Friday, June 6, 2014

Iris and Herringbone and Natalie Wood

In 1961, Natalie Wood and Warren Beatty came to the silver screen as Deanie Loomis and Bud Stamper in a great Hollywood movie known as Splendor in the Grass.

Anyone who's seen the film is familiar with the story, so we're not going to go into that here except to say that it takes place in 1928, just prior to the Great Depression. The setting will be an important and critical fact later in this post.

As the movie unfolds, there is a scene in Deanie's dining room that we need to examine in detail. The scene opens and the camera reveals a beautifully set dining room table in the Loomis home. Each place setting on this table has a beautiful tumbler placed in the correct position. These tumblers are our area of interest.

These glasses were manufactured by the Jeanette Glass Company of Jeanette, Pennsylvania. The pattern on them is well known to Depression Glass collectors. It's called Iris and Herringbone. They are a popular collector's item today and are still available at antique shops and ebay. And, I must admit, if my wife and I didn't collect Depression Glass, I never would have noticed this faux pas in the film.

Jeanette manufactured the Iris and Herrington pattern from 1928 through 1932. So glasses, in this pattern, would have been available at the time our movie takes place. However, there's one glitch. The Iris and Herringbone pattern items created in 1928 were only available in the "crystal" version. They were clear.

When we view the film, we notice that the tumblers on the Loomis table have an iridescent finish on them, just like the photo at the beginning of this post. Jeanette did manufacture Iris and Herringbone items in the iridescent finish. But it was not available in 1928. In fact, the Iris and Herringbone pattern in the iridescent finish was not available until the 1950s. Oops!

Since this movie was made in 1961, the iridescent Iris and Herringbone pattern from the fifties would have been available and probably would have been very easy to find. Unfortunately, the art director didn't do his/her homework on that item because the glasses shown in the film were not available in 1928.

But they were available in 1959. I know for a fact that the iridescent Iris and Herringbone tumblers were available then because that was the year I bought my mother a set of four tumblers at TG&Y for Christmas in 1959. They were packaged in a cardboard container and cost a little less than $5 for the set. A few years before my mother passed away, she and my father spent Christmas with us.

When I opened my gift from her on Christmas morning, it was like stepping back in time. I was totally surprised to see those tumblers, still in the cardboard packaging. She told me that she never used them because they were so beautiful and she was so afraid she would break one of them. They've been sitting in my china cabinet since that day. They are 50 years old, and still brand new.