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. (SOLD)

“FLYING DOWN TO RIO” (1933)

MISS MARGARET LEAHY : THE SAD STORY OF THE “DAILY SKETCH” GIRL

Margaret Leahy (1902-1967) was a British actress. She was born in London. At the age of eighteen, she set up a costume shop and designed women’s clothing. She also modeled her designs for her customers. The story of how she got her start in acting is an interesting one. After winning a beauty contest, she seemed destined for stardom. Unfortunately, despite her rapid launch into filmdom, her career quickly crashed.  She made only one film in her short-lived career. The beauty competition occurred in 1922. Actresses, Constance and Norma Talmadge, Joseph Schenck (film studio executive), and Edward Jose (film director) held a beauty contest in England. It’s purpose was to find a new leading lady. The “Daily Sketch”, an English newspaper, offered a starring role in a major Hollywood film to the winner of the contest. Eighty thousand women entered the contest and three girls were chosen to the final competition. The finals were held in Hollywood and Miss Leahy was the winner.  Norma Talmadge described Leahy as “the most ravishing girl in England”. Leahy’s start in films was a disaster. She was dismissed from “Within the Law” (1923). The film’s director found her acting talent was nearly non-existent. He threatened to quit unless Leahy was terminated. The year 1923 wasn’t all bad for Miss Leahy. She was named one of thirteen WAMPAS Baby Stars. Evelyn Brent, Eleanor Boardman, and Laura La Plante were among the thirteen. All but Leahy became successful film actresses. Between 1922 and 1934, WAMPAS association supported a promotional campaign that named thirteen young actresses thought to be destined to become stars. Margaret’s next stop was an appearance in a Buster Keaton comedy, “Three Ages” (1923). Leahy received little attention for her role in the movie and her career was stopped in it’s tracks. Leahy did not return to England. Instead she got married and remained in California. She became an interior decorator and was known to despise the movie industry. In fact, she burned all her movie related scrap books. Sadly, Leahy committed suicide at the age of sixty-four in California. This vintage postcard was published by Rotary Photo and printed in England. The postcard is part of a series (no. 5.76.2).  The postcard is in very good condition (see scans).

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VIRGINIA BROWN FAIRE : PRETTY SILENT AND SOUND FILM ACTRESS

This vintage real photo postcard features American silent and sound film star, Virginia Brown Faire (1904-1980). She was born in Brooklyn, New York. In 1919, after being a winner of the Motion Picture Classic magazine’s “Fame and Fortune” contest, she went to Hollywood. At age 15, she was hired by Metro studio. She then appeared in movies for Fox, followed by Universal. Her first film “Runnin’ Straight” (1920) was a Hoot Gibson short western. She was the leading lady for John Gilbert in Monte Cristo (1922). She was chosen as one of the WAMPAS Baby Stars in 1923. Included in this group of beautiful actresses was Laura La Plante and Evelyn Brent. La Plante and Brent both had successful acting careers. She is most remembered for her role as Tinker Bell in Peter Pan (1924). Faire made a successful transition into sound films. Her first successful talkie was her role in Frank Capra’s “The Donovan Affair” (1929). She appeared in several westerns. Among the western stars that she played opposite to; was John Wayne,Hoot Gibson, and Buck Jones. In the late 1930’s she left Hollywood and moved to Chicago and worked in radio and industrial films. She retired in about 1935. According to the IMDb, she appeared in 74 films between 1920 and 1935. Faire had three marriages. The first, was to actor Jack Dougherty and the marriage lasted just over a year. She then married director Duke Worne, a film director. He died after three years and she then married William Bayer, a furniture manufacturer. She died of cancer in 1980. This vintage postcard was published by Ross Verlag of Berlin, Germany. It is part of a series (no, 736/1).  This portrait postcard is in excellent condition (see scans).

