BETTY BRONSON: BEAUTIFUL ACTRESS BEST KNOWN FOR PLAYING PETER PAN IN THE 1924 SILENT FILM

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This vintage real photo postcard features American actress Betty Bronson (1906-1971).She began her career in silent films and later appeared in sound films and television. This postcard was published by Ross Verlag and is part of a series (1095/1). At the time when this postcard was released, Miss Bronson was working for Paramount Film. She appears to be quite young when she sat for this portrait. She moved to California as a teenager determined to start an film acting career. She landed a bit part at age 16 and a year later she was interviewed by the author of  Peter Pan (J M Barrie) and chosen to play the lead role in the film version which was released in 1924. Gaining this part was quite an accomplishment considering more seasoned actresses including Gloria Swanson and Mary Pickford sought the role. She became became lifelong friends with two members of the Peter Pan cast (Mary Brian and Esther Ralson). Miss Bronson had major roles in the silent films Ben Hur (1925) and a Kiss for Cinderella (1925). Betty Bronson made a successful transition into talkies. She co-starred with Al Jolson in the sound film, The Singing Fool (1928). In 1933 she took about a four year break from actingto marry a wealthy North Carolinian named Ludwig Lauerhass. While she was filming Peter Pan, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. developed a crush on her. The IMDb reports that Bronson had 41 film and television appearances during her career (1922-1971). Included in her television career were roles in Run For Your Life and My Three Sons. Overall, it is reported that Betty Bronson never lived up to her original promise. She was expected to be a major competitor to Mary Pickford but it is thought that her roles after Peter Pan were not effective vehicles to showcase her talent and to help her rise to superstardom. The YouTube clip below shows Miss Bronson in her role as Peter Pan.                                                                                                             The second postcard offers another portrait of Betty Bronson. The postcard was published by Ross Verlag and has the logo of Paramount Pictures. This postcard shows her in a movie role but the movie title is unidentified.                                                                                                            The third postcard is a portrait of Miss Bronson that was published by Iris Verlag as part of a series (#504). Iris Verlag was the most important Austrian publisher of film star postcards. It operated from Vienna during the 1920’s and 1930’s. The film star looks quite beautiful and is wearing a fancy dress, long white gloves, and a tiara. Imbedded in the photo of the actress is a logo for “Fanamet Films”.  Fanamet was an Austrian film distribution company.

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ACTRESS IVY CLOSE: IN 1908 SHE WAS RATED THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMAN IN THE WORLD

This vintage real photo postcard features British film actress Ivy Close (1890-1968). Miss Close acted in 44 films between 1912 and 1929.  Ivy Close was born in, and died in, England. Her first husband was a well known photographer and film maker. His name was Elwin Neame (1885-1923) and he and Close established “Ivy Close Films” in 1914. The couple had two sons and both went into the movie business. Close was married a second time in 1938. Her second husband was Curly Batson, an Australian stuntman and make-up artist. If you think that she is quite beautiful, join the club. In 1908, she was named the “World’s Most Beautiful Woman” by Britain’s Daily Mirror. She beat over 1500 competitors for the title of Britain’s beauty queen. In 1916, the actress came to the US and made twelve films for the Kalem Company in New York. Close had some interesting hobbies. She motorcycled, golfed, served as an advertising model, and sang in English music halls. Upon the arrival of “talkies”, Close’s acting career came to a screeching halt. It was decided by higher-ups that her English accent was unacceptable to American audiences. This postcard was printed in Britain and was part of the Lilywhite Photographic Series (no. C M 404D). The publisher, Lilywhite Ltd, Halifax (L.L.H.), was founded by Arthur Frederick Sergeant. He also was the founder of Halifax Photographic Company which was based in Halifax, England. Lilywhite began publishing postcards in 1910; and in the 1920’s, the company took over Arrow Series Postcards. The company then published postcards under both the Arrow and Lilywhite names.

