Posts Tagged ‘Gibson Girl’

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Camille Clifford, a ‘Gibson Girl,’ London, 1904/05

May 5, 2015

Camille Clifford (Camilla Antoinette Clifford, 1885-1971), Belgian-born, Scandinavian/American-raised, English theatrical celebrity, as a Gibson Girl. In 1906 she married the Hon. Henry Lyndhurst Bruce (1881-1914) and retired from the stage.
(photo: W. & D. Downey, London, 1904/05; postcard no. 467C in the Rotary Photographic Series, published in London by The Rotary Photographic Co Ltd, 1904/05)

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The Hon. Mrs Lyndhurst Bruce, formerly known as Camille Clifford, the Gibson Girl, on her return to the United States in 1916 and remarriage, 1917

March 24, 2014

The Hon. Mrs Lyndhurst Bruce, formerly Camille Clifford (1885-1971), Belgian-born, Scandinavian/American-raised, English theatrical celebrity and ‘Gibson Girl,’ on her return to the United States in 1916 and remarriage, 1917.
(photo: Bassano, London, circa 1914, print by Bains News Service, 32 Union Square East, New York, New York, 1916/17)

‘CAMILLE CLIFFORD (Hon. Mrs Lyndhurst Bruce), whose husband was killed in the war, returned to American Jan. 9 [1916] on the Adriatic.’
(The New York Clipper, New York, New York, Saturday, 15 January 1916, p. 15a)

‘LONDON AT A GLANCE. EX-STAGE BEAUTY TO WED AGAIN.
‘LONDON, Eng., July 25 [1917]. – Mrs. Henry L. Bruce, formerly the famous stage beauty Camille Clifford, will be married on August 9 to Capt. John M.J. Evans, of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. On October 11, 1906, Camille Clifford, sometimes called ”The Gibson Girl,” was married to Capt. Henry Lyndhurst Bruce, eldest son and heir to Lord Aberdeen [Aberdare], who was killed in battle December 14, 1914.’
(The New York Clipper, New York, New York, Saturday, 1 August 1917, p. 14d)

‘LONDON AT A GLANCE. CAMILLE CLIFFORD RE-MARRIES.
‘LONDON, Eng., Aug. 9 [1917]. – Mrs. Henry Lyndhurst Bruce, formerly known to the stage as Camille Clifford, was married today to Captain John M.J. Evans, of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. Her first husband was killed in action while serving as a captain of the Royal Scouts.’
(The New York Clipper, New York, New York, Saturday, 15 August 1917, p. 12d)

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Phyllis Dare as Peggy in The Dairymaids, 1907-1908

October 8, 2013

Phyllis Dare (1890-1975), English actress, singer and star of musical comedy as she appeared in The Dairymaids, a farcical musical play, with music by Paul Rubens and Frank E. Tours, 1907-1908
(photo: Foulsham & Banfield, London, 1907/08)

The Dairymaids was first produced by Robert Courtneidge at the Apollo Theatre, London, on 14 April 1906, with Carrie Moore in the leading role of Peggy. The piece ran for 239 performances and closed on 8 December 1906. Courtneidge organized various tours of The Dairymaids, including one for the autumn of 1907 which began at the Gaiety Theatre, Douglas, Isle of Man, on Monday, 19 August, with Phyllis Dare playing Peggy. Miss Dare was obliged to abandon her appearances for two weeks (Belfast and Sheffield) because of laryngitis, when the part of Peggy was taken by Violet Lloyd.

After a break during the Christmas season of 1907/08, during which Phyllis Dare appeared with Carrie Moore, Gwennie Hasto, Esta Stella, Rosie Berganine, John Humphries, Dan Rolyat, Stephen Adeson and Fred Leslie junior in the pantomime Cinderella at the Theatre Royal, Birmingham, she was again seen as Peggy in The Dairymaids. The production opened at the Queen’s Theatre, London, on 5 May 1908 for a run of 83 performances and closed on 18 July 1908.

