In 1970, the MGM studios in Hollywood conducted an event that is still talked about today, more than 40 years later: a big auction of thousands of costumes and props from decades of movie making. One of the buyers was Debbie Reynolds -- an actor who had worked at MGM. Her plan was to save these important historical items and feature them in a museum. A few years later, she bought more history -- this time, from the store houses of Twentieth Century Fox.
In 1993, the museum opened as the Debbie Reynolds Hollywood Hotel and Motion Picture Museum. (See photograph.) It did not do well, closing in 1997. There were plans to open a new museum in Hollywood (where it belongs) and then Tennessee.
Today, there is no museum, and decades worth of Hollywood memorabilia will be put back on the auction block to be sold to the highest bidder. Despite her best efforts, Hollywood history will once again drift on the winds to the four corners of the globe -- never, it would seem, to be together again.
Hollywood has a long and storied history of neglecting its heritage. Why didn't anyone help Reynolds make her dream a reality? With all the money in Hollywood, how would they ever miss the few million it would have taken to preserve and exhibit these rare, unique objects?
Unless they step up now and buy these items at auction, Hollywood will have again proven derelict in its duty to preserve the past.
You can read about Reynolds' efforts here.
Some of her massive collection is viewable here.
You can read more about the auction here.