DOLORES DEL RIO : STAR ACTRESS OF AMERICAN AND MEXICAN CINEMA AND TWO CAPUCHIN MONKEYS

This vintage real photo postcard features Mexican actress, dancer, and singer; Dolores del Rio (1904-1983) and two unidentified capuchin monkeys. Del Rio’s performing career spanned more than half of a century. She was the first major Latin American actress to become an American film star (1920’s & 1930’s). Del Rio was also a major star in Mexican films. Dolores was known for her beauty as well as for her talent. She was discovered in Mexico and her Hollywood film career started in 1925. She began her career with a number of successful films, including “Ramona” (1928) and “Evangeline (1929). During the silent film era, she was considered the female version of “latin lover”, Rudolph Valentino. Del Rio was one of the fortunate actresses whose career was not destroyed by the advent of sound films. She acted in a wide range of film genres. “Bird of Paradise” (1932) and “Madame Du Barry” (1934) were among her successful films of the 1930’s. In the early 1940’s, her Hollywood career began to flounder sparking Del Rio to return to Mexico to become a major star of Mexican cinema. She continued acting in Mexican films through the 1950’s. Beginning 1960 she acted in both Mexican and Hollywood films. During the late 1950’s through the early 1970’s, Del Rio acted in theater and television. Dolores was born in Durango City, Mexico. Her parents were part of Mexican aristocracy whose lineage could be traced to Spain. Dolores was the cousin of actor Ramon Novarro (another silent film”latin lover”), and of Mexican cinema actress, Andrea Palma. During the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920), Dolores’s family lost its fortune. Her family felt threatened by Pancho Villa’s insurgence. It was time to “get out of town”. Her father fled to the United States while she and her mother escaped to Mexico City. Acting was an integral part of Dolores’s getaway. She and her mother felt compelled to dress as peasants to insure safe passage on the train to Mexico City. Her parents reunited there in 1912. Dolores attended a college in Mexico City operated by French nuns. After seeing Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova perform; Dolores decided to become a dancer and took lessons from a well respected teacher. At age 17, Dolores married Jaime Martinez del Rio. He was from a wealthy family and was educated in England. The couple honeymooned in Europe for two years and Dolores formed close relationships with a number of members of European aristocracy. When the couple returned to Mexico, they settled in Mexico City. In 1925, Dolores met American filmmaker Edwin Carewe, and he was spellbound. He convinced Dolores and her husband to move to Hollywood where he promised to make Dolores a star. Her husband hoped to write screenplays there. When they arrived in Tinseltown, Carewe launched a public relations campaign to raise excitement about his beautiful find. He built up her aristocratic background by saying such gems as Dolores was “the first lady of high Mexican Society” and that she had come to Hollywood with a collection of shawls and combs valued at fifty thousand dollars. Dolores made her film debut in “Joanna” (1925), where she played a vamp of Spanish-Brazilian origin. Her first starring role was in the comedy “Pals First” (1926), directed by Carewe. That same year, Dolores appeared in the war film “What Price Glory?”. The movie was a huge financial success and helped Dolores become one of the “WAMPAS Baby Stars” of 1926. Other members of her “class” were Mary Astor, Joan Crawford, Janet Gaynor, and Fay Wray. By then, her film career was rocketing. Her role in Resurrection” (1927), a popular film based on a Tolstoy novel, further propelled her career. While her career was succeeding, her personal life was a “hot mess”. Her marriage to Del Rio ended in 1928. He had much difficulty being in the shadow of his famous and successful wife. Six months after Dolores filed for divorce, Del Rio died in Germany. While dealing with her grief, she had to deal with constant harassment from her discoverer, Edwin Carewe. He wanted to be more than her agent and her director since he had first launched her career. In 1929, Dolores announced to the press, that despite Carewe’s claims, the pair were just friends and business companions. She added that they had no plans for marriage. Soon thereafter, she cancelled her contract with him. The end result was a legal dispute that was settled out of court. Carewe’s anger did not end there. He disparaged her the press and refilmed “Resurrection” starring Lupe Velez, another popular Mexican film star. In 1930, Del Rio married MGM art director, Cedric Gibbons. They became one of Hollywood’s most followed couples of the early 1930’s. In 1932, the film, “Birds of Paradise”, was released to rave reviews. The film starred Del Rio and actor, Joel McCrea. The movie was a South Seas love story. A scandal arose from the film because of a scene featuring the pair swimming naked. Controversy continued in Del Rio’s appearance in “Flying Down to Rio” (1933). In this film, Del Rio was the first actress to wear a two piece bathing suit on screen. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers danced together for the first time on film, in this movie. Del Rio and Astaire also did an “intricate” dance number in the film. Del Rio found herself in political hot water when she and Ramona Novarro and Lupe Velez attended a special screening of a Mexican film which was accused of promoting Communism in California. Del Rio was accused of being a Communist for her attendance at the screening. In 1940, Del Rio began an affair with actor/filmmaker, Orson Welles. The dalliance resulted in Del Rio and Gibbons divorce. In 1954, Dolores was scheduled to co-star in a Spencer Tracy film, but the US government would not give her permission to work in the United States. The government believed she was sympathetic toward communism for attending the aforementioned film screening and for signing a petition supporting a world peace conference. After some time, she was able to remedy the problem by writing a persuasive letter to the US authorities. Later in life Del Rio did express some “political” beliefs. She stated that she wished she could play Mexican roles to show what life in Mexico was really like. She felt such an opportunity could help diminish the ugly stereotypes that existed about Mexicans in American society. She stated that it was her great wish to make fans realize the beauty, wonder, and greatness of Mexicans as a people. She asserted that the great majority of Americans view Mexicans as a “race of bandits, or laborers, dirty, unkempt, and uneducated”. Why do these false negative stereotypes sound so familiar? Del Rio wanted to show “the best that’s in my nation”. It has been pointed out by more than a few writers that Dolores del Rio was no “Latin bombshell”. Instead, she was noted for her elegance. The IMDb reports that Del Rio has 63 film credits ranging from 1925 through 1978. This vintage postcard was published by Ross Verlag as part of a series (no. 4992/1). The logo for Fox films can be seen in the lower right hand corner of the image. This vintage postcard is in very good condition (see scans).

