Sunday, September 27, 2009

Billie Cassin Part 1

You know her as Lucille LeSueur, or more likely, Joan Crawford. I was fortunate enough to acquire a one-shot magazine from 1931 or 1932 entitled The True Story of Joan Crawford. It is 50 pages of text and pictures, with virtually no advertising except for the back and inside covers. For only 10 cents you could learn everything about her youth and eventual break into pictures.

On page five we learn, "Billie Cassin loved crackers and mustard and little satin ribbons for her hair and lavender dresses. To this day it is not an unusual site in her household to see Joan Crawford help herself to a tin of crackers and a bottle of mustard from the kitchen of her home."

And, " One night Henry Cassin took Billie to his theatre. There were dancers featured that week; gay, whirling, red-and-gold dancers who spun madly to the even madder music. Billie never went back to dancing school after that. She stood in the wings watching them like a child hypnotized. Her wide eyes never left their whirling, twisting bodies. When the woman dancer twisted her body from the stage, Billie Cassin went up to her and threw her small arms about her. "Teach me how, she cried. Teach me.""

Yikes - that is some in depth journalism. But this blog is all about the images, so here are some pictures (along with captions) from the first 25 pages. With no advertising and a 10 cent cover price, this was was printed on paper that is two steps up from newsprint. Sadly, it hasn't worn that well and the pictures suffer accordingly. On the upside, I at least have not seen many of these images before.

Click on the images for a larger view.

This one-shot magazine was published by Dell, who at the time also published Modern Screen and Modern Romances. If fact, those are what are advertised on the inside covers. The publication has no date, but the last film mentioned is Dance, Fools, Dance from 1931. No credit is given for the cover artist.

Page 1.

Billie, Lucille, Joan at age six.

With mom at age eight.

Billie with her brother. While she looks younger than in the two previous pictures, this shot appears four pages later.

Charleston, Charleston, Made in Carolina. Some dance, Some prance, I'll say.

Helping out while appearing in her first picture, 1925's Pretty Ladies.

Dancing was her first love.

Two early publicity shots.

Hoofer trophies.

The captions tell the story.

Publicity stills.

China Bound is from 1929 and as far as I can tell, neither actually appeared in the picture. However, they did star together in 1928's Across to Singapore. Me thinks our flowery reporter may have gotten his locations crossed.

Here is Joan wearing a sweatshirt created by Doug. The picture was quite small so I apologize particularly for this image's quality. However, it is here as a shout out to Raquelle over at Out of the Past - A Classic Film Blog. She posed a question about the fad of hand drawing on sweatshirts during 30's and 40's. I don't know what started the fad, but we see that Hollywood was not immune.

Next post - Images from pages 26 - 50.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Nina Quartero

Nina Quartero was born Gladys Quartararo on March 17, 1908 in New York City. She was of Italian descent. Her career began in the silent era and in her second film, The Red Mark (1928), she was the lead. However, that was her only leading role in a feature film. Some believed her performance and Latin look in Red Mark would make her the next Dolores Del Rio, but along came native Latin Lupe Velez, who along with Raquel Torrres, became Hollywood's next generation of Latin female stars. By the time talkies came along, Nina, with a few exceptions, notably The Bachelor Father (1931), starring Marion Davies, found herself in B westerns and other minor films.

In 1931 Nina appeared as the hot-blooded Mexican in Arizona, a John Wayne film, and Arizona Terror, starring Ken Maynard. She was also in Wayne's The Man From Monterey (1933). When it wasn't westerns it was still in Latin roles like Nura in The Monkey's Paw (1933), Carmencita Alverez in Under Secret Orders (1933), the Cuban phone operator in an uncredited role in Wife vs. Secretary (1936). Her last three films were as a Cuban dancer in Torchy Blane in Panama (1938), a native dancer in Green Hell (1940) and as bargirl Carmencita in A Lady Takes a Chance (1943), a John Wayne western. Nina appeared in 43 films during her career.

Trivia - Nina once tried a publicity stunt by claiming that she was betrothed to Notre Dame All-American Quarterback Frank Carideo. Carideo responded by saying that he knew Quartero from a time when each resided in Mount Vernon, New York. He also visited her home, in Beverly Hills, California, prior to the 1930 University of Southern California game, to exchange greetings. Carideo demanded a retraction of Quartero's engagement announcement.

Nina Quartero died in Woodland Hills, California in 1985.

Click on the images for a larger view.

Red Mark publicity still.

Red Mark publicity still with Gaston Glass.

Screen captures from The Bachelor Father.

Screen captures from Arizona Terror.

Screen captures from The Man from Monterey.

Screen captures and poster from The Cyclone Ranger (1935)

Publicity images from Green Hell - at least that's what my research tells me. The images came separately from the internet, but I put together this little montage. The green tint, images and how they are framed, as well as the poses themselves, all point to Film Fun. If someone knows differently, let me know. I also listed all the screen names Nina used during her career.

Nina Quartero - What do you think - Allure?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Asides - Fall Fashion Fun

Fall is upon us, and it was upon the film community in the early thirties. This post features fashions from two magazines, one from September 1930 and the other from November 1932. We also have another advertising sponsor who promises that selling their product can make you big money in your spare time - possibly electrocuting the users, but that's after the sale, not your problem.

