LILY DAMITA: BEAUTIFUL AND TALENTED ACTRESS AND EX WIFE OF ACTOR ERROL FLYNN

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This vintage real photo postcard features actress singer Lili Damita (1904-1994). She was born Liliane Marie Madeleine Carre in Blaye, France in 1904. She was educated in convents and ballet schools in several European countries. She was a pretty and talented star actress of silent movies as well as early talkies. Her filmography includes 33 film appearances between 1922 and 1937. Damita started dancing professionally at sixteen years of age and made her film debut in 1922. As a teenager she danced in music halls and appeared in the revue of the Casino de Paris. She also worked as a photographic model. She starred in the film “The Queen was in the Parlor” (1926) by Noel Coward. She appeared with Ronald Colman in Sam Goldwyn’s film “The Rescue” (1929). Goldwyn feared that Damita’s accent would be a deterrent for success in talkies so Damita worked to change her accent and she appeared in her first talkie, “The Cockeyed World” (1929). Goldwyn eventually dropped her partially because she had been too honest with the press about her millionaire lovers. During her career, Damita worked with celebrated actors including Gary Cooper, Laurence Olivier, Cary Grant, Maurice Chevalier, and James Cagney. She had more than one marriage. Her second husband was actor Errol Flynn. They married in 1935 and were divorced seven years later. Cooper’s infidelities contributed to the dissolution of their marriage. The couple’s son, Sean Flynn, disappeared while photographing the Vietnam War, and was never found. She married again; this time to a dairy farmer named Allen Loomis. Her marriage to Loomis dissolved in 1962. In 1994 Damita died of Alzheimers disease in Palm Beach, Florida. This postcard is part of the “Picturegoer Series (No. 375” ) and was published in London, England. 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.

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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).                                                                                                                                     brrymore 1

STAGE ACTRESS LOUISE LEWIS IN SHAKESPEARE’S “AS YOU LIKE IT” (VINTAGE REAL PHOTO POSTCARD)

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This vintage real photo postcard features actress Louise Lewis who played in Shakespeare’s “As You Like It”. Miss Lewis did not reach stardom in her career but her stage experience did merit an appearance on this theatrical picture postcard. Preliminary research found meager biographical material about this actress, but an article in the Los Angeles Herald (1898) reports that the Calhoun Opera Company at the Los Angeles Theater was presenting “La Grande Duchesse” and that Louise Lewis was a member of the ensemble. It is not certain that the Louise Lewis pictured on this postcard is the same one referenced in the Herald article. This postcard appears to have an American origin and is part of a series (no. 13). This particular postcard was distributed by the Souvenir Post Card Shop in Cleveland, Ohio.

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

 

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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.

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MABELLE ADAMS: A PRETTY BROADWAY ACTRESS

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This vintage real photo postcard features actress Mabelle Adams (1880-1935). Mabelle Adams was her stage name but her real name was Mabelle Humberstone. She is known for her stage career but also for being the mother of director Bruce “Lucky” Humberstone whose work included Film noir “I Wake Up Screaming” (1941) as well as some “Charlie Chan” and “Tarzan” films. Interestingly, Mabelle was a niece of Edwin Booth. She was the understudy on Broadway for actress Maude Adams in “Peter Pan”. She was in a number of Broadway productions including occupying a starring role in “Two Orphans” (1933). Adams was an active member of the Stage Women’s War Relief which raised money for medical supplies for Allies wounded in World War I. A brief biography of Adams can be found in “The Stars of Hollywood Forever” (2014), This postcard was published pre 1907 by the Rotograph Company and part of a series (no. B1998). Rotograph was located in New York City.

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Published in: on December 26, 2015 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

ACTORS CHARLES GARRY AND DORA BARTON APPEARING IN “IVANHOE” (1909 REAL PHOTO POSTCARD)

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This wonderful vintage real photo postcard captures actor Mr. Charles Garry and actress Dora Barton (1880-1966) in a dramatic scene from the play “Ivanhoe”. Ivanhoe was a dramatization by William Palmer of Walter Scott’s novel.Dora Barton plays Rebecca while Charles Garry plays the role of Isaac of York. Both actors later had film careers. This photograph does an incredible job of capturing the performers emotions. The photographer of this image was well known for his talent and family ties. Alexander Percy Guttenberg (1870-?) came from a family that produced a number of photographers. His father, Marcus Guttenberg (1828-1891) began as a daguerreotypist in Hungary, Prussia, Poland and Germany before starting a photography business in England (1851). One source reports that he established 24 studios in England but settled in the Manchester area. Percy, like his father, was also very successful. In fact, there are fourteen of his photographs in England’s National Portrait Gallery. Percy was famous for his work photographing actors and actresses. The image above was photographed at his Queen’s Theater studio in Manchester as part of a “Revival Series”. The postcard has been mailed and is postmarked in Sunderland in the year 1909. Sunderland is in the northeast of England.

