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RKO/Movie Star News Archive

RKO – Movie Star News

The world's largest independent archive of film culture.

The famous Movie Star News was founded by Irving Klaw in Brooklyn, New York in 1938. MSN became one of the world's largest mail- order businesses, selling Hollywood images to a world-wide audience. Of course, he was also known for having discovered Bettie Page. With major studios often incinerating their camera negatives due to the high fire risk, Klaw was a willing recipient and over many decades he amassed a collection of over 10,000 original camera negatives of some of the most iconic movies and movie stars.

When Klaw died in 1966, his nephew Ira took over the business until he closed the store in 2012. The entire archive was eventually sold and delivered in over a hundred old filing cabinets without anybody knowing of the treasures it was holding.

In early 2021, master archivist Christopher Belport started a 15-month project and carefully went through every large format camera negative, archived them and created an inventory by both movie and movie star. Amazingly of the over 20,000
negatives, nearly half were the original studio camera negatives, still showing the graphite pencil marking on the back of the negative – old-style photo-shopping!

As we re-assembled the negatives in the original studio production code sequence it became clear that MSN was THE intact studio archive itself, original and well- preserved. The fact that near complete sequences of production negatives remained intact is evidence that MSN was compiled with relentless perseverance and is in fact the core of what was originally the master files from RKO and several other studio sources representing the largest independent archive of film culture.

Most of these negatives had not seen the light of day in over half a century and were found perfectly preserved. Movies Like Citizen Kane, Easy Rider, The Mummy & King Kong to name but a few. Iconic large format negatives, many by famous photographers like George Hurrell of cinemas biggest stars; Marilyn Monroe, Ingrid Bergman, Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Cary Grant and a virtual who-is-who from the Golden Age of Hollywood.

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