Click on the images for a larger view.

Photoplay, September 1930 - Artist: Earl Christy

The spread features Jeanette MacDonald, Bebe Daniels, Irene Rich, Ann Harding, Natalie Moorehead, Alice White and Marion Davies. We see that a number of the outfits will be seen in upcoming pictures, so keep a sharp eye out while at the cinema.

Motion Picture, November 1932 - Artist: Marland Stone

Greta Nissen, Frances Dee, and Myrna Loy

Marjorie Gateson (don't really know much about her, but she had over 100 film and television appearances) and Adrienne Ames

British born actress Jill Esmond - married to Laurence Oliver from 1930 to 1940

Mary Brian, always pert.

Finally, an ad from our sponsor, Terminal Products. You decide if the company is aptly named.

Screen Book magazine, September 1931

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Elissa Landi

The text that follows is directly from the 1933 British Picture Show annual. It accompanies the picture shown in this post, but the text is very small. After reading it, I decided it would make a good opening and OCR'd it.

Until she was nineteen, Elissa Landi thought she was English. Then she realised that officially she was an Austrian citizen. It happened like this—her mother's first husband was Richard Kuhnelt, an Austrian, Elissa's father ; her second was Count Zenardi Landi, also an Austrian, who had taken out English naturalisation papers. He adopted his stepdaughter, who changed her name to Landi and assumed that she had also taken his naturalised nationality until considerable confusion resulted over a matter of passports. It was pointed out that she was legally an Austrian, but the Austrian government by this time considered that she was English. This problem Elissa Landi finally settled by marrying John Lawrence, an English barrister about whose nationality there was no question.

Although it is as an actress that Elissa Landi has won most fame, she took up the stage merely as a means to an end. She had always wanted to be a novelist and playwright, but she found the technique of the theatre a little difficult, so in order to overcome this joined a repertory company. This began her successful stage career, which she left to appear in films in France, Sweden, England and later, America, where she has made "Body and Soul," " Always Goodbye," " Wicked," and " The Yellow Passport." Elissa Landi is a trained dancer, a clever pianist, has a charming mezzo-soprano voice, speaks French, Italian and German fluently, and is an expert motorist. Born in Venice on December 6th, 1904, she is the grand-daughter of Elizabeth of Bavaria, wife of the Emperor Franz Josef of Austria. She has golden-brown hair and green eyes.

End of Picture Show annual text.

Picture Show annual - 1933

Looking at Elissa's Hollywood career, it is quite impressive when you realize she had mostly starring or second lead roles, and worked with many of the most talented actors and actresses of the time. What follows are the Hollywood films where she was the female lead; Elissa had previously appeared in ten films in Europe and Great Britain beginning in 1926.

* Body and Soul (1931) - opposite Charles Farrell
* Always Goodbye (1931) - opposite Lewis Stone
* Wicked (1931) - opposite Victor McLaglen
* The Yellow Ticket (1931) - opposite Lionel Barrymore/Laurence Olivier
* Devil's Lottery (1932) - opposite Victor McLaglen (again)
* The Woman in Room 13 (1932) - opposite Ralph Bellamy.
* A Passport to Hell (1932) - opposite Paul Lucas
* The Sign of the Cross (1932) - opposite Fredric March
* The Warrior's Husband (1933) - opposite David Manners
* I Loved You Wednesday (1933) - opposite Warner Baxter
* The Masquerader (1933) - opposite Ronald Colman
* By Candlelight (1933) - opposite Paul Lucas (again)
* Man of Two Worlds (1934) - opposite Francis Lederer
* Sisters Under the Skin (1934) - opposite Frank Morgan
* The Great Flirtation (1934) - opposite Adolphe Menjou
* The Count of Monte Cristo (1934) - opposite Robert Donat
* Enter Madame (1935) - opposite Cary Grant
* Without Regret (1935) - opposite Paul Cavanagh
* The Amateur Gentleman (1936) - opposite D. Fairbanks Jr. (Brit. prod.)
* Mad Holiday (1936) - opposite Edmund Lowe.

Twenty-three Hollywood films, twenty leads; not bad.

Following Mad Holiday, Elissa appeared in After the Thin Man (1936). There were three more films and then Elissa left Hollywood behind and concentrated on writing, producing six novels and books of poetry. Elissa succumbed to cancer on October 21, 1948. She was 43 years old.

Click on the images for a larger view.

The New Movie Magazine December 1931 - Artist: Andreas Randal

The New Movie Magazine December 1931

The New Movie Magazine December 1931 - Ad for The Yellow Ticket

Publicity still for Body and Soul

Publicity Still for A Passport To Hell.

Publicity Still for Sign of the Cross.
Quite a change from being in Wicked, The Devil's Lottery, and A Passport To Hell.

Early and mid thirties cigarette cards - not that you would recognize her in the Gallaher card.

Movie Classic magazine - April 1933

Publicity still for Sisters Under The Skin

Screenland Magazine - March 1934

Screenland Magazine - June 1934

Elissa Landi - What do you think - Allure?