PORTRAIT OF KARINA BALL: BEAUTIFUL ACTRESS AND BREWERY DIRECTOR

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Karina Bell’s beauty is quite apparent in this vintage real photo postcard portrait.  She was born in Hellerup, Denmark in 1898 and died in Denmark in 1979. Bell was a film actress who began her career as a ballet dancer. She made her stage debut in 1919. Most of her films were silent films produced in Sweden, Denmark or Germany. She did appear in two talkies. She was known for her roles in “Little Dorrit” (1924), Klovnen (1926), and “5 Raske Piger” (1933). Bell was one of the most popular stars of the Nordisk Films Kompagni in the 1920’s. She was married in 1934 to Knud Parkov (1894-1949). He was the director of a Danish brewery (Wiibroes Brewery) and a member of the Danish resistance. She retired from acting after she got married. The IMDb gives Karina Bell 20 credits. Her film appearances occurred between 1919 and 1933. Upon her husbands death, Bell took over his director duties at the brewery. This Austrian postcard was produced by Iris Verlag as part of a series (no. 589). The photograph was by Lux-Film.

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LOVELY PHOTOGRAPH OF TWO YOUNG GIRLS TAKEN BY THEIR PHOTOGRAPHER FATHER IN COLUMBUS, OHIO

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The photographer of this wonderful image is Alfonzo Mayer (1863-1963). He must have been very motivated to do a great job photographing these two children. His incentive was quite strong because the lovely children in this image were his daughters. The girls names are inscribed on the reverse of the photograph. Carrie was born in 1889. That’s her sitting in the chair with the blanket draped over her shoulders. She is wearing a bonnet, a precursor to modern day hoodies. Florence was born in 1893. She is standing next to Carrie and is wearing suspenders, a bow tie, and a cap. She is holding a leather bag, reminiscent of latter day’s doctor bags. The children are adorable. Both grew up to work in their father’s photography studio as operators. Carrie became a photographer, following in her father’s footsteps. The 1910 US census informs us that Alfonzo Mayer was born in Germany and immigrated to the US at two years of age. He married Otillie Mayer in about 1885. The couple had four children, but only three survived to the time of the census.

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Published in: on December 30, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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THE ROBERTS BROTHERS RIDE INTO TOWN BRINGING THEIR SPECIAL BRAND OF LAWLESSNESS

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Look who’s riding into town! Its the Roberts brothers. Someone better go get the sheriff. George and Paul Roberts are spoken about in the same conversations that occur about such criminal brothers as Jesse and Frank James, and Jim, Cole, John, and Bob Younger. This vintage real photo postcard featuring the Roberts brothers, shows them with their “game face” on. They may be small in stature but they were scary dudes. Enough with the horse s**t. This real photo postcard is actually quite interesting. These boys look comfortable on their horses. The kids are on large horses, not small ponies reserved for inexperienced child riders.They appear to know what they are doing. One of the boys has a whip. No cowboy hats for these guys. One is wearing a wide brim bowler while the other is sporting a cap. Note the dirt streets. The town may actually be a frontier town in the “old west”. Also take notice of the boy standing on the sidewalk. He seems truly interested in the horseback riders, or perhaps, the photographer. The young bystander is wearing knickers. The AZO stamp box on this postcard reveals that it was likely published sometime between 1904 and 1918. The cameraman was a studio photographer who was willing to take difficult photographs in the outdoors.

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Published in: on December 29, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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THE PRETTIEST AND MOST INTENSE GIRL IN GOSHEN, INDIANA

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This cabinet card bust portrait features a pretty young girl who looks quite intense. I believe that she appears much older than her actual age. I would hypothesize that she is no older than in her young teens. She is wearing a lace collar and earrings. She has relatively short curly hair. This photograph was taken at the Hower studio in Goshen, Indiana.

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Published in: on December 28, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Comments (2)  
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THREE SIBLINGS AND A THREE WHEEL SCOOTER IN VALENCIA, SPAIN

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This vintage photograph is difficult to categorize. It looks like a cabinet card image and is mounted on stiff board cabinet card paper. However, the reverse of the image has divided postcard printing including a stamp box.  The three children, in this photograph are adorable despite their serious expressions. It is extremely likely that they are siblings. Note how the oldest child has a good grip on her little brother’s shoulders in a show of physical support and affection. The children are wearing nice but not fancy clothing. The little boy is standing on a three wheel scooter. Both girls are wearing necklaces with a charm as well as hair bows. The photograph was taken at the Julio D. Derrey studio. Printed advertising on the verso indicates that the studio was located in Valencia, Spain’s third to largest city.

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Published in: on December 27, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Comments (2)  
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PORTRAIT OF A CUTE CURLY HAIRED LITTLE FLOWER GIRL IN MALSTATT-BURBACH, PRUSSIA (CDV)

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A cute little girl in a frilly white dress poses for her portrait at the Gluck Auf studio in Malstatt-Burbach, Prussia. The girl is holding a bouquet of flowers and has a ribbon in her pretty curly hair. She is also wearing flowers in her hair. This carte de visite may be a communion photograph. She is standing in front of a backdrop with a simple rural scene. The studio’s home of Malstatt-Burbach was combined with two other towns in 1909 to form the city of Sarbrucken. In 1900 the town belonged to Prussia.

