Saturday, August 14, 2010

Meet Armida, and How!

I had in mind an entirely different theme for today's post but it went up in smoke after coming a recent entry on the actress, Armida Vendrell featured in the fabulous and fabulously informative Starlet Showcase. The name rang a loud bell in my head. I recognized her as one of the cinema starlets occasionally featured on the cover of Film Fun, debuting in 1929 with the It Girl, Clara Bow and ending in 1932 with the utterly obscure, Margaret Poggi. The Poggi cover---which will be featured in an upcoming post--is a real poser; it was both a superb effort by Bolles yet a total departure from his typical style. But that story must wait, so back to Armida.

Aside from the cover painting there was not a lick about her inside the magazine, which was odd. As light on information as Film Fun was, the editors typically tucked in a short half-page feature on the cover girl, usually nothing more than a couple extra stock photos and a fake interview. So it was a real delight to get to read about Armida in the Starlet Showcase entry and better yet, see some great pics of her. Admittedly, Bolles likeness is a bit weak, and the same could be said for most of the other "specially posed by..." covers (See. I did it! I actually wrote something negative about our man Enoch). Compare for yourself with this terrific photo of Armida I expropriated from Starlet Showcase. It's a curiosity in itself because I'm nearly certain it was swiped for a pinup (Gene Pressler? Bradshaw Crandell? Maybe I'm thinking of Bolles, he did something similar in a 1938 Film Fun). Just to be clear, there was never any special posing; not with Armida, or Clara or Loretta or Alice. No famous, near famous or mere Hollywood hopeful sat for Bolles in his modest New York studio. He worked from publicity shots, which the Film Fun mail room received by the crate load. Except...there might be one lone exception. Long ago Enoch's daughter told me she had heard Lupe Velez actually did pose for him, and I am inclined to believe her as the cover Film Fun painting of Lupe is miles beyond any other. But it must be said that Armida's getup is another matter entirely. The designs are fabulous and knowing Bolles very likely historically correct. It's only too bad that in 1930, when this issue was published, Film Fun was skimping on printing and paper quality. This cover deserved better.


carolina muscle said...

Interesting read.. thanks!!

Alan Wrobel said...

nice! thanks again