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“FLYING DOWN TO RIO” (1933)

FLORENCE GILBERT : EARLY FILM ACTRESS : ACTED IN 68 FILMS IN 7 YEARS

Florence Gilbert (1904-1991) is the subject of this vintage real photo postcard. She was a film actress active between 1920 and 1927. Gilbert’s hometown was Chicago. Florence’s mother wanted her to become the next Mary Pickford. In fact, she resembled Pickford in some ways. Florence’s mother had mailed photos of Florence to Pickford who encouraged her to take Florence to Hollywood. At age 14, she moved with her mother and brother to Los Angeles. She started off as Mary Pickford’s double. She was discovered by Monty Banks, an Italian comedian, film actor, director and producer. Apparently, she looked older than her fourteen years. She played a number of roles in films for Mack Sennett studios. She also worked in Hollywood for Fox Studios. Although she was still a teenager, she became the breadwinner of her family. According to IMDb she made 68 film appearances beginning in 1920. She appeared in the first Laurel and Hardy film, ‘The Lucky Dog” (1921). She was married three times. Her first husband was Ashton Dearholt (1894-1942), an American silent film actor. She permanently left acting after marrying Dearholt. She divorced him when he returned home from filming in Guatemala, accompanied by co-star Ula Holt. He was determined to have Holt live in the house he shared with Gilbert. She divorced Dearholt after he made his outrageous demand. Dearholt later married Holt. Husband number two was Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950), an American fiction writer. He was the creator of Tarzan. The marriage ended in divorce due to his drinking. Her third husband was Dr Albert Stillman Chase. She had two children with Dearholt; both were adopted by Chase. Another source “credited her” with two additional marriages. This vintage postcard was published by Ross Verlag, located in Berlin, Germany. The card was part of a series (no.1640/1). Note the Fox studio’s logo in the bottom right hand corner of the image. This postcard is in excellent condition (see scans). SOLD

