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The Actors’ Agency

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As some of you will know from reading my About Me page, I have a health condition that makes my life quite difficult. I struggle to sit up long enough to do a post on many days. On other days, I am just too fatigued to even try. Therefore, I really love it when someone enjoys something I have posted, enough to do some research on one of my photos. Brett Payne from Photo-Sleuth blog has done just that for one of my previous posts in the series The Actors’ Agency.

In Part 9 of the series, I introduced Gisele Salvador, an aspiring actress, or possibly model, from Paris. Brett found a Gisele M Salvador who married a Ronald E Kahn in Dade County, Florida in February 1959. His source was Ancestry.com. Could it be her?

My reply to his comment was, “I suppose it could be her, but remember she was living in and looking for work in Paris around that time.” Having assumed these photos were taken in the early 1960s, I stated that there was no reason she couldn’t have married an American in his home town and then moved with him back to France, or even had a very short marriage before returning to her country of birth. Of course there are many other possibilities, too, but I did think the likelihood of Brett’s Gisele and my Gisele being the same woman, unlikely.

Brett was undeterred and did some further research. In another comment he wrote, “There is a tree for this family on Ancestry.com, too. Ronald Elwin Kahn (1941-1977) married Gisele in 1959 at Alachua, Florida, and they had at least three children. The eldest son appears to have died there last year.” (2016) This was great information, but I still wasn’t convinced as there was no evident French connection.

Bravely, Brett worked on. He found an entry in the US Social Security and Claims Index which shows a Giselle/Gisele Marcelle Kahn, who was born 26 February, 1929 in Paris, France. She was the daughter of Jose Salvador and Marcelle F Perrin. “She must be the same person who married Ronald E Kahn in Florida in February 1959.”, he wrote. By this time, I had to agree.

“It appears she was married a few times, as the Social Security Index shows the following:
Oct 1959 – Name listed as GISELLE MARCELLE KAHN
Feb 1968 – Name listed as GISELLE MALLORY
31 Mar 1989 – Name listed as GISELE POLLACK”

So what we now know is that this beautiful, young woman married a very lucky American citizen, named Ronald Elwin Kahn, early in 1959. He was twelve years her junior. They were married in Florida and she apparently lived in the USA from then on, albeit with different husbands. It does strike me as odd that she was 30 at the time of her marriage and her husband only eighteen, but stranger things have happened. (That is of course assuming that his birthdate of 1941 is correct.) The date of her marriage suggests to me that the photo file-card, and these photos, date to a time prior to her knowing she was going to be leaving France, to live elsewhere. Assuming she was looking for work for some years before she met her future spouse, the photos must have been taken at some time in the mid 1950s and probably no later than 1958.

Brett also found out that Gisele became a naturalised US citizen on 9 January 1967 in New York and that she died on 8 May 2003 in Suffolk, New York at the age of 74. She was born in the same year as my mother. It is sad she has already passed on. My mum is alive and kicking, I’m very glad to say!

So a very big thank you to Brett for persisting with his research. I hope that someone from Gisele’s family will now be able to find this post and see these wonderful photos. Please thank Brett, too, by visiting his wonderful vintage and antique photo, history blog.

There are some other great photos in this series to come, and some previous posts you might enjoy browsing through.

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Enlargements of these photobooth photos are at the bottom of this post.

Here is another Parisian actor’s file card from, the 50s or 60s, for your perusal. I have not been able to find Gisele in any online files, so maybe she had no success, despite her film star style and beauty? She seems to know how to pose masterfully for the camera. Perhaps she was looking for modelling work and was already experienced in the field? The gentleman from whom I bought this series of cards was unsure of the exact extent of the agency’s remit, so it is possible she had a thriving, though anonymous career as a model?

When I purchased this card, I was unable to work out what was going on around Gisele’s ear in the second image. Now, being able to enlarge it, I can see that what might have been a small spray of tiny flowers, is actually an ingeniously designed earring. It has bead-tipped filaments that radiate, almost invisibly, out of the central cluster clipped to her lobe. A lovely effect on her dark hair, and one I have never seen before.

In the same photo, there is something of Jackie Kennedy in Gisele’s hair, makeup and clothes. Given Kennedy’s French connections, one may wonder if there is more in Jackie’s style that was fashionably Parisian, than there is in Gisele being fashionably American. Either way, she has the exemplary poise and grace of a fashion icon.

There are some other great photos in this series to come, and some previous posts you might enjoy browsing through.

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An enlargement of the photobooth photo is at the bottom of this post.

Here is another Parisian actor’s file card from the 50s or 60s for your perusal.

Poor Georges. He looks scary, right? He has a face and eyebrows made to play a supernatural villian, like Count Dracula or other type of ghoulish creature. He also has a name to play a bad guy. Bad-ass George Ass. Apart from having such a wonderful face, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have a photobooth photo of someone so quirky, who also has a listing on the IMDb. Wow, a real actor for a change!  What? You didn’t think I bought the card solely due to his funny surname? Preposterous!

Unlike some of the other file records from this agency, there are a lot of details listed on the back of this card. (See below). He lived at 291, Rue St Denis in the 2e arrondissement of Paris. He was born on the 14th of September, 1909, making him between 45 and 55 years of age at the time this image was made. He had grey eyes and dark brown hair. He was long and slim at 174.5 centimetres tall, (5 feet 8.7 inches) and weighing only 65 kg. Even more perfect for a role as a vampire, I say. In addition to his native tongue, he spoke Russian (good for Cold War villian roles) and had some English. His sporting interest was cycling.

