Saturday, June 27, 2009

Asides: Covers, Cards, and Cocoa

Here is another grouping of recent and not so recent postcard and magazine acquisitions from our favorite era, guaranteed to brighten your day. There are no new faces, but what alluring faces they are.

Click on the images for a larger view.

New Movie 1931 quarterly - Artist: Jules Erbit
This quarterly has photos of the stars, brief bios and autographs. There are 62 actors and actresses pictured.

Screenland magazine, February 1933 - Artist: Charles Sheldon

Photoplay, September 1934 - Artist: Earl Christy

Screenland magazine, August 1934 - Artist: Charles Sheldon

Love that clutch, and the shoes match.

The house she had built in Los Angeles was modeled after the White House, quite a step up from a childhood spent in poverty.

Elegant and alluring as usual.

Anita and Ramon appeared together in 1929's The Flying Fleet.

La Jana's card is one of the "jumbo" cards that the Ross company produced. It's about 25% larger than a standard postcard. La Jana of course, still kept her outfits small.

Yes, yes, yet another postcard of my girl Edwina Booth.

This is an example of a handtinted (painted) card. Tinted cards were not infrequent, but sold for a bit more. This particular card is also oversize, though not from Ross.

Nothing better on a cool evening that a nice mug of cocoa shared with Billie or Bebe.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Lona Andre

Lona Andre was born Launa Anderson in Nashville, Tennessee on March 2, 1915. Hollywood initially saw promise in Lona and she was named as one of the WAMPAS Baby Stars of 1932. She was signed to a movie contract by Paramount Pictures and was promoted in 1933's International House, but actually had only a small role as the featured performer in an extravagant nightclub revue. When Paramount did not renew her option, Lona found herself working for a number of studios, mostly smaller "B" houses.

The 40 films she appeared in during the 30's included College Humor (1933), with a cast starring Bing Crosby and Burns and Allen, Take A Chance (1933), starring James Dunn, whom it seems Lona left standing at the altar, School For Girls (1934), two uncredited roles in both Murder at the Vanities (1934) and The Merry Widow (1934), and in Our Relations (1936), starring Laurel and Hardy. It is also noted that Lona was a runner-up in Paramount's Panther Woman contest to land the coveted role opposite Charles Laughton in Island of Lost Souls (1933).

In her personal life, aside from the James Dunn incident, Lona eloped to marry MGM actor Ed Norris in 1935 , but filed for an annulment just four days later. An avid golfer, in 1938 she set a world's golfing record for women by shooting 156 holes of golf in 11 hours and 56 minutes on the Lake Norconian, California course.

Loan's acting career was virtually over by the 40's. From then on she was seen in only small or uncredited roles in seven films. After her screen career and one more marriage that ended in divorce, she successfully ran her own North Hollywood real estate business.

Lona died September 18, 1992.

Click on the Images for a larger view.

Motion Picture magazine, October 1933

Motion Picture magazine, October 1933

Photoplay, February 1934

Picture Play, March 1934 Artist: Victor Tchetchet.

International House (1933) opening credits frame grab.

Publicity still for International House.

Publicity still for Our Relations (1936)

Lona always looks good, even in films long forgotten.
PS - it's probably good, bad, or just plain weird that I have all these films.

Lona Andre - What do you think - Allure?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Mystery Guest #4

Welcome to Mystery Guest #4. This time it will be a rolling post, with one new image and clue added each day to help you guess. Two of the last three mystery guests were identified fairly quickly, while the third wasn't guessed at all and I had to "give her up".

I am asking that if you you think you know who it is, don't post it to the comments, but drop me an email. I will post any guesses and if one of you astute visitors is correct, you will be given the proper accolades when the week is out.

Here we go. The first clue is that our mystery guest appeared in 12 films, often in the lead or second lead female role.

Day 2 - The clue: Two of the twelve films by this actress are still commercially available, and one through specialty dealers. See comment for another clue.

