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Theater

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Autograph of Ethel Merman
1 Autograph of Ethel Merman
NA Very Good 
N.d., circa early 1950s. A Merman autograph written in pencil on a folded white sheet of paper. Merman was the pre-eminent star of the Broadway musical theater from her legendary debut belting out "I've Got Rhythm" in "Girl Crazy" until her stunning dramatic turn as Mama Rose in "Gypsy". Known for her thrilling and crystal clear diction that could be heard in the last row (and the lobby, and quite possibly, on the sidewalk), Merman was in numerous movies but seldom was able to excite movie audiences as she did live time and again. On stage, she had close to a perfect track record, with her hits including "Anything Goes", "Panama Hattie", "Annie Get Your Gun", "Call Me Madam", "DuBarry Was a Lady", and on and on. In her later years she was a regular presence on television, where she would belt out one of the innumerable hit songs she first introduced. 
Price: 75.00 USD
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2 Biographical Sketches of Count and Countess Philippe Nicol and their son Philippe Jr. The Midgets Palace [together with] a postcard from the Midgets' Palace entitled "Le Bebe Rare, The Rare Baby"
Wraps Fine 
Two items in all relating to the Midgets' Palace, a "small" house museum in Montreal which was in operation from 1913 until 1990, although Philippe Nicol himself, whose customized house it was, died in 1940, his wife, in 1964. (The family actually lived in the house, and visitors would pay when the museum first opened 5 cents to view the family as it went about its business.) The primary brochure is 12mo, 32 pp., French and English, with each cover serving as the front, depending on the language, and the English upside down from the French half. No date for any of these items, but the primary brochure was issued after the death of Philippe Nicol. Based on the age toning of the postcard especially, we would place these items as circa 1940s. (We assume both were acquired together.) 
Price: 45.00 USD
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Fan with College and Preparatory School Names along with Place Names, Restaurant Names, Hotel Names, Monograms, Crests, Emblems, etc. Labels Pasted On
3 Fan with College and Preparatory School Names along with Place Names, Restaurant Names, Hotel Names, Monograms, Crests, Emblems, etc. Labels Pasted On
1900 N.A. Very Good 
Quirky homemade souvenir fan with many stickers pasted on from New England and New York State towns, colleges (Yale, Harvard, Boston University, Amherst), fraternities, Prep Schools (Andover, Exeter), restaurants, hotels, clubs and other points of interest and monograms. While there is no definitive dating, this kind of fan was a popular hobby at the turn of the twentieth century. The stickers are on both sides of the fan, and the effect is same as on luggage with stickers from all the places the owner has traveled, except on the fan the stickers are much smaller. Given the preponderance of schools, we would conjecture that this particular fan was created by a young person, perhaps for his/her own enjoyment or conceived as a gift for a friend. Surely it was done as an act of love, and its very oddity must have been a source of fun for its creator. The fan has nine wooden spokes that fan out to 49 cm, and closed the fan is 26 cm tall. The labels and tags are pasted onto a black mackintosh fabric which has a luster. There is virtually no space available for additional tags, and so the project was fully realized by its creator. Solid and well-preserved. 
Price: 240.00 USD
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Fan with College and Preparatory School Names along with Place Names, Restaurant Names, Hotel Names, Monograms, Crests, Emblems, etc. Labels Pasted On
4 Fan with College and Preparatory School Names along with Place Names, Restaurant Names, Hotel Names, Monograms, Crests, Emblems, etc. Labels Pasted On
1900 N.A. Very Good 
Quirky homemade souvenir fan with many stickers pasted on from New England towns, colleges (Dartmouth, Wellesley, Mt. Holyoke College, New England Conservatory of Music, Williams College), prep schools (Phillips Exeter, hotels, and other points of interest. While there is no definitive dating, there is one sticker with the date of 1900 and another for "The Aegis: Dartmouth College Class of 1901. The stickers are on both sides of the fan, and the effect is same as on luggage with stickers from all the places the owner has traveled, except on the fan the stickers are much smaller. Given the preponderance of schools, we would conjecture that this particular fan was created by a young person, perhaps for his/her own enjoyment or conceived as a gift for a friend. Surely it was done as an act of love, and its very oddity must have been a source of fun for its creator. The fan has nine wooden spokes that fan out to 48 cm, and closed the fan is 26 cm tall. The labels and tags are pasted onto a black mackintosh fabric which has a luster. There is virtually no space available for additional tags, and so the project was fully realized by its creator. Solid and well-preserved. 
