RAQUEL MELLER : PRETTY SPANISH SINGER AND FILM ACTRESS

This vintage real photo postcard features a portrait of Spanish singer and actress, Raquel Meller (1888-1962). She was an international star in the 1920’s and 1930’s. She sang the original versions of well known songs such as “La Violetera” and “El Relicario”. Raquel Meller was loved by her fans. Imagine this scene. It is 1928 and Roscoe Arbuckle was appearing on the stage in France. Although he was blacklisted from films, he was relatively successful on stage. Arbuckle was a successful comedian and film actor. He discovered Bob Hope and Buster Keaton. He mentored Charlie Chaplin and was one of the most popular silent film stars of the 1910’s. In 1921 his star faded after being brought to criminal trial three times for the alleged rape and manslaughter of actress Virginia Rappe. After two hung jury trials, he was acquitted with the help of Buster Keaton’s testimony for the defense. Due to the scandal surrounding his trial, Arbuckle’s career was thrown off track and he had a much harder time finding work in films. Now, back to that stage in Paris. Fatty made the poor choice to include in his act an imitation of Raquel Meller selling violets. Meller was beloved in Europe. Besides being charismatic and beautiful, she created an art form of the “cuple genre”; which was a popular risque Spanish theatre song style sung in cabaret theater. Sarah Bernhardt had labelled her a genious and Charlie Chaplin used the score of her song “La Violetera” in his classic “City Lights” (1931). Critics had called her “imperious, ruthless, lovable, funny, temperamental, witty and totally egomaniac”. Arbuckle was booed, hooted at, and heckled for his misdeed of mocking Raquel Meller. During one of his performances the police had to be called to quell the audience riot. Here is some background of Miss Meller. She was born in Aragon, Spain. Her father was a blacksmith and her mother ran a grocery store. Her family was wealthy until losing their money during Spain’s civil wars. She and her family moved to Barcelona when Raquel was four years of age. Her father died when she was nine years old. She was was placed with an Aunt who was a nun and lived in a Convent. When she got older, she was asked to become a nun, precipitating her escaping from the convent. Raquel went back to Barcelona where she worked as a seamstress, embroidering the robes of the clergy. The story goes that she sang as she worked, and her talent drew crowds outside the dressmaker’s shop. At age 13, she sang at a small cabaret in Valencia. She then came under the tutelage of a famous Spanish singer, Marta Oliver. In 1911, she made her grand debut in Barcelona. In 1919 she married a Guatamalan journalist and diplomat. That same year she held concerts in France, Argentina, Uruguay and Chile and appeared in her first film. In 1922, she obtained a divorce. Her most successful film was probably “Carmen” (1926). She was an international star and appeared on the cover of a 1926 issue of Time magazine. Meller canceled two trips to the United States where she had scheduled performances. One of these cancellations had to do with the ocean liner company’s refusal to book a deluxe suite for her five Pekingese dogs. The third time was the charm, and she traveled to the United States and did a six city tour which included sixteen concerts in New York. In the 1930’s Meller lived in France where her friends included Maurice Chevalier and Sarah Bernhardt. Miss Bernhardt described Meller as the “greatest actress in Europe-after myself”. After the late 1930’s, Meller left performing until appearing in a film in both 1957 and 1958. The IMDb credits Meller with ten film appearances. Meller was married twice, and both marriages were short lived, ending in divorce. She was the older sister of actress Tina Meller, who appeared in five motion pictures between 1919 and 1929. Raquel died after suffering a heart attack in 1962. One hundred thousand people witnessed her funeral procession in Barcelona. She is still honored today. Streets in France and Spain bear her name and a statue of her is in a plaza named after her in Barcelona. In her obituary, appearing in the New York Times, Raquel Meller is described as a “shining example of artistry, style, and press agent’s hocum -sometimes it was difficult to separate the ingredients”. The obituary cites one of the newspaper’s theater critics who said Meller’s voice was “frequently rough and shrill” but that her great distinction was her “extraordinarily magnetic personality”. Note the video profile of Raquel Meller that is found below.

Postcard 1 was published by Cinemagazine. The photograph of Miss Meller was taken by Pierre Apers. He was a talented French photographer active in the early twentieth century. His studio was in Paris and he specialized in portraiture. This vintage portrait postcard has excellent clarity and is in very good condition (see scans)..

Postcard 2 offers another photograph of Miss Meller by Pierre Apers. She looks very pretty in this profile postcard. The card was published by Cine Cartes and produced in Paris. Note the size of her earrings. This postcard is in very good condition (see scans).

Buy this Vintage Real Photo Postcard (includes shipping within the US) 3306

To purchase this item, click on the Pay with PayPal button below

$25.50

Buy this Vintage Real Photo Postcard (includes International shipping outside the US) 3306

To purchase this item, click on the Pay with PayPal button below

$34.50

meller10_0001-1

Buy this Vintage Real Photo Postcard (includes shipping within the US) #3783

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$15.64

meller10_0001-2

Buy this Vintage Real Photo Postcard (includes International shipping outside the US) 3783

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$24.64


Video produced by the Biblioteca Nacional de España

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