Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Stars & Their Hobbies ~ Colleen Moore

Colleen Moore, Doll Houses

Thank you to my good friend Jonas of All Talking! All Dancing! All Singing!  for letting me know about this! Silent film star Colleen Moore was obsessed with creating the doll house of her dreams. The financial freedom of being a Hollywood star gave her the opportunity to invest in her passion. Or as Jonas delicately puts it “when the money started rolling in she went completely bonkers in dollhouse mania de luxe.”

Moore started on the Fairy Castle project in 1928 and it was completed in 1935. Some of the people involved in the project include architect Horace Jackson (floor plan), Harold Grieve (interior design), Walt Disney (original art), artist George Townsend Cole (mural) and actor Rudolph Valentino (figurines). Around 100 people worked on the project and the final cost was substantial. The castle includes antiques and materials from all over the world!

Moore could have kept her hobby to herself but instead she shared the happiness with others. During the Great Depression, Moore took her doll house on tour. Kids all across the country got to see the Fairy Castle up close and the tour also served to raise money for different children’s charities. In 1949, the Fairy Castle made it’s final stop at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. You can see the Fairy Castle today at the museum’s special exhibit or take a virtual tour online.


Below is a video from British Pathé of Colleen Moore introducing the completed Fairy Castle in 1935. She refers to it as an Enchanted Castle but it's been known as the Fairy Castle for many years.




My series Stars & Their Hobbies explores how notable actors and actresses from Hollywood history spent their free time. Click here  to view a complete list of entries.

6 comments:

  1. This series is wonderful! I was very impressed with such hobbies as Jill St John's, Eli Wallach's and Ann-Margret's! Colleen castle is beautiful on the computer screen, and I can only imagine how it looks like in person.
    Kisses!

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    1. Le - thank you! I thought I'd run out of ideas but they've gotten more interesting. If I'm ever in Chicago I need to see Moore's castle!

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  2. Holy moly! That thing looks like something straight out of an MGM prestige picture! I wonder whatever happened to it ...

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    1. Vanessa - but I included that information in the post! I even have a link to a virtual tour.

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  3. It now resides at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. Moore published a book about the dollhouse in the 1970s, it's very nice, lots of great photos with her tale of its creation

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    1. Rudy - I mentiined the museum in my post and included a link to the virtual tour. But I didn't know about the book. Neat!

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