JUNE CAPRICE : SILENT FILM STAR : FOX’S PICK TO COMPETE WITH MARY PICKFORD

June Caprice started life named Helen Elizabeth Lawson. She was born in 1895 in Arlington, Massachusetts. June was a silent film actress. She attended school in Boston. Her acting career began on the stage. In 1916, she signed with the Fox Film Corporation to make films. William Fox had been searching for an actress to compete with Mary Pickford. Caprice had won a Boston Mary Pickford look-a-like contest. When he discovered Caprice, he boldly predicted that she would become the best known female on the screen within the upcoming six months. A press release introducing her to film fandom, stated that she was seventeen years of age. In fact, she was about twenty years old at the time. Caprice made her screen debut in a move entitled “Caprice of the Mountains” (1916). A film critic, writing in the New York Times described her as “young, pretty, graceful, petite, with an eloquence of gesture that augurs a bright future in the movies”. Her first film provided her with her stage name, “June Caprice”. June became quite popular. She received a lot of attention from fan magazines and was one of Fox’s most profitable stars toward the end of the 1910’s. She made sixteen films while with Fox. Her director for half of the movies was Harry F. Millarde. The pair began a relationship and eventually married. Caprice also worked at one time for Pathe studios. She left the film industry to begin a family and in 1922 she gave birth to a daughter. Caprice’s career took a downturn after World War I. The sweet, pure and innocent look lost popularity and was replaced by the jazz age flapper look. She later returned to working on stage and modelling. In 1931, her husband died at the young age of 46. Five years later, Caprice had a fatal heart attack while in Los Angeles. At the time, she also was suffering with cancer. She was just 40 years old at the time of her death. Caprice’s daughter was only aged 14 when she was orphaned. She was raised by her grandparents on Long Island, New York. She became a “cover girl” and actress. She used the name Toni Seven. Her photo and brief biography can be found elsewhere in the Cabinet Card Gallery. Seven inherited three million dollars from her family. The IMDb credits June Caprice with 22 film appearances between 1916 and 1921. This vintage real photo postcard was published by Pictures Ltd which was located in London, England. It was published with the perimission of the Fox Film Co. The card is part of a series (no.12) labeled “Pictures” Portrait Gallery. (SOLD)

 

 

 

 

 
 
   
   
   
   
   
   

LITTLE FOXES : A LOVELY COUPLE AND TWO YOUNG FOXES (SNAPSHOT)

This vintage snapshot is highly unusual. A couple poses with two cute young foxes. The gentleman in the photo is holding the two fox pups on his lap. The woman is wearing pants and sitting on the automobiles side board. The old car is a nice backdrop, Note the man’s cool cap. This photograph measures about 2 3/8″ x 3 3/8″ and is in excellent condition.

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Published in: on February 5, 2020 at 8:26 pm  Comments (2)  
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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).

AMBIVALENT FOX HUNTER AND HIS PET FOX IN KENDALLVILLE, INDIANA

This cabinet card features a fox hunter, posing in his hunting clothing, and his double barreled shotgun. He is also posing with his pet fox and his bounty from his hunt, a dead fox. He is holding the pet fox by a chain. This is a very ambivalent hunter. On one hand, he hunts and kills foxes, and on the other, he keeps a fox as a pet. The hunter appears to have been a very conflicted young man. The photographer of this cabinet card is Frank D. Sullivan of Kendallville, Indiana. The Bulletin of Photography (1922) announced the purchase of Sullivan’s studio to A. D. Conkle, “formerly of Kenton, Ohio. The journal also reported that Sullivan and his wife had moved to Portland Oregon.

Published in: on March 25, 2011 at 1:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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