Published in: on February 9, 2018 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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BELGIAN STAGE AND FILM ACTRESS: JANE MARNAC

This vintage real photo postcard features pretty Belgian stage and film actress, Jane Marnac (1892-1976). She appeared in dozens of parts on stage and sang in numerous operettas. She is well known for appearing in “Au temps des valses ” (1930), a play by Noel Coward that played at the Apollo Theater. She is also remembered for her role in “The Darling of Paris” (1931). Wikipedia provides a list of twenty of her play appearances (1912-1938) and notes that it is an incomplete list.  Wikipedia also lists six films (1911-1931) in which Marnac made appearances.  In regard to her personal life, she was born in Brussels, Belgium. She married an English officer in 1927. This postcard was published by K.F. (Kunzli Freres) of Paris, France and is part of a series (no. 2315). The company was one of the largest pioneer postcard publishing houses. The company was established in 1874. It had offices in Zurich and Paris. Beginning 1898, it became known for publishing postcard maps throughout Europe. The photographer who took Miss Marnac’s portrait seen on this postcard, was Leopold Reutlinger.

BEAUTIFUL ANGLO-GERMAN FILM ACTRESS LILLIAN HARVEY

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This vintage real photo postcard (postcard 1) features Anglo-German actress and singer, Lillian Harvey (1906-1968). Her acting base was in Germany. Harvey was born in Hornsey, England to an English mother and a German father. During World War I her family was “trapped” in Magdeburg, Germany and Harvey was sent to live with her Swiss aunt. After the war she finished school in Berlin and than studied voice and dance at the Berlin State Opera. In 1924 she earned a role as a revue dancer in Vienna. This was followed by her first movie role which was in an Austrian film named “The Curse”. Thereafter, she starred in multiple silent films. Her first leading role was in “The Passion” (1925). Because of her voice training, Harvey was able to make the transition into “talkies”. She and actor Willy Fritsch became the “dream couple” of German movies. The pair acted together in eleven movies. In the 1930’s Harvey’s films appeared in both German and English and she became popular outside of Germany. She went to Hollywood and made four movies for the Fox Film Corporation (this postcard is from that period). In 1935, Harvey returned to Germany. She appeared in several more films and soon she was under the watchful eye of the Gestapo. Harvey had many Jewish friends in the film industry  and she was supportive of them. By 1939, Miss Harvey was forced to leave Germany, leaving behind valuable real estate holdings. She went to France where, in 1940, she made two movies for director Jean Boyer. In 1943 she was stripped of her German citizenship because she had performed for French troops. When southern France was occupied by the Nazis in 1942, she emigrated to the United States. During the war she did some theatre acting and also worked as a homeside volunteer nurse. After the war, Harvey relocated to Paris. She went on a world tour as a singer and in 1949 made appearances in West Germany. She spent her retirement on the French Riviera (Antibes) where she had a souvenir shop and raised snails for escargot. Harvey was married one time. Her four year marriage to theater director Hartvig Valeur-Larsen ended in divorce. Eventually she settled down with her female partner Else Pitty Wirth (1907-2007). Interestingly, the two women are buried together in Antibes. The imdb gives Harvey 54 acting credits between 1925 and 1940. Interestingly, Lillian Harvey’s name is mentioned in Quentin Tarantino’s film  “Inglorious Bastards” (2009). One of her songs is played on a phonograph and in addition one of the characters in the film mentions liking Harvey’s performance in a film and Joseph Goebbels becomes angry and insists her name never be mentioned in his presence. Click on the link below to hear the Lillian Harvey/Willy Fritsch duet used in the Tarantino movie. The 1936 song is titled “Ich Wollt Ich War Ein Huhn” (I Wish I Was A Chicken). Now would be a good time to discuss this postcard portrait of Miss Harvey. She is looking quite decorated in this photograph. She is wearing a garland of leaves in her hair, a very ornate necklace, a number of large bracelets, two giant rings, and a jeweled clasp on her dress near her cleavage. Note her very notable eye lashes. She is wearing a somewhat provocative dress and it is clear that the aim of the photographer is to emphasize Miss Harvey’s sexiness. The photographer and Miss Harvey succeeded in accomplishing this goal. The postcard was published by the German firm Ross Verlag and was part of a series (no. 8679/1). The postcard credits Fox films.

The second postcard (postcard 2) features Miss Harvey in a risque costume. She is showing a “lot of leg” which is quite provocative for her time. It is likely that this image captures her in one of her film roles. The postcard was published by Argenta, which was located in Munich, Bavaria.

The third postcard (postcard 3) presents Miss Harvey is a sexy pose. Note her dark gloves and large hoop earrings. The postcard was published by Ross Verlag and is part of a series (no. 4288/1). Note the advertising logo for the German film company UFA, located on the bottom right hand corner of the image.