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GISELLA POZZI: BEAUTIFUL SILENT FILM ACTRESS WEARING A BUTTERFLY DRESS

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One thing is for certain is that Gisella Pozzi is a very pretty woman. However, my knowledge about the details of her life is very uncertain. Preliminary research indicates that she was an Italian silent film actress. Some sources report that she was also a theater actress. I have just written everything I know about Gisella Pozzi. More research is needed. What do you think of her dress and hat? I think she looks terrific. I especially like the butterfly on front of her dress. This vintage real photo postcard was made in Italy and produced by Fotocelere. Fotocelere was active between 1915 and 1942 and published postcards across a wide range of genres. The company must have decided it would be attractive to include her faux autograph across her image. I respectfully disagree.

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Published in: on December 16, 2015 at 12:00 pm  Comments (3)  
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THE SCANTILY CLAD BELLY DANCING HARRISON SISTERS CAVORT TOGETHER

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Meet the Harrison Sisters, or the “Sisters Harrison” if you prefer the title on this vintage real photo postcard. The sisters are dressed like belly dancers and perhaps that is their trademark talent. Judging by their expressions, the young women don’t appear to be too interested in their career choice. Note the dancer’s sheer skirts and abundance of jewelry. The provocative skirts and the performer’s bikini top certainly makes this a risque photograph for it’s era. Postcard images such as this often appeared with a Salome theme. Salome, the daughter of Herod II and Herodias is involved in the story of John the Baptist, or more specifically, the head of John the Baptist. Salome was a popular subject in literature, theater, and art around the time that these images were produced. Salome became a symbol for dangerous female seductiveness. To make a long story longer, I am not sure if the inspiration of this postcard’s image is Middle Eastern belly dancing or the temptress Salome. Preliminary research uncovered nothing about the “Sisters Harrison” and clearly more extensive investigation is required. Perhaps the Cabinet Card Gallery’s research department (it’s visitors) have some information to share about these dancing siblings.

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Published in: on December 12, 2015 at 12:47 pm  Comments (2)  
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MABEL MAY-YONG

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Mabel May Yong (1883-1945) was an Australian born actress and dancer. She appeared in German films. The IMDB reports that she had 21 film appearances between 1920 and 1925. In some of the early films she was billed as Mabel May. She portrayed the exotic, sexy,  scantily clad Mata Hari or Salome type. She is often considered the German equivalent of Theda Bara. She had the lead in a vampire film “What the Skull Tells” (1921). Interestingly, she appeared in a film called “Women Who Commit Adultery ( 1922). Mabel May Yong was quite prolific in regard to her numerous film appearance in the early 1920’s. However, her success was short lived. Perhaps a cabinet card gallery visitor can explain what happened to Miss Yong personally and professionally after her early success. This rare vintage real photo postcard was published in Munich, Germany by Percy Hein.

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Published in: on December 4, 2015 at 12:00 pm  Comments (8)  
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MYSTERY CHANTEUSE PHOTOGRAPHED BY NADAR

ILBERT_0002This Cabinet Card presents a bit of a mystery.  The photograph is by famed French photographer, P. Nadar of Paris. The subject of the photograph is a mystery. The reverse of the card has the name “Ilbert”  written in two places. In addition the word “Chanteuse” also appears. Is she an opera singer? Is she a nightclub singer? The woman is very stylish and is wearing a fur and interesting hair clip. Hopefully, a viewer will leave a comment with some identifying information.                                                    ADDENDUM: This photograph entered into the cabinet card gallery in 2009. Since then there have been a number of cabinet card gallery visitors that have left comments concerning the identity of the subject of this  image. There has been some disagreement, but at least two visitors have identified this performer as being Yvette Guilbert (1867-1944). To follow the discussion about identification, check out the comment section below. Now back to Mlle Guilbert. Born as Emma Laure Esther Guilbert, she began singing as a child but worked at a Paris department store model when she turned sixteen. She also took acting and voice lesson and in 1886 she began working as an actress. She debuted at the Variette Theatre in 1888. She was soon singing at a number of popular clubs before starring in Montmartre at the Moulin Rouge in 1890. Over time she began to sing a lot of  monologue “patter songs”. Often the lyrics were risque, even raunchy. Her song frequently featured tragedy and poverty. Guilbert was audacious and audiences ate it up. She was celebrated in France, England and the United States. She was a favorite subject of artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, who made many portraits and caricatures of Guilbert. Later in her career, she appeared in silent movies, talkies and made recordings. She also wrote books about the Belle Epoque. It is interesting to note that Nadar, the photographer of the mystery chanteuse also photographed Yvette Guilbert. A Nadar photograph of Mlle Guilbert is part of the collection at the National Library of France. A copy of that image can be found below.

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Published in: on December 1, 2015 at 12:01 pm  Comments (7)  
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