I didn't know Esther well. She was a friend of friends. After she passed away, there was a box filled with snapshots she'd taken. Many were recognizable theatre celebs of long ago. Other photos were of her and others. Some photos had inscriptions on the reverse, which I've noted. Others had nothing. This box was destined for the trash bin. I saved it.

21 September 2009

"Crazy With the Heat" "Shubert 1941"

Taken outside the Shubert Theatre, Boston while the revue, "Crazy With The Heat" was in the house. (It's time in New York was fleeting.) Is "Foreign Legion Dude" signing an autograph? Once again, Esther labeled the show & location, but no names. Grrr...

If Anonymous is correct, the first two visible folks in the photo below are pictured here....Luella Gear & Willie Howard.

And here are two more from "CWTH". I have to presume that these are from the first incarnation of the show (the Boston tryouts) which went to Broadway & played a whopping 7 performances. After closing, it was then taken over by Ed Sullivan, restaged and played for 92 performances. Missing from this new production was Richard Kollmar, (Mr. Dorothy Killgallen) both his person & song writing credit gonzo. Ouch. If only Esther had managed to get a snapshot of Dickie!

14 September 2009

Billie Bernice, "Shubert B & G Together" Sept. 1940

The answer to this one was under my nose all the time. This is Billie Bernice, Esther's other swoon, who played Wynnsome Dancing Girl, "Down Mexico Way" Girl and Other girl in "Boys & Girls Together". (You'll find a Xmas card from Bernice {to Esther} as well as clippings as you scroll down.)  I don't know where these were snapped, NYC or Boston though as you can see, "George Washington Slept Here" is playing at the Plymouth. Might there have been a Plymouth Theatre in Boston?


The back of this reads, "Shubert.....B & G Together 1940". The body language of Esther says she's not friends with these folks & is humbled to be getting a snapshot with them. This veiled dame's gotta be somebody! Help!

08 September 2009

Someone must know this hot little number, who is she?

07 September 2009

Panama Hattie

This photo's labeled "Shubert 1940 PH"
which stands for Panama Hattie. 
It was also inscribed,
"To Esther, Best Always, Marguerite."
ibdb.com says there was a
Marguerite Benton billed as a
"singing girl" in this show.
But there was another
Marguerite in the show,
one Marguerite James.
It could be her?

The next post might shed some light on this mystery.

Could these be Marguerite Benton?

They're marked South Station (Boston) or Shubert and Panama Hattie 1940.


Two commenters, Bill and Douglas
thought the photos might be of Lucille Bremer,
a featured dancing girl. 
Here are two photos of Lucy I grabbed from the internet. 
I thought posting them might help with the mystery.



(Addendum: July 2, 2014)

An anonymous commenter has written that these photos of Esther's could, "no way" be Lucille Bremer, but thinks they are Marguerite Chapman. I just did another google search and found a photo of Miss Marguerite Benton. 

This photo comes from the J. Willis Sayre Collection of Theatrical 
Photographs found in the University of Washington's digital collection.

Miss Benton graced the cover of the March 18, 1940 
edition of Life magazine, 
where it reported that she was appearing in "DuBarry was a Lady."

This cover story was about the chorus of, "DuBarry" and asked us to, 
"meet" them as well as give the reader a glimpse of their home life.

I think that Esther did in fact meet Marguerite Benton and someone 
was kind enough to snap those photos of Esther & Margie.

06 September 2009

Dixie Dunbar

These are both marked "Shubert Yokel Boy 1939" on the back. That's Esther to the right(above, that is...below is someone far butcher than Zidel) , but I don't know who the cute, smilin' gal is. Do you? Well, I just did some hunting and I think this might be Dixie Dunbar. I found a page with photos of Dixie & I've pulled one off (top left), what do you think?

UPDATE: Just found the ticket stub & envelope on eBay & just couldn't resist snatching a copy for myself...can you blame me?

UPDATE #2: According to Time Magazine (Milestones), Dixie died quite young, December 20, 1954. Let's just hope Esther wasn't involved.

UPDATE #3: (2/3/12)
According to "Anonymous",
Dixie passed away in Miami Beach,
Florida, 8/29/91.

Arthur Treacher

Tony Martin

Preston Foster

with unidentified fish and man, or is it unidentified man and fish?

Rags Ragland

Thanks Richard for making a positive i.d. on RR! Rags played Woozy Hogan in Panama Hattie. Too bad Esther didn't get a snap of Miss Merman.


Just might be Merv Griffin on the left....if it is, his beard is unknown.

Martha Scott

A young, blurry Martha Raye and a new arrival!

Louella Parsons Tour

?, ?, Louella Parsons, ?, ?, Sabu and ? and what are they all doing on stage & what stage is it?

In the fall of 1940, shortly after her marriage, Binnie joined Hollywood columnist Louella Parsons in a tour of vaudeville theaters across the country. Binnie had one show-stopping number. Dressed in a tightly fitted blouse and baggy white pantaloons, she stepped into the spotlight and gave a soulful rendition of "Why Am I Always A Bridesmaid and Never a Blushing Bride?"

This year Lolly's tour, promoted by Music Corporation of America, is abroad with a new cast, including Sabu, Binnie Barnes, Brenda Joyce, Ilona Massey.

(Time Magazine 11/11/40)

Harry Babbit and Kay Kyser

Joel McCrea

Ruth Hussey

James Dunn

We think this is Hal Block,

the panelist "What's My Line" didn't ask back.
Yet another mystery woman.....

Years away from her "To Tell the Truth" gig.....

The delightfully alive Joan Fontaine

(well, she WAS alive
when this was first posted)

Bette Davis

Esther and June Allyson