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ELISABETH PINAJEFF: EUROPEAN ACTRESS, ARTIST, AND PART OF THE “BALLETS ROSES SCANDAL”

This vintage real photo postcard features German actress Elisabeth Pinajeff (1900-1995). In the 1920’s and 1930’s she starred in French and German films. Her first sound film was in 1929. The actress was born in Russia. Her father was an architect and her mother was a countess. In the 1910’s Pinajeff studied drama in the Ukraine. When she was 19 years old she married an engineer and his career required the couple to move to Germany. In 1929, Pinajeff met Austrian photographer, Alex Binder. Binder will be a familiar name to those that follow the cabinet card gallery. Many of his beautiful postcard portraits of theater stars can be found in the gallery (you can see his photos by placing his name, “Binder”, in the search box).  Binder had the largest photo studio in Europe during the 1920’s. Pinajeff modeled for Binder and later, married him. The couple lived in Paris. There is some debate about the years that they were together.The IMDb reports that Pinajeff appeared in 35 films between 1922 and 1938. After appearing in a bit part in a 1938 film about Rasputin, she retired from acting and focused on her painting. In 1950, Pinajeff became a friend of Andre Le Troquer, a “very connected” lawyer and politician. The couple surrounded themselves with political, artistic, and intellectual leaders.   In 1959, she was involved in a scandal known as the “Ballets Roses Scandal”. She was one of more than twenty people enmeshed in the scandal. She was accused of organizing erotic ballets with underaged girls for an “elite” audience. Some prospective show biz mother’s had consented to their daughters participation in this ballet with hopes that it would help launch their performance career.  Although Pinajeff was not convicted. Miss Pinajeff had artistic talent. She painted a number of famous personalities including the British Queen. She successfully exhibited a number of her paintings. This postcard is somewhat risque in that the photograph shows Miss Pinajeff’s bare back. The actress was a very pretty woman and had an engaging smile. This postcard was published by Russ Verlag and is part of a series (no. 2060/1). The photographer was the aforementioned Alex Binder and the photo was taken in Berlin.

BETTY BALFOUR: “BRITAINS QUEEN OF HAPPINESS” (3 VINTAGE REAL PHOTO POSTCARDS)

 

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Have you ever heard of Betty Balfour? You would definitely know who she was if you lived in England during the silent film era because she is considered the most popular actress there during the 1920’s. She was known as the “British Mary Pickford” and “Britain’s Queen of Happiness”. Her fans knew her best for her “Squibs” series of films. Betty Balfour (1903-1977) was also known for her stage career. She made her stage debut in 1913 and worked in theater for several years before entering the film industry. She did not attempt to extend her career to Hollywood  but she did star in a number of German films. In Britain she starred in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Champagne” (1928). Her sound era debut was in “The Nipper” (1930), Her popularity began to drop in the 1930’s though she still was getting film roles. In all, she appeared in more than 35 films. Balfour was married to composer Jimmy Campbell but the marriage fell apart in 1941 after a ten year run. She attempted a theater comeback in 1952 but it failed. She died in Weybridge, Surrey, England at the age of seventy-four. This vintage real photo postcard was produced by Picturegoer as part of a series (no. 2a). The company was based in London. Picturegoer was a British fan magazine focussing on contemporary films and the actors and actresses who performed in them. Picturegoer also published postcards. In fact, they produced over 6500 different real photo postcards on 2000 actors and actresses.

The second real photo postcard see here is of unknown origin. The publisher is not identified nor is the photographer. Interestingly, just as in the first image, Miss Balfour is wearing pearls. She certainly was quite pretty.

The third real photo postcard features Miss Balfour in costume wearing a headpiece with very large feathers. Her v-neck dress is very beautiful. The portrait of Miss Balfour was taken by the Maull and Fox studio. The postcard was published by Cinimagazine and was part of a series (no. 84). Henry Maull (1829-1914) was a British photographer known for his portraits of famous individuals. He became a member of the Royal Photographic Society in 1870. During his career he had several partnerships. One of these partnerships (c1856-1865) was with George Henry Polyblank and the pair were very talented and produced great photographs. Between 1879 and 1885 Maul partnered with John Fox (1832-1907). The partnership with Fox was ended due to bankruptcy. However, the studio’s name was maintained after the bankruptcy by Fox’s son Herbert. Examination of the date of Maull and Fox’s partnership, it is clear that this photograph was produced by a photographer operating after the reign of Maull and Fox. Much of Maull’s work can be seen at the National Portrait Gallery in London, England.