* * * * *

‘LONDON, May 13 [1908]… . Revival of The Dairymaids this week at the Queen’s, the newest of London theaters, brings up that precocious little actress, Phyllis Dare, who, although she has been an established London favorite for three years, is only 19 years old. She has more ”puppy” adorers than any other woman on the English stage. The junior ”Johnnydom” goes mad over her, assures her of a well-filled house whenever she appears, and buys her postcards in thousands. It was the fair haired Phyllis who was summoned back from boarding school in Belgium when only 17 years of age to assume Edna May’s part in The Belle of Mayfair, when that independent American actress threw up her part because of the importance given to Camille Clifford, the original ”original” Gibson girl. The papers made so much of the fact that the little Phyllis’s studies had been interrupted by the siren call of Thespis that she packed the playhouse for many weeks with a curious public, many of whom had never before heard her name. Now I hear that Miss Dare will shortly essay the role of Juliet at a special matinee to be arranged by Robert Courtneidge, her manager.’
(Deseret Evening News, Salt Lake City, Utah, Saturday, 23 May 1908, p. 16c)

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Fred Spencer burlesques a Gibson Girl, 1905

August 4, 2013

Fred Spencer (fl. 1890s-after 1949), English comedian, concert party entertainer and pantomime dame in costume as a Gibson Girl
(photo: J. White & Son, Littlehampton, East Sussex, probably 1905)

Dick Whittington, pantomime, The King’s Theatre, Hammersmith, Saturday, 23 December 1905
‘Mr. Fred Spencer introduces a capital burlesque of The Gibson Girl and as Martha Mixit, FitzWarren’s Housekeeper, supplies much mirth.’ Other members of the cast were Carlotta Levey in the title role, Harry Rogerson as Jack Idle and Maude Noel as Alice, Rhoda Ray as the Princess, Harry Kilburn as Alderman Fitzwarren and Johnny Fuller as the Cat.
(The Stage, London, 4 January 1906, p. 17a/b)

‘Fred Spencer.
‘Fred Spencer tells us that he is retiring from active work on the stage after a career extending over forty years. In his time he was one of the most popular of pantomime dames, and for many years enjoyed success as a seaside entertainer, spending twenty-one seasons at Littlehampton, seven at Paignton, ten at Seaford, and seven at Clacton. In more recent times he toured a three-act comedy with Gilbert Payne, which ran for over three years and his interpretation of the Mrs. ‘Arris character of C.B. Poultney made him known to many audiences. Mr. Spencer will retain the ”Mrs. ‘Arris” rights, but the part will in future be played by Dorothy Hildebrande.’
(The Stage, London, Thursday, 9 July 1931, p. 4b)

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Camille Clifford

June 25, 2013

Camille Clifford (1885-1971), Belgian-born, Scandinavian/American-raised, English theatrical celebrity, as a Gibson Girl, in The Belle of Mayfair, Vaudeville Theatre, London, 1906
(photo: Bassano, London, 1906)

‘Miss Camille Clifford was so annoyed by a crowd at Bristol that she took refuge in a confectioner’s shop. We have known actresses to do the same even without the pressure of a crowd.’
(The Sporting Times, London, Saturday, 10 November 1906, p. 1b)

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Maude Odell

April 27, 2013

Maude Odell (fl. early 20th century), English model of feminine beauty, ‘the Original Sandow Girl’ (not to be confused with the American actress of the same name)
(photo: Bassano, London, 1906)

The references to Sandow and the body beautiful are to the internationally acclaimed German-born strongman and athlete, Eugene Sandow (1867-1925) who was billed as ‘The Most Powerful Man on Earth.’ Through his popular act he created something of a fad during the early years of the twentieth century for healthy living. It should also be noted that the shapely, white-clad beauties known as Sandow Girls – theatrical successors to Gibson Girls – first made their appearance in the farcical musical play, The Dairymaids at the Apollo Theatre, London, on 14 April 1906. In one scene they (played by Minna Moore, Dorothy Ward and others) and Carrie Moore, the leading lady of the show, were discovered exercising with ropes, punch-bags and dumbbells. The Dairymaids ran successfully until December that year, by which time Maude Odell had already made her mark at the Palace.

Palace Theatre of Varieties, London, November 1906.
‘The Palace had added a very agreeable item to its already amusing programme. It consists of the fine poses of a lady who is known variously as “Galatea,” “La Statue Humaine,” and Miss Maude Odell. Under whichever name you care to take her, or by any other, she remains sweet, delicate, attractive. The pictures which she realises in her, apparently, marble figure are extremely various. “The Dancer,” after Tadolini, in the Villa Borghesi, is very charming; Lord Leighton’s “Bath of Psyche” is well realised; the Luxembourg “Salambo” is another difficult pose remarkably well carried out. But each of the eight pictures are worth seeing. Music by Mr. Herman Finck and odes from the graceful pen of Mr. Clifton Bingham grace the production.’
(The Bystander, London, Wednesday, 7 November 1906, p.473b)

