Vandalized iconic photos of film, TV and recording stars of the 1960s and 1970s may be saved through a creative program on Kickstarter

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Thousands of endangered negatives may finally see the light of day

The photos to be rescued include those of the Beatles, Elvis, Groucho Marx, Sonny and Cher and virtually every superstar of the 1960s and 1970s.

A treasure trove of vintage film and TV star photographs buried for decades may see the light of day soon, thanks to a unique project on the crowdsource website “Kickstarter.”
Called “Rescue These Vintage Movie Star Photos” the project by former celebrity photographer Howard Decker is an attempt to get help to bring back thousands of black and white film negatives taken of movie, TV and recording stars back in the 1960s and 1970s.
“In 1980,” Decker says, “disaster struck, and thousands of my celebrity film negatives were vandalized. The vandal broke into my Hollywood apartment, threw all the negatives of the floor and flooded the apartment with water from a garden hose stuck through a window he broke.”
Some of the negatives are in fine condition but others have the glassine envelopes in which they were stored stuck to them “like glue,” Decker said.
The Kickstarter website will run the all-or-nothing funding proposal for 30 days. If funded, Mr. Decker will rescue as many of the classic images of the old time stars as possible and make gallery-sized photo prints for exhibition and put together a high quality coffee table-type photo book featuring the rescued images.
“I think it would be a shame to let these great photos rot away in their glassine cocoons,” Decker said. “You can’t let the vandals win.”
Donors to the project can earn “rewards” which may include copies of some of the vintage photographs or copies of the photo book that will be published. See Kickstarter for details.
"Keep in mind,” Decker said, “that the 1960s and 1970s were kinder and gentler days. Most celebrity photographers tried to get along with the stars, not jump out of bushes and grab their picture, like things seem to be done today.”
On several occasions, he said, he got tips from superstars as to where other superstars might be found that evening.
“Celebrity photogs then were just part of the ‘food chain’ back then and the stars realized it,” he said. “The stars were mostly happy to get their photos taken because they knew it meant more publicity than they could buy with money.”
Kickstarter has been utilized to fund thousands of creative projects over the past few years.
"Be sure to check out my vintage outfit I wear on the on Kickstarter video, Decker said, “including my spats.”

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