Movie stars of the Golden Age were often photographed with props. The props ranged from sensible, having something to do with a film, to silly. In the silly, or at least puzzling category are ladders, duck decoys, monkeys and globes. The following are good examples of the use of props.
In the sadly overlooked Johnny Tiger, 1966, Robert Taylor plays a teacher who is trying to bring learning to the children of a Seminole Indian tribe. Here the teacher somewhat wistfully holds an apple.
Mr. Taylor wasn’t a great reader, sticking mostly to magazines; this photo probably advertises a film made from a book.
Robert Taylor loved dogs, both hunting dogs and pets and often posed with them. They helped to bring out his down to earth, non movie star personality.
From Left: Camille, 1936. The dog, an Irish Setter may have been named Jack. 1930s with a Boxer; Robert Taylor with a Setter and a Dalmatian, 1930s; Robert Taylor and Barbara Stanwyck with a Jack Russell Terrier(?), 1930s.
Mr. Taylor was a noted outdoorsman, who in 1954 won the first Winchester Award as Outdoorsman of the year. The decoy and tree motif are appropriate to his lifestyle. This picture looks to be from the mid 1950s, the time of the award.
Fireplace and Saddle
From left: 1930s with paper and pencil; 1940s; 1940s Robert Taylor with Barbara Stanwyck. Maybe he’s showing her where he will be stationed; Mr. Taylor with Stewart Granger, his co-star in All the Brothers Were Valiant; 1953. They were sea captains so the globe makes sense.
Guns are the prop with which Robert Taylor was most often photographed. Given that many of his films were Westerns, adventure films, or cop films, this makes sense.
From left: publicity photo from the mid-fifties; Westward the Women, 1951; Ride Vaquero, 1953; Rogue Cop, 1954; Saddle the Wind, 1958 publicity photos.
From left: High Wall, 1947. The High Wall pictures have nothing to do with the movie. The Taylor character never used a gun and never wore a suit and hat; The Last Hunt, 1956; The Law and Jake Wade, 1958; Return of the Gunfighter, 1967.
Presumably the ship models were to make Mr. Taylor seem like a sophisticated world traveler, which could also apply to the globes.