American Music Hall, New York City, January 1909
‘Maud Odell did not win any marked favour in her sketch, The Chamelion. The offering is so unpromising that comment is uncalled for. The posing of Miss Odell, however, was artistic and quite pleasing.
(The New York Dramatic Mirror, New York, Saturday, 16 January 1909, p.17d)

‘As she travels, Maud Odell, the English model of feminine proportions, has wrought out a definition of beauty in connection with which she has chosen to criticise American women. “Beauty is health,” she is credited with saying. “American women are not beautiful because they are anaemic. The cheeks are pale, their steps are not sprightly, they look as though they never drew a long, deep breath that swept the lungs. Americans should be the most beautiful of women because they have natural style and they are clever and vivacious. But they worship intellect and neglect the body.”’
(The New York Dramatic Mirror, New York, Saturday, 13 February 1909, p.2c)

Maude Odell
a half-tone photograph of ‘Miss Maude Odell (the Original Sandow Girl)’ published probably in 1906 by Weiners of London. The remainder of the caption reads, ‘Now appearing at the Palace Theatre, London as “Galatea” (La Statue Humaine), a Type of Beauty attained by the use of the “Sandow Symmetrion.”’
(photo: Wykeham, Balham, London, circa 1906)

Blaney’s Lincoln Square Theatre, New York City, February/March 1909
‘Maude Odell made her reappearance at Blaney’s Lincoln Square last week, in what was reported as a new act written and staged by James R. Gary. The posings were practically new, but the act is laid pretty much along the same lines as the old one. William H. Turner, Harold La Coste, and Daisy Chaplin gave adequate support with little to do. Miss Odell was greatly appreciated in her poses, but what is the reason for the sketch infliction? She could score a much greater hit with the elimination of this part. The poses included “The Water Carrier,” “Night,” “Skating,” “The Snake Charmer,” “Ode to Bacchus,” and “Beauty and the Beast.” Her supporting models contributed “A Fantasy, “Springtime,” “At the Seashore,” “Cupid and Venus,” and the concluding ensemble tableaux, “The Maid at the Bath.”’
(The New York Dramatic Mirror, New York, Saturday, 6 March 1909, p.9a)

Blaney’s Lincoln Square Theatre, New York City, March 1909
‘Maude Odell followed and received more applause than last week. Some of the poses were new ones and caused much favourable comment.’
(The New York Dramatic Mirror, New York, 13 March 1909, p.12b)

Blaney’s Lincoln Square Theatre, New York City, March 1909
‘Maude Odell, assisted by her six models, was seen in her newest posing act, The Maid at the Bath. As already stated in The Mirror, the sketch is stupid. The posings are well conceived and cleverly carried into effect. Miss Odell is seen to better advantage than heretofore and the entire offering is vastly superior to her former one.’
(The New York Dramatic Mirror, New York, Saturday, 20 March 1909, p.9d)

‘Why They Don’t Clap.
”’Have you seen the near perfect woman, Maude Odell?” she asked. ”No. You ought to see her. And if you want to be really amused, you ought to go and watch the men gazing at her wide-eyed, the men with their wives. They are taking in all her perfect points, but they are afraid to applied her on account of their wives. That beautiful, near perfect woman leaves the stage nearly every time without a handclap on account of the wives.”’
(Chillicothe Constitution, Chillicothe, Missouri, Saturday, 27 March 1909, p. 6d)

