MISS VIOLET ESSEX: A FORGOTTEN OPERA STAR

 The pretty subject of this vintage real photo postcard is actress and opera singer, Violet Essex (1893-1941). The English born Miss Essex appears in a web site entitled “Forgotten Opera Singers” which is written by Ashot Arakelyan. Essex sang during World War I when there was a demand for “lighter music”. Essex, a soprano, fulfilled that need. She recorded under her own name as well as under “Vera Desmond”. Miss Essex was known for her performances in Gilbert and Sullivan’s operas. She starred in the comic opera “Chu Chin Chow” during its five and a half year run in London. She was married to Charles Tucker, an English theatrical producer. She died just six months after moving with her family to Beverly Hills, California. This postcard portrait shows Miss Essex as Emmeline in the Edwardian musical comedy “The Sunshine Girl”. The show was first produced by George Edwardes at London’s Gaiety Theatre. The musical opened in 1912 and ran for 336 performances. The show introduced the tango to British audiences. Violet  Essex was in the original cast. The play also had a Broadway run in 1913 at the Knickerbocker Theatre. The photographer who took this photograph of Miss Essex is Alexander Bassano (1829-1913). He was a leading royal and high society London photographer and more of his images can be seen by clicking on Cabinet Card Gallery’s category “Photographer: Bassano”. This postcard was produced around 1912 and is part of a series (41243 8). To hear a recorded performance (Dear Heart) by Violet Essex, click on the link below. 

 

 

 

Published in: on April 14, 2017 at 6:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
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TWO PORTRAITS OF BEAUTIFUL BRITISH ACTRESS/SINGER: WINIFRED BARNES (PHOTOS BY RITA MARTIN)

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These vintage real photo postcards feature British actress Winifred Barnes. She is absolutely beautiful and photographer, Rita Martin did a fine job of capturing both her beauty and personality in these photographs. It is not surprising that Rita Martin produced such fine photo postcards. Miss Martin was well known for her expertise in taking portraits of theater stars and other celebrities. Other images by Rita Martin can be seen by clicking on the Cabinet Card Gallery’s category “Photographer: Rita Martin”. Barnes made her theatrical debut in a minor role in “Our Miss Gibbs” at the Gaiety Theater in 1909. Great Britain’s National Portrait Gallery has ten portraits of Winifred Barnes including one by Rita Martin. Her obituary appears in the New York Times (1935). The article describes her as a former chorus girl who became a star. She was one of George Edwardes’s leading actresses. Edwardes (1855-1915) was an English theatre manager and producer who received much credit for his contribution to British musical theatre. Many of Barnes’s major roles occurred during the first World War. She scored a huge success in the production of “Betty” (1915) at Daly’s Theatre. After her 1924 marriage to barrister, Roy Faulkner, she became a successful poultry farmer. She also became widely known for her cooking expertise. Both of these photo postcards were produced by Rotary Photo of London. The two postcards are part of a series (A. 1123-1) and (11867 A).

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MARTE HARRELL: PRETTY AUSTRIAN ACTRESS OF THEATER, FILM, AND TELEVISION

Marte Harell (1907-1996) was an Austrian film actress. She was married to Karl Hartl (1899-1978), an Austrian film director. Harell’s filmography includes “Women Are No Angels” (1943), “After The Storm” (1948), and “The Congress Dances” (1955). She was active in film and television between 1939 and 1981. Early and late in her career she also did theater. She made her film debut at age 32. She was in a number of films by Wien-Film. Hartl was the production manager of the company. This photo postcard was made for Wien-Film. The postcard is part of a series (no. A 3645/1). It is likely that this is a photograph of Miss Harell in costume for one of her film roles

Published in: on April 5, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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SENORITA CHRISTIANA: A BEAUTIFUL BRAZILIAN STAGE STAR IN PARIS, FRANCE

This is an opportunity to meet Christiana. One unsourced writer asserts that she was a Brazilian stage star.  I was unable to confirm that assertion. However, I can confirm that Christiana was quite beautiful. This vintage real photo postcard features a profile view of the stage star. She is dressed in a pretty flower patterned dress and is wearing flowers in her long flowing hair. Senorita Christiana’s portrait is by the Walery Studio which was located in Paris, France. The hand tinted postcard was published by the Parisian firm  “ELD” (E. Le Delay) and was part of a series (no. 2002). The postcard advertises the Casino de Paris which was one of the better known music halls in Paris. Christiana clearly performed there. 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. You can view other images by this talented photographer by clicking on the category “Photographer: Walery”.

