FAY COMPTON : ENGLISH STAGE & FILM ACTRESS – SHE ADVOCATES “TAKING OFF A LITTLE BIT” TO ATTRACT A MAN

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Fay Compton (1894-1978) is the subject of this vintage real photo postcard. Miss Compton looks absolutely beautiful . She is wearing a pretty dress and a beaded necklace (pearls?) Compton was an English actress who appeared in many films, but was best known for her stage performances. She was a versatile actress who appeared in Shakespeare, Modern Drama, Comedy, and Classics (ie Ibsen and Chekhov. She appeared on  stage in Britain, and toured the United States and Australia. Compton was born in London. Her father, mother, brother, and grandfather were all actors. She was the younger sister of actress Viola Comton. Compton’s stage debut was in 1911 with Pelissier’s Follies which was produced by H. G. Pelissier. Though still a teenager, she married Mr. Pelissier who died soon thereafter, leaving her with a child. She quickly married singer Lauri de Frece. Compton’s first American appearance was in 1914 and occurred at the Shubert Theatre in New York. In 1917, she played the title role in the London performances of Peter Pan. In the 1920’s and 1930’s she performed in many of Shakespeare’s plays. She also played in a number of plays written by J. M. Barrie. Barrie wrote the play, “Mary Rose” especially for her. Her second husband died in 1921 and in 1923, she married actor Leon Quartermaine. During the 1930’s she played in both West End plays and Shakespeare. The 1940’s and 1950’s found Compton continuing to play in Shakespeare productions, and other roles including Noel Cowards “Blithe Spirit”, “The Importance of Being Earnest”, “Uncle Vanya”, and “What Every Woman Knows”. In 1942, her third marriage failed and she married actor Ralph Michael. Their marriage dissolved after four years. Compton also appeared in films. Her IMDb filmography reveals that she appeared in 82 films between 1914 and 1970. The IBDb indicates that she performed in three Broadway shows between 1915 and 1959. At one point, Compton had her own drama school. One of her students was actor Alec Guinness. The You Tube video below features Fay Compton singing Irving Berlin’s “Take Off a Little Bit (1916)” which offers a formula about how to attract a man. Not exactly a strategy that many people would advocate today. This postcard was printed in Britain and was part of the Lilywhite Photographic Series (no. L 4). 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.This photo portrait postcard is in excellent condition (see scans).

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MISS PHILLIDA TERSON – THE PAST AND THE FUTURE MISS PHYLLIS NEILSON- TERRY

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phillida 4This vintage real photo postcard features Miss Phillida Terson (1892-1977). She is better known as Phyllis Neilson-Terry. Phyllis was a member of the third generation of a well know English theatrical family (the Terry family). In her early career years, she was a successful classics actress. She played leading roles in several Shakespeare productions. She then spent four years in the United States appearing in lighter theater. She returned to England in 1919 where she showed a great deal of versatility by appearing in Cabaret, Pantomime, and Variety roles. She still found time to appear in Shakespeare and other classic theater. During her career, she also appeared on Broadway. The IDBD states that she appeared in three Broadway shows between 1915 and 1957. Her last appearance on the Broadway stage was in “Separate Tables” for which she was nominated for an Emmy. Phyllis also appeared in films. The IMDb reports that she had 15 credits between 1915 and 1960. Phyllis was born in London. Her mother was famed actress Julia Neilson and her father was celebrated actor, Fred Terry. She had one brother; and he became an actor. Part of her education was in Paris and later she was enrolled at the Royal Academy of Music, in London. She was training to become a singer. Her stage debut was in 1909 as part of her parent’s touring stage company. In that production she used the name Phillida Terson in order to hide her connection to the Terry family. The ploy failed and in about a year, she returned to her real name. She received enthusiastic reviews in her early career. Her later career did draw some criticism. It was thought that she took less challenging roles upon her return from the US to England. Phyllis was married twice, and both husbands were actors. This should be no surprise considering her parents were major theater stars, and her brother, niece, aunt (Ellen Terry), and cousin (John Gielgud) were all stage actors. This vintage postcard was published by Rotary Photo as part of the Rotary Photographic  series (no.11716). Given the name on the postcard is “Phillida Terson”, this postcard was published 1909 or 1910. An inscription on the reverse of the postcard dates the card to 1910. The inscription also has the name “His Majesty’s Theatre”. There are theaters by than name in Aberdeen, Scotland (opened 1906) and Perth, Australia (opened circa 1904). This vintage postcard portrait is in very good condition (see scans).