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LOUISE LORRAINE: BEAUTIFUL AND DELICATE FILM ACTRESS

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 This vintage real photo postcard features beautiful American film actress, Louise Lorraine (1904-1981). She was born in San Francisco and was discovered by a photography salesman who had knocked at the door of her home and was met by Louise. The salesman was startled by her good looks and her winning personality He told Louise’s mother that her daughter should be in films. Her widowed mother had five other children and after some time, she agreed to allow Louise to investigate becoming an actress. The salesman used a contact, and before long, Louise was in independent two-reel comedies. That was followed by stints with MGM and Universal. She became very popular for her roles in action-packed serials such as “The Radio King” (1922) and “With Stanley in Africa” (1922). She starred in eleven serials and was known for her energy and charisma. Her small stature and delicate beauty were unlikely characteristics expected in a serial heroine. However, she starred these physically demanding serials. In 1921, she became the third actress to portray “Jane”. She starred in the movie serial “The Adventures of Tarzan’ (1921). She was selected as a “Wampas Baby Star” in 1922. The organization was very successful at identifying future stars. Among their “finds” was Clara Bow and Joan Crawford. She starred in only five talkies during her film career including “Near the Rainbow’s End’ (1930). After this film appearance, she retired to spend time with her husband and two children. The IMDb reports that Louise Lorraine appeared in 83 films between 1922 and 1930. Lorraine was married twice. Marriage number one was to actor Art Acord, Her second marriage was to Chester Hubbard. She had two children. This vintage postcard was published by Ross Verlag and was part of a series (no. 836/1). The photographer of this portrait was Roman Freulich (1898-1974). Freulich was born in Poland and immigrated to the United States at the age of 14. He learned his trade from New York photographer Samuel Lumiere. He moved to Hollywood in the mid 1920’s where his brother Jack was a portrait photographer at Universal Pictures. Roman became a still photographer for Universal and produced many portraits of their major stars. He stayed at Universal until 1944 when he moved to Republic Studios. After Republic stopped production, Freulich did much work for United Artists.The stamp box of this postcard has an interesting story. “NBC” (Neue Bromsilber Convention) was a price cartel established in 1909 that continued until the 1930’s. The purpose of the cartel was to ensure that the minimum price charged for postcards was kept at a sufficiently profitable level. A number of postcard publishing companies joined the cartel in an effort to stave off the effect of competition on the pricing of postcards. This postcard has excellent clarity and is in very good condition (see scans).

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SALLY PHIPPS: RISQUE PORTRAIT OF A YOUNG, PRETTY AND REBELLIOUS FILM STAR (1927), AND AN ADDITIONAL PHOTO PORTRAIT OF MISS PHIPPS

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POSTCARD 1   (SOLD)

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POSTCARD 1  (SOLD)

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These vintage real photo postcards feature American actress, Sally Phipps (1911-1978). She was born in Oakland, California. Her father was a magician and her mother was a colorist in a photography studio. Her father left the family when she was age four, and Sally went to live with a foster family. Her foster parents both worked in the film industry. Sally appeared in her first film, at age three. It was called “Broncho Billy and the Baby” (1914). There were two more films in the series the following year. Prior to her debut in the movies, she had won several “Beautiful Baby ” contests. She was rediscovered by director Frank Borzage while still in high school. At age 15, in 1926, she began using the name “Sally Phipps”. She became a Fox film star and appeared in over twenty films before the arrival of 1929. In 1927, she was selected as one of thirteen “Wampas Baby Stars”. The organization was very successful at identifying future stars. Among their “finds” was Clara Bow and Joan Crawford. As a result of becoming a Wampas star, her photograph appeared in many film magazines. She often was dressed in silk and fur. Her first starring role was in the film “Love Makes ‘Em Wild” (1927). Her last appearance in a Fox film was 1929, despite her five year contract with the studio that she signed in 1927. In 1931, Phipps appeared in a Broadway production by Kaufman & Hart called “Once in a Lifetime”). Looking at Phipps career, it is evident that she played many “vamp” roles. A New York Times (2008) article described her as “a comic sexpot whose innocently naughty antics were the very embodiment of flaming youth.”.     The article also described her off screen flapper lifestyle stating that she smoked, tangoed, dated older men, and rode around Hollywood in a flashy car.  Like many young stars, Phipps had difficulty handling her success. Some of her difficulty was seen in her defiant personality. She frequently displayed a lack of dedication to her acting. She also overspent and built up large debts. She sued her parents when they tried to control her spending. This legal action is thought to have resulted in enough negative publicity to hurt her career. At age 18, with two years left in her Fox contract, she took off for New York and the stage. Fox was ok with her skipping out on the contract. They were basically done with her. Phipps was married twice. Her husband was Benedict Gimbel Jr, heir to the department store, Gimbels. They married in 1931 and divorced in 1935. After her divorce, she found herself living in a one room apartment in New York City, and making twenty-five dollars a week as a secretary. She developed an interest in theosophy and Eastern religions and lived in India for a short time. Later, Miss Phipps married Alfred M. Harned, a New York musician. She had met him at a seance. The couple had two children. She and her family moved to Hawaii and Phipps had a mental breakdown. She and her husband separated and the kids stayed with their father. For awhile she kept in contact with her children. In a short time, she abandoned them. She did not see her son for seventeen years.  Phipps appeared in two Broadway shows during her careeer. Her filmography includes 24 appearances in movies between 1915 and 1931. Like many early film stars, her rapid rise to stardom was followed by a quick dive into obscurity. According to the date written on the reverse of postcard 1, this portrait of Miss Phipps was taken in 1927. She was only 15 or 16 years of age at the time. It seems a bit creepy to me that teenage girls could be so sexualized by movie studios. The postcard was published by Iris Verlag and is part of a series (no. 913). The postcard photo includes the logo of “Fox Film”, indicating she was under contract with the studio at the time the postcard was published.                  Postcard 2 features a smiling Miss Phipps doing calligraphy. The writing is either Japanese, or Chinese. The postcard was published by Ross Verlag as part of a series (no. 4492/1). This postcard, like the first, has a logo for Fox Films, one of this actress’s film studios holding her contract. This postcard once resided in an album. It is in very good condition.

