PORTRAIT OF STAGE PERFORMER ALESSANDRO ALEXANDER SALVINI BY NAPOLEON SARONY.

This cabinet card portrait features stage performer, Alessandro Alexander Salvini (1861-1896). The photographer of this image is the famed celebrity photographer Napoleon Sarony. The eccentric and talented Mr Sarony, operated a studio in New York City. Sarony photographed a large number of actors and actresses appearing in New York theater. Alexander Salvini, as he was known in America, was born in Italy. His father, Tomasso Salvini was an esteemed tragedian actor. His grandfather also appeared on the stage. Alexander wanted to become an actor too, but his father steered him toward a different career. Alexander decided to become a sailor and after several voyages decided to switch careers. He enrolled in school to become a civil engineer. After receiving his degree in 1881, he came to America with an actor friend. Alexander’s intent was to find a job with a railroad, but instead, he spent a year traveling with his friend, assisting him, learning fencing and English. In 1882, he went to New York City to begin an acting career. He made his debut that same year, appearing in a play with actress Clara Morris. When Salvini’s father heard about his son’s success, he responded with an unsupportive cable stating “How dare you, sir, go on the stage without my permission”. Remember, the younger Salvini was 21 years old at the time of his debut. He replied to his father that he didn’t ask his father’s permission, because he knew his request would be denied. After his debut, Salvini hit the road with a traveling theater company and remained touring for two years. In 1885, Tomasso Salvini arrived in America for a tour. He hired Alexander as the stage manager and part-time actor. After traveling with his father’s company, Alexander started his own theater company. In 1886 he appeared in a series of plays at the Union Square Theater. His father returned to America in 1889 and Alexander joined his tour. When the tour ended, he went with is father to Italy. After a brief vacation, Alexander returned to America with a large amount of his father’s wardrobe which had been accumulated over many years. He also brought swords and armor from hid dad’s collection. Alexander and his company launched a new American tour and Salvini played a number of roles including Shakespearian parts. In the early 1890’s he married Maude Dixon, the leading lady in his company. Alexander had roles in two Broadway plays, “Partners” (1888) and “A Child of Naples” (1890). He is very well known for his role in “The Three Musketeers”. In 1896, he became ill with “organic trouble” and after four months of being bed bound, he died. A Sarony cabinet card portrait of Alexander Salvini can be found in the Museum of the City of New York. This cabinet card portrait comes from the collection of Brown Brothers. The firm was the first stock photo agency. It was established in 1904. It built an archive of over one million photographs and negatives. This cabinet card is in good condition (see scans)

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Buy this original Cabinet Card Photograph (includes shipping within the US) #3239

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Published in: on October 18, 2020 at 12:08 pm  Comments (1)  
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FATHER AND DAUGHTER ACT : PHOTOGRAPH BY NAPOLEON SARONY

Unfortunately, I can’t figure it out. Is this a photograph of a father and daughter or are the pair performers of the New York stage? The man looks dapper in his suit, top hat, and cane. The young girl is adorable and well dressed. Be sure to note her shoes/boots. The gentleman is very photogenic and certainly has the appearance of an actor. The photographer of this “enigmatic” portrait is Napoleon Sarony, the well known and highly respected celebrity photographer. Sarony photographed a large number of the actors and actresses appearing in New York theater. He was an eccentric man but very talented.  A faded inscription on the reverse of the photo indicates that the photograph was taken in 1879.   (SOLD)

Published in: on January 14, 2020 at 12:00 pm  Comments (4)  
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PORTRAIT OF CELEBRATED ACTOR HARCOURT WILLIAMS APPEARING IN OTHELLO

