Hollywood on display: Smithsonian honors Clint Eastwood
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington is home to the original star-spangled banner, Abraham Lincoln's top hat and Dorothy's ruby red slippers from "The Wizard of Oz."
And now, it will have a bit more of the Hollywood touch.
The suit worn by Humphrey Bogart in "Casablanca;" the address book of Jack Warner, co-founder of Warner Bros. Studios; Harry Potter’s robe, and drawings of Bugs Bunny are among the items that have been put on display, loaned by Warner Bros. Entertainment, which also made a $5-million gift to fund the Warner Bros. Theater at the museum.
Smithsonian officials marked the opening of the new theater and exhibits Wednesday night by presenting Clint Eastwood with the James Smithson Bicentennial Medal, awarded for "distinguished contributions to the advancement of areas of interest to the Smithsonian." Past recipients include Steven Spielberg, Julia Child and Lady Bird Johnson.
The theater will open Friday to the public with a screening of "Casablanca,'' followed over the weekend by other Bogart films. Later this year, it will present Eastwood films, plus a series focusing on early sound in the movies, and another showing the Civil War through film.
The Hollywood memorabilia, Smithsonian officials said, demonstrates the "unique brand of Hollywood storytelling and accessibility that has helped to define American culture to global audiences."
Warner’s address book is open to pages that include the names of Davis, Miss Bette; DeMille, Cecil; Dali, Salvador.
"And Disney, Walt. As if he needs a first name," museum curator Dwight Blocker Bowers joked in an interview.
"We hope this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship," he added, apparently eager for more Hollywood memorabilia.
-- Richard Simon in Washington
Photo: Actor and director Clint Eastwood speaks with reporters during the opening of the Warner Bros. Theater at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington on Wednesday. Eastwood was presented the Smithsonian's James Smithson Bicentennial Medal. Credit: Cliff Owen / Associated Press