‘Most Perfect Woman in the World Is Here
‘Maude Odell, Who Won $10,000 Beauty Prize, Says It’s Easy to Be Handsome.
”’Every woman can be as perfectly formed as I am,” is the good news Maude Odell brings to dissatisfied femininity. The steady, truthful look in her large, clear brown eyes as she made the statement in the atrium at the Claypool [Indianapolis] Friday added its testimony to the conviction in her voice. She was having a week’s rest from vaudeville and was enjoying it.
‘It was at a little four-cornered dinner in honor of her birthday. ”Honest truth, I don’t have a birthday in every city I play,” she said in a rather startled tone, ”for I’m not that anxious to grow old.”
‘After some gallant bantering on the part of the men in the party to the effect that if she told her real age the local branch of the Gerry Society would get after the management of the Colonial Theatre, where she is to pose in living pictures this week, for allowing a child to appear on the stage in violation of any child labor laws that may exist here. Miss Odell, swearing all to secrecy, told her age. And it hasn’t been more than a decade since she was ”sweet sixteen,” either.
”’No, I’m not a crank on diet, for behold!” she said, daintily spearing a generous bit of indigestible lobster with a fork. The lobster went the way of other indigestibles, and the dinner ended with the only tribute to the ancient gods that have ruled beauties since Cleopatra’s time, a glass of milk.
‘Women Made to Be Attractive.
”’The real thing is exercise,” she went on. ”From my earliest recollection my father instilled into my mind always that women were made to be attractive. I pondered on his teachings even when a small child, and when he died I sought out Eugene Sandow and told him I wanted to be a perfect woman.
”’Sandow was struck with the novelty of a girl of 14 having that as a life ambition, and he and Mrs. Sandow took me in. I soon became their favorite pupil, and it is they who set me on the road to reach my life’s ambition.
”’After exhausting their methods I devised methods of my own, and today my system enables me to keep every one of my dimensions to a hair’s breadth.”
‘Miss Odell in her big picture hat and beautifully fitting black dress was a magnificent sight, and the lobster added to her attractiveness, showing that all this beauty was human.
”’It’s proportion that makes beauty,” she went on. It must not be supposed that she gave all this in the form of a lecture, for it was a birthday dinner, a very informal one, and her ideas on beauty were doled out in snatches, sandwiched in between bits of conversation on all sorts of common, everyday subjects.
”’It’s proportion that makes beauty, and a girl four feet high can be as beautiful as the regulation five-feet, eight-inch woman. Taking her height as a basis she should develop her other dimensions to correspond, and that is what I have succeeded in doing.”
‘Miss Odell, unlike the majority of physical culturists, neither swims nor rides horseback. Both exercises she considered detrimental to proper development, each tending to develop certain special muscles out of proportion to others.
‘She loves automobiling, but, unlike the vast majority of her sister artists of the stage, she admits that she is an amateur when it comes to running a machine. During her stay in Indianapolis she intends to take a spin on the Motor Speedway, but she will insist that the machine be under the guidance of an expert chauffeur. She has a horror of taxicabs, having been held up in Brooklyn not so very long ago for $12 for a single trip, though she admits she and her companion were partly to blame for insisting on a circuitous route when the conscience-stricken chauffeur wanted to drive direct.
‘Masters American Slang.
‘Miss Odell is English through and through, and talks with a strong English accent. During her residence in New York, however, where she has been a sensational vaudeville headliner, she has picked up a number of Americanisms.
”’How do you heat your flat?” she asked a local member of the party. ”’With hot air,” was the answer.
”’I hope you don’t furnish the hot air yourself,” she flashed.
‘Her mastery of American slang startled the Indianapolis members of the party and made her English manager open his eyes.
‘She has acquired the soda fountain habit – the ”American” soda fountain in England, be it noted, is a painful joke to American tourists who have been inveigled into investing in the wretched stuff dispensed – but she has not yet mastered the American sandwich habit, though she is taking lessons. She had her first roast beef sandwich a few days ago and found it very much to her taste.
‘Before coming to America, where, by the way, she will locate permanently, Miss Odell was a sensation in the capitals of Europe – London, Paris and Berlin. The winning of the $10,000 prize for the finest physical specimen of young womanhood was an incident.
‘Artists raved over her when she posed in living pictures, even the Berlin artists, the hardest in the world to please. She has had many tempting offers to pose for paintings and statuary, but has accepted none of them.
”’The only think I have consented to is to have a cast made of me for the British Museum,” she said. ”I have consented to that in order that my proportions may be permanently preserved.”’
(C.J.B., The Indianapolis Sunday Star, Indianapolis, Indiana, Sunday, Society & Stage, 23 January 1910, p. 1b-e)

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Russell Wallett, ‘The Lady in Black’

January 11, 2013

Russell Wallett (1867-1912)
English actor, music hall entertainer and female impersonator,
as a ‘Gibson Girl’
(photo: unknown, UK, circa 1906; half-tone publicity postcard)

Russell Wallett appears as an extra turn at the London Coliseum, February 1908
‘Mr. Russell Wallett appeared on Monday afternoon as an extra turn at the Coliseum. Dressed as a lady, he played the piano and sang. For his sudden lapse into masculinity few were prepared, and he scored a distinct success, especially in his advice to the girls.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 4 April 1908, p. 19a)