othello This vintage real photo postcard features celebrated English actor and director Ernest George Harcourt Williams (1880-1957). After early experience working in touring companies, Williams became the director of the old Vic Theater. He held that position between 1929 and 1934 but continued to act there after he left the position. While director at the Vic, he recruited the great actor, John Gielgud to perform there. Williams acted in many plays with many well known actors and actresses. He performed in a number of plays by Shakespeare.This particular postcard shows Mr. Williams in a production of Othello. Note that the postcard reflects the Edwardian preference for portraying Othello as a North African Arab. In the latter part of Wiliams’s career, he appeared in about thirty film and television roles. This postcard was published by Percy Guttenberg in Manchester, England. Guttenberg was well known for this theatrical portraits.  This vintage real photo postcard features celebrated English actor and director Ernest George Harcourt Williams (1880-1957). After early experience working in touring companies, Williams became the director of the old Vic Theater. The held that position between 1929 and 1934 but continued to act there after he left the position. While director at the Vic, he recruited the great actor, John Gielgud to perform there. Williams acted in many plays with many well known actors and actresses. He performed in a number of plays by Shakespeare.This particular postcard shows Mr. Williams in a production of Othello. Note that the postcard reflects the Edwardian preference for portraying Othello as a North African Arab. Guttenberg published a photo postcard featuring Margaret Halston, another performer who appeared in Othello. Her portrait can be viewed by placing the word “Halston” in this site’s search box. In the latter part of Wiliams’s career, he appeared in about thirty film and television roles. This postcard was published by Percy Guttenberg in Manchester, England. Gutteberg was well known for this theatrical portraits. (SOLD)

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PORTRAIT OF A HANDSOME FRENCH PERFORMER

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This cabinet card portrait features an unidentified French performer. He is a handsome man and wears a very happy expression. This photograph was taken by the  E.Lohmann studio which was located in Asnieres, France. Asnieres is a Paris suburb that borders the river Seine.  (SOLD)

 

 

Published in: on December 21, 2018 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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PORTRAIT OF MAC BARNES PLAYING JESUS IN A THEATRICAL PRODUCTION (PHOTO BY MAX PLATZ)

This cabinet card photograph features actor Mac Barnes. He certainly looks like that he is in character to play Jesus in a theatrical production. His long hair, beard, and robe lead me to this hypothesis. An inscription below the image on the cabinet card states “Peace! Sincerely, Mac”. Before seeing this inscription, I thought my generation (Baby Boomers) were the first cohort to use the word “peace” when addressing each other. Mac Barnes (1863-1923) is listed in the IMDb. He was born in Bedford, Indiana, He was a vaudeville, stage, and screen actor. He was known for his roles in “The Food Gamblers” (1917), “The Haunted House” (1917), and  “Experience” (1921), His filmography includes 21 credits from 1909 through 1921. The photographer of this cabinet card photograph is Max Platz (1850-1894) who operated a studio in Chicago Illinois. Platz was born in Germany. His father was a tanner and he moved the family to Racine, Wisconsin when Platz was still a lad. He began his career at age 16 as a “positionist” in his brother-in-laws photographic gallery. His brother-in-law was Henry Rocher, a very talented and well respected photographer. He was Rocher’s primary assistant from 1867 through 1881. In 1881 Platz established his own photography business and encountered immediate success. He was a life long bachelor and clubman and was known for his wit, friendliness, and story-telling. He developed quite a following from members of the theater, German-American society, and the fashion world. His studio was decorated very elaborately. He employed antiques as props, much in the same way as Napoleon Sarony. It is written that his posing style resembled his friend, Benjamin Falk. Platz was an active member of the Chicago Photographic Association in 1893, he played an major role in the Department of Art for the Columbian Exposition. When Platz died in 1894, his studio and negatives went to his friend and fellow Rocher Student Joseph Gehrig and his pupil, James Samuel Windeatt. Wilson’s Photographic Magazine (1904) declares that a photographic session with Platz could be quirky. It seems that he had a habit of disappearing mid-sitting in order to find a quiet place to ponder the best poses he could utilize for his sitter. Platz earned the nickname “The Sarony of the West”. This cabinet card portrait is in very good condition. (see scans).   (SOLD)

SEXUAL CHEMISTRY IN FILM: VIRGINIA VALLI AND GEORGE O’BRIEN (RPPC)

