In Wheeler Auditorium
Walter Plunkett in Person!
Presented in Association with the Committee for Arts and Lectures, the Bancroft Library, and the Department of Dramatic Arts
Walter Plunkett began his theatrical design career while a student at Cal in the early 20s (Class of 23 to be exact). He was the Art Director for the Campus “Little Theatre,” and acted in plays performed in Wheeler and in the Greek Theatre. He was also Art Editor of the Blue and Gold, and the Pelican. Very quickly, he moved on to an unparalleled career in Hollywood, where by the early 30s he was the leading film costume designer at RKO. Among his outstanding RKO credits from this period are Cimarron (1931), Christopher Strong (1931), Flying Down to Rio (1933), Little Women (1933), King Kong (1933), Our Betters (1933), Morning Glory (1933), The Gay Divorcee (1934), Of Human Bondage (1934), Alice Adams (1935), Mary of Scotland (1936), and Quality Street (1937). In 1937, he began his association with David O. Selznick with Nothing Sacred, which led to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer the following year, and to his widely-acclaimed contribution to Gone With the Wind in 1939. In 1946, he designed the costumes for Selznick's second great epic, Duel in the Sun. In 1947, he began a long association with MGM, where he dressed all of the great stars from MGM's classic period. A few of his outstanding credits from this phase of his career: Summer Holiday (1948), Adam's Rib (1949), An American in Paris (1951), Singin' in the Rain (1952), Kiss Me Kate (1953), Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954), Lust for Life (1956), The Brothers Karamazov (1958), Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1962), and his last film, John Ford's Seven Women (1966).
The program will begin with a complete projection of Singin' in the Rain, which will be followed by a discussion with Walter Plunkett, moderated by Professor Albert Johnson, and illustrated by slides and short clips from Flying Down to Rio, Christopher Strong, The Gay Divorcee, The Little Minister, Quality Street, and two or three other films from the 30s.