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Movie fans drawn to Owosso film memorabilia sale

Feb 28, 2015

Don Schneider loved movies. He really loved movies.

The Owosso Movie Museum's collection of movie posters, costumes and other memorabilia is up for sale
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

For a half century, he collected movie memorabilia.  Seriously collected.

After Schneider died last Fall at the age of 91, his friends got together to catalogue his collection.    Three months later, they are still at it.

Dozens of costumes, some worn by movie legends like Errol Flynn.  

Hundreds of movie posters, some signed by John Wayne, Ronald Reagan and other stars. 

He filled an old Owosso church with thousands of other pieces of movie history, from lobby displays and silent picture still photos to books and camera equipment.

Robert Hathon holds the death mask of silent movie comedian Raymond Griffin.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

And then there’s the death mask of silent movie comedian Raymond Griffin.  

“We found that when we first started cleaning up this place and it was like, weird,” says Janice Goodrich, who is part of the Owosso Movie Museum board.

There’s also the lock of silent movie icon Mary Pickford’s hair that Goodrich’s son found as they were going through a stack of unmarked boxes.

“He just happened to be going through a box…and all of a sudden I see his face….made this weird thing and I knew he found something good," says Goodrich.

This item is already out the door. Robert Hathon holds an certificate from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences saying "GIGI" is nominated for an Oscar. The movie won Best Picture in 1958.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This may not sound like something good to you, but there is a lot of interest in this weekend’s sale.

Robert Hathon says they’ve been contacted by memorabilia dealers from across the country, who have already bought up some of the rarer items. 

Back in the 1970’s, Don Schneider opened a museum in California to show off his collection. In the 1990’s, he moved back to Owosso and brought his ever increasing collection with him. Janice Goodrich says Schneider was still adding to his collection shortly before his death last year.

“There’s a lot of items that people don’t even know exist,” says Hathon.

He says, while some people might be disappointed to have the collection sold off, at least “more people will be able to enjoy it.”