The late Hollywood packrats Marvin Paige and Eric Caidin changed the way Angelenos see old movies. By bringing a celebrity guest, decorating a theater lobby with vintage posters and photos, and creating the buzz of an old time premiere, the duo elevated a classic film screening from a lesson into a classic Los Angeles experience.
Los Angeles is a movie lovers paradise. We have an outlandish variety of movie going experiences, from a downtown thrill ride theater with pumped in smells and shaking seats, to drinking and dining on leather loungers, to the world’s most famous movie palace where IMAX movies are projected on lasers.
For those of us who love classic films, the choices are almost as diverse. Not only have we come to expect that every rarity will be screened, but we are also used to exhibits on the films, original poster displays, and of course we want to meet those actors from long ago. Much of the pomp added to special screenings at UCLA, the Academy, CineCon, New Beverly, and especially the American Cinematheque for the last 30 years came from these two superfans.
Both were collectors that spent their lives stockpiling rare photos and posters dating back to the silent film era. Caidin owned Hollywood Book and Poster, and Paige was a retired agent. “Marvin was the go to person if you wanted a golden age celebrity to come out and talk after a screening,” said Margot Gerber of the American Cinematheque. “Because he had been a talent agent he had long lasting relationships with stars he had cast. (Caidin) was very much into the Z movies and grindhouse stuff and was friends with these cult film actors.”
On June 29, Calabasas-based auction house Profiles in History will be selling the estates of Paige and Caidin and liquidating the vast archives of two titans of fandom. These are the people who helped younger generations (like me) fall in love with classic movies, freaky old sci fi, and the experience of seeing movies in theaters. “Eric was always there for the weird films about spiders eating your eyeballs,” Gerber said. “But then you’d also see him at The Sound of Music. He just loved movies. “
The Paige collection leans toward the Clark Gable and Bette Davis era and includes about 17,000 original photographs, countless fan magazines, press books, autographed scripts, and mementoes from golden age stars. The Caidin collection has about ten times as many photos, 15,000 scripts, 10,000 posters, and is strongest in the era of the Exorcist and Alien movies.
On the second day of the auction, the American Cinematheque is screening Day of the Animals at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood as part of their “Cinematic Void” series. The “when animals attack” aspect would have surely thrilled Caidin, and Paige appears as himself in the 1977 epic. After you make your bids, drop in on the film in their honor.