Price: 240.00 USD
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5 Japanese Leporello of 55 Original Watercolored Demonic Masks
Leporello. Fabric on boards. Very Good 
Fabulous collection of watercolors showing Japanese masks of demonic characters. The shapes of the heads are all essentially the same. Varying from one to the next is the colors used, the swirls and lines and other creepy attributes endowed onto the head-shape. N.d., circa 1900 (based on the paper and boards). Closed, 25 by 18 cm. 55 panels with one mounted watercolor on each. Light soiling to the fabric covering the boards. 
Price: 1250.00 USD
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Kamishibai -- Japanese Paper Theater.  Picture Story Show of Ikkyu-san
6 Kamishibai -- Japanese Paper Theater. Picture Story Show of Ikkyu-san
1941 NA Very Good 
Scarce intact Japanese kamisibai paper theater stage, glass screen and complete set of 14 pictorial cards. Kamishibai frame was illustrated by Koide Shin'ichi. The text and illustrations of the Ikkyu-san story by Kiyohar Takashi. Kamishibai, or Japanese paper theater, was a phenomenon of the first half of the 20th century, until the lure of television killed it off. The Kamishibai performers -- mostly men -- were itinerate street storytellers who eked out a living by selling candy to their audience members. Daily they would travel from place to place via bicycle, with their stage and stock of sweets in tow, and they would clap two wooden sticks to announce their presence and draw children to them. As they narrated their story, they would slip one card after another into the grooves on the stage to illustrate the action. The typical Kamishibai story had a strong moralistic message. During the Second World War, not surprisingly, the stories took on more patriotic themes. The performer would conclude a day with a cliffhanger, and so the listeners would have to return the following day to hear what happened. While Kamishibai is a thing of the past, its influence is evident in the work of many manga artists. The central character of the three stories contained in the cards on offer here, Ikkyu-Sojun, is a Buddhist priest of Daitoku-ji Temple, a figure well-known to Japanese audiences of the time as a clever, crafty problem solver. Paper theater has suffered minor insect damage, with occasional marks. Top card is creased. Scattered foxing and soiling of cards besides. 
Price: 2250.00 USD
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7 Leporello of Original Paintings Depicting Characters of the Noh Theater
Leporello. Cloth (silk) cover. Outer case of clo Very Good 
Simple and straightforward presentation of stock characters from Japanese Noh Theater, all appealingly colored. N.d., 19th century. 24 by 18.5 cm. 24 pp of colorful character portraits. Several are double paged and are a bit more dynamic. Noh is a traditional form of Japanese musical drama that first arose in the 14th century and employs masks heavily in its ritualized performances. Scattered light foxing, never disconcerting. Blue cloth case with color fading, moderate wear, title label partially obliterated (the upper layer with lettering is perished). 
Price: 1000.00 USD
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Letter Signed by Audrey Hepburn, June 18th, 1954
8 Letter Signed by Audrey Hepburn, June 18th, 1954
1954 NA Very Good 
The typed letter is written from the 46th Street Theatre where Hepburn and her future husband, Mel Ferrer, were appearing in "Ondine". In the letter, addressed to a Mr. Sus, Heburn writes" "Thank you very much for your letter of June 14th. I would be very happy to help you to see the play if you will let me know which performance you and your friend would like to come to. Audrey Hepb . . ." The latter part of the last name is dropped, as typical of Hepburn signatures of the period. Hepburn had already made her stunning movie debut in "Roman Holiday". Ahead of her were her many other memorable movies, and thus this is an early autograph of Hepburn. 
