Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Bob Harman's Hollywood Panorama

 The late artist Bob Harman took ten years to create "Bob Harman's Hollywood Panorama" a 5x9 foot full color montage of 1001 caricatures of vintage film stars set against a background of famous movie sets and Hollywood landmarks. It was published in book form in 1971 by Dutton. Many of the caricatures created for Hollywood Panorama were also reprinted in B&W in the book "The MGM years", also from 1971. His book "Enchanted Faces" appeared in 1991-- realistic portraits of film actresses between the two World Wars. Dubbed by some the "Artist of the Stars", his column "Movie Memories" appeared for 5 years in several newspapers.
Bob Harman
 When I was young I was an admirer of Harman's work and it always reminded me of another of my favorites, Al Kilgore.  Like Kilgore, he was also obsessed with and had an appreciation for old Hollywood movies. His charming, whimsical style of caricature was clearly influenced by Al Hirschfeld (whose wasn't?) and especially the great MGM movie poster artist Jacques Kapralik. 

 I wanted to share some of his work, especially for anyone who might be unfamiliar with it, and mainly several samples of his "Hollywood Panorama" pages which was/is pretty impressive to behold, especially seen as a whole. Dedicating ten years to creating it, It was truly a labor of love for Bob Harman. I for one would love to see the book back in print.

The 9 x12  oblong cover to Bob Harman's Hollywood Panorama.  By trimming the margins and arranging the thirty panels as diagrammed in the book, Hollywood Panorama could be constructed into a wall mural.
Some samples of the Panoramas...

Closer view of the cover art
A page of Harman caricatures of supporting MGM actors from "The MGM years" Columbia House Books (1971)
William Powell, Myrna Loy & Asta
Dorothy Lamour and her suiters 
a nostalgia magazine cover by Harman
Harman created movie star paper doll cutouts in 1975,  including the main characters from Gone With the Wind.

more Harman paper doll cutouts
His Hollywood paper doll cutouts were featured in this "Celebrity Doll Journal". 

The cover to Harman's 1991 book "Enchanted Faces", featuring his realistic portraits of female movie stars

Some of the portraits...

More of Harman's female movie star faces were featured on the cover of this film magazine...
...and this one.

Bob Harman & his Hollywood Panorama

special thanks to Ben Fentington


  1. Great book, Hollywood Panorama - and an obvious labor of love. My own copy is falling apart. Every copy I've ever seen of this book looks like it went through a war. Before the days of home video and the Internet, this was my 'go to' source to identify favorite character actors from the thirties and forties. That's how I first learned the names of Sig Ruman or Jack Oakie, for instance. Nowadays there's IMDb or FilmFax, or Leonard Maltin's column, but I found them all here first. I'm sorry to hear Harman is gone. A great talent.

  2. Thanks for the post. These are fabulous. The Louise Brooks portrait is truly haunting. He certainly captured something there.

  3. I'm guessing that Rick Geary must have seen some of this work. The faces in the caricatures particularly.

  4. OMG This Is Great Collection Very Good Article Keep Posting
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  5. Wow! Marvelous artworks.
    As far as Kapralik is concerned, I have been an admirer of his for ages.
    I now wrote and designed a small book showing some material from my personal collection. It is not meant to be published - it was just a private effort of a portuguese young man who always wanted to own a beautiful lavish book covering this talented artitst career and decided to write one for himself.
    Would you be so kind as to see it? Just click:

  6. this article is really informative. The poster of the actors and actresses are cute and artistic. they are the best actors and actresses of classic movies.

  7. So glad to learn more about Mr. Harman -- I've cherished Hollywood Panorama for about 40 years now. I love the way he grouped each page...He had a true vision of old Hollywood, myth and reality, that's never been matched.

  8. Thank you for writinng about this book! I am now a proud owner and love it.

  9. As a published paper doll artist, I LOVE Bob Harman's work. He did a paper doll book of silent movie stars, (Bob Harman's Picture-Play cutouts) which is exquisite. I was thrilled to find this post, and have ordered my copy of Hollywood Panorama!

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