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Can sexual chemistry be photographed? This fantastic vintage real photo postcard provides evidence that the answer is yes. This image captures early film stars George O’Brien and Virginia Valli in an emotionally charged scene in an unknown movie. The pair starred together in at least two silent movies produced by Fox. The films were “Paid to Love” (1927) and “Eastside Westside” (1927). Virginia Valli (1898-1968) was an American stage and film actress. Her early acting experience was with a Milwaukee based stage troupe. Her film career started in the silent film era and ended in the early stages of the talkies (1930’s). She has 65 credits on the IMDB web site. She began her film work with Essanay Studios in her hometown of Chicago in 1916. By the mid 1920’s, she was an established star at Universal Studios. She was the star of  King Vidor’s “Wild Oranges” (1924). Most of her films were produced in the mid 1920’s and include Alfred Hitchcock’s first feature movie, “The Pleasure Garden” (1925). Her first sound picture was in 1929. She left the movie business in 1931 due to her high salary command and declining appeal to audiences. She moved to Palm Springs, California with her second husband, actor Charles Farrell. She was very much part of the social scene there. She died in Palm Springs at age seventy. George O’Brien (1899-1985) was an American actor popular during the silent film era as well as the early talkies era of the 1930’s. He is remembered most for his role in Murnau’s 1927 film “Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans”. He had an active film career which is evident by the fact that the IMDB web site gives him 85 credits. O’Brien was born in San Francisco and his father at one time, was the city’s chief of police.  During World War I, O’Brien was in the US Navy and served on a submarine chaser. He worked as a stretcher bearer for wounded Marines and was decorated for his bravery. Following the war, O’Brien became the light-heavyweight champion of the Pacific Fleet. After completing is service, O’Brien was in his early twenties and he went to Hollywood to seek work as a cameraman. He did find employment in the field and helped film for Tom Mix and Buck Jones. He then entered acting by playing bit parts and by being a stuntman. His first starring role was in “The Man Who Came Back” (1927) where he played opposite Doroth Mackaill. He then appeared in “Iron Horse” by famed director John Ford in which his counterpart was Madge Bellamy. The film was a great success and the experience forged a colloborative relationship with Ford that resulted in O’Brien appearing in nine more of the directors films. He spent much of the 1920’s as a leading man in action and adventure type roles. During the 20’s he received the nickname “the torso” because of his excellent physique. With the arrival of sound, O’Brien appeared predominately in Westerns during the 1930’s and he was considered a major draw. With the arrival of World War II, O’Brien re-enlisted in the US Navy and served as a beachmaster in the Pacific theater. He was decorated several times and when he was discharged he had attained the rank of commander. He later joined the Naval Reserve where he served as a captain. O’Brien’s last leading role was in a film that included the Three Stooges. According to his obituary,  O’Brien was buried at sea courtesy of the US Navy. This real photo postcard was published by Iris Verlag and made in Germany. The postcard is part of a series (no. 5121) and credits Fox Film.
ADDENDUM: After viewing this image, a visitor contacted me to claim that the beautiful woman in this photograph is not Virginia Valli, but instead, it is June Collyer (1906-1968). I was unable to locate information or relevant comparison images to definitively confirm that it is Collyer that is in the photograph, but I did find a film publicity photo identical to the postcard image above. The description of that photo indicates that the pictured woman is Collyer. Collyer was born in New York City and as a society girl was chosen by Allan Dwan (Director, Producer, Screen Writer) to her first starring role in “East Side, West Side. She did eleven silent films and made a successful transition to talkies. In 1928 she was he was one of the thirteen girls selected as “WAMPAS BABY STARS”. In 1930 she appeared in “The Three Sisters” and “Sweet Kitty Bellairs”. From 1930 through 1936 she starred in nineteen films. She took a sabbatical from acting in the 1940’s and did television acting during the 1950’s. June was the sister of radio actor/announcer Bud Collyer (1908-1969). He became a major game show star hosting such programs as “Beat the Clock” and “To Tell the Truth”. June Collyer was married to actor Stu Erwin. In conclusion, I am unsure whether the beautiful woman in this image is Miss Valli or Miss Collyer. It is an answerable question if someone is willing to do the requisite research.

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STAGE PERFORMER IN EFFEMINATE COSTUME (IS THIS A YOUNG MAN OR A YOUNG WOMAN?)

