Saturday, June 30, 2007

Marlene Dietrich - First of 5 postings

We have featured a few fairly well know actresses on these pages, but have spent more time on those whose fame has been lost to time. For those actresses we have provided a bit of not readily available biographical information. Forget that approach for Marlene. There are hundreds of articles, bios, and books about her. The images for this series of posts will feature quotations by the woman I consider the "Divine Miss M".

Her 90 years embraced every facet of life. Here are the images and thoughts of one of stage and screen's most renowned actresses and personalities.

I dress for the image. Not for myself, not for the public,
not for fashion, not for men.

How do you know love is gone? If you said that you would be there at seven and you get there by nine, and he or she has not called the police yet - it's gone.

Latins are tenderly enthusiastic. In Brazil they throw flowers at you.
In Argentina they throw themselves.

There is a gigantic difference between earning a great deal of money and being rich.

Marlene Dietrich - What do you think - Allure?

Sunday, June 24, 2007


This blog primarily is about allure and alluring images of actresses featured on 20's and 30's period postcards and magazines; men only show up when they happen to be on a postcard that features a female star. In fact in our collection of cards, we only have one card featuring a male star of the period. We have that card because of one thing - his hat. The image of Tom Mix was irresistible to us and we just had to add it to the collection. To learn more about Tom and his daughter Ruth Mix, just visit IMDB or Wikipedia.

Now that's one alluring chapeau!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Vilma Banky

Vilma Banky was born Vilma Konsics Bánky January 9 1898, in Nagydorog, Austria-Hungary (now Hungary). She began appearing in films in 1919, her first being shot in Germany under the direction of Carl Boese. On a trip to Budapest in 1925, producer Samuel Goldwyn discovered Vilma and signed her to a contract. She left for America shortly after that. Upon her arrival in Hollywood she was immediately promoted as "The Hungarian Rhapsody", and was an immediate hit with American audiences.

Vilma appeared opposite silent greats Rudolph Valentino in The Eagle (1925) and The Son of the Sheik (1926) and Ronald Colman in a series of love stories, including The Dark Angel and The Winning of Barbara Worth. It is commonly believed that her thick Hungarian accent cut her career short with the advent of sound. However, as early as 1928 she had begun announcing her intention to retire from the screen. Her marriage to Rod La Rocque in 1927 (til his death in 1969) satisfied her desire to have a quiet home life and by 1930, after 26 films she was virtually retired. Vilma died at age 93.

Vilma Banky - What do you think - Allure?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Well, in some circles and at certain times throughout history, a trim figure has been one element that rightly or wrongly enhanced one's allure. This wasn't lost on our friends in the tobacco industry. The ad below appeared on the back cover of the June 1930 issue of Motion Picture magazine, the same issue featured in the previous post with the Mary Nolan cover. The picture of the young man and his overweight shadow is priceless. And what copy, while not promising that Lucky's will result in "reduction of flesh", indicating that lighting up will stop those nasty gastronomic overindulgences and bring forth a trimmer figure. Man, they've been working the public forever.

Click the image for a larger view

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Mary Nolan

Mary Imogene Robertson was born in 1905 and began her career as a teenage model. At an early age Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. signed the blond beauty for his Follies, beginning Mary's dubiously illuminated career. A jazz-age party girl by nature, Mary had already earned the somewhat dubious nickname of "Bubbles" while working in New York, but then made the fatal mistake of involving herself with married Ziegfeld comedian Frank Tinney. Thus began a long and abusive relationship which would culminate in her being hospitalized for injuries he inflicted on her during one of many heated arguments. Because Tinney was married, the affair caused a scandal and Mary ending up moving to Germany for two years. While there she made several films, and it paved the way for the newly christened "Mary Nolan" to get her start in Hollywood.

Mary secured a number of leading lady roles in notable films including West of Zanzibar (1928) with Lon Chaney, and Outside the Law (1930), opposite Edward G. Robinson. Interestingly, both films were directed by Tod Browning. Unfortunately, dwindling roles led a probably always unstable Mary to rekindle herself destructive behavior, ending with heroin addiction. She was 42 and weighed only 90 pounds when she died in a small stucco bungalow at 1504 South Mansfield Avenue, Los Angeles, California. Her apartment was simply furnished except for a single possession. There was a huge antique piano formerly owned by Rudolph Valentino, which almost filled her living room. She bought it from the possessions which were once a part of Falcon's Lair, Valentino's home. Nolan revered the Valentino and kept his photo on the music rack.

No postcard images, but another beautiful cover by Marland Stone - this one the June 1930 edition of Motion Picture magazine (another Ebay find). As I have mentioned before with most of the movie magazines of the time, the person featured on the cover isn't once mentioned throughout the entire magazine - I still find that so strange. Click the image for a larger view.

Mary Nolan - What do you think - Allure?

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Greta Nissen

Greta Ruzt-Nissen was born in Oslo, Norway, on January 30, 1906. At 19 she appeared in Raoul Walsh's "The Wanderer" (1925), her second Hollywood film. Things were going well for Greta and after several starring vehicles, she was signed at $2500 a week for the lead in Howard Hughes' epic Hell's Angels (1930). Unfortunately, Hughes spent so much time reworking the aerial battle scenes that what began as a silent film found itself in the sound era and Greta's heavy Norwegian accent was not deemed acceptable. As a result, Hughes scrapped all the footage with Greta and replaced her with Jean Harlow - at $250 a week. The film of course launched Harlow to stardom. However, throughout the 1930's Greta made seventeen more films, including the well reviewed The Circus Queen Murder (1933) opposite Adolphe Menjou, before her last role in Cafe Colette in 1937. She made a total of 31 films. Greta married well and lived quietly until her death in 1988.

A 1925 New York Times review of her first Hollywood outing, "Lost - A Wife", described Greta:
She was graceful in her movements and expressions, with a constantly changing gaze. The actress was attractive rather than beautiful. Her chin and nose were both somewhat pronounced. Greta's personality was delightful and she never showed an awareness to the audience that she was conscious of being on camera. Her skin was fair and she possessed blonde hair. At different times her coiffure had a somewhat "wild" appearance.

Greta Nissen - What do you think - Allure?