AN ADORABLE CHILD ON THE TRACKS: ELLA JOHNSON RIDES THE BOSTON RAILROAD

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An adorable little girl poses for her portrait as she rides the tracks of the Boston Railroad. The advertising below the image on the front of the card indicates that the photography car on the train is car number four. The expression on the child’s face is priceless. She is very photogenic and engaging. Her eyes are amazing. She is well dressed but not wearing anything too fancy. Note her high top shoes. The reverse of this cabinet card photograph has an inscription stating the child’s name as “Ella Johnson”. Below the name is the word “Blackfoot”. It is my hypotheses that Ella Johnson at some point in her life, lived in Blackfoot, Idaho, or Montana. The name “Ella Johnson” is much too common for me to do a successful genealogical search to learn more about this charming girl’s life. To view another cabinet card photograph taken in a Boston Railroad photographer’s car, click on the category “Railroad Photo Car”.   (SOLD)

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Published in: on December 21, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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MARIE PREVOST: SILENT FILM STAR AND UPSETTING SUBJECT OF A SONG BY NICK LOWE

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The pretty actress featured in this vintage real photo postcard is film actress Marie Prevost (1896-1937). She was born in Canada and during her twenty-year career, she made 121 silent and talking movies. She was originally “discovered” by Mack Sennett who inked her to a film contract after she played a bit part in one of his movies. She was only on the set (Keystone Studios) because she was running an errand for the law firm where she was employed as a secretary. She became one of his Bathing Beauties in the late 1910’s. She appeared in dozens of Sennett’s short comedy films. Her first lead role was for Sennett in “Yankee Doodle in Berlin” (1919). She than began to make feature length films for Universal Studios, where she signed for $1,000.00 a week. In 1922 she moved to Warner Brothers where she became one of the studio’s leading ladies (her contract was for $1,500.00 per week). Her movie roles at Warner included “The Beautiful and Damned” (1922), “The Marriage Circle” (1924), and “Kiss Me Again” (1925). Warner Brothers dropped her in 1926 and her career began to diminish as she was offered primarily secondary roles. Her personal life also began to decline, if not plummet. Her mother died in 1926 and her second marriage, to actor Kenneth Harlan, fell apart in 1927. She became very depressed and her symptoms included alcohol abuse and binge eating. In 1928 she was cast in “The Racket” which was directed by Howard Hughes. The pair had a brief affair and when it ended, Prevost fell into an even deeper depression. It became increasingly difficult for her to obtain parts in films and her last film role was in 1936. At the age of 38, Marie Prevost died from acute alcoholism and malnutrition. Her estate was worth just three hundred dollars and her death helped prompt the creation of the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital. The details of Prevost’s death have become a bit of Hollywood legend. She was found in her apartment two days after her death. Also at death scene were empty bottles of alcohol, a promissory note to Joan Crawford, and Prevost’s pet dachshund. She was discovered because neighbors had complained about her dog’s continued barking. The legend claims that by the time she was found, her corpse was half-eaten by Maxie, her dog. It was asserted that this of course was only because the dog was trying to awaken his deceased master. This story is not true, but it appeared in Kenneth Anger’s book “Hollywood Babylon” (1959) and in Nick Lowe’s song “Marie Provost” (1978). The lyrics from Lowe’s song include “She was the winner, That became the doggie’s dinner, She never meant that much to me, Woe, poor Marie”. This postcard was published by A.N. of Paris for Universal Films. It is part of as series entitled “Les Vedettes de Cinema” (The Stars of Cinema). This postcard is the first in the series (No. 1).

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ADORABLE LITTLE BOY AND HIS TEDDDY BEAR ON WHEELS IN HAMBURG, GERMANY

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This fantastic carte de visite features an adorable little boy and his toy teddy bear. The toy bear is on a string leash and on four wheels for easy walking. The child’s outfit, including his matching socks, are very stylish. The photograph was taken at the studio of Adolf Bruns in Hamburg, Germany.

 

 

Published in: on December 19, 2016 at 12:38 pm  Leave a Comment  
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THE SAD STORY OF VILMA BANKY: BEAUTIFUL SILENT FILM STAR

 

