ACTRESS IVY CLOSE: IN 1908 SHE WAS RATED THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMAN IN THE WORLD

This vintage real photo postcard features British film actress Ivy Close (1890-1968). Miss Close acted in 44 films between 1912 and 1929.  Ivy Close was born in, and died in, England. Her first husband was a well known photographer and film maker. His name was Elwin Neame (1885-1923) and he and Close established “Ivy Close Films” in 1914. The couple had two sons and both went into the movie business. Close was married a second time in 1938. Her second husband was Curly Batson, an Australian stuntman and make-up artist. If you think that she is quite beautiful, join the club. In 1908, she was named the “World’s Most Beautiful Woman” by Britain’s Daily Mirror. She beat over 1500 competitors for the title of Britain’s beauty queen. In 1916, the actress came to the US and made twelve films for the Kalem Company in New York. Close had some interesting hobbies. She motorcycled, golfed, served as an advertising model, and sang in English music halls. Upon the arrival of “talkies”, Close’s acting career came to a screeching halt. It was decided by higher-ups that her English accent was unacceptable to American audiences. This postcard was printed in Britain and was part of the Lilywhite Photographic Series (no. C M 404D). The publisher, Lilywhite Ltd, Halifax (L.L.H.), was founded by Arthur Frederick Sergeant. He also was the founder of Halifax Photographic Company which was based in Halifax, England. Lilywhite began publishing postcards in 1910; and in the 1920’s, the company took over Arrow Series Postcards. The company then published postcards under both the Arrow and Lilywhite names.

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Published in: on February 9, 2018 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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BELGIAN STAGE AND FILM ACTRESS: JANE MARNAC

This vintage real photo postcard features pretty Belgian stage and film actress, Jane Marnac (1892-1976). She appeared in dozens of parts on stage and sang in numerous operettas. She is well known for appearing in “Au temps des valses ” (1930), a play by Noel Coward that played at the Apollo Theater. She is also remembered for her role in “The Darling of Paris” (1931). Wikipedia provides a list of twenty of her play appearances (1912-1938) and notes that it is an incomplete list.  Wikipedia also lists six films (1911-1931) in which Marnac made appearances.  In regard to her personal life, she was born in Brussels, Belgium. She married an English officer in 1927. This postcard was published by K.F. (Kunzli Freres) of Paris, France and is part of a series (no. 2315). The company was one of the largest pioneer postcard publishing houses. The company was established in 1874. It had offices in Zurich and Paris. Beginning 1898, it became known for publishing postcard maps throughout Europe. The photographer who took Miss Marnac’s portrait seen on this postcard, was Leopold Reutlinger.

ELISABETH PINAJEFF: EUROPEAN ACTRESS, ARTIST, AND PART OF THE “BALLETS ROSES SCANDAL”

This vintage real photo postcard features German actress Elisabeth Pinajeff (1900-1995). In the 1920’s and 1930’s she starred in French and German films. Her first sound film was in 1929. The actress was born in Russia. Her father was an architect and her mother was a countess. In the 1910’s Pinajeff studied drama in the Ukraine. When she was 19 years old she married an engineer and his career required the couple to move to Germany. In 1929, Pinajeff met Austrian photographer, Alex Binder. Binder will be a familiar name to those that follow the cabinet card gallery. Many of his beautiful postcard portraits of theater stars can be found in the gallery (you can see his photos by placing his name, “Binder”, in the search box).  Binder had the largest photo studio in Europe during the 1920’s. Pinajeff modeled for Binder and later, married him. The couple lived in Paris. There is some debate about the years that they were together.The IMDb reports that Pinajeff appeared in 35 films between 1922 and 1938. After appearing in a bit part in a 1938 film about Rasputin, she retired from acting and focused on her painting. In 1950, Pinajeff became a friend of Andre Le Troquer, a “very connected” lawyer and politician. The couple surrounded themselves with political, artistic, and intellectual leaders.   In 1959, she was involved in a scandal known as the “Ballets Roses Scandal”. She was one of more than twenty people enmeshed in the scandal. She was accused of organizing erotic ballets with underaged girls for an “elite” audience. Some prospective show biz mother’s had consented to their daughters participation in this ballet with hopes that it would help launch their performance career.  Although Pinajeff was not convicted. Miss Pinajeff had artistic talent. She painted a number of famous personalities including the British Queen. She successfully exhibited a number of her paintings. This postcard is somewhat risque in that the photograph shows Miss Pinajeff’s bare back. The actress was a very pretty woman and had an engaging smile. This postcard was published by Russ Verlag and is part of a series (no. 2060/1). The photographer was the aforementioned Alex Binder and the photo was taken in Berlin.

