Long before she became a redhead and a TV superstar on “I Love Lucy,” a young Lucille Ball dutifully posed for a studio portrait in an Irish maid’s outfit complete with leprechaun to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
And Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet, who made nine movies together in the 1940s, including John Huston’s 1941 masterpiece, “The Maltese Falcon,” posed for perhaps one of the strangest studio Christmas photos ever, with Lorre holding up a baseball bat ready to swing at an unsuspecting Greenstreet dressed as Santa Claus.
The book is divided into all the major holidays as well as miscellaneous holidays, Hollywood during the war years and television stars posing for holidays, including one with Dinah Shore celebrating Easter with a creepy Plasticine white rabbit.
Posing for these photographs, said Mallory, “was all part of the publicity machine — anything they could do to get people’s names and faces in front of the public. They did all kinds of photos — swimsuit, people playing sports, cooking — that could be used in different sections of the newspaper and magazines.”
Film stars Barbara Stanwyck and Burt Lancaster relax on May 19, 1948, in an automobile interior on the set of “Sorry, Wrong Number” in Hollywood.(Associated Press)
Debbie Reynolds, dressed for her role in “The Singing Nun” on Nov. 15, 1965.(Associated Press)
Director Ron Howard takes a seat behind the camera during the production of his comedy “Gung Ho” while on location at the Allegheny County Airport near Duquesne, Pa., in August 1985. At right is his father, actor Rance Howard, who has a cameo.(Keith B. Srakocic/Associated Press)
Debbie Reynolds enjoys clowning around and winking for the cameraman during the production of the comedy “The Pleasure of His Company,” which also stars Fred Astaire as her father, on May 10, 1961.(Associated Press)
Among the earliest photos in the book is a Yuletide snapshot in the 1920s of vamp Mae Busch (“Foolish Wives”) telling fans to “Avoid the Hurly Burly and Do Your Shopping Early.”
The Hollywood studios established their stills departments in the 1920s when “they realized there were so many fan magazines and so many newspapers,” said Mallory. “They wanted to control the image [of the actors] and how things were used. The best way to do that was to do it yourself. They did candids, portraits and production stills.”
Holidays photos were also great way to publicize starlets such as Leslie Brooks, who played leads in B-movies in the 1940s, showing a bit of leg as she poses by a rather anemic Christmas tree decorated in World War II bonds and stamps, and MGM bit player Mary Doran wearing a tight-fitting one-piece outfit riding a gigantic turkey for a 1930 Thanksgiving-theme picture.
Child stars Shirley Temple and the “Our Gang” kids were used in the holiday stills, as were ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and his wooden companion Charlie McCarthy. A Valentine’s Day portrait of McCarthy, imposed on a toddler’s body wearing angel wings and diapers, as Cupid “was so strange we had to include it,” Bible said.
A lot of the photos were geared toward men, Mallory said, with women “in bathing suits, lingerie and short skirts showing their legs and ample figures.”
A stuntman dressed as Captain America is seen during filming on the set of “Captain America, Civil War” on Aug. 12, 2015 in Berlin.(Chad Buchanan / GC Images / Getty Images)
Anthony Mackie attends the set of “Captain America, Civil War” during filming at Potsdamer Platz on Aug. 10, 2015, in Berlin.(Ben Brittain Cohen / GC Images/Getty Images)
Actor-director Katie Holmes on the set of “All We Had” on Aug. 31, 2015, in New York City.(Bobby Bank / GC Images/Getty Images)
Jude Law filming the new TV series of Paolo Sorrentino, “The Young Pope,” near St. Peter’s church on Aug. 11, 2015, in Rome.(Agostino Fabio / GC Images/Getty Images)
In Barcelona, Spain, Blake Lively, center, films a scene from “All I See Is You” on July 27, 2015.
(Europa Press / Getty Images)
Bruce Willis, left, and Thomas Middleditch during filming of “Going Under” in the Venice Beach area of L.A. on July 30, 2015.