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$16.00

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MARGARET HALSTON: BEAUTIFUL SHAKESPEARIAN ACTRESS AND FILM STAR

Margaret Halston, in her role as Desdemona in Othello, is the subject of this real photo postcard published by Percy Guttenberg of Manchester, England. The postcard is part of the “Revival Series” (no.122). Margaret Halston (1879-1967) was an English actress born in London, England as Clara Maud Hertz. A number of references mention that she was of Jewish descent. She was known for both theater, film, and television performances. Among her popular performances was in “Tell Your Children” (1922), “The Holly and the Ivy” 1952, and “Touch and Go” (1955). She began her acting career in amateur theatre and she made her professional stage debut at the Haymarket Theater in 1895. Her roles became larger over time until she became a leading actress appearing in plays such as  ‘Hamlet   ‘ (1896), “Antony and Cleopatra” (1897), and “The Taming of the Shrew” (1897). At the turn of the century she became part of Frank Benson’s theatre group and took numerous roles in Shakespearian theatre. It is reported that she acted in almost all of Shakespeare’s plays. She later worked in George Alexander and Herbert Beerbohm-Tree’s theater groups. She became involved in film in 1916 when she made her debut with “A Bunch of Violets”. Over the next few years she appeared in a small number of silent movies. She adapted well to sound films and appeared in a number of them. IMDB credits her with appearing in sixteen films between 1917 and 1956. The site also lists three television credits between 1938 and 1955. Miss Halstan was certainly an entertainment star. It is interesting to note that she twice played in the role of “Queen of Transylvania” in the theatrical production of “My Fair Lady” (1957-1958, 1961-1963). There are three portraits of her in the National Portrait Gallery.

STAGE ACTRESS LOUISE LEWIS IN SHAKESPEARE’S “AS YOU LIKE IT” (VINTAGE REAL PHOTO POSTCARD)

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This vintage real photo postcard features actress Louise Lewis who played in Shakespeare’s “As You Like It”. Miss Lewis did not reach stardom in her career but her stage experience did merit an appearance on this theatrical picture postcard. Preliminary research found meager biographical material about this actress, but an article in the Los Angeles Herald (1898) reports that the Calhoun Opera Company at the Los Angeles Theater was presenting “La Grande Duchesse” and that Louise Lewis was a member of the ensemble. It is not certain that the Louise Lewis pictured on this postcard is the same one referenced in the Herald article. This postcard appears to have an American origin and is part of a series (no. 13). This particular postcard was distributed by the Souvenir Post Card Shop in Cleveland, Ohio.

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JULIA MARLOWE: ESTEEMED AMERICAN STAGE ACTRESS

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Julia Marlowe (1865-1950) was born in England and as a young child moved to the United States with her family. In her early teens she began her theatrical career with a juvenile opera company. She began playing Shakespeare in her home town of Cincinnati, Ohio. She made her Broadway debut in 1895 and by the end of her career, had appeared in more than 70 Broadway productions. Her first husband was actor, Robert Tabor. Their marriage lasted six years. In 1904 she appeared in “When Knighthood was in Flower”. Great success in this play brought her financial independence. Earlier, in 1903, she appeared in ‘The Cavalier” and “Ingomar”. The New York Sun wrote about her performance in “Ingomar”; “There is not a woman player in America or in England that is – attractively considered- fit to unlace her shoe”. In 1904 she began a partnership with actor E. H. Sothern. They toured the United States performing various plays of Shakespeare. They were managed by Charles Frohman and later, the Shubert brothers. They were considered to be among the major Shakespearian actors of the day. In 1906, Marlowe played in “Jeanne d’Arc” and also as Salome in “John the Baptist”. Later, Sothern and Marlowe played in London but were not terrific box office successes there. In 1911 Marlowe and Sothern married each other. In 1920 and 1921, they made eleven phonograph recordings for the Victor Company. The top Cabinet Card was produced by Newsboy as a premium for their tobacco products. The photographer was Falk and the image is from 1892.

