HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Forty years and counting. That is how long one Henrico woman has been amassing her collection of Hollywood.
Like Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz” the song “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” is the one tune that can stop Yvonne Carter-Hopkins in her tracks.
“Judy Garland is my all-time favorite female actress,” said Yvonne. “Wizard of Oz is my all-time favorite movie.”
The woman’s passion for the Hollywood classic runs deep.
“I met the munchkins,” said the Kansas native. “Even if I watched it 50 million times, it is like I am watching it now for the first time.”
But Yvonne isn’t just satisfied watching. The movie buff is bringing a lot of Tinsel Town to Henrico County. Yvonne scoops up anything from the silver screen and beyond.
“This is one of the older posters in my collection that numbers about 1,000. I’ve been collecting say twenty plus years. I had to have it. Had to have it,” said Yvonne.
Yvonne also collects autographs. “’The Exorcist’… Linda Blair. ‘Alien’… Veronica Cartright.”
She collects movie posters from all genres. From “Blackula” to “The Bride of Frankenstein.”
Her favorite films are from Hollywood’s golden era.
“1939. ‘Gone With the Wind’ ‘Wizard of Oz’ ‘Gunga Din’ ‘Dark Victory’ ‘Juarez’… I could go on and on and on.”
However, Yvonne said not every movie excites.
“I fell asleep on ‘Star Wars’. I thought it was really long and drawn out,” she said.
Whether bad or good Yvonne is preserving the past through memorabilia from American history to the major leagues. Yvonne has a full uniform once worn by a Tuskegee Airman and a bat signed by a Chicago Cubs Hall of Fame player.
“One of my main items of course is my Louisville Slugger from Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks,” she said.
It is a collection that fills a ballroom at the Cultural Arts Center in Glen Allen. A collection that keeps growing.
“I go to antique stores, thrift stores, yard sales,” she added.
Her supportive husband Maurice said he knows when Yvonne has struck movie magic.
“It is enormous. It is absolutely beautiful, and it is expensive,” said Maurice. “I hear, ‘Can you present your wallet? How much money do you have. What do you think of this?’”
At 69-years-old Yvonne knows there will come a time she may need to part with her collection. The mother of three is hoping a museum or archives will display her treasures.
“That is my dream. That is my dream come true,” said Yvonne.
Until then, Yvonne will keep looking for treasures on the Yellow Brick Road of life because there is no place like the movies.
“I loved it from the first time I saw it,” said Yvonne.
Yvonne said in addition to the movie posters, she has about 5,000 movies on DVD and videotape.
Watch CBS 6 News at 11 p.m. Fridays for Greg McQuade’s “I Have A Story” reports. If you know of someone Greg should feature in my “I Have A Story” segment email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.