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Gladys Cooper [1888-1971] in Fancy Dress Greeting Card
Miss Gladys Cooper [1888-1971] in Fancy Dress Greeting Card by FirstNightVintage


Looking into a mirror on her deathbed: ‘If this is what virus pneumonia does to one, I really don’t think I shall bother to have it again.’ IMDb

I do hope this is not apocryphal!


Miss Gladys Cooper Greeting Card
Miss Gladys Cooper [1888-1971] Greeting Card by FirstNightVintage

Unless you’re a theatre buff, you will probably only know Gladys Cooper for her grand ladies on screen such as Bette Davis’ mother, Mrs Henry Vale, in Now, Voyager or Beatrice Lacy in Rebecca.

In Now, Voyager (1942) [Wikipedia]

In Now, Voyager (1942) [Wikipedia]

I always find it enchanting to see how beautiful these wonderful actresses were in their younger days. Have you ever seen a photograph of Ethel Barrymore when young? I think you’ll be surprised. Which reminds me that I have a terrific theatre postcard of her brother John with which I must do something before the century turns.

Available at the following galleries:
Zazzle US
Zazzle UK

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah

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ONE FROM THE ARCHIVE. In view of my recent posts about Maude Fealy, I thought it was time to reblog this article from 2012, partly because I have nothing else prepared!

First Night Design

As I have recently said on Facebook, whenever I sell a theatre-related design on whatever product, my heart leaps. Theatre is in my blood, partly because I spent over 30 years as an actress and partly because I was, as the saying goes, ‘born in a trunk’.  This theatre term used to mean that you were born on tour of theatrical parents and that while other babies spent their days and nights in cribs and prams, you spent yours sustained by the smell of greasepaint and curled up in the theatre’s wardrobe skip, either in the wings or one of  the dressing rooms.  Now it has the more general meaning of having theatrical parentage. I am reminded of another phrase, which was coined by the playwright Tom Robertson, as revealed by Clement Scott in The Drama of Yesterday and Today [Vol. I] (pub. Macmillan & Co, 1899), and of…

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Miss Gladys Cooper Cards
Miss Gladys Cooper Cards by FirstNightVintage
Browse Gladys cooper Cards online at Zazzle.com
For You A Rose Greeting Card
For You A Rose Greeting Card by FirstNightVintage
Shop for For you a rose Cards online at Zazzle.com
Dame Ellen Terry Cards
Dame Ellen Terry Cards by FirstNightVintage
Look at more Ellen terry Cards at zazzle
Wild Geese Greeting Card
Wild Geese Greeting Card by FirstNightVintage
Browse Wild geese Cards online at Zazzle.com
Dear Heart Card
Dear Heart Card by FirstNightVintage
See other Turban Cards at zazzle
Temptation Greeting Cards
Temptation Greeting Cards by FirstNightVintage
Look at more Temptation Cards at zazzle
American Gothic by Grant Wood Print
American Gothic by Grant Wood Print by FirstNightVintage
Look at more Poster templates and designs online at Zazzle

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


It’s the end of the world today, according to the Mayan Calendar. and  Twitter.  I’m still here.  Are you?

Other trends on Twitter today include ‘Favourite Acting Performances’.  As my background is thoroughly theatrical,  you won’t be surprised to learn that I threw myself into the maelström with a vengeance!

Alas, although I sell many cards with theatrical images from my postcard collection, most of those actors and actresses are long dead and I never saw the stage performances that might have enthralled me.

Some,  of course, made films, including Gladys Cooper, whom you may remember in Rebecca,  Separate Tables and  My Fair Lady. Dame Gladys was rather luscious when young, as the above image shows.  To see more of my theatrical collection (there are many I have yet to make available for sale), click here.

Talking of actors, this Wednesday I received an email from someone who had discovered information on my site, Rogues & Vagabonds, about the actor Richard Vernon.  Among much else, Vernon was  the original Slartibartfast in Douglas Adams‘ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (radio & television).

Goldfinger

Richard Vernon as Colonel Smithers & Sean Connery as James Bond in Goldfinger.

