Glamour and Mischief!

Glamour and Mischief! Image

“The Golden Age of Hollywood was truly a showcase for costume designers, some of whom—like Michael Woulfe—were lesser-known but made distinctive contributions to the glamour of this illustrious period. Michael takes the reader on his journey from a starstruck Brooklyn boy to a Hollywood costume designer who learns that Judy Garland has personally requested him to design her gowns for the gala film premiere of A Star Is Born. As in all fairytales, the journey is filled with joys and struggles—from Michael’s first film assignment dressing Sylvia Sidney in Blood on the Sun, his encounters with nastiness under the glittery surface of Hollywood, and the madness of working under the personal direction of Howard Hughes at RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.

          At the age of twenty-seven, Michael was one of the youngest costume designers in history to receive screen credit as Gown Designer. As head designer on more than sixty films, he created glamorous wardrobes and gowns for Hollywood stars and legends such as Claudette Colbert, Laraine Day, Ava Gardner, Judy Garland, Susan Hayward, Janet Leigh, Marilyn Monroe, Terry Moore, Debbie Reynolds, Jane Russell, Jean Simmons, Barbara Stanwyck, Sylvia Sydney, Claire Trevor, and Loretta Young.

          Howard Hughes taxed Michael’s endurance to the limit during their more than 25-year relationship that began at RKO Radio Pictures and ended at Hughes Productions. Hughes’s frequent meddling created exasperating and zany adventures for Michael, while his constant demands to show maximum cleavage often stifled creativity and culminated in the censorship of The French Line, Son of Sinbad, and The Conqueror. Michael’s film credits at RKO also include the studio’s first big-budget Technicolor film Tycoon starring John Wayne and Laraine Day, My Forbidden Past starring Ava Gardner, and Clash by Night starring Barbara Stanwyck and co-starring Marilyn Monroe

          “Glamour and Mischief!” is the first comprehensive look at a talented costume designer who had an out-of-the-ordinary career. The book takes us from RKO’s wardrobe room to the executive suites. Astonishingly, top executives must wait outside their own offices while Michael has private phone conversations with Howard Hughes and is charged with relaying orders back to RKO’s production chiefs. 

          David V. Jervis, after unearthing a treasure trove of memorabilia and an unpublished memoir, pays tribute to a man who loved the glamour of the Golden Age of Hollywood. He offers his special perspective as Michael’s close friend and confidante.

          Michael Woulfe had a keen memory along with the ability to narrate engaging stories. “Glamour and Mischief!”—with over 200 images, including color sketches, photographs, newspaper clippings, and personal letters—offers a fresh, humorous, and insightful look into an intriguing Hollywood costume design career.

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Readers' opinions about Glamour and Mischief! by David V. Jervis & Michael Woulfe

I loved the powerful messages hidden within the story. The book tackled important social issues and made me ponder the world we live in. It's a must-read for everyone.

The characters in this book felt like old friends, and I was sad to say goodbye to them at the end. It's a testament to the author's talent for creating memorable and relatable personas.

The themes of resilience and hope resonated deeply with me. This book taught me valuable life lessons that I'll carry with me for years to come.

More by David V. Jervis & Michael Woulfe

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