The second portrait of Julia Marlowe has a notation on the reverse of the card stating “Julia Marlowe Tabor”. Therefore, this photograph was likely taken during the time of her marriage to Tabor (1894-1900). The photographic studio that produced this portrait is  Klein & Guttenstein of 164 Wisconsin Street, in Milwaukee,  Wisconsin.  Klein and Guttenstein were leading photographers of their time. Wilson’s Photographic Magazine (1902) reveals that the two men  were very active in the Photographers Association of Wisconsin and other photography organizations. The photographers were considered part of a network of photographers skilled at producing publicity images of theatrical and vaudeville stars to be used in national magazines and other publications. The New York Public Library has a collection of portraits of actress Blanche Bates; produced by Klein & Guttenstein. The University of Pennsylvania Library has one of Klein & Guttenstein’s portraits of Julia Marlowe.

The third portrait of Julia Marlowe in the cabinet card gallery collection is photographed by Sarony, the famed celebrity photographer located in New York City.  This cabinet card is signed by the actress and dated 1890. Additonal photographs by Sarony can be viewed by clicking on the category “Photographers: Sarony”.

The fourth portrait of Miss Marlow features her in role in the production of “Countess Veleska”. The play was adapted for a German work, “The Tall Prussian”, by Rudolph Stratz. The play opened in New York in 1898 at the Knickerbocker Theatre. The review in the New York Times (1898) stated that the “drama was made wholly interesting by the personal charm and sincerity of Miss Marlowe”. In a sarcastic tone, the reviewer comments about Marlowe’s co star, Bassett Roe. The reviewer states that Roe has only two qualities of the man he was playing, “height and good looks”. The reviewer continues his scathing description of Roe; “The only time he actually warmed up was when he accidentally set his hair on fire. Even then he would have let it burn if Miss Marlowe had not gone to his rescue.” The photographic studio that produced the “Countess Veleska” cabinet card was Pach Brothers of New York City. Pach Brothers were photographers known for their photographs of celebrities of their era. To see additional photographs by the Pach Brothers, click on this site’s category of “Photographers: Pach Brothers”.

The fifth portrait of Julia Marlowe appears to be a photograph of the actress in costume for an unknown stage production. The image was photographed by Ye Rose Studio of Providence, Rhode Island. The reverse of the card indicated that the studio was opened in 1886. The studio was located in the Conrad building in downtown Providence. The building still exists. Other photographs by the Ye Rose Studio can be viewed by clicking on the category “Photographer: Ye Rose”.

Portrait number six is an excellent example of the beauty of Julia Marlowe. This image, from 1888, captures Ms. Marlowe at the young age of twenty-three. The photographer of this portrait was B. J. Falk, a celebrity photographer located in New York City, New York. To view other photographs by Falk, click on the category “Photographer: Falk”.

The seventh portrait is another example of a B. J. Falk image. The photograph features a costumed Julia Marlowe in the production of “Cymbeline“. Cymbeline is a play by William Shakespeare that was based on legends about the early Celtic British King,  Cunobelinus. The play deals with themes that include innocence and jealousy. Ms. Marlowe plays Imogen, the King’s daughter. Her expression in the photograph shows fear and concern as she looks at someone or something in the distance. Her left hand shades her eyes while her right hand clutches her belted dagger. A stamp on the reverse of  this cabinet card reveals that it was formerly owned by Culver Pictures of New York City, New York. Culver Pictures has been collecting photographs and illustrations from the 19th and first half of the 20th century, since 1926. These pictures are used in books, films, and other forms of media. At the time that this cabinet card was stamped by the company, Culver Pictures was located in New York City.