Price: 1250.00 USD
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Mov-Ezy Means
9 Mov-Ezy Means "Ease at the Movies"
New York Josiah Partridge & Sons Company, Inc. 1922 Wraps Very Good 
8vo. 23 by 15 cm. 29 pp. Pitches eleven different styles of theater seats. Seating could be veneer, caned, saddle, tapestry, overstuffed, hard, upholstered, velour, birch, oak, slip seat, etc. (These attributes are not mutually exclusive, of course.) The company also offered to customize the seating based on one of these designs. The over-riding pitch was that "their perfect alignment and the open spaces around them facilitate cleaning and insure free circulation of air". The Partridge Company manufactured all kinds of seating -- this here was just a segment of their business, and we don't know how important a segment it was, nor how successful the company was in marketing its seating to theater owners. Condition: Front blank page is soiled. Otherwise, light wear, occasional soiling. 
Price: 300.00 USD
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Noticias biograficas de la enana alemana Doņa Elena Briggs, la muger mas chiquita del mundo
10 Noticias biograficas de la enana alemana Doņa Elena Briggs, la muger mas chiquita del mundo
Havana 1857 Wraps Good 
8vo. 32 pp. The biography of Ellen Suter Briggs, which the booklet asserts was the smallest woman in the world. Briggs was born in Germany in 1821 and immigrated with her father to Ohio in 1830, soon afterward embarking on a career as a touring circus attraction. The Spanish language pamphlet describes her friendship with Major Stevens and Tom Thumb and concludes with several pages of translated press notices from American newspapers. The curious thing about Briggs is that we have been unable to find any record of her career in English or other sources. The pamphlet is manifestly scarce, with no copies turning up on OCLC, Palau or other references. With an inserted photograph of Tom Thumb (Charles Sherwood Stratton) and his wife Lavinia Warren Stratton. Lacking front wrapper, with rear worn. Soiling to the title page. Moderate dampstaining. The bottom corner, final leaf, cut out, with slight loss of text. 
Price: 2500.00 USD
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11 Opportunity Hour for Amateurs. The New Party Game with a Thousand Laughs.
New York American Toy Works (Atwo Product) 1937 First Edition NA Very Good 
Colorful, fun spoof on amateur showbiz! An uncut game sheet on linen-like paper measuring oblong, 46 by 55 cm (18 by 22 inches). Depicted on a theater stage are a juvenile crooner, a banjo-playing cowboy, two svelte girl singers, a burlesque comedian, a performer in black face and a slick announcer. The playing pieces, shaped like microphones, are to be cut out from the top of the page, with directions at the base. Included is the original envelope, which measures 23.5 by 29 cm. The characters are send-ups of theater types of the day, but one can not say that any of the characters are specific caricatures of say, Jolson or Frank Fay. Scarce, with no copies found elsewhere. Light wear. 
Price: 500.00 USD
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Pain's Rome.  Manhattan Beach.  Magnificent Spectacle Grand Spectacle and Fireworks.  Ancient Rome and the Burning of the City.
12 Pain's Rome. Manhattan Beach. Magnificent Spectacle Grand Spectacle and Fireworks. Ancient Rome and the Burning of the City.
New York Michael Printing Company 1902 Wraps Very Good 
4to. Unpaginated, [32] pp., plus wraps. Program of a pyrotechnical spectacle, and one that surely prefigures the toga spectacles of silent films, depicting decadent Rome, a few years later. Scarce, with only copies located on OCLC First Search at the Getty and Brown. The program gives a loose exposition on the Roman Empire, its rise and fall. The spectacle zeroes in on Nero's reign. Condition: Minor light dampstain on front cover, corner. Age toning, but otherwise well preserved copy. 