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BAWDY PORTRAIT OF A SCANTILY CLAD YOUNG WOMAN (VAUDEVILLE ACTRESS?)

This vintage bawdy photograph features a young woman scantily clothed and flashing a terrific smile. Her expression is very inviting. I wish I knew the story associated with this risque image. My hypothesis is that the woman is an actress and part of a vaudeville show. Her act was likely focused on bringing men into the theater. She may have been a dancer or a singer. Perhaps she was talented in both dance and song. Note her dress. It certainly didn’t require a lot of material to produce. It shows a lot of the performer’s body, but it is tastefully done. The dress covers “the essentials”. Vaudeville acts were very popular in the United States from the early 1880’s through the early 1930’s. Vaudeville was a genre of theater that was composed of a series of separate and unrelated acts that were presented together at one performance. It is difficult to determine when this photograph was taken. It certainly was produced sometime in the early period of vaudeville. This photograph is not a postcard. I do not believe that the image is a trimmed cabinet card, though it has a cabinet card type board.  An examination of the photos edges reveal that they are straight and smooth. The photograph measures about 5 1/4″ x 3 1/4″. There is a small pinhole through the top center of the image. Someone, decades ago, appreciated this wonderful photograph enough, to hang it on their wall.

Published in: on January 14, 2018 at 12:00 pm  Comments (4)  
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RISQUE PORTRAIT OF FILM STAR INEZ VAN BREE (PHOTO BY ESTEEMED PHOTOGRAPHER: ERNST SCHNEIDER)

This vintage real photo postcard is one of the more risque Ross Verlag postcards in the Cabinet Card Gallery. The postcard is of German origin and is part of a series (no. 1581/1). It was published between 1927 and 1928. Preliminary research found little information about Inez Van Bree. A defunct University of Toronto website labels Miss Bree as a silent movie siren/star. The photographer of this portrait appears to be Ernst Schneider and the photograph was taken in Berlin, Germany. Research about Mr Schneider yielded a great deal of information. He was considered to be one of the most celebrated studio photographers in Berlin during three decades (1900’s, 1910’s, 1920’s. He photographed many celebrities from the world of theater, opera, circuses, and film. He was also one of the most prominent fashion photographers in Berlin. In addition, he was well known for his nude photography and he published books showcasing his work in this domain. Sometime around 1908 Schneider began working with postcard publishers “Rotophot” and “Neue Photographische Gesellschaft” (NPG). In 1919 he began working with Ross Verlag.

 

 

 

 

BEAUTIFUL AND CHARMING FRENCH THEATER AND MUSIC HALL STAR: MLLE. NALUGB (PHOTO BY PAUL BOYER)

This vintage real photo postcard features beautiful French theater and music hall performer Mlle. Nalugb. The portrait was expertly taken by the celebrated French photographer, Paul Boyer (1861-1908). He photographed many famous people during his career. This postcard is published by Societe Industrielle de Photograpie (SIP) of Rueil, France and was part of a series (no. 1381). The postcard dates back to circa 1904-1908).

Published in: on January 11, 2018 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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PORTRAIT OF AMERICAN STAGE ACTRESS MAUDE WHITE OR POSSIBLY A PORTRAIT OF AMERICAN STAGE ACTRESS MAUD WHITE

 

