Posts Tagged ‘Harry Pilcer’


Favours and Carnival Novelties

At special events throughout history there has always been the desire to augment festivities with novelties of all kinds, especially at special occasions like New Year and weddings. Toward the end of the 19th century as dances, balls, galas and the new concept of the smart restaurant proliferated on both sides of the Atlantic, special nights were introduced where a wide range of gifts or carnival novelties were given away as souvenirs to make the night special and stand out. Later, these ‘favours’ became indicative of the madcap nocturnal fun and frolics of the Jazz Age and the 1920s. (more…)

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The bizarre tale of Mrs Smith Wilkinson

Described variously as ‘The Countess of Monte Cristo’, ‘The Queen of Diamonds’ and ‘Madame Aladdin’, Mrs Smith Wilkinson can be seen as a society con-artist and one of the first wannabe celebrities. She made a rather big splash in Paris in the summer of 1921 causing much debate and gossip in the press thereafter. Whatever was all the fuss about? (more…)

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Nina Payne

Nina Payne

Nina Payne was an eccentric, futurist American dancer who, after long years in vaudeville travelling across the USA, made a trip to Europe and became an instant hit in Paris where she remained throughout the 1920s. (more…)

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Miss Florence

Miss Florence

The stunningly beautiful and dark haired ‘Miss Florence’ startled Parisian audiences as a member of the Gertrude Hoffman troupe in 1924 when she came on stage on an elephant as the Queen of Sheba. She became a popular celebrity in her own right, before teaming with Julio Avarez in a dancing partnership that proved highly successful mainly in New York and Miami cabarets in the 1930s. (more…)

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Gypsy Rhoumaje

Gypsy Rhoumaje

Shrouding herself with an exotic sounding name and persona, Gypsy Rhoumaje struck the big time in London and Paris from 1926 and delighted fashionable continental audiences with her exotic style of dancing and her own personal beauty. Of course nobody, least of all journalists, could spell her name right with several attempts that included Gypsy Rohoumage, Gypsy Roumahje, Gypsy Rhouma-je and Gypsy Rhouma (all with Gipsy variants). (more…)

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The Kursaal Pleasure Palace, Ostende

One of the premier locations in Europe in the 1920s and the show piece of Ostende was the magnificently appointed Kursaal entertainment complex. (more…)

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Moss and Fontana

Marjorie Moss and Georges Fontana were the most graceful and sought after British dancing duo in the Jazz Age. They secured high praise in London and Paris in the 1920s before conquering New York in the late 1920s and were regarded by some as ‘the greatest pair of dancers since the Vernon Castles.’ (more…)

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Dancing Dora Duby

Dancing Dora Duby

The dark, glamorous and exotic sounding Dora Duby was an outstanding American solo dancer who found fame in Europe during the 1920s particularly in Paris where she was called the ‘Pet star’ of the famous Le Perroquet cabaret. (more…)

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The Pony Trot

The Pony Trot was an extension of the Pony Ballet allegedly devised by John Tiller in the 1890s and made famous by the Dolly Sisters in 1914 and thereafter as an exhibition dance. (more…)

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Murray’s River Club: A Rendezvous of Ragtime and Romance

The American Jack May was instrumental in developing the nightclub scene in London shortly before the First World War and famously opened the legendary Murray’s Club in Beak Street in 1913. At about the same time, or shortly afterward. he opened a summer resort - Murray's River Club - at Maidenhead that became the playground for the rich and famous. (more…)

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