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PHIPPS 2

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JACQUELINE LOGAN: BEAUTIFUL STAR OF FILM AND STAGE AND BIGAMIST

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This vintage real photo postcard features silent film star Jacqueline Logan (1904-1983). Logan had auburn hair and green eyes. She was considered to be very beautiful. Logan was a “WAMPAS Baby Star” of 1922. The Western Association of Motion Picture Advertisers sponsored the WAMPAS promotional campaign. Each year between 1922 and 1934 the promotion honored 13-15 young actresses who were predicted to be on the cusp of movie stardom. Other honorees besides Logan included Clara Bow, Joan Crawford, Fay Wray, and Ginger Rogers. Jacqueline Logan was born in Corsicana, Texas and grew up in Nebraska. She worked briefly as a journalist in Scottsbluff, Nebraska and than went to Colorado Springs for health issues. She took a journalism course there and than moved to Chicago where she found a job dancing in a stage production. She had told her family she was going to Chicago to attend college. She then went of New York City with a theater troupe. While in New York, she received a small part in the Broadway musical “Florodora (1920). She was noticed by Flo Ziegfeld who hired her as a dancer. She also was selected to model in photographs by Alfred Cheney Johnston. By 1921, she began appearing in films. Her first role was in “The Perfect Crime”. Also featured in the film was Carole Lombard, who at the time, was a child actress. Cecile B. DeMille selected Logan to play Mary Magdalene in the film “King of Kings” (1927). The movie broke audience attendance records. With the advent of  “talkies”, Logan had less success. However, she did appear in “Show of Shows” (1929) in which she was a member of an all-star cast. Next, she went to England to do stage work. She received many good reviews. She was then hired by British International Pictures to write and direct films. She was successful in her writing and directing. When she returned to Hollywood she found that studios were not interested in hiring her for behind the camera work. Their resistance was likely predominately due to not wanting a female to direct films. Back in America, she appeared in several Broadway shows including “Merrily We Roll Along” and “Two Strange Women”. In 1934, after her marriage to an industrialist, she retired from films. The IMDB web site reports that Logan has 61 film credits between 1921 and 1931. The Internet Broadway Database lists 3 Broadway play credits for the actress between 1920 and 1935. In her later years, Logan became a conservative political activist and member of the John Birch Society. This real photo portrait postcard was produced in France. It was part of a series (no. 197) called “Les Vedettes de Cinema (Stars of the Cinema)”. The photograph was taken at the Alfred Noyer studio (AN) in Paris. The actual photographer may have been Witze. The postcard includes an advertisement for Fox Film, indicating Logan’s affiliation with the studio at the time of the photograph.  The second photograph of Miss Logan is a press photo from 1928. Judging by the title of the text on the reverse (see below), this image appeared in a newsreel. Jacquline Logan had made the news because she had committed bigamy. Apparently she married Larry Winston before her divorce from Ralph Gillespie had become finalized. It appears she was too impatient to wait for the ink to dry on her divorce decree.

 
                                                         REVERSE OF POSTCARD
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                                                       REVERSE OF PRESS PHOTO