BETTY BALFOUR: “BRITAINS QUEEN OF HAPPINESS” (3 VINTAGE REAL PHOTO POSTCARDS)

 

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POSTCARD 1

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POSTCARD 2

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POSTCARD 3

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.

The second real photo postcard see here is of unknown origin. The publisher is not identified nor is the photographer. Interestingly, just as in the first image, Miss Balfour is wearing pearls. She certainly was quite pretty.

The third real photo postcard features Miss Balfour in costume wearing a headpiece with very large feathers. Her v-neck dress is very beautiful. The portrait of Miss Balfour was taken by the Maull and Fox studio. The postcard was published by Cinimagazine and was part of a series (no. 84). Henry Maull (1829-1914) was a British photographer known for his portraits of famous individuals. He became a member of the Royal Photographic Society in 1870. During his career he had several partnerships. One of these partnerships (c1856-1865) was with George Henry Polyblank and the pair were very talented and produced great photographs. Between 1879 and 1885 Maul partnered with John Fox (1832-1907). The partnership with Fox was ended due to bankruptcy. However, the studio’s name was maintained after the bankruptcy by Fox’s son Herbert. Examination of the date of Maull and Fox’s partnership, it is clear that this photograph was produced by a photographer operating after the reign of Maull and Fox. Much of Maull’s work can be seen at the National Portrait Gallery in London, England.

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 POSTCARD ONE

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POSTCARD TWO

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POSTCARD 3

BAWDY PORTRAIT OF A SCANTILY CLAD YOUNG WOMAN (VAUDEVILLE ACTRESS?)

This vintage bawdy photograph features a young woman scantily clothed and flashing a terrific smile. Her expression is very inviting. I wish I knew the story associated with this risque image. My hypothesis is that the woman is an actress and part of a vaudeville show. Her act was likely focused on bringing men into the theater. She may have been a dancer or a singer. Perhaps she was talented in both dance and song. Note her dress. It certainly didn’t require a lot of material to produce. It shows a lot of the performer’s body, but it is tastefully done. The dress covers “the essentials”. Vaudeville acts were very popular in the United States from the early 1880’s through the early 1930’s. Vaudeville was a genre of theater that was composed of a series of separate and unrelated acts that were presented together at one performance. It is difficult to determine when this photograph was taken. It certainly was produced sometime in the early period of vaudeville. This photograph is not a postcard. I do not believe that the image is a trimmed cabinet card, though it has a cabinet card type board.  An examination of the photos edges reveal that they are straight and smooth. The photograph measures about 5 1/4″ x 3 1/4″. There is a small pinhole through the top center of the image. Someone, decades ago, appreciated this wonderful photograph enough, to hang it on their wall.

Published in: on January 14, 2018 at 12:00 pm  Comments (4)  
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RISQUE PORTRAIT OF FILM STAR INEZ VAN BREE (PHOTO BY ESTEEMED PHOTOGRAPHER: ERNST SCHNEIDER)

This vintage real photo postcard is one of the more risque Ross Verlag postcards in the Cabinet Card Gallery. The postcard is of German origin and is part of a series (no. 1581/1). It was published between 1927 and 1928. Preliminary research found little information about Inez Van Bree. A defunct University of Toronto website labels Miss Bree as a silent movie siren/star. The photographer of this portrait appears to be Ernst Schneider and the photograph was taken in Berlin, Germany. Research about Mr Schneider yielded a great deal of information. He was considered to be one of the most celebrated studio photographers in Berlin during three decades (1900’s, 1910’s, 1920’s. He photographed many celebrities from the world of theater, opera, circuses, and film. He was also one of the most prominent fashion photographers in Berlin. In addition, he was well known for his nude photography and he published books showcasing his work in this domain. Sometime around 1908 Schneider began working with postcard publishers “Rotophot” and “Neue Photographische Gesellschaft” (NPG). In 1919 he began working with Ross Verlag.

 

 

 

 

BEAUTIFUL AND CHARMING FRENCH THEATER AND MUSIC HALL STAR: MLLE. NALUGB (PHOTO BY PAUL BOYER)

This vintage real photo postcard features beautiful French theater and music hall performer Mlle. Nalugb. The portrait was expertly taken by the celebrated French photographer, Paul Boyer (1861-1908). He photographed many famous people during his career. This postcard is published by Societe Industrielle de Photograpie (SIP) of Rueil, France and was part of a series (no. 1381). The postcard dates back to circa 1904-1908).