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Published in: on December 26, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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POSTCARD ADVERTISEMENT FOR LANGSTON HUGHES BROADWAY PLAY “MULATTO” (RPPC)

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This postcard is incredibly interesting in many ways. It is an artifact of theater history as well as American History (Race Relations). It also serves as an important symbol concerning African American History. The postcard appears to be simply an advertisement for a play produced by Martin Jones entitled “Mulatto”. The postcard offers rave reviews from New York newspapers. The New York Times reported the play was “Flaming with sincerity.” and the Mirror exclaimed “Stark realism”. The play was in it’s ninth month at the time of the issuance of this postcard and it was appearing at the Ambassador Theatre located just west of Broadway. Seats could be had for as low as 55 cents and for as high as $2.75. The play “Mulatto” was written by Langston Hughes. It was the first African American authored play to become a long-run Broadway hit. It opened in October (1935) and closed in September (1936) after running for 373 performances. The show then toured for two seasons. Langston Hughes wrote the play in 1930 and it was his first full-length play. The play covered powerful issues such as conflict between father and son, the power of class and whiteness, oppression of southern African Americans, and the lasting effects of slavery. The play also is seen by some as anti-lynching. The Broadway version of “Mulatto” was altered by producer Martin Jones without consulting with Langston Hughes. Jones took Hughes already shocking play and sensationalized it. Jones’s editing handiwork did not help Hughes’s reputation. The play, already emotionally charged, became very controversial. In fact, it was banned in Philadelphia. By the way, did you notice Mr. Hughes is not even mentioned on this advertising postcard? Hughes was much more than a talented playwright. He was also a poet, novelist, and social activist. He was one of the innovators of  “jazz poetry” and an important part of the “Harlem Renaissance”. He was born in Joplin, Missouri in 1902. He was left with his grandparents while his mother pursued a theatrical career. His grandmother’s first husband had fought and died for abolitionist John Brown. She helped shape his intense pursuit for social and racial equality. Hughes was an excellent student. In the 1910’s he moved to Illinois and joined his mother. They later moved to Cleveland, Ohio. After high school he lived a year in Mexico with his father and than enrolled in Columbia University (New York City) in 1921. He left school due to racial prejudice and held various jobs and published some of his writing. He received some harsh criticism from some of the African American community for his use of stereotypical African American dialects. He returned to college, graduated from Lincoln College, and continued writing becoming very well known. I mentioned that this postcard was very interesting from a number of perspectives. One feature that makes this postcard unique is the printed notation on it’s reverse. The “blurb” requests that theatre goers who attended a performance of “Mulatto”, write their comments about the play on the postcard and address it to a friend. The management promises to stamp the postcard and see to mailing it. This was a creative way to publicize and market the play to a “target audience”. This method was essentially low tech social media. The writer of this postcard utilized the opportunity to pen a message to a friend in Towanda, Pennsylvania. The postcard was mailed from New York in July of 1936. Referring to the play, the writer stated “You would like this. Remember our discussions on race prejudice in E. (Cornish’s?) class.” and “I know you would appreciate this”. One of the things that amazes me is that the writer actually discussed racial prejudice in school in the 1930’s and was interested in the topic.

LANGSTON HUGHES

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SEXUAL CHEMISTRY IN FILM: VIRGINIA VALLI AND GEORGE O’BRIEN (RPPC)