Price: 250.00 USD
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Painting, over a photograph, of Nineteenth Century Actresses Ada Rehan and Edith Kingdon
13 Painting, over a photograph, of Nineteenth Century Actresses Ada Rehan and Edith Kingdon
NA Very Good 
Unusual medium of paint over photograph, depicting two major dramatic actresses of the period sitting at tea. What is shown might be from a stage performance, or it might simply be a picture of these two celebrities socializing as themselves. Both women were a part of the Augustine Daly company. Ada Rehan (1859-1916) was born in Ireland as Delia Crehan. She became one of the leading Shakepearian heroine of her day, and she had many successes in other roles, both classic and contemporary. Edith Kingdon (1864-1921) retired from acting when she married George Gould, the son of Robber Baron Jay Gould. Pictorial part of work measures 12 by 16.5 cm. 
Price: 175.00 USD
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14 Schadumbeelden Jan Klaassen Spel
Very Good 
N.d., circa 1900. This shadow theater is of relatively uncommon Dutch origin. The way shadow theater works is a light is cast onto a screen or scrim, behind which figures are moved and seen by the audience as shadows. The pieces in the case of this theater are moved from below so that the audience doesn't see the intrusion of a human arm, etc. The stage for this set is brightly colored and somewhat naive in its detailing. The figures are cut on card. The stage itself has some light foxing. The figures are all in good repair although it is unknown how complete the set is. 
Price: 600.00 USD
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15 Sharpe's British Theatre (13 volumes, the first 13, of 18 issued)
London John Sharpe 1804 First edition Half Morocco. Marbled paper on boards. Very Good 
Miniature, or near miniature, 11 by 6.5 cm. Plays include Arthur Murphy's "The Grecian Daughter", "All in the Wrong", T. Southern's "Isabella", Goldsmith's "She Stoops to Conquer", Henry Brooke's "Gustavus Vasa", Arthur Murphy's "The Way to Keep Him", Thomas Otway's "Venice Preserved", Colman and Garrick's "The Clandestine Marriage", Thomas Otway's "The Orphan", Congreve's "Love for Love", Ambrose Philips' "The Distrest Mother", George Farquhar's "The Beaux Strategem", and Dr. Brown's "Barbarossa". While this is not the full set, it is the first 13 volumes of the set, and they are so numbered. Some rubbing to the leather, but overall, an attractive, if incomplete, set. 
Price: 300.00 USD
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Short inscribed note from Actress Julie Harris (1925-2013)
16 Short inscribed note from Actress Julie Harris (1925-2013)
NA Very Good 
N.d., circa early 1950s. The note says: "To Jana My Best always. Julie Harris." Jana was Jana Vasatova, who was, we believe, a Czech emigre who first resettled to London, then New York, and the note was found in a friendship album she was keeping around 1950. Julie Harris was arguably the leading dramatic actress of the Broadway stage of her generation, having won the Tony Award five times, including for "The Last of Mrs. Lincoln", "The Belle of Amherst", and "Forty Carats". While remembered primarily for her stage work, she also made a number of notable appearances in the screen, including her recreation of her first major stage role (and Tony award) in "The Member of the Wedding", "The Haunting" and her co-starring with James Dean in "East of Eden", and on television she was a part of the cast of "Knot's Landing". 
Price: 175.00 USD
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Souvenir of Werba and Luescher's The Spring Maid
17 Souvenir of Werba and Luescher's The Spring Maid
New York A. W. Young Wraps Very Good 
Photo illustrated souvenir program of an American version of the Viennese operetta "Die Sprudelfee". Book and lyrics by Harry B. and Robert B. Smith, from the German of Julius Wilhelm and A. M. Wilmer, to the music by Heinrich Reinhardt, and staged by George Marion. N.d., circa 1912 (based on Broadway opening in 1910, and this, a program from a subsequent tour, refers to the "Two year sensation in New York). 8vo. 21.5 by 14 cm. 8 pp., plus wraps. Now a forgotten work, and a type of operetta once popular but not staged in decades -- the type of work satirized, for instance, in the Cole Porter song, "Wunderbar" -- bars from four of the show's most infectious songs decorate the top of pages full of pictures showing scenes and the actors from the operetta. Condition: light wear. 