Published in: on January 11, 2018 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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PORTRAIT OF AMERICAN STAGE ACTRESS MAUDE WHITE OR POSSIBLY A PORTRAIT OF AMERICAN STAGE ACTRESS MAUD WHITE

 

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This is an unusual cabinet card portrait for two reasons. First, the pretty young woman who is the subject of this photograph is a New York city actress and certainly does not look the part. She is well dressed, but she is wearing conservative and “boring” attire. Overall, she looks more like the “woman next door” than a Broadway actress. She exudes a sweet and innocent disposition and she has a twinkle in her eyes. She doesn’t  give the appearance of a professional actress of that time. Where’s the histrionic flamboyance? Where’s the drama? Secondly, what’s wrong with the photographer, Napoleon Sarony. The fantastic celebrity photographer was not showing his usual bombastic flair when he posed and shot this photograph. Unlike many of his theatrical portraits, there is no fancy clothing or abundance of props in this portrait. The young lady in this image is named Maude White. Her name is written on the reverse of the photograph. However, there is a caveat worth mentioning. I encountered a problem while I was researching Maude White. I discovered that there was also an actress named Maud White who was performing during the same era. This became an issue because, despite the inscription on the back of the cabinet card, I could not be sure if the woman photographed was Maude White or Maud White. I attempted to find other photographs of both actresses but met no success. Due to the fogginess of the identification issue, I decided to research both Maude and Maud. The Internet Broadway Data Base reveals that Maude White appeared in one Broadway production, “The Ruling Power” (1904). However, Maud White made three appearances on Broadway (“Lost-24 Hours”(1895), “A Stranger in a Strange Land” (1899), and “There and Back” (1903). First, I will present some information gleaned from researching Maude. The New York Times (NYT) (1888) published an article about a soon to open play entitled “A Parisian Romance”. The star of the show was Mr Richard Mansfield and the supporting cast included Miss Maude White. The NYT (1888) later reviewed the play and made special mention of Maude. The review described her as “the danceuse (female ballet dancer) of the Opera” and reported that she played her role in a charming, pert, and clever manner. The NYT (1898) announced the soon to open comedy, “A Stranger in a Strange Land”, and that it would include both Mansfield and Maude. An article in the NYT (1900) stated that Maude would appear in Stuart Robson’s company that year. The NYT (1903) heralded the opening of a farcical comedy called “There and Back” and added that Maude would be a principal in the cast. An interesting story about Maude appeared in the NYT in 1905. The issue at hand was plagiarism. Maude had written a playlet called “Locked Out At Three AM” and she complained to the United States circuit court that the author of another play used some of her material. Maude had asked for an injunction and sued for damages. The NYT (1906) stated that Maude would be starring in the play “Nobody’s Fault”.  Now lets focus on Maud, rather than Maude.  In 1890, Maud was involved in some controversy and it was reported in the NYT. The title of the article was “Fritz Emmet Sobering Up”. Emmet was an established comedian who had a relationship with “John Barleycorn” that had produced many newspaper articles focussing on his drunken behavior. The article stated that there was  “a stormy sea” on the stage of the Hammerstein’s Harlem Opera House. Emmet had been drinking heavily for two weeks and creating much drama. His professional and personal life had become badly damaged. In his previous engagement in Philadelphia, Emmet had reached the point that he could no longer perform. The theater had to close the show, and fortunately for the theater, Emmet compensated them for their losses. Next stop was Harlem, but Emmet kept drinking excessively until the dramatic incident occurred on stage. At a Saturday night performance he “murdered his play”. While onstage he made many “Bacchanalian references” and exhibited other inappropriate words and actions.. Emmet’s adult son decided to put an end to his father’s out-of-control behavior. Just as the curtain went down on the last act of the play, Fritz’s son went on the stage where his father and Maud were standing. The son informed Maud that she would have to leave the theater company. Maud objected in a “vigorous manner” spurring the young Mr. Emmet to have her forcibly removed from the theater. Worse yet, he had her confined to a little storm house over the stage door. Basically, she was temporarily kidnapped. Maud cried and screamed “various better words” and even though Fritz tried to intervene, she was imprisoned until the police arrived. The police were called by the younger Mr Emmet and they promptly took Fritz to Manhattan Hospital where he was confined overnight. Maud was released and put in a carriage to go wherever she wanted to go. The story got worse for Fritz. Directly after this incident, his wife of 27 years, sued him for divorce on grounds of infidelity. They ultimately divorced and the settlement was costly for Fritz. Maud continued to perform and the NYT (1891) announced that Maud would be appearing in a play directed by Charles Frohman called “Mr. Wilkinson’s Widows”. That same year, she appeared in a Frohman production entitled “The Solicitor”. The NYT (1892) has an article reporting that Maud appeared in another Frohman production (“The Lost Paradise”). An 1895 NYT article states that maud was appearing with the Robert Hilliard Company in “Lost- 24 Hours” at the Hoyt Theater. The NYT (1897) has an article reporting her appearance in “The Wrong Mr Wright”. Maud received a complimentary review from the  NYT (1903) concerning her performance in the role of the “seductive Marie Antoinette” in the play “There and Back”.

