The 2008 Gene Marshal Convention, titled "The Girls From Dream City" took place in Orlando, Florida, from the 11th to the 13th of September, drawing a big number of Gene fans as usual. As the official promo release read:
Join us this year as we travel through the decades and explore the fantasies created by Monolithic Studios for our girl stars. The sound stages and studio costume shop of Monolithic are our destinations at this year’s convention. Welcome to the Thirteenth Annual Gene Convention; welcome to Monolithic Studio’s Dream City.
Are you ready for fun? Your convention host Alain Tremblay invites you to join him and his team as we follow Gene Marshall, Madra Lord, Ivy Jordan and other famous Monolithic megastars from set to set as they explore various genres from romantic comedy to fantasy during the most awaited collector event of the year!
Meet Mel Odom and the Integrity team for a high-energy, memory filled weekend September 11-13, 2008 in sunny Orlando, Florida! Limited to 300 guests, this convention is open to all Gene collectors and their guests.
As in every convention, there is a collection of dolls unveiled. This year the quality of the collection was very high, with excellent dolls presented and a variety of styles, outfits and characters shown. So let's see those Girls From Dream City:
First of all, the lovely Blue Horizon Gene, a dream of a doll, with centre parted hair, left with long curls at the back, dressed in blue (of course) and looking like a million bucks. She reminds me of a modernized version of Midnight Romance Gene
from the AD years. She looks a lot like Ginger Rogers too!
Then we have my favourite of the collection: the dreamy looking Slender Threads Gene Marshall dressed doll, wearing a lovely suit, accessorized with a leather bag, pearls, headpiece and gloves - a picture of 50's elegance. I do not know if it is the suit, the face paint or the hairdo (probably all of the above) but this looks to me like one of the best Genes ever made.
The next one is Madra, of course: here in a very strange style for her, the Pool Pose Essential Madra dressed doll, with a pink outfit reminiscent of Ester Williams in her glory days. I would have expected to see Gene in such a costume, Madra looks a bit out of her depth in this (pun intended). She is wearing a bathing suit and a skirt over it. Seeing convention pictures, I must say her face looks lovely and cute, nothing like a fierce Madra would look like. Love the shoes.
Gene again. All About The Eyes Gene Marshall doll is a dressed doll with a blue (again) outfit, in halter neck style, with a disc hat and golden gloves, belt and shoes. She looks very fifties. I love her hairstyle, very glamorous and sexy.
Looking like it escaped from the Flash Gordon set, the Imperial She outfit was part of this collection (doll not included). It even has a golden gun to complete the look - Darth Vader beware!
Gifts to the attendees are an essential part of a convention. One of them was the above costume: After Hours. A pink dress with a big collar and a longer skirt, white bag and shoes. The back of the dress is pleated, you can see it in detail below:
Isn't the bag to die for? And such poise! Go girl! Read below for the inspiration of the outfit.
Another great Gene: Twilight Girl. Her style is so chic, her hairdo perfect, her make up impeccable. I love the simple outfit and accessories, she looks like she stepped out of a Hitchcock film. In fact, she is inspired from a Twilight Zone episode with Anne Francis
(Twilight Girl - got it?). Anne Francis is dressed like the doll and another actress is wearing the After Hours outfit seen previously (the episode is called After Hours
too! Thanks to GeneMarshallFan-Ray for the info).
The Friday luncheon had a gift and a centrepiece: a costume and a dressed doll as a centrepiece. The costume is Cocktail Hour, a 40s inspired outfit (doll not included), with stripe detailing and the typical skirt of the era. Look at the detail of the bag, it is amazing! I love the clashing green against the blue. Very YSL.
Of course Ivy Jordan could not be absent! And here she is, in Tea Dance, another 40s style outfit, with beaded jacket and flower print dress. She reminds me of Joan Crawford here.
Ivy was also presented as a director, for those who got the Upgrade package. She reminds me of both Garbo and Katherine Hepburn. The chair was not included (it is the old Gene director's chair with different lettering which looks suspiciously photoshopped).
The new character that was much anticipated was finally presented at the W Club Luncheon. Her name is Zita Charles and she is:
"...a major star of the late silent era, Zita Louise (as she was then called) was the epitome of the Jazz Age glamour. Known as the "Too Much Girl", Zita forged a reputation as a party girl and was a favourite of the Hollywood gossip columns. Counts and "princes" seemed always to be proposing to her in front of a fountain while the cameras were rolling. Everyone and anyone just wanted to be with Zita Charles!"
With her vampish look, sassy style and elegant vintage inspired gown, Azalea Ice is the very first Zita Charles doll, and the second entry in the Gene Marshall 24K collection. Azalea Ice will be offered exclusively through FAO Schwarz's on-line catalogue division (at www.fao.com) starting approximately October 15, 2008.
Zita Charles has a new sculpt, an "older" face. Her hair is streaked, probably to give her the age edge. She is wearing a mid 50s one - shoulder gown with detailing at the bust matching the gown's pink train. Zita's outfit comes with matching gloves, shoes and jewellery. From the face style, I am thinking we will see her in 20s outfits soon, as her younger self.
The Convention Souvenir Doll was unveiled at the final event, inspired by the 50s sci-fi films. Distant Venus Gene Marshall is wearing a gown inspired by one that the famous Hollywood designer Adrian made for Greta Garbo in the film Inspiration
. Only that one was in black.
A close up of Distant Venus and, below, Garbo wearing the Adrian dress that inspired it.
The final event did not have only one doll. There was a lovely centrepiece doll too: Dripping moonlight Gene Marshall dressed doll, a platinum haired Gene that comes dressed with Postcards From Cannes Madra outfit in white (and exactly the same accessories).
Her hair and face paint are impeccable. A great looking Gene again!
Overall, and having seen most of the dolls and outfits in "real" convention pictures too, I can say that the quality and design of Gene dolls is once more one step ahead. And judging from the response of Gene fans in the relative boards (both attendees and not), it seems Integrity and Mel Odom got it right again!All pictures (except the Garbo photo) are copyrighted by Integrity Toys and are published with their consent. They are not to be used for any for commercial purposes such as ebay or to sell the any of the dolls. I am not affiliated in any way with Integrity Toys.