A collection of family papers documenting two generations of the McElmurry and Larrinaga family. Mario Larrinaga immigrated
from Mexico to Los Angeles and--in collaboration with his brother Juan Larrinaga--worked as a designer, art director, and
painter of set backgrounds in Hollywood, working at RKO Pictures, Universal, and other major film studios. Larrinaga is most
recognized for painting the set backgrounds for the original
King Kong (1933) film. After retiring from his work in the film industry, Larrinaga moved to Taos, New Mexico, and co-founded Gallery
A. Isabelle Larrinaga (née Verda Clark) came to Los Angeles from Iowa to work as a dancer. Isabelle most likely met Mario
on the set of a film where she was working as a chorus dancer. Norma Larrinaga, daughter of Isabelle and Mario, was born in
Los Angeles and raised in Bel Air. As a child, Norma was a competitive figure skater and concert pianist. Norma later taught
piano and worked as a fashion illustrator in Santa Barbara. Charles McElmurry, Norma's husband, was raised in Venice, California,
worked at Disney after high school, then served in the U.S. Marine Corps art department. Subsequently, McElmurry attended
the Chouinard Art Institute with support from the GI Bill, which is where he met Norma. McElmurry later worked as a freelance
artist for Jay Ward Studios in Los Angeles. The collection includes family photographs, scrapbooks, correspondence, and certificates.
The collection also holds some of Mario Larrinaga's sketches and illustrations for his work on various films and publications,
King Kong (1933) and
Seven Wonders of the World (1956).
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