DEANNA DURBIN: POPULAR, BEAUTIFUL, AND TALENTED FILM STAR WHO WANTED TO BE ANONYMOUS

This vintage real photo postcard features Canadian born American singer and actress, Deanna Durbin (1921-2013). She is beautifully dressed. Her hat is a nice touch. Deanna Durbin looks quite pretty in this photo portrait. The postcard notes her affiliation with Universal Films. The postcard was published by Echte Foto, a Dutch company. Miss Durbin was an active performer between 1936 and 1948. She appeared in musical films and had the technical skill and vocal range of a legitimate soprano. She sang multiple styles of music including popular standards and operatic arias. Durbin’s first film  appearance was with Judy Garland in MGM’s “Every Sunday” (1936). A YouTube clip of the two young actresses performing a duet from this film can be seen below. Shortly after her debut movie, she was given a contract by Universal Studios. She had great success with the studio playing “the ideal teenage daughter” is such films as “Three Smart Girls” (1936).  She was only 14 years old when she appeared in “Three Smart Girls” and became an established star. Afterward, she had a string of successful musical films. In 1936, Deanna was offered an audition for the Metropolitan Opera but she rejected the offer because she believed she needed more operatic training. From 1936 through 1938, Durbin did a radio collaboration with Eddie Cantor. In 1938, Durbin was awarded an Academy Juvenile Award. Her co-winner was actor Micky Rooney.Durbin tired of her girl-next-door roles and by 1945, had appeared in a couple of films in more sophisticated roles. Unfortunately, she was not well received in these more mature roles. In 1946, Durbin was the second highest paid woman in the United States, second to Bette Davis. Durbin became the highest paid female in America in the year 1948. By 1949, she retired from acting and singing and never returned to public life. In fact, she never again agreed to be interviewed by the press, with just one exception. Durbin hated the adulation she received in her career and yearned for a “life of nobody”. She wanted to be anonymous. During her acting career, Durbin appeared in 23 films and even more sound recordings. Durbin had three marriages. Her husbands were assistant director Vaughn Paul (1941), writer-producer-actor Felix Jackson (1945) , and film producer-director Charles Henri David (1950).

                                                Judy Garland & Deanna Durbin – Americana (Every Sunday, 1936)

BEAUTIFUL THEATRE ACTRESS: YVONNE GARRICK “A MOST WELCOME RECRUIT FROM THE PARIS STAGE”

This vintage real photo postcard features the beautiful French theatre actress, Yvonne Garrick (1878-?). She performed at the “Theatre de L’Odeon”  and the “Comedie-Francaise” in Paris. During the World War I years, she appeared at the “Theatre Francais” in New York City. The IDBD reports that she performed on Broadway in two productions;  “Lets Go” (1918) and “Musk” (1920). The magazine, “Sketch: A Journal of Art and Actuality” (1902) published a glowing article about Mlle. Garrick. The writer stated that no artist had made such a “positive hurricane progress” in the French theatrical world as Yvonne Garrick of the O’Deon.  The critic also stated that he had recently seen Garrick in a play and her performance reminded him of the early days of Sarah Bernhardt. Although the writer admits that she may not be the second coming of Mlle. Bernhardt; he believes that Garrick will make a world wide reputation. He continues to write that he has seen no young actress so “natural and so “sympathetic”.  The New York Times (1908) published a review for the play “Jeanne Qui Rit” in which Mlle. Garrick played a starring role. The article states that Yvonne Garrick was a young actress who has attracted much attention at the Comedy-Francaise. She was reported to have received a hearty reception and was “repeatedly recalled” (cheered for an encore). A New York Times (1918) article records Mlle. Garrick’s debut in a New York farcical comedy “Mon Ami Teddy”. In the piece she is described as a “comely and charming actress who proves a most welcome recruit from the Paris stage”. This real photo postcard provides a portrait of Mlle. Garrick during the time she was appearing at the Comedie-Francaise.  The photograph was taken by Henri Manuel (1874-1947). In 1900, Manuel opened a portrait studio in Paris with his brother Gaston. He quickly became renowned for his portraits of politicians, artists, and athletes. His images were used by news agencies . His studio became the largest studio in Paris and it attracted many young photographers who sharpened their skills there. In 1925 the brothers expended their business to include fashion photography. They worked for such designers as Chanel, Patou, and Lanvin. The studio shut down during World War II and many of their photographic plates were destroyed. Manuel was the official photographer for the French government from 1914 through 1944. To view other photographs by Manuel, click on the category “Photographer: Manuel”.