Sunday, September 28, 2008

Asides - It's Always Fashion Week in Hollywood

Fashion Week at Bryant Park in New York took place earlier this month. In belated recognition of the event, here are some fashions from our favorite period, with some of our favorite stars. Enjoy and keep an eye out at your local Target for some knock-offs.
Click on the images for a larger view.
The first four pages are from the June, 1932 edition of Photoplay. As you may or may not know, Photoplay billed itself as "The News and Fashion Magazine of the Screen."

Kay always looks good, stripes, solids, or anything in between.

This and the next page are a spread, the headline
running over both pages.

Mary, Carole, and Joan

Evalyn Knapp, Adrienne Dore and Madge.

Maureen models neckwear for the gal on the go.

Everybody's favorite "Shimmy" dancer Gilda Gray shows off the latest
Paris fashion in the October 1926 edition of Picture Play magazine.

Who ever thought blue duo-tone was a good color for
interior pages should be shot.

Hope you enjoyed the show.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Jetta Goudal

Jetta (Zah-hetta ) Goudal was born Julie Henriette Goudeket in 1891 in Amsterdam. She began her acting career on the European stage. In 1918, promoting herself as a Parisienne, she relocated to New York City and appeared on Broadway. Her cinematic career began when she took a small part in Timothy's Quest (1922). Jetta then moved to the West Coast, where her first significant role came in The Bright Shawl (1923), that starred Richard Barthelmess and Dorothy Gish. She was next praised for her performances in Salome of the Tenements and The Spaniard, both in 1925. These roles brought her to the attention of Cecil B. DeMille.

Jetta made several DeMille films that helped her become one of the top box office draws of the late 1920's. The films include The Coming of Amos (1925), The Road to Yesterday (1925), and White Gold (1927). However, it may have been that Jetta's success went to her head. In 1927 DeMille canceled her contract saying she was too difficult to work with. She then filed a lawsuit for breach of contract and although DeMille claimed her conduct had caused numerous and costly production delays, Jetta, in a landmark ruling, won the suit when DeMille couldn't or wouldn't provide the financial records to support his claim. This decision set a precedent in establishing an actor's rights.

Unfortunately her high-profile suit stunted her Hollywood career as no studio wanted her on their roster. Jetta made her last screen appearance in a talkie, Business and Pleasure (1932). In later years she became active in Actors Equity's fight for the unionization of film actors. She became known as the "Joan of Arc of Equity." Interviewed late in life she is quoted as saying "I don't like being called a silent star. I was never silent." Jetta has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6333 Hollywood Blvd. She died in California 1985.

Click on the images for a larger view.

Bio from the 1924 edition of Stars of the Photoplay

Publicity still postcard.

Possibly a publicity still from The Green Goddess (1923)

Frame captures from Open All Night (1924), directed by Paul Bern

Publicity still from The Spaniard

Jetta Goudal - What do you think - Allure?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Asides - Collector's Corner

Those who follow this blog know that the majority of the images featured come from our collection of postcards and magazines from the twenties and thirties. Collecting is fun, but storing collections can be a bit problematic. For instance, the postcards all fit in 6 shoe boxes, but the magazines take several bookshelves. Now this is nothing compared to those who collect say, tin robots (we do) or antique steam engines (we don't). So what is the answer for the film buff that would like to have a bit of history, but lives in a small, overpriced walk-up. Cigarette cards, that's the answer, inexpensive, small and fairly easy to find. If I had to guess, you could fit several hundred in one shoe box.

Cigarette cards (think baseball cards, without the gum, but with the nicotine) were immensely popular from the turn of the century right up through the 1960's. Their real heyday however, was in the twenties and thirties. English and German tobacco companies in particular produced hundreds of card sets, covering all kinds of topics from famous boxers, to military figures, to breeds of dogs and thankfully, films and actors and actresses. The images below represent a cross section of the cards you can still find for sale, as complete sets or individual items. Some of the cards have an adhesive backing (you have to wet them) because the companies also sold albums to mount the cards - hey, collect'em all! One card came with each pack of cigarettes, so you could be huffing and puffing quite a long time to complete a set.

All the following cards were produced in the late twenties through 1939.
Click on the images for a larger view, but remember these cards are actually only about 1.5 x 3 inches, so they weren't meant for close inspection. They do look quite charming when paired in a small frame.

John Player produced many different sets of cards and even hired their own artists to produce the portraits. Note the comment about the adhesive back.

From a series of 48 cards produced by Park Drive, a Gallaher Ltd company

Carreras and others used real photographs, which was probably much cheaper because the images were supplied by the studios. They also sold albums for housing your collection.

From the third series of film stars by John Player

The German cards I have seen all use photographic images.

There were a number of series featuring film scenes or film partners.

Here are two cards from a series that is very similar to the one above, but I guess they gave the series a different name to help keep the interest of the buyer.

This is the cover of a German album that was sold to house cards from Hansom cigarettes.

Interior spread from the Hansom album - 162 cards in total.

Player or some third party also offered the cards framed and ready to hang. The cards themselves are from 1939, but the frame was offered much later.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Im Memoriam - Anita Page 1910-2008

Anita Page died in her sleep on September 6.
This is the API press release - Silent screen siren Anita Page dies at 98

Motion Picture Classic - November 1930

Rest in Peace

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Viola Dana

Viola Dana, born Viola Flugrath June 26, 1897 in Brooklyn, NY, began as a child actress, appearing on the stage at the age of three. She began her Broadway career in 1913, and her success led to her being cast in two Edison studio films. Quickly a star at the Edison studios, Viola married Edison director, John H. Collins in 1915, and the two collaborated on Children of Eve (1915), a graphic re-enactment of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist fire, The Cossack Whip (1916) and Blue Jeans (1917). In the first of a number of personal tragedies, Collins died during the influenza epidemic of 1918.

Viola's success at Edison found she and her husband being signed with Metro Pictures Corporation. After Collins' death, she was alone in California, where Metro had relocated. Tragedy again struck in 1920 when she became involved with aviator and stunt pilot Ormer Locklear. He died when his plane crashed in August of that year during a nighttime film shoot. Viola witnessed the crash and didn't fly for the next 25 years. Note: Locklear was the prototype for George Roy Hill's The Great Waldo Pepper (1975). Viola was a guest of honor at the film's premiere.

During the 1920's, Viola was a highly-paid star, appearing in 50 films, including Dangerous to Men (1920), Open All Night (1924), available through specialty dealers, and Bred in Old Kentucky (1926). In 1925 she married stunt man "Lefty" Flynn. The marriage lasted four years and she never remarried. Viola's star faded as she entered her thirties, but she turned out a memorable performance in Frank Capra's That Certain Thing (1928). When talkies came in, Viola became another of its victims. She retired from the screen in 1929 after roles in Two Sisters, One Splendid Hour, and The Show of Shows. By the time she made her final film appearance, she had appeared in over 100 films.

Viola Dana died in 1987 from heart failure, aged 90. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6541 Hollywood Boulevard.

Click on the images for a larger view.

Undated postcard

Would love to know what film this is from.

Stars of the Photoplay 1924

Now playing at your local theater - if it's 1920 and you are at DC's Savoy Theater.

Mid-twenties portrait

Portrait from 1918/1919.

Viola Dana - What do you think - Allure?