(Bauer-Griffin / GC Images/Getty Images)
Actor Jaden Smith on the set of “The Get Down” in Brooklyn on July 17, 2015, in New York City.(Raymond Hall / GC Images)
Ray Liotta and Jennifer Lopez on the set of “Shades of Blue” on July 16, 2015, in New York City.(Bobby Bank / GC Images/Getty Images)
Ellen Page on the set of “Tallulah"on June 29, 2015, in New York City.(Raymond Hall / GC Images/Getty Images)
Josh Lucas on the set of “The Mysteries of Laura” on July 16, 2015, in New York City.(Bobby Bank / GC Images/Getty Images)
James Jagger on the set of the Untitled HBO/Rock N Roll Project on July 2, 2015, in New York City.(Bobby Bank / GC Images/Getty Images)
Eva Longoria and Demian Bichir on the set of “Low Riders” filming in Los Angeles on June 23, 2015.(GONZALO/Bauer-Griffin / GC Images/Getty Images)
Kristen Wiig is seen on the set of “Ghostbuster” in Boston on June 18, 2015.(Stickman/Bauer-Griffin / GC Images/Getty Images)
Dakota Johnson on the set of “How to Be Single” on June 24, 2015, in New York City.(Raymond Hall / GC Images )
Johnny Depp, as Capt. Jack Sparrow, returns from a day on the film set in Redland Bay, near Brisbane in Australia. Depp has been there to film “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” the fifth installment in the “Pirates” franchise.(Tertius Pickard / AFP/Getty Images)
Singer and actress Jennifer Lopez and actor Dayo Okeniyi are filming “Shades of Blue” in the Bronx on June 8, 2015, in New York City.(Raymond Hall / GC Images)
Alessandra Ambrosio and Will Arnett on the set in New York City.(Alessio Botticelli / GC Images/Getty Images)
Laura Linney, Megan Fox and Stephen Amell on the set in New York City.(Steve Sands / GC Images/Getty Images)
Megan Fox and Stephen Amell on the set in New York City.(Bobby Bank / GC Images/Getty Images)
On the set in New York City, Jim Gaffigan saves Steve Buscemi from a bike accident as he picks up a coin in the middle of the street.(Josiah Kamau / Getty Images)
Dakota Johnson, left, and Rebel Wilson on the set in New York City.(SBN/Star Max / GC Images/Getty Images)
Steve Carell on the set in New York City.(Alo Ceballos / GC Images/Getty Images)
Director Henry Joost and actress Emma Roberts on the set in New York City.(Bobby Bank / GC Images/Getty Images)
Rami Malek and Carly Chaikin on the set of “Mr. Robot” in New York City.(Bobby Bank / GC Images/Getty Images)
Bible and Mallory had to dig and dig to find holiday pictures featuring actors. “I had a feeling not a lot of guys liked to pose for these pictures,” said Mallory.
Jack Haley, the Tin Man in “The Wizard of Oz,” is featured as Santa in a portrait to publicize a Christmas episode of his radio show, “Log Cabin Jamboree.”
Oscar-winning tough guy Wallace Beery (“The Champ”) and his daughter were photographed celebrating the Fourth of July setting off fireworks, and Clifton Webb looks miffed carving a turkey on the set of his 1950 film “Cheaper by the Dozen.”
Joan Crawford is featured in three photographs in the book, including one of her as Santa Claus sitting on the chimney with a doll in one hand and a rifle in the other.
“If Joan was not making movies and she was awake, she was pretty much posing for publicity photos,” said Bible. “I think more than any other star, she understood the power of publicity and how important it was in her career.”
Karie Bible and Mary Mallory
What: Book signing
When: Dec. 2
Where: Book Soup, 8818 W. Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood
What: Mallory will be appearing at the “Author’s Day Book Event”
When: Dec. 5
Where: Hollywood Heritage, 2100 N. Highland Ave, Los Angeles
When: Dec. 12
Where: The Will and Ariel Durant Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library