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Can sexual chemistry be photographed? This fantastic vintage real photo postcard provides evidence that the answer is yes. This image captures early film stars George O’Brien and Virginia Valli in an emotionally charged scene in an unknown movie. The pair starred together in at least two silent movies produced by Fox. The films were “Paid to Love” (1927) and “Eastside Westside” (1927). Virginia Valli (1898-1968) was an American stage and film actress. Her early acting experience was with a Milwaukee based stage troupe. Her film career started in the silent film era and ended in the early stages of the talkies (1930’s). She has 65 credits on the IMDB web site. She began her film work with Essanay Studios in her hometown of Chicago in 1916. By the mid 1920’s, she was an established star at Universal Studios. She was the star of  King Vidor’s “Wild Oranges” (1924). Most of her films were produced in the mid 1920’s and include Alfred Hitchcock’s first feature movie, “The Pleasure Garden” (1925). Her first sound picture was in 1929. She left the movie business in 1931 due to her high salary command and declining appeal to audiences. She moved to Palm Springs, California with her second husband, actor Charles Farrell. She was very much part of the social scene there. She died in Palm Springs at age seventy. George O’Brien (1899-1985) was an American actor popular during the silent film era as well as the early talkies era of the 1930’s. He is remembered most for his role in Murnau’s 1927 film “Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans”. He had an active film career which is evident by the fact that the IMDB web site gives him 85 credits. O’Brien was born in San Francisco and his father at one time, was the city’s chief of police.  During World War I, O’Brien was in the US Navy and served on a submarine chaser. He worked as a stretcher bearer for wounded Marines and was decorated for his bravery. Following the war, O’Brien became the light-heavyweight champion of the Pacific Fleet. After completing is service, O’Brien was in his early twenties and he went to Hollywood to seek work as a cameraman. He did find employment in the field and helped film for Tom Mix and Buck Jones. He then entered acting by playing bit parts and by being a stuntman. His first starring role was in “The Man Who Came Back” (1927) where he played opposite Doroth Mackaill. He then appeared in “Iron Horse” by famed director John Ford in which his counterpart was Madge Bellamy. The film was a great success and the experience forged a colloborative relationship with Ford that resulted in O’Brien appearing in nine more of the directors films. He spent much of the 1920’s as a leading man in action and adventure type roles. During the 20’s he received the nickname “the torso” because of his excellent physique. With the arrival of sound, O’Brien appeared predominately in Westerns during the 1930’s and he was considered a major draw. With the arrival of World War II, O’Brien re-enlisted in the US Navy and served as a beachmaster in the Pacific theater. He was decorated several times and when he was discharged he had attained the rank of commander. He later joined the Naval Reserve where he served as a captain. O’Brien’s last leading role was in a film that included the Three Stooges. According to his obituary,  O’Brien was buried at sea courtesy of the US Navy. This real photo postcard was published by Iris Verlag and made in Germany. The postcard is part of a series (no. 5121) and credits Fox Film.
ADDENDUM: After viewing this image, a visitor contacted me to claim that the beautiful woman in this photograph is not Virginia Valli, but instead, it is June Collyer (1906-1968). I was unable to locate information or relevant comparison images to definitively confirm that it is Collyer that is in the photograph, but I did find a film publicity photo identical to the postcard image above. The description of that photo indicates that the pictured woman is Collyer. Collyer was born in New York City and as a society girl was chosen by Allan Dwan (Director, Producer, Screen Writer) to her first starring role in “East Side, West Side. She did eleven silent films and made a successful transition to talkies. In 1928 she was he was one of the thirteen girls selected as “WAMPAS BABY STARS”. In 1930 she appeared in “The Three Sisters” and “Sweet Kitty Bellairs”. From 1930 through 1936 she starred in nineteen films. She took a sabbatical from acting in the 1940’s and did television acting during the 1950’s. June was the sister of radio actor/announcer Bud Collyer (1908-1969). He became a major game show star hosting such programs as “Beat the Clock” and “To Tell the Truth”. June Collyer was married to actor Stu Erwin. In conclusion, I am unsure whether the beautiful woman in this image is Miss Valli or Miss Collyer. It is an answerable question if someone is willing to do the requisite research.

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FOUR VICTORIOUS YOUNG MEN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY 1900 (VINTAGE PHOTOGRAPH)

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This vintage photograph captures four young men posing in their dress-up clothing and patriotic straw hats. An inscription on the reverse of the image states that the men were photographed on July fourth, 1900. The men are wearing prize ribbons on their lapels. They apparently won a contest of some sort. Its interesting to note that the two men in the front row are balancing luggage bags on their knees. The bags almost look like doctor bags. This photograph was taken by J. L. Blessing of Salamanca, New York. Blessing was no amateur as is apparent in his  1908 photograph of a Native American woman seen below. She is from the Seneca tribe and her name is Ah-Weh-Eyu (translation: Pretty Flower). Her English name was Goldie Jamison Conklin and she was from the Allegany Reservation in Western New York. She was born in Salamanca in 1892 and died in 1974. She was quite beautiful and worked as a model for the Cattarugus Cutlery Company of Little Valley, New York. She helped advertise the company’s line of “Indian Brand” knives. She was often photographed by Jesse Lynn Blessing who operated the Blessing Studio in Salamanca. His father was J. H. Blessing (1851-1920) who started the studio. According to an entry on geneology.com by J. L. Blessing’s grandaughter, Mr Blessing “was asked to work with Disney Studios by Walt Disney but decided to take over his father’s studio instead”.

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MYSTERIOUS STAGE ACTRESS: HELENE VERDES

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This vintage real photo postcard features actress Helene Verdes. At least I think that she is a stage actress. Perhaps a cabinet card gallery visitor knows something about her and will leave some biographical information in the form of a comment. I tried to research her but drew blanks. The photograph of Miss Verdes is by Lucien Walery and he certainly is known for his postcard portraits of theatre performers. Miss Verdes apparently didn’t receive much fame from her theatrical endeavors despite her great beauty.  Lucien Walery was a celebrated Paris photographer known for his portraits of artists and cabaret dancers from the city’s music halls. He is very well known for his portraits of Mata Hari and Josephine Baker. Walery did a lot of work in the genre of nude/erotic photography. He photographed the beautiful women of Paris between the early 1900’s and the 1920’s. Apparently there is considerable debate about Walery’s actual identity. Some contend that he was actually Stanislaw Julian Ignacy Count Ostrorog, a British photographer of Polish ancestry who may have moved to Paris in about 1900.  This postcard dates back to the early 1900’s and was published by Marqus Etoile of Paris and is part of a series (no. 310).

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Published in: on December 22, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Comments (4)  
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