Price: 75.00 USD
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Tabarin Album Souvenir Tabarin presente le plus Parisien des Spectacles "Reflets"
18 Tabarin Album Souvenir Tabarin presente le plus Parisien des Spectacles "Reflets"
Paris First Edition Presumed Near Fine 
Racy souvenir from an erstwhile rival of the Moulin Rouge in Montmartre. N.d., circa 1950. Unpaginated, 28 pp., plus wraps, which have a suede or felt surface. 10.5 by 8 inches, 27 by 21 cm. The nightclub opened in 1904 and continued in business until 1953 when it was bought and closed by Moulin Rouge. The club was known for its elaborate thematic floor shows, which mixed ballet, cheesecake and spectacular costumes designed by the likes of Erte. A new show was presented each year. After the club closed, it served as the basis of a 1958 movie entitled "Tabarin". The album features color illustrations, all done with a fluid, loose hand, and black and white photographs, which are set amid monochrome sketch work that captures the theatrical flavor of Tabarin. Also six pages of evocative ads, some of which are in keeping in spirit with the rest of the album in their artwork, etc. From the photos one is easily transported back to the pageantry and risque panache of the show. The pages are clean. The suede wraps have light soiling. Minor abrading by staples on spine. 
Price: 125.00 USD
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Ten Colorful Intricate Cray Paper Cut-outs of Chinese Masks and Masked Performers
19 Ten Colorful Intricate Cray Paper Cut-outs of Chinese Masks and Masked Performers
Envelope Fine 
No date (that we can discern). From the mid-20th century. The ten cut-outs are highly colorful and visually exciting. Given the thinness and overall nature of the paper they are made of, they are also delicate and fragile, although ours are in mint condition, protected as they are by folded paper. The ten pieces and their protective paper come in an envelope made of thin card stock. Besides a slip with what must be a short exegesis, Chinese characters are written on this windowed envelope as well as the paper guards. The collection was probably sold as a souvenir, probably in conjunction with a theatrical performance, and the cut outs might have then often been pasted onto other objects. The envelope measures 15.5 by 11.5 cm, and the cut outs are generally around 11 cm tall. 
Price: 400.00 USD
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The Cobina Wright Dinner
20 The Cobina Wright Dinner
Beverly Hills 1964 Very Good Plus 
Bound folio containing many full page testimonials and photos of a who's who from the Golden Age of Hollywood. Most of the celebrities were past their movie making prime but many a comfortable late middle age and still attractive, if not exactly young, and perhaps with the discreet, or not-so-discreet, help of a surgeon's knife. Among this contingent of "Hollywood Royalty" are Greer Garson, Irene Dunne, Mae West, Sonja Henie, Bob Hope, Bob Cummings, Merle Oberon. More youthful, but soon to achieve similar status, were Kim Novak, Zsa Zsa, George Hamilton, Arlene Dahl, Rhonda Fleming, Jerry Lewis, Rod Taylor, and on and on. Add to the mix prominent producers (Ray Stark, etc.), the "hostess with the mostess" Perle Mesta, the comely wives of deceased movie people, and non-entertainment industry high society, and the Cobina being honored surely must have enjoyed the crowning accolade of her career. Personally making a tribute to her that evening was none other than Mary Pickford, and the entertainment included Red Skelton and Johnny Mathis. Cobina, now no longer famous, had had a brief movie and singing career before she entered that rarefied sorority of entertainment gossip columnists, from which the outpouring of love towards her could not have been less spontaneous than spontaneous combustion, And if there is any doubt as to the sincerity of the tributes, the inclusion of rival Louella Parsons should put such skepticism. The production of the folio is itself a tribute, with a number of the over hundred leaves featuring a metallic patina. And while the autographed inscriptions are virtually all copies, the brochure does have a genuine inked inscription by Cobina herself. Bound with a plastic spiral. Measures 28 by 22 cm. 
Price: 425.00 USD
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