Old Hollywood Movie Stars & their Holiday Greeting Cards

With an old LA Red Car trolley giving it a touch of holiday color, Graumans Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard at Christmas time, 1953. (privatelosangelestours.com)

With an old LA Red Car trolley giving it a touch of holiday color, Grauman’s Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard at Christmas time, 1953. (privatelosangelestours.com)

Romantic, ridiculous, egotistical, modest, perplexing, mundane, creative, funny.

Like the Christmas cards once sent by Grandma and Grandpa, all those cousins, the neighbor and the business downtown, the Seasons Greetings, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year messages once sent by the most legendary names among Hollywood Movie Stars as their annual card of goodwill seem to say a lot about them.

Even in its earliest days, Hollywood's Holiday was Christmas. (thesource.metro.net)

Even in its earliest days, Hollywood’s Holiday was Christmas. (thesource.metro.net)

From nearly its inception a century ago, the entertainment industry of Hollywood, California has been big on Christmas.

While its annual Hollywood Christmas Parade might seem a misnomer in typically balmy temperatures for December, the films and songs from movie musicals of the 1940s ended up becoming holiday standards, from Jimmy Stewart in It’s a Wonderful Life, to Bing Crosby singing White Christmas in the film Holiday Inn.

Then again, in an industry where leading lights are extraordinarily self-conscious of the image they convey, who knows how much can really be read into them all?

And while the glittering ones below may appear a bit tarnished, it isn’t because there’s no film actors who shine as well on the silver screen as these part Personae once did. Rather, its simply because relatively few people send Holiday cards anymore, from Hollywood or anywhere else.

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Orson Welles hand-drawn Christmas cards to his then-wife Rita Hayworth.

Hands down, when it came to real love, nobody said it better than Orson Welles did for his then-wife Rita Hayworth in this series of hand-drawn, hand-made Christmas cards.

Evis sent out different cards, from jazzy Vegas to a religious theme.

Elvis Presley was unpredictable, sending out different cards, from jazzy Vegas style to a religious theme.

Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn may have been in love and together for a long time but they sent out separate cards - he never divorced his wife.

Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn may have been in love and together for a long time but they sent out separate cards – he never divorced his wife.

Katherine Hepburn also sent out a strikingly independent poinsettia flower Christmas card. (liveauctionworld.com)

Katherine Hepburn also sent out a strikingly independent poinsettia flower Christmas card. (liveauctionworld.com)

 

Marilyn Monroe starred on her own Christmas card and saved a penny by using a studio pose.

Marilyn Monroe starred on her own Christmas card and saved a penny by using a studio pose

Jayne Mansfield needed no manger in her Christmas card message. The only sign of the season was the red border.

Jayne Mansfield needed no manger in her Christmas card message. The only sign of the season was the red border

Some of the Little Rascals with gifts from their creator Hal Roach on a card he sent out. (waxapple.com)

Some of the Little Rascals with gifts from their creator Hal Roach on a card he sent out. (waxapple.com)

Like British Royalty, the first undisputed Queen and King of Hollywood, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks sent out posed family portraits each holiday season.by Mary Pickford and Doug Fairbanks.

Like British Royalty, the first undisputed Queen and King of Hollywood, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks sent out posed family portraits each holiday season.

On her holiday postcard, Ava Gardner posed with her best pal.

On her holiday postcard, Ava Gardner posed with her best pal.

Groucho Marx actually designed his own cartoon Christmas card, and it was later sold to Hallmark which marketed it to the public.

Groucho Marx actually designed his own cartoon Christmas card, and it was later sold to Hallmark which marketed it to the public.

In 1964, Frank Sinatra sent his own painting of a clown as the cover of his holiday card, this signed with an additional birthday greetings.

In 1964, Frank Sinatra sent his own painting of a clown as the cover of his holiday card, this one signed with an additional birthday greetings.

Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall opted for the family pose too, setting up a trimmed tree to give it a seasonal touch of authenticity.

Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall opted for the family pose too, setting up a trimmed tree to give it a seasonal touch of authenticity.

Hitchcock had his famous line-drawing profile reproduced for his holiday card and sent it signed on the front.