Frame grab from one her commercially available films.

Day 3 - Here is an image of our guest from the 1933 Picture Show annual, a British publication. She did make some films in Britain. See comment number 2 for additional data.

Day 4 - Here is a lovely undated publicity still. No new guesses today. I hope someone else identifies our actress before the week is out. Today's clue - all twelve of her films were made between 1930 and 1934. Remember, if you have a guess, send me an e-mail rather than a comment.
I want that clock!

Day 5 - Well looks like I have to give a bit more information to help ya'll along. She was born in China, six years before Olivia de Havilland was born in Japan, but our guest was educated in Europe and Great Britain. She appears in one film with Burns and Allen.

Opps - I accidentally removed the copy from this 1932 image found in Movie Classic magazine.

Day 6- the last set of clues did the trick. Received two e-mails this morning with the correct answer. I know it still took a bit of sleuthing, and congratulate those who solved the identity of the Mystery Guest. All is now revealed and please read the 3rd comment to see who correctly named Sari Maritza. See her bio here.

Here are a few more images of Sari.

Silver Screen magazine, January 1933 - a publicity photo for Evenings for Sale (released in November 1932), starring Herbert Marshall.

This is a frame grab from International House (1933), the film she appeared in with Burns and Allen and many popular stars of the day.

Publicity still from 1933

Sari Maritza - What do you think - Allure?

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Virginia Bruce

Helen Virginia Briggs was born in Minnesota in 1910, but grew up in Fargo, North Dakota. Following high school, she enrolled in a woman's college in California, but was quickly drawn to film. Virginia first landed uncredited parts at M-G-M in eight films in 1929, with her first appearance in Fugitives, a silent starring Madge Bellamy. Virginia is easily recognizable as one of Jeanette MacDonald's ladies in waiting in The Love Parade (1929) and as a "Goldwyn Girl" (along with Betty Grable) in Whoopee (1931). It was while at MGM, that she met and in 1932 married John Gilbert, bearing his child in 1933, and getting a divorce in 1934. However, prior to the marriage she honed her skills by spending some time on Broadway, appearing in the musical Smiles (Nov 18, 1930 - Jan 10, 1931), followed by America's Sweetheart, (Feb 10, 1931 - Jun 6, 1931).

The size of her roles increased in the early 1930s, and in 1934 she was awarded her first major lead on loan-out to Monogram in the title role of Jane Eyre, which co-starred Colin Clive. Though this version of Jane Eyre is generally regarded as a complete failure, Virginia was credited with making the film bearable due to her good looks and acting ability. Unfortunately, as it often happens with actresses then and now, she was given fewer good roles as she got older. However, in 1936, she was give the chance to play a character based on Marilyn Miller in The Great Ziegfeld (1936) and shined in the "A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody" scene. That same year she introduced the Cole Porter standard "I've Got You Under My Skin" in the film Born to Dance. Of Virginia's 79 appearances on screen, 56 were made prior to 1940. It should be noted that in the thirties she did appear with some of the leading actors of the day, including Ricardo Cortez in Shadow of Doubt (1935), Arsene Lupin Returns (1938) with Melvyn Douglas and Warren William, and early on with John Gilbert in Downstairs (1932), and in Kongo (1932) with Walter Houston.

Virginia had a few roles in television in the 50's, but basically retired from acting. Her last film was Strangers When We Meet (1960). Virginia died February 24, 1982.

Click on the images for a larger view.

Movie Classic magazine - September, 1932
That tentative look on Virginia's face would prove justified.

Cinelandia magazine - January, 1933

Publicity still from Arsene Lupine Returns

Publicity still from Kongo.

I have only seen one other Virginia Bruce cigarette card, but there may be more.

Let' em Have It (1935) frame captures.

The Garden Murder Case (1936) frame captures.

There Goes My Heart (1938) frame captures.

The Invisible Woman (1940) frame captures.

Early publicity still.

Virginia Bruce - What do you think - Allure?