Published in: on March 27, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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BEAUTIFUL ANGLO-GERMAN FILM ACTRESS LILLIAN HARVEY

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This vintage real photo postcard (top postcard) 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 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.

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PRETTY ITALIAN ACTRESS AND WRITER MARCELLA ALBANI

 

Marcella Albani (1899-1959) was an Italian film actress that appeared in 50 films between 1919 and 1936. Albani was “discovered” by writer/director Guido Parish (Schamberg) when she was twenty years old. They became a very successful film couple until 1924 when they parted ways. Their movies were predominately tear jerkers and adventure stories. The actress also worked with other famous directors such as Joe May, Friedrich Zelnik, and Wilhelm Dieterle. Albani was a major star in the European cinema in the late 1920’s. Her films were made in five different European countries. Many of Albani’s roles were portraying elegant Latin beauties. She certainly looks elegant and beautiful in this postcard portrait. She is dressed exquisitely and her hat is a fashion statement in itself. At the advent of sound movies, Miss Albani turned to writing. One of her several novels was turned into a movie. She continued to act until 1936. Albani was married to director Mario Franchini in 1931. This vintage real photo postcard is of German origin by Ross Verlag of Berlin. The postcard is part of a series (no. 1521/1). The photo is by Aafa film. According to one reliable source, the postcard was issued sometime between 1927 and 1928.

PORTRAIT OF GERTRUDE BONNETTE: PRETTY FRENCH STAGE ACTRESS

This vintage real photo postcard features French stage actress Gertrude Bonnette. Initial research revealed no information about this pretty theater actress. Bonnette was photographed by the well known celebrity photographer Jacob Schloss (1856-1938) of New York City. Schloss was will known for his portraits of beautiful woman. He was also known as a photographer activist for working hard to gain certain rights for photographers. This photo postcard is published by Societe Industrielle de Photograpie (SIP) of Rueil, France and is part of a series (76 Serie no. 15).

PORTRAIT OF BEAUTIFUL FILM ACTRESS: MILDRED DAVIS

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This vintage real photo postcard features film actress Mildred Davis (1901-1969). Mildred Hillary Davis appeared in many of Harold Lloyd’s (1893-1971) classic silent comedy films. She eventually became Lloyd’s wife. Davis was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She wanted to be an actress and when old enough, she went to California seeking film roles. She was blonde and petite, measuring just 5 feet tall. She has been described as sweet and perky, with a flair for comedy. She was able to secure several small parts and was noticed by film director/producer Hal Roach. Roach brought her to the attention of comedian Harold Lloyd who was seeking a replacement for his leading lady, Bebe Daniels (an image of Miss Daniels can be found in the Cabinet Card Gallery). Lloyd casted Davis in his short comedy “From Hand to Mouth” (1919). This began a partnership that resulted in them starring together in fifteen films. Mildred Davis’s filmography includes approximately 36 films between 1916 and 1949. A few of her popular films include “An Eastern Westerner” (1920), “Get Out and Get Under” (1920), and “Safety Last” (1923), The film couple developed a “real life” partnership when they married in 1923. Davis only appeared in one film after the couple tied the knot. The couple had three children. Biographical information reveals they had a relatively strong marriage. In later life she struggled with depression, and drinking problems. Davis was close friends with actresses Marion Davies and Colleen Moore. Mildred Davis died in 1969 . This real photo portrait postcard was published by Ross Verlag of Berlin, Germany. The postcard is part of a series (no. 1254/1). Paramount Film is credited on the front of the postcard. The “You Tube” link below will take you to a tribute to Harold Lloyd and Mildred Davis. The video was created by Diana Calado in 2013.