This correspondent was writing to tell me that I might like to correct the information I had about Vernon’s date of birth.  Vernon, he said, was born in 1907, not 1925, information that could be confirmed by looking at The Complete James Bond Movie Encyclopaedia by Steven Jay Rubin.  This was my reply:

“Thank you for your email regarding Richard Vernon’s date of birth.  That he was born in 1907 is an anomaly first promulgated by Leslie Halliwell in his original Film Guide and which has never been corrected. Everyone since has taken this as gospel so that the mistake has been replicated everywhere, including the Complete James Bond Movie Encyclopaedia.  I talk with some authority as Richard Vernon was my father.”

Although an amusing instance, it does show how certain writers, or should I say compilers of dictionaries, rely on other publications and fail to do their research.

Naturally enough, one of my tweets under the #FavouriteActingPerformances banner included my father.  While he made many appearances on stage and the small screen that I admired, I think my favourite is good old Slarty, the character who creates the fjords of Norway and reveals that mice are really in control of humans.  But of course they are.

So long, and thanks for all the fish.

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah
• Updated 12:00am 22nd December 2012


As I have recently said on Facebook, whenever I sell a theatre-related design on whatever product, my heart leaps. Theatre is in my blood, partly because I spent over 30 years as an actress and partly because I was, as the saying goes, ‘born in a trunk’.  This theatre term used to mean that you were born on tour of theatrical parents and that while other babies spent their days and nights in cribs and prams, you spent yours sustained by the smell of greasepaint and curled up in the theatre’s wardrobe skip, either in the wings or one of  the dressing rooms.  Now it has the more general meaning of having theatrical parentage. I am reminded of another phrase, which was coined by the playwright Tom Robertson, as revealed by Clement Scott in The Drama of Yesterday and Today [Vol. I] (pub. Macmillan & Co, 1899), and of which I am very fond.  Robertson tells a story about a theatre child who has been “nursed on rose-pink and cradled in properties”.*  Aaah!

Imagine my delight, then, when a customer from the U.S. bought a collection of theatrical greeting cards,  which I created from my archive of vintage postcards.  Yesterday, I was thrilled anew by a slew of similar images selling to a British customer. Palace Theatre of Varieties Greeting Cards

Palace Theatre of Varieties

Varieties & Novelties Greeting Card 

Varieties & Novelties
Both the above are from original late 19th century music hall playbills for the Palace Theatre of Varieties, ‘The Handsomest Music Hall in Europe’. It was originally built as a venue for opera by Richard D’Oyly Carte but only one opera – Arthur Sullivan’s Ivanhoe – was ever produced. The theatre was renamed the Palace Theatre in 1911, a name it retains to this day.

Dame Gladys Cooper (1888-1971), mother of the actor Robert Morley and grandmother of the late theatre critic and writer, Sheridan Morley.
Sir Henry Irving (1838-1905), the first actor to be knighted.
Dame Ellen Terry (1847-1928) as Queen Guinevere in King Arthur at the Lyceum Theatre in 1895
Montage of several late 19th century and early 20th century British actresses.
Top row: Ellen Terry (1847-1928), Irene Vanbrugh (1872-1949), Gladys Cooper (1888-1971), Gabrielle Ray (1883-1973)
Middle Row: Ellaline Terris (1872-1971), Mary Moore (1861-1931), Ellen Terry (1847-1928), Ellen Terry (1847-1928)
Bottom Row: Pauline Chase (1885-1962), Phyllis Broughton (1862 -1926), Phyllis Neilson-Terry (1892-1977), Isabel Jay (1879 – 1927)
Julia Neilson (1863-1957) and Mr Henry Ainley (1879-1945) in Henry of Navarre (1908). Taken from Play Pictorial, an early 20th century equivalent of today’s Theatregoer.

Take care and keep laughing.

About Sarah & First Night Design

*Rose-pink is a lighting gel for the stage; properties are the ‘props’ used by the actors in a production such as a newspaper, a table lighter or a book.

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