BERT LAHR (1895-1967) Photograph inscribed to Harold Arlen as the Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of Oz.
A vintage large format photograph depicting Bert Lahr as the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz, circa 1939, inscribed at upper left "To 'Harold'/with much affection/Bert." 14 x 11 inches (36 x 28 cm), with the "1060-157" code in image at lower right. Very fine overall with a dark inscription, short closed tears at upper center and upper right corner, this condition statement updated June 16th.
Provenance: A Portion of the Harold Arlen Archives, Property of Mrs. Rita Arlen
A very fine and rare photograph of Bert Lahr as the Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of Oz, his most famous role, inscribed to Harold Arlen, composer of the music for the 1939 classic. Bert Lahr and Harold Arlen were friends and collaborators long before The Wizard of Oz and Lahr's career took off after his performance in Arlen's 1934 Life Begins at 8:40 (which also starred Arlen's friend and former roommate Ray Bolger). Harold Arlen and lyricist E.Y. Harburg began working on The Wizard of Oz, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's most ambitious film to date in Hollywood in 1938. The film was a great success with numerous Oscar nominations and Arlen and Harburg were awarded The Academy Award for Best Original Song for "Over the Rainbow," sung by Judy Garland. But Bert Lahr is the only character in The Wizard of Oz who sings two solo numbers being "If I Only Had the Nerve", sung after the Cowardly Lion first meets Dorothy, The Scarecrow, and The Tin Man, and "If I Were King of the Forest," performed towards the end of the film while he and the others are awaiting their audience with the Wizard.
We trace few example of this large format photograph and all inscribed photographs depicting Lahr as the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz are quite rare. This is a superb association between composer and star, both at the pinnacle of their success.
C A Portion of the Harold Arlen Archives, Property of Mrs. Rita Arlen
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