 

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ETHEL BARRYMORE: STAGE BEAUTY

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Ethel Barrymore (1879-1959) was an outstanding American actress and a member of the famous theatrical Barrymore family. She was born Ethel Mae Blythe in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her parents were actors and she was the sister of John and Lionel Barrymore.  She was the great aunt of modern day actress Drew Barrymore.

Ethel Barrymore was considered by many to be the greatest actress of her generation. She was a major Broadway performer and first appeared there in 1895. She had roles in A Dolls House by Ibsen (1905).  She was a strong supporter of the Actors’ Equity Association and played a major role in the 1919 strike. She played in Somerset Maugham’s comedy, The Constant Wife (1926). She also starred in motion pictures beginning her film career in 1914.  Notable films included None but the Lonely Heart (1944) and The Spiral Staircase (1946). Around 1900, Winston Churchill proposed marriage to Barrymore but she refused. She later married Russell Griswold Colt in 1909 and had three children. She died of cardiovascular disease in 1959 at her home in California. The Ethel Barrymore Theatre in New York City is named in her honor.

The top cabinet card portrait of Ethel Barrymore was photographed by Phillips Photographers of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. To view other photographs by Phillips, click on the category “Photographer: Phillips”. The second cabinet card image of the actress was produced by Sarony, the famous celebrity photographer who’s studio was located in New York City. To see other Sarony photographs, click on the category “Photographer: Sarony”.

The third portrait of Miss Barrymore appears on a postcard published by the Rotograph Company who operated in  New York City and Germany. This postcard portrait was taken by famed Chicago photographer William Morrison. He is well known for his excellent portraits of theatrical stars. He produced both real photo postcards and cabinet cards. This postcard is number HB/1422 of the “Rotograph Series”. The image on this postcard is color tinted. This postcard has been mailed and postmarked (1907). The reverse of this postcard can be seen below.To view other photographs by Morrison, click on the category “Photographer: Morrison”.

The fourth portrait of Ethel Barrymore is an uncommon one. The image provides a lovely profile view of this legendary actress. If you search for this exact postcard online, you likely won’t find it. This postcard was published by E. Frey & Company who operated in  New York City . Research reveals that postcards displaying the printed name of  “E. Frey” were actually published by the Souvenir Post Card Company which existed between 1905 and 1914. It was located at 268 Canal Street in New York City. The company was purchased by Valentine & Sons and the combined company became Valentine – Souvenir. This postcard was printed in Germany and is in good condition (see scan).

The fifth photograph of Miss Barrymore was published by the Rotograph Company. This postcard portrait was taken by famed Chicago celebrity photographer William Morrison.This postcard is number B 662 of the “Rotograph Series”. The image has excellent clarity.

The sixth image is a vintage real photo postcard portrait of Ethel Barrymore. The postcard was published by Albert Hahn who was based in New York City (200 Broadway) and Hamburg. Hahn operated his company between 1901 and 1919. The postcard was produced in Germany sometime in the decade of 1900-1910. The postcard is part of a series (no. 5271),

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                                            REVERSE OF THIRD IMAGE (ROTOGRAPH POSTCARD)

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                                             REVERSE OF FIFTH IMAGE (ROTOGRAPH POSTCARD)

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                              REVERSE OF THE SIXTH IMAGE (POSTCARD BY ALBERT HAHN)

PORTRAIT OF AN UNIDENTIFIED BEAUTIFUL FASHIONISTA

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This cabinet card portrait features a pretty fashionista photographed by an unknown studio. Perhaps this young lady is a theater actress. This image is consistent with the work of Napoleon Sarony, Jose Mora, and other New York City celebrity photographers. The photograph presents a profile view of this attractive woman.

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Published in: on February 4, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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