BURK_0005This cabinet card portrait, photographed by A. D. Burk and Co. presents a gender mystery. A stage performer wearing an effeminate stage costume by today’s standards, is the subject of this portrait. Note the subjects frilly shirt and jacket, and the feathered hat. Also take note of the subjects long curly hair and hanging curls. Are we looking at a handsome actor or a pretty actress? My guess is actress. The photographer, Alcynus D. Burk worked in Cleveland from 1889, when he partnered with David Bailey until 1900 or later.

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Published in: on March 28, 2014 at 12:21 pm  Comments (8)  
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STAGE ACTOR: JOHN HARE LACKS “THE LEADING MAN LOOK” IN A PORTRAIT BY THE PACH BROTHERS

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This unusual looking gentleman is an English actor and theatre manager named John Hare. John Hare (1844-1921) was born in a town called “Giggleswick”. This is an appropriate name for the birthplace for a man who began his acting career in comic roles. Giggleswick was located in Yorkshire, England. Hare began his acting career in Liverpool in 1864. He is often associated with the plays of T. W. Robertson. Hare managed the Court Theatre (1875-1879), the St. James Theatre (1879-1888), and the Garrick Theatre (1889-1895). His greatest success as an actor was in the play A Pair of Spectacles (1890). This portrait of John Hare likely captures the actor in wardrobe and makeup for one of his productions. However, it is possible that he aged poorly which can be hypothesized because photographs taken of the actor in earlier years show a man with a significantly more pleasing appearance.                              

THEATER ACTRESS: MARIE LEGAULT

marie legault_0001French theater actress, Marie Legault, is the subject of this cabinet card photograph by internationally acclaimed celebrity photographer Charles Reutlinger. This image was produced in Reutlinger’s Paris studio in 1880. To view other Reutlinger photographs, click on the category “Photographer: Reutlinger”. Marie Francoise (Maria) Legault (1858-1905) entered the Paris Conservatory in 1872. That same year she finished second in the comedy competition. She was just fourteen years old at the time. She was awarded a stipend to continue her studies and she won the competition the following year. During her theatrical career she appeared at a number of venues including the Gymnase, the Palais-Royal, the Vaudeville, the Comedie-Francaise, and the Theatre Michel in St. Petersburg. Legault created the role of Roxane in Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac (1872) and of Marie Louise in L’Aiglon (1900) with Sarah Bernhard. Her obituary appears in the New York Times (1905).

COLONEL REUBEN STEERE AND WIFE (“THE SMALLEST MARRIED COUPLE IN THE WORLD”)

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The subjects of this cabinet card portrait are Colonel Reuben Steere (1838-1915) and his wife, Rebecca (1853-1929).  Steere is elegantly dressed and has a walking stick. Rebecca has unusually long hair which is displayed prominently. Reuben Steere was a native of Chepachet, Rhode Island. He was 44 inches tall and 43 pounds at maturity. He was a member of the Lilliputian Opera Company. In 1880 he married fellow Lilliputian, Rebecca Ann Myers of Indiana. The couple settled in Chepachet in 1882 and Reuben worked as a truant officer while Rebecca operated a restaurant and confectionary shop. This photograph was produced at the “photo parlors” of Rieman & Company. The studio was located on Montgomery Street in San Francisco, California. The address printed on the front of the photograph notes that the parlors were “Opposite Lick House”. What is Lick House? The name Lick House fosters all sort of silly images in my mind but the history of Lick House is actually quite interesting. James Lick was a renowned craftsman of wood products and a successful businessman. He began building Lick House in 1861. The building was two blocks long and three stories high. It was a luxurious showpiece hotel with 164 high quality rooms. It was considered one of San Francisco’s premier hotels until it burned down to the ground during the 1906 earthquake and fire. Advertising print on the reverse of the photograph includes the following two slogans, “Rieman’s Babies” and “When others fail, try Rieman”. Additional advertising on the reverse of the image are the names George R. Rieman and Fred H. Pray. At one time, Rieman and Pray were partners in operating a photography studio. Writing on the the back of the photograph states the photograph captures “the smallest married couple in the world”. To view other photographs by Rieman click on the category “Photographer: Rieman”.