UPDATE, Sunday 3pm:
ALMOST 1000 people attended the first day of the Bendigo Art Gallery’s Marilyn Monroe exhibition.
Speaking on Sunday, gallery director Karen Quinlan said numbers on the second day were fast heading for similar territory.
“People are getting through, having a good time and that’s the main thing,” she said.
“I’m hearing that people are loving it. They are discovering more about Marilyn and spending a lot of time with the chronology wall.
“We want to get the message through that there are lots of tickets available.”
EARLIER: The line of patrons awaiting the opening of the first day of Bendigo Art Gallery’s Marilyn Monroe exhibition stretched down the stairs and out onto the footpath.
A ticketing system designed to spread out ticket-holders evenly across the weekend prevented those in line waiting long.
But the presence of patrons even before doors opened was indicative of the excitement around the gallery’s latest illustrious exhibition.
PHOTO GALLERY: Friday’s official opening
First in line were mother and daughter Joan and Rhonda, who said the appeal of the silver screen icon was enduring – and worth waiting at the door for.
“I’ve always been a little bit interested in her. There’s just something about her,” Rhonda said.
Inside, a healthy crowd of locals and visitors to the city enjoyed their first glimpses of the dresses, pictures and video clips on show as the sound of Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend played in the background.
Early reviews – from Monroe die-hards and casual observers alike – were positive.
“It’s fantastic. It’s really, really, well done,” said Jenni, a visitor from Melton.
“I’m loving looking at the costumes. That’s my favourite part. But all of it is beautifully put together.”
Patron Emma Orr said the exhibition was wonderful in the way that it told a story of the Hollywood icon’s life.
“Seeing everything – the costumes, the film scripts, her life story – I just thought it was beautifully presented,” she said.
“That era was so classy and beautiful. She had a really sad life. Her personal life was so different to her public persona.”
Callan, Ms Orr’s young son, was equally impressed. Although he had not been aware of Monroe until recently, seeing the giant statue of her in Rosalind Park had inspired him to come along and learn more.
“I thought it (the exhibition) was pretty good. I thought she looked amazing and beautiful,” he said.
The show, curated in conjunction with Twentieth Century Fox, was officially launched on Friday night, with guests including Premier Daniel Andrews.
Pre-sale tickets sold well and crowds are expected to rival – if not exceed – those seen in 2014 when the gallery hosted another show featuring a giant of the silver screen, Grace Kelly.
The statue, Forever Marilyn, has already garnered national attention for the exhibition and, indeed, the city.
Monroe was born in 1926. A prolific actress, she appeared in some 30 films before her death in 1962, aged just 36.