Hitchcock had his famous line-drawing profile reproduced for his holiday card and sent it signed on the front.

Judy Garland played Santa on one of her holiday postcards from the 1940s.

Judy Garland played Santa on one of her holiday postcards from the 1940s.

This picture of Charlie Chaplin, taken in May 1977 was used as his Christmas card that year, proving to be his last. He died on Christmas Day.

This picture of Charlie Chaplin, taken in May 1977 was used as his Christmas card that year, proving to be his last. He died on Christmas Day.

Buster Keaton and his sons posed for their holiday greetings.

Buster Keaton and his sons posed for their holiday greetings.

Abbott and Costello sent out a joint Christmas card as a professional team.

Abbott and Costello sent out a joint Christmas card as a professional team.

Laurel and Hardy also sent out a joint card. (waxapple.com)

In 1941, Laurel and Hardy also sent out a joint card. (waxapple.com)

On his holiday Card, Lassie made clear the only true meaning of Christmas that mattered to him.

On his holiday Card, Lassie made clear the only true meaning of Christmas that mattered to him.

Clark Gable and his wife Cynthia sent one with a painting of themselves in a buggy.

Clark Gable and his wife Cynthia sent one with a painting of themselves in a buggy.

Greta Garbo's Christmas card to famous British photographer Cecil Beaton was boring, and a holiday telegram she sent using her pseudonym Harry Brown. (julienslive.com)

Greta Garbo’s Christmas card to famous British photographer Cecil Beaton was boring, and a holiday telegram she sent using her pseudonym Harry Brown. (julienslive.com)

Often drunk, even rowdy at times on his movie sets, comedienne W.C. Fields sent a highly traditional card.

Often drunk, even rowdy at times on his movie sets, comedienne W.C. Fields sent a highly traditional card.

Signing it with deep love and respect comediene Red Skelton sent this treacly holiday card to Charlie Chaplin.

Signing it with deep love and respect comedian Red Skelton sent this treacly holiday card to Charlie Chaplin.

Referencing her white diamond perfume, which she marketed heavily, Liz Taylor's holiday card needed no Christmas ornament, especially when she was wearing it on her head.

Referencing her white diamond perfume, which she marketed heavily, Liz Taylor’s holiday card needed no Christmas ornament, especially when she was wearing it on her head.

Gregory Peck and his wife sent out an elegant, understated holiday greetings card which almost seemed like an invitation for Christmas dinner.

Gregory Peck and his wife sent out an elegant, understated holiday greetings card which almost seemed like an invitation for Christmas dinner.

Instead of a Christmas card in 1968, Joan Crawford sent out a note typed on Christmas stationary. (garydelisser.com)

Instead of a Christmas card in 1968, Joan Crawford sent out a note typed on Christmas stationary. (garydelisser.com)

Bob Hope's 1950 Christmas card clearly referenced the land he loved - California.

Bob Hope’s 1950 Christmas card clearly referenced the land he loved – California.

Lucille Ball's 1969 card had her charactertistic touch of humor but in no other way distinguished it a one from her.

Lucille Ball’s 1969 card had her characteristic touch of humor but in no other way distinguished it as one from her.

Bing Crosby and his family sent a card without any reference to the Christmas song he made famous. (mayflowertraders.com)

Bing Crosby and his family sent a card without any reference to the Christmas song he made famous. (mayflowertraders.com)

Jimmy Stewart sent an artful Christmas card that was simple and remarkably hip.

Jimmy Stewart sent an artful Christmas card that was simple and remarkably hip.

Typically, Mae West's holiday greetings card was shocking, only this time for its incredible modesty.

As usual, Mae West used a touch of shock value even in her holiday greetings card, only this time for its incredible modesty.

It was not a Christmas card tradition, however, which Mae West maintained. (Joseph Black flickr)

It was not a Christmas card tradition, however, which Mae West maintained. (Joseph Black flickr)


Categories: Christmas, Holidays

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4 replies »

  1. Wow! What a treat!

  2. Carl, you are truly a creative genius historian! What a fun and enjoyable article!

  3. What fun! Are many of these in your own collection?

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