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This vintage real photo postcard features beautiful and sensuous actress Miss Vilma Banky (1901-1991). She was born in Hungary but was an American silent film actress. She began her acting career in Budapest and later France, Austria, and Germany. In 1925, Banky was plucked from Europe by Hollywood film producer Samuel Goldwyn. American audiences fell in love with her and she earned the moniker of “The Hungarian Rhapsody”. In a review of her first film, “The Dark Angel” (1925), the New York Times (1925) described Banky as “a young person of rare beauty”. In the mid and late 1920’s she was Goldwyn’s biggest money maker. Some of her most famous roles were in the films “The Eagle” (1925) and the “The Son of the Sheik” (1926). She played romantic roles opposite Ronald Coleman and Rudolph Valentino. The advent of sound films is believed to have short circuited her acting career. Apparently her thick Hungarian accent was unacceptable. However, around the time of the introduction of sound films, it is thought that she had lost her enthusiasm about films and was more interested in settling down with actor Rod La Rocque (1898-1969), whom she married in 1927. Goldwyn gave the bride away and Cecil B. DeMille was the best man. By 1928, she was talking of retirement. In all, she made 24 films of which only eight remain in existence in their complete form. Her filmography begins in 1919 and ends in 1933. After leaving filmdom, she and her husband had a career in real estate and she pursued the sport of golf. The Chicago Tribue (1993) entitled Banky’s obituary “Silent Film Star Makes Dramatic Exit”. It is interesting to note that the article appeared nearly two years after her death. It seems that the press and Hollywood watchers never noticed her death. Apparently she lay sick in bed for the last ten years of her life, at home, and later in a nursing facility, without any visitors. The author of the article asserts “She died the nightmare death of every elderly person, alone, her life unremembered, her passing unlamented”. Banky was upset and angry about being abandoned, that she instructed her attorney to inform no one, including the newspapers, upon her passing. The attorney followed her instructions but when the press eventually learned of her death, the lawyer stated to reporters that Banky had no visitors because none of her friends or family still survived. She left a $600,000 trust fund to her sister’s two children in Hungary. After a difficult search the attorney found the two nieces in rural Hungary “living in peasant squalor”. The women had never met their Aunt and the last letter exchanged with Banky had been thirty years earlier. Banky’s lawyer had his hands full because a German heir hunting company had found them first and got them to sign over twenty percent of their inheritance for a finding-fee. At the time of the articles publication, the lawyer planned to pay off the company with a smaller fee and set up distant banking for the nieces who lived in an area that had no banks. Although after her death, the lawyer turned out to be a committed and wonderful friend to Vilma Banky and her family. This vintage postcard was produced by the Iris Verlag company. Iris Verlag was the most important Austrian publisher of film star postcards. It operated from Vienna during the 1920’s and 1930’s. The postcard is part of a series (no.695/3). The photographer of this portrait of Banky is Halasz of Budapest. The postcard was made for Fanamet-film which was a Austrian film distribution company.

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FIVE LOVELY SISTERS IN HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA, CANADA

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This cabinet card features five adorable girls who are very likely sisters. The children are all nicely dressed and hatted. The kids are sitting around a basket of flowers. The girls were photographed by “The Elite” Photographic Art Studio in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. The proprietors of the studio were Kelly & Company. Research reveals that the Kelly studio was sold to George A. Gauvin but the year of that transaction was not identified.

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Published in: on December 16, 2016 at 4:53 pm  Comments (1)  
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AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMAN SITTING ON A BENCH (REAL PHOTO POSTCARD)

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This real photo picture postcard features a middle aged African American woman sitting on a bench. She is clutching a purse in her left hand and is wearing a long coat. The AZO stamp box indicates that the postcard was produced by a studio sometime between 1926 and 1940.

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Published in: on December 15, 2016 at 10:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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ERUDITE CHILD LECTURES ST. BERNARD ON STEROIDS

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This vintage real photo postcard features a little boy (or is it a girl) and his (her) dog. The dog is a giant. I think someone’s been putting steroids in the dog’s food. The dog appears to be at least partially a St. Bernard. The child is smartly dressed and has an air of privilege. The child looks as if he is lecturing the dog. The child’s index finger is pointed as if he is making a major point. This postcard is dated 1906. The postcard was published by Germany’s Neue Photographische Gesellschaft (NPG) (New Photographical Society). The company was in business between 1894 and 1948 and was one of the most well known and largest companies involved in the production of postcards.

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CUTE YOUNG WOMAN WEARING A PLUME HAT IN PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA

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A young woman with blonde hair poses for her portrait at the Dabbs studio in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is wearing a distinctive hat with a feather plume. She has a wonderful smile. It is as if something struck her as funny while she posed for this photograph. The woman appears to be in her teenage years. The reverse of this cabinet card has a light inscription dating the photo as being taken in 1881. The photographer who produced this lovely image is Benjamin Lomax Horsley Dabbs. He was an English immigrant whose father was a pioneer in the American photographic supply business. Dabbs opened his studio in Pittsburgh in 1861. He was considered by many to be the best photographer in Pennsylvania and he was a close friend of Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Carnegie. To view other photographs by the Dabbs studio and to learn more about his interesting life, click on the category “Photographer: Dabbs”.  (SOLD)

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Published in: on December 13, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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A YOUNG BOY WEARING A STRAW HAT

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This CDV (Carte de Visite) features a well dressed young boy wearing a straw hat. The photographer is unknown as only his initials appear on the reverse of the photograph. Also on the reverse of the photograph is an inscription. I believe that the inscription is written in German.

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Published in: on December 12, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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YOUNG SALVATION ARMY WOMAN IN MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA

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A young woman wearing her salvation army uniform and badge poses for her portrait at Bishop Brothers studio in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her appearance suggests a personality of “sweet, pure, and innocent” which certainly would be complimentary to her role of helping those in need. The mainstay of Bishop Brothers was Henry Theodore Bishop (1853-1917). He began his photography career in his childhood hometown of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. He moved to Minneapolis and operated at the address of 62 Syndicate Block. The Directory of Minnesota Photographers reports that he was a photographer in Minneapolis between 1885 and 1903. Later he conducted business for a year in Austin, Minnesota. It is a bit confusing as to who was the “other brother” at the Bishop Brother’s studio. The Minnesota Historical Society’s directory (referenced above) asserts that his partner was James E. Bishop and that they worked together only in 1885. However, Henry Bishop’s obituary which appeared in the Altoona Tribune (1917) reports that James E. Bishop was Henry’s son and that the brother he partnered with in Minnesota was W. M. Bishop. This photograph is one of many Salvation Army images that can be found in the Cabinet Card Gallery. To view the others, click on the category “Salvation Army”.   (SOLD)

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Published in: on December 10, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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