WalterFilm Insights and News

The four gifted LGBTQ individuals featured in this month’s blog made significant contributions in their respective fields during the first half of the 20th Century.

Dorothy Arzner, a Lesbian, was, from 1927 until her retirement from feature film directing in 1943, the only female feature film director working in Hollywood for the better part of her career.

Julian Eltinge, an American stage and film actor and female impersonator was a star in vaudeville, on Broadway (where a theater was named after him) and became one of the highest paid actors in silent films. 

George Francis Peduzzi, known professionally as Karyl Norman, was also a female impersonator who was popular in vaudeville, nightclubs, on Broadway  and throughout Europe in the 1920s and 30s.

Anna Sosenko. was best known as a songwriter of “Darling, Je Vous Aime Beaucoup,” which she wrote for Hildegarde — the incomparable Hildegarde, which was the name that  Walter Winchell gave her. For 20 years Sosenko, was Hildegarde’s manager and companion and was responsible for turning the “luscious, hazel-eyed Milwaukee blonde who sings the way Garbo looks” into the chanteuse Eleanor Roosevelt  nicknamed the “First Lady of the Supper Clubs.” 

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The Saint - Halloween - WalterFiilm.com

Created for Manhattan’s famous gay disco, The Saint, this stunning poster archive consists of 33 extraordinary pieces and date from 1982 through 2004. The super club (as it was originally designated) opened September 30, 1980 and closed April 30, 1988. However, its spirit, the music and, of course, the dancing and everything that went with it, continues on as The Saint At Large.

These pop-up events included the infamous Black and White Parties and annual Halloween and New Year’s Eve fantasy extravaganzas. As a club, The Saint pushed the limits of the experience and architecture of the discotheque, and its design created an environment for gay men to live openly and find a sense of community. Its importance in New York’s LGBT movement is now recognized by the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project

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Dorothy Dandridge - African Americans Actress and Singer - WalterFilm

Dorothy Jean Dandridge (November 9, 1922 – September 8, 1965) was an American film and theatre actresssinger, and dancer. She is one of the earliest black movie stars and the first woman of color to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress, which was for her performance in Carmen Jones (1954). 

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One of the most interesting yet lesser-known motion picture collectible is the Exhibitor Book, Pressbook or Presskit. As exemplified by the Blade Runner Presskit above, containing 18 supplements (78 pp. in all, stapled together), 21 photos, which vary from 6 ¼ x 10” (16 x 26 cm.) to 7 ¾ x 10” (20 x 26 cm.), and the original printed studio envelope in which the presskit was mailed, its purpose was to help promote the film.

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June is Pride Month celebrating our LGBTQ community and its history. In its honor, WalterFilm.com presents six posters of performers and plays that reflect LGBTQ’s diversity and creativity. From Dame Judith Anderson, doyenne of the classical American stage, fulfilling her long-held desire to, at the age of seventy-three, play the title role in Hamlet, to Charles Ludlam’s first playwriting venture, Big Hotel, that became the unofficial manifesto of his Ridiculous Theater Company’s artistic creed, we are to pleased to highlight their courage and contribution.


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Treemonisha - Scott Joplin

African American Musical Theater

Background:

Before the turn of the 20thth Century the idea of Black Musical Theater was a second-hand treatment of black life created by European-American performers, performing stereotyped “coon songs” in blackface.  This began to change as African American composers and lyrists such as Will Marion Cook and Bob Cole brought black-written musical comedy to Broadway in 1898.

Cook’s Clorindy, or The Origin of the Cake Walk, an hour-long sketch, was the first all-black musical to play in a prestigious Broadway house, Casino Theatre‘s Roof Garden. Cole’s A Trip to Coontown was the first full-length New York musical comedy written, directed and performed exclusively by blacks. 

Bob Cole and brothers John Rosamond Johnson and James Weldon Johnson focused on elevating the lyrical sophistication of African American songs. Their first collaboration was “Louisiana Lize”, a love song written in a new lyrical style that left out the watermelons, razors, and “hot mamas” typical of earlier “coon songs.”

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WalterFilm.com - Shirley Temple & Judy Garland

Hollywood Movie Memorabilia encompasses a fascinating range of material that appeals to an extraordinary number of collectors from almost every country.

In last December’s blog, “1939 – HOLLYWOOD’S GOLDEN YEAR OF MOVIES & DOLLS,” Woolsey Ackerman (Walter Films’ Film Researcher & Curator) shared an article he wrote for the 2019 United Federation of Doll Clubs Convention Souvenir Journal.” It focused on the dolls that related to the classic movies and stars of 1939 that were available for purchase during that Christmas season.

A good number of our readers expressed how much they enjoyed reading it and we thought that, given our current trying time, not unlike the Great Depression, Woolsey might like to share his thoughts and his extraordinary collection of dolls celebrating two of the greatest stars of that period, now icons of the entertainment world: Shirley Temple and Judy Garland.

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Jayne Country Singer

by David Ehrenstein

The Stonewall riots were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the gay (LGBT) community against a police raid that began in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City. They are widely considered to constitute the most important event leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBT rights in the United States. Wikipedia

What followed in the 1970’s was a rising tide of LGBTQ performers that “came out” to express their unique take on music, theater and sexual (transgender) identity. Here are 10 of those performers and a brief look at what they contributed to the movement and to our culture. Click on the image to learn more about the performer.

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Miles Davis Jazz Musicians

by Bill Reed

In the first half of the 20th century these eight, great black jazz musicians, who helped to create one of America’s unique contributions to the musical canon, come alive in the wonderful posters, photographs and promotional pieces that are part of WalterFilms’ collection of African Americana. Jazz, a music genre that originated in the African American community, is known for its soulfulness and complex musical variations. Click on an image to view offering.

MILES DAVIS

Background

One of the greats in the pantheon of African Americana is Miles Davis (seen above). Davis picked up the trumpet at age 13. Before it was all over, he’d won just about every honor and glory a jazz musician can achieve, including six Grammys and numerous best-selling albums. The Grammy Hall of Fame inducted ten of his releases, including 1949’s Birth of the Cool and, from a decade later, Kind of Blue. *

The groundwork above and much more was laid down when, in 1944, he relocated to New York City. He soon became part of the wellspring of the new jazz sound, known as be-bop. His contemporaries included the likes of bandleader Billy Eckstine, alto sax giant Charlie Parker and trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie.

Before long, Davis became well-known enough to start up his own small music group. It included name musicians, like Sonny Rollins and Art Blakey. Its descriptive title . . . “The New Sounds.”

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2020 New York International Antiquarian Book Fair

Rare & Valuable Books, Manuscripts, Autographs, Graphics, Photographs, Print Ephemera & Much More

From March 5-8, 2020, Walter Reuben Inc. can be found in Booth D20 at the 60th Anniversary New York International Antiquarian Book Fair located, as always, in the  legendary Park Avenue Armory, Manhattan at 643 Park Avenue (between 66th and 67th Street).

Our focus is on the glorious history of the European and Hollywood motion picture business as well as African American cultural history, black memorabilia and LGBTQ social history. As a result, we will be featuring the finest selection of vintage original movie postersmovie star photoslobby cardsmovie scripts & rare books, Hollywood movie memorabilia, African Americana and LGBTQ cultural history.

Here is a sampling of the areas that Walter Reuben represents:

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