Portrait number eight is a close-up photograph of Miss Marlowe. The photographer of this cabinet card is the studio of Rose & Sands whose gallery was located in Providence, Rhode Island. Note that photograph number five also came from the Rose studio, but at that time, the gallery was called, the Ye Rose studio. The Wilson’s Photographic Magazine (1899) reports that Rose and Sands were the proprietors of Ye Rose. A humorous headline in a photography magazine stated “Providence Provides for All, And Rose Provides for Providence”.  Print on the reverse of this cabinet card reveals that the Rose & Sands studio was opened in 1886 and that it specialized in “High Class Portraits from Cabinet to Life Size”. Also of interest, like photograph number seven, there is a stamp on the reverse of the photograph with the name “Culver Pictures Inc”.

Photograph number nine features the beautiful Miss Marlowe displaying a mischievous smile. Note her engaging large eyes. She is wearing a somewhat revealing dress (for the cabinet card era) and has a wonderful hat atop her head. This cabinet card photograph was published in 1888 by Benjamin Falk of New York City.  The image is marked with the number sixty-nine.

Portrait number ten is a closeup of Julia Marlowe with her head covered, but with her pretty face very visible. She is likely in costume for this photograph. The photograph is taken by B. J. Falk of New York City and has a copyright date of 1888. The cabinet card is marked number “86”.

The eleventh photograph captures Miss Marlowe staring hypnotically at a flower. Someone, has written below her name that the image features her in the role of Parthenia in the production of “Ingomar”.  The New York Times (1904) reviews the play and Miss Marlowe’s performance on opening night at the Empire Theater in New York City. The newspaper reports that Frederick Halm’s play was “impossibly romantic and deliciously sentimental piece of old-fashioned theatrics. Tyrone Power played Ingomar and he was described as “vigourous and picturesque” but the article added that his voice was “not at its best”. The review pointed out that Marlowe’s appearance in this play was to be her last appearance as an independent star before joining E. H. Sothern’s Shakespearean repertory. In regard to Marlowe’s acting in this play, it was written that she played a “dear little prig – adorably dear” (prig can be defined as smug or arrogant) and she presented “a masterpiece of harmonious, modulated, and sustained acting”. The 1904 performance of Julia Marlowe in “Ingomar” marked a return performance for this accomplished actress. The New York Times (1888) wrote a very positive review of the opening night performance in Washington D.C.. The appreciative audience included three Supreme Court Justices and a number of members of the Chinese Embassy. This cabinet card was produced by the previously mentioned Ye Rose Studio of Providence, Rhode Island and it likely dates back to her 1888 performance in the role.

The twelfth cabinet card was produced by Benjamin Falk of New York City. He posed Miss Marlowe next to a spinning wheel. Her low cut dress makes this image a bit risque for the cabinet card era. If Falk or Miss Marlowe thought that looking up at the camera would create a “fetching appearance”, I would contend that their efforts failed. Rather than “fetching”, she appears dazed. The actress was a beautiful woman and provocativeness was not necessary to enhance her image. This photograph was produced in 1888 and was part of a series (#23).

Cabinet Card number thirteen is part of a series that includes Cabinet Card number ten. Both cards were photographed by B. J. Falk and have a copyright date of 1888. Both portraits are close-ups but this one is captures Marlowe looking at the camera while number ten offers a profile view. Falk really captured the actresses eyes. Her eyes are beautiful and they are haunting at the same time. This photograph is marked number number 83 of the series.

