slightly darker blue ink and reads: "To Jack, One real cutter - Good luck to you - Sincerely, Thelma Todd."  In addition, this photograph has also been signed by the photographer, Bud "Stax" Graves, in the lower right corner in pencil (Stax)

Being a still photographer, Stax Graves was apparently never given onscreen credit, and indeed, this filmography is limited to the few films for which he's given 'uncredited' credit in the Internet Movie Database. Exactly when Graves started with Hal Roach Studios and when he departed is not entirely clear. Very little is mentioned about him in the various books written about the Roach comedians. But we do know that Graves was working with the Roach studio by the beginning of August 1922, the point in time when the studio payroll summaries begin to name names. It's clearly possible that Graves was taking Our Gang photos from the very start of the series. Graves also shot still photos for all of the various other series at Roach, and IMDb lists his involvement with four of the Laurel & Hardy features made in the late thirties. He presumably stayed with Roach as Our Gang moved on to MGM, so his association with that series would have lasted from 1922 until 1938. It's more than apparent that he shot still photos for scores of Our Gang films, since his name appears on the backs of quite a few press photos, where he's identified simply as "Stax" (from Wikipedia)."


 Thelma Todd's autograph is not as rare as some people think it is, but I don't know how often you'd turn up something that was autographed by not only Thelma Todd, but Zasu Pitts and Stax as well.



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