Charlie Chaplin Cinema Film Photography

James Abbe – Celebrity Photographer 1920’s-30’s

James Abbe – 1883-1973

James Abbe deserves his place in the hall of fame of great photographers for the two important strands of his career: as portraitist to the glittering stars of the 1920’s world of theater and film, and as a pioneer American Photojournalist observing firsthand the dramatically changing European cultural and political situation in his various travels throughout the late 1920s and 1930s.

Abbe was lured to the limelight of the east and west coast film studios of America and the theater stages of New York, London and Paris. In each place, he managed to encapsulate the illusions of performance into still visions of enchantment.

Russian film director Serge Eisenstein 1927  ©2019 James Abbe Archive

The first film star Abbe photographed was Marguerite Clark. Although now more or less forgotten, Clark was one of the highest-paid and most popular stars of her day. The New York Times ranked his as one of “the big four”, her fame rivaled that of Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, and Douglas Fairbanks Sr., all of whom Abbe also captured.

Charlie Chaplin in The Pilgrim ©2019 James Abbe Archive

Perhaps his most enduring relationship in the film world was with the Gish sisters. Lillian Gish is thought to be the greatest dramatic actress of the silent era, and her sister Dorothy, capable of a wide range of acting styles, was one of the greatest comediennes of the time.

Anna Pavlova ©2019 James Abbe Archives

Abbe visited Hollywood in 1920 and 1922 where he took portraits of Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin, and also directed a film for Mack Sennett. After working for seven months on location in Italy with Ronald Colman – Lillian Gish film ‘The White Sister“(1923), Abbe made his base in Paris. His main reputation as a theater photographer preceded him and soon he was gravitating towards the best in French theatre and revue, including the Dolly Sisters, and Mistinguette, introducing them to a worldwide audience through his picture syndication.

George Gershwin ©2019 James Abbe Archives

Abbe soon became one of the leading celebrity photographers of the 1920s and is best known for these iconic portraits of both cinema and stage. He quickly established an international reputation, appearing in Vanity Fair, Ladies Home Journal, Vogue, British Tatler, French Vu, and many other publications.

Throughout the 1920s, Abbe made regular trips back and forth between London, Paris, and London to photograph theatre and film-making activities. He also traveled to Spain, Germany, Russian, the USA, and Mexico as a correspondent.

Louise Brooks ©2019 James Abbe Archives

For more information and to view additional Abbe photographs go here!

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Music Performing Arts Vaudevisuals Interview Video

Vaudevisuals interview with Vince Giordano – 90th Anniversary of “Rhapsody in Blue” @ Town Hall

I met Vince Giordano at The Iguana restaurant on West 54th St in NYC. He plays there with his band the NIGHTHAWKS every Monday and Tuesday night.

The 1920’s music is his favorite! But this interview is about another show.

90th Anniversary  – George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” – A Celebrarion of Paul Whiteman’s Historic 1924 Aeolian Hall Concert.

The concert will be very unique in the program will recreate the authentic 1924 Whiteman concert “Experiment in Modern Music.” In recognition of the “first jazz band recording,” Whiteman opened with “Livery Stable Blues,” complete with mock horse whinnies and chicken squawks in the raucous hokum-style of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. Whiteman then played his most-favored Palais Royal arrangements, which included solo turns for virtuoso banjo player Mike Pingatore, multiple-reed wizard Ross Gorman and trumpet player Henry Busse. Nighthawk virtuosos Ken Salvo, Dan Block, Michael Ponella, Dan Levinson and Jon-Erik Kellso will recreate solos and exact renderings from Whiteman’s hit records: “Whispering,” “Limehouse Blues,” and “Mama Loves Papa.” Crowd-pleasing “knuckle busters” performed by the dashing novelty piano virtuoso Zez Confrey, will be recreated by brilliant jazz pianist Jeb Patton. Andy Stein (known for his work on “A Prairie Home Companion”) will be featured inPaul Whiteman’s role on violin. The program’s second half will feature an augmented Nighthawk orchestra, including three reeds, eight violins, two French horns and an extra bass will join four brass and five rhythm pieces.

To read more about this great show go to this article featured in Broadway World.

90th Anniversary of "Rhapsody in Blue" @ Town Hall

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For more information on Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks go here.