PORTRAIT OF ENGLISH STAGE ACTRESS ADA CAVENDISH (PHOTOGRAPHED BY SARONY)

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This cabinet card features English actress Ada Cavendish (1839-1895). She was noted for her performances in Shakespeare plays and for popularizing the plays of Wilkie Collins in America. Cavendish made her stage debut in 1863. She began her career doing musical burlesques. As she progressed professionally she played a number of heroine roles in the works of Shakespeare. There are many references to Cavendish in the theatrical literature of her era. Gentlemen’s Magazine and Historical Review (1872) provides the following description of Miss Cavendish. She looks like a lady and walks and dresses like one.Some of the clever actresses now on stage dress, walk,and talk like shop girls”. Celebrated photographer Napoleon Sarony produced this image. Cavendish may be dressed for a role in this portrait. Note her fancy clothing and “big” jewelry. To view other photographs by Sarony, click on the category “Photographer: Sarony”.

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Published in: on February 27, 2014 at 11:53 am  Comments (1)  
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THEATER ACTRESS HENRIETTA CROSMAN (PORTRAIT BY SARONY)

crossman_0004Henrietta Crosman was a renowned American stage and film actress and she is captured beautifully in this cabinet card photographed by Napoleon Sarony. To learn more about Sarony, a famous celebrity photographer, click on the category “Photographer: Sarony”. Sarony’s subject, Miss Crosman was born In West Virginia. Her father was a civil war Major and her mother was the niece of composer Stephen Foster. She was educated in several locations as her father was stationed in a number of posts while pursuing his military career. She began acting in New York City when she joined a local theater company in 1883. Her next experience with a theater company included a national tour. In 1889 she performed Shakespeare for the first time. She performed at the Daly Theater. In the 1890’s she joined Daniel Frohman’s stock company. She excelled in adventure romances and popular drawing farces. By 1900, she had reached stardom. Her appearances included roles in such plays as “As You Like It” (1902), “Sweet Kitty Bellairs” (1903), and “The Real Thing” (1911). Crosman avoided motion pictures until 1914. She then signed a deal with Adolph Zukor’s Famous Players. Her husband, Maurice Campbell became a noted director. Crosman appeared in both silent films and “talkies”. She was in a total of 22 films between 1914 and 1937 including “Charlie Chan’s Secret” (1936),

NOTED STAGE ACTOR: J. FORBES ROBERTSON

ROBERTSONJohnston Forbes-Robertson (1853-1937) was a celebrated English actor and theater manager. He was considered to be one of the finest actors of his time. He was particularly noted for his portrayal of Hamlet. He did not profess a passion for his acting profession. He was born in London. His father was a journalist and theater critic. He had ten siblings and four of them pursued acting. His original interest was to become an artist, but to support himself financially he entered acting. He worked with Sir Henry Irving for some time as a second lead actor. He then became a lead actor. His starring roles included Dan’l Druce, Blacksmith and The Parvenu (1882). George Bernard Shaw wrote the part of Caesar for him in Caesar and Cleopatra. Forbes Robertson acted in a number of Shakespeare plays and also appeared a number of times with actress Mary Anderson in the 1880’s. In 1900 he married the American actress, Gertrude Elliott (1874-1950). In 1930, Forbes Robertson was knighted. This cabinet card portrait was produced by photographer Benjamin Falk who’s studio was located in New York City. Forbes Robertson is captured in costume in this image. The reverse of the photo is stamped “J. M. Russell 126 Tremont Street, Boston”.

ENGLISH STAGE ACTRESS: ELLEN TERRY (THERE AIN’T NOTHIN LIKE A DAME!)