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This is an unusual cabinet card portrait for two reasons. First, the pretty young woman who is the subject of this photograph is a New York city actress and certainly does not look the part. She is well dressed, but she is wearing conservative and “boring” attire. Overall, she looks more like the “woman next door” than a Broadway actress. She exudes a sweet and innocent disposition and she has a twinkle in her eyes. She doesn’t  give the appearance of a professional actress of that time. Where’s the histrionic flamboyance? Where’s the drama? Secondly, what’s wrong with the photographer, Napoleon Sarony. The fantastic celebrity photographer was not showing his usual bombastic flair when he posed and shot this photograph. Unlike many of his theatrical portraits, there is no fancy clothing or abundance of props in this portrait. The young lady in this image is named Maude White. Her name is written on the reverse of the photograph. However, there is a caveat worth mentioning. I encountered a problem while I was researching Maude White. I discovered that there was also an actress named Maud White who was performing during the same era. This became an issue because, despite the inscription on the back of the cabinet card, I could not be sure if the woman photographed was Maude White or Maud White. I attempted to find other photographs of both actresses but met no success. Due to the fogginess of the identification issue, I decided to research both Maude and Maud. The Internet Broadway Data Base reveals that Maude White appeared in one Broadway production, “The Ruling Power” (1904). However, Maud White made three appearances on Broadway (“Lost-24 Hours”(1895), “A Stranger in a Strange Land” (1899), and “There and Back” (1903). First, I will present some information gleaned from researching Maude. The New York Times (NYT) (1888) published an article about a soon to open play entitled “A Parisian Romance”. The star of the show was Mr Richard Mansfield and the supporting cast included Miss Maude White. The NYT (1888) later reviewed the play and made special mention of Maude. The review described her as “the danceuse (female ballet dancer) of the Opera” and reported that she played her role in a charming, pert, and clever manner. The NYT (1898) announced the soon to open comedy, “A Stranger in a Strange Land”, and that it would include both Mansfield and Maude. An article in the NYT (1900) stated that Maude would appear in Stuart Robson’s company that year. The NYT (1903) heralded the opening of a farcical comedy called “There and Back” and added that Maude would be a principal in the cast. An interesting story about Maude appeared in the NYT in 1905. The issue at hand was plagiarism. Maude had written a playlet called “Locked Out At Three AM” and she complained to the United States circuit court that the author of another play used some of her material. Maude had asked for an injunction and sued for damages. The NYT (1906) stated that Maude would be starring in the play “Nobody’s Fault”.  Now lets focus on Maud, rather than Maude.  In 1890, Maud was involved in some controversy and it was reported in the NYT. The title of the article was “Fritz Emmet Sobering Up”. Emmet was an established comedian who had a relationship with “John Barleycorn” that had produced many newspaper articles focussing on his drunken behavior. The article stated that there was  “a stormy sea” on the stage of the Hammerstein’s Harlem Opera House. Emmet had been drinking heavily for two weeks and creating much drama. His professional and personal life had become badly damaged. In his previous engagement in Philadelphia, Emmet had reached the point that he could no longer perform. The theater had to close the show, and fortunately for the theater, Emmet compensated them for their losses. Next stop was Harlem, but Emmet kept drinking excessively until the dramatic incident occurred on stage. At a Saturday night performance he “murdered his play”. While onstage he made many “Bacchanalian references” and exhibited other inappropriate words and actions.. Emmet’s adult son decided to put an end to his father’s out-of-control behavior. Just as the curtain went down on the last act of the play, Fritz’s son went on the stage where his father and Maud were standing. The son informed Maud that she would have to leave the theater company. Maud objected in a “vigorous manner” spurring the young Mr. Emmet to have her forcibly removed from the theater. Worse yet, he had her confined to a little storm house over the stage door. Basically, she was temporarily kidnapped. Maud cried and screamed “various better words” and even though Fritz tried to intervene, she was imprisoned until the police arrived. The police were called by the younger Mr Emmet and they promptly took Fritz to Manhattan Hospital where he was confined overnight. Maud was released and put in a carriage to go wherever she wanted to go. The story got worse for Fritz. Directly after this incident, his wife of 27 years, sued him for divorce on grounds of infidelity. They ultimately divorced and the settlement was costly for Fritz. Maud continued to perform and the NYT (1891) announced that Maud would be appearing in a play directed by Charles Frohman called “Mr. Wilkinson’s Widows”. That same year, she appeared in a Frohman production entitled “The Solicitor”. The NYT (1892) has an article reporting that Maud appeared in another Frohman production (“The Lost Paradise”). An 1895 NYT article states that maud was appearing with the Robert Hilliard Company in “Lost- 24 Hours” at the Hoyt Theater. The NYT (1897) has an article reporting her appearance in “The Wrong Mr Wright”. Maud received a complimentary review from the  NYT (1903) concerning her performance in the role of the “seductive Marie Antoinette” in the play “There and Back”.