Poor Georges had some minor roles in film but the closest he got to getting a role that really suited him, was when he played a prisoner in Paris brûle-t-il? in 1966. Alas, from there it was downhill all the way. He was a priest at a funeral in Borsalino in 1970, which was definitely a sombre role and could be regarded as slightly macabre, I suppose.  He then played a deacon in Doucement les basses in 1971. A corrupt deacon, one hopes. He had an uncredited role as a man on Rue des Rosiers in Les Aventures de Rabbi Jacob in 1973. I like to imagine him breaking windows or vandalising something in that bit part. Unfortunately for Poor Georges, his next and final credit was as a seated man. We can only hope that he was a bad-ass seated man!

There are some other great photos in this series, so stay tuned to Photobooth Journal for more posts.

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I would like to think that Lydie Lore (or Lydie Loré) had a good career as a stage actress. In an online search however, all the photos I have found of her are linked to the same seller from whom I bought this, and the other file cards from this series.

In two of these photos, (which you can see, below), she is pictured on stage with an older man. All of the photos are very professionally realised, so I have assumed that this means she was in professional productions. Unfortunately however, I cannot find any reference to her work, save for one play called La Route du Tabac, in which she performed in 1947. It is likely the two photos with the man are from that production.

So, maybe Lydie was not as successful as I would like to imagine. Like me, she may have had an addiction to getting photo portraits made, but unlike me, she chose to have them taken in a studio, not in a photobooth.

This card has more photos than most of the items in this series. The booth photos are particularly lovely, showing what an attractive, sophisticated and fashionable young woman she was. Her address and phone number are listed in pencil at the top of the card. Unlike some of the other file records from this agency, there are no further details about her listed on the back.

There are some other great photos in this series, so stay tuned to Photobooth Journal for more posts.

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This is another in the series of photobooth photo, file cards from a Parisian acting agency. Each photo attached to the card is of a client who was looking for work in the acting profession in the 1950s or 60s.

Monsieur Bensamon, above, looks to me to be perfect for any role as a valet or butler. Which brings me to a film Murder by Death (1976), which is one of my favourite comedies from childhood. It has an all-star cast which included, bizarrely, author of In Cold Blood and Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Truman Capote.

Maggie Smith and David Niven play an aristocratic couple, Dora and Dick Charleston (See dialogue below) who are invited with a group of other guests, to a spooky house where a murder is subsequently committed. The house of course had a butler. It is an affectionate spoof of the work of numerous crime writers of the era but most particularly of the stories of Agatha Christie.  All this is by way of explaining why I bought the above photo, as the butler in Murder by Death is Bensonmum.

Bensonmum is a ridiculous but very funny character, played by Sir Alec Guinness. The similarities in the two names and my affection for the film were enough to make this, less than exciting photo, a must for my collection. There are no details on the back of the card, so all we know of Monsieur Bensamon is his surname and address at the time. If he had been cast in Murder By Death, I am sure he would have had great fun with the following dialogue from the film –

Dora Charleston: Thank you. You are?
Jamesir Bensonmum: Bensonmum.
Dora Charleston: Thank you, Benson.
Jamesir Bensonmum: No, no, no, no, no… Bensonmum. My name is Bensonmum.
Dick Charleston: Bensonmum?
Jamesir Bensonmum: Yes, sir. Jamesir Bensonmum.
Dick Charleston: Jamesir?
Jamesir Bensonmum: Yes, sir.
Dick Charleston: Jamesir Bensonmum?
Jamesir Bensonmum: Yes, sir.
Dick Charleston: How odd.
Jamesir Bensonmum: My father’s name, sir.
Dick Charleston: What was your father’s name?
Jamesir Bensonmum: Howard. Howard Bensonmum.
Dick Charleston: Your father was Howard Bensonmum?
Dora Charleston: Leave it be, Dickie. I’ve had enough.

There are some other great photos in this series, so stay tuned to Photobooth Journal for more posts.

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Here is another one of a series of photobooth adorned file cards from a Parisian acting agency. I had previously thought that all the photos in the series were from the 1960s, however the seller has told me that some come from the 50s as well. This one looks to me to have a definite 50s feel to it.

Each card shows an actor in a pose which they hope will entice someone to give them work. Along with Rose Marie Arotce’s address and telephone number on the front of the card, there are details listed on the back. Rose Marie’s height in metres is recorded as 1.68.  She was a model (not surprising due to her height, sophisticated style and beauty) and also a comedienne. I am very impressed that she is listed as a comedian, as even now it is a difficult field for a woman to work in. I imagine it would have been much harder some 60 years ago. The abbreviation GRC appears on this card and some of the others. I have still not worked out what it might be short for.

None of the actors, in the cards I procured, ever made it big in the acting profession, however I have set myself the task of searching IMdB to discover if any of my new photobooth friends worked at all in film and televison.

If you would like to see some of the other cards in this series, please click here.

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This is Henri Gilbert. He is looking for acting work in roles such as;

  • the romantic lead
  • a creative yet misunderstood, young (insert type – artist, writer, architect) trying to make his way in the world
  • a studly surf life-saver
  • an agile song and dance man

He has been waiting all his life for his big break. He doesn’t realise he grew old whilst waiting.

This is one from a group of file cards from a Parisian acting agency. The back of the card is blank. According to the seller, none of the actors in the cards I procured, ever made it big in the acting profession. The ones that did, were too expensive for me to buy!

There are some wonderful photos in this series, so stay tuned to Photobooth Journal for more updates

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