Dame Ellen Terry (1847-1928) was an English stage actress. The top cabinet card is from the studio of Campbell, in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Ellen Terry was the leading Shakespearian actress in Great Britain. She was born into a family that was immersed in the theatre; and future generations continued theatrical pursuits; including grand nephew, John Gielgud (actor, director, producer). Ellen Terry began playing Shakespeare roles as a child and continued to do so. In 1878 she joined Henry Irving’s company. She toured Britain and the United States with great success. In 1903 she took over management of London’s Imperial Theatre and her focus included the plays of George Bernard Shaw and Henrik Ibsen. In 1916 she began acting in films and in 1925 she was made a “Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire”. Terry’s romantic life, including marriages and love affairs, make interesting reading. Research about the photographer of this cabinet card discovered his obituary in the New York Times (1912). The Times reports that Alfred S. Campbell (1839-1912) was a pioneer in the development of art photography. Among his accomplishments was the publication of an edition of the bible that was illustrated with photographs he took in the Holy Land. He emigrated to the United States on the invitation of famed photographer, Napoleon Sarony in 1866. Among his “intimate friends” were Henry Longfellow, Thomas Nast, and William Cullen Bryant . Visitors to the Cabinet Card Gallery can see photographs by Sarony under the category of “Photographer: Sarony” and can see a portrait of William Cullen Bryant under the category of “Journalist”. To view other photographs by Campbell, click on the category “Photographer: Campbell”.

The second cabinet card features Ellen Terry in the role of “Beatrice” in William Shakespeare’s play, “Much Ado About Nothing”. The Window & Grove studio of London,England, published this photograph. The studio operated in London from the 1870’s to at least 1908.

CELEBRATED ACTRESS ADA REHAN AND HER LABORADOR RETRIEVER (PAGE INCLUDES ADDITIONAL PORTRAITS OF MISS REHAN)

Ada Rehan was a well known and respected American actress. The top cabinet card portrait of Ms Rehan and her dog was published by Napoleon Sarony, a famous celebrity photographer in New York City, New York. Ada Rehan was born in Ireland and came to the United States at six years of age. She grew up in Brooklyn, New York. She began acting as a child. From 1873 until 1875 she became more active in acting at Mrs. Drew’s Theatre in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She then joined John Albaugh’s company and appeared in Baltimore, Albany and numerous other cities. In 1879 she joined Augustin Daly’s company upon his opening of his New York theater. She worked with his company for twenty years and appeared throughout Europe. The IBDB reveals that Ada Rehan appeared in 12 Broadway productions.  Some of the Broadway and non Broadway plays she appeared in include a number of Shakespeare productions such as “As You Like It” and “Twelfth Night”. Rehan also acted in “The School for Scandal”, “Foresters”, “Cinderella at School”, and “Our English Friend”. She retired from the stage in 1906 and lived in New York City until her death. It is interesting to note that Ms Rehan’s dog is on a leash. The leash is made of metal links. She is holding the leash with both hands. This is the first leash that I have observed in the many cabinet card photographs of dogs that I have seen. The dog at the end of the leash in this image appears to be a laborador retriever.

The second portrait of Miss Rehan was published by Newsboy of New York. The image was number 68 in a series of photographs. Newsboy distributed these images as premiums for their tobacco product sales.

The third image of Miss Rehan is a bust portrait by Louis Thors of San Francisco, California. Thors was born in Holland in 1845. He was of French descent and educated in France. He was fitted for service in the Merchant Marine and he served in that capacity for a number of years before coming to California in 1876. By 1880 he had established his photography business. One source states that his studio had more than twelve “apartments”. He won a Bronze Medal at the Paris Exposition in 1889. His wife, Gertrude M. Thors was also a photographer. Camera Craft: Photographic Association of California (1910)  printed Thors’s obituary. He was described as one of the highest esteemed photographers in San Francisco. He died of stomach cancer at age seventy-two. He worked in the photography business in San Francisco for over forty years. He left the city after the San Francisco fire and worked in St. Louis for two years before returning to California. The obituary reports that after his immigration to the United States, his skill as a painter earned him employment with photographers Bradley and Rulofsen (click on category “Photographer: Bradley and Rulofsen” to view some of  their photographs). In addition, the death notice asserted that besides his talents as a photographer, Thors had a charming personality and high moral character. To view other photographs by Thors, click on the category “Photographer: Thors”.

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