Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts

Monday, July 27, 2020

On This Day...New York, New York! (1920)

On this day, 28th July 1920, Archie Leach first glimpsed the New York skyline. Landing at Pier 59.

Pier 59.

R.M.S Olympic at Pier 59 in the 1920's.

After staying behind in New York, Archie was to spend the best part of a decade, in New York, appearing in numerous shows.

Introducing ...Archie Leach.

Better Times: 
Hippodrome Theatre,
Sixth Ave. bet W.42nd and W.44th, New York.

Exterior of the Hippodrome.

Interior of the auditorium.

Its revolving stage stretched virtually the entire distance between the numbered thoroughfares.
The ballet corps numbered eighty, the chorus contained one hundred members and required a backstage staff of around eight hundred.
It could also present water ballets.

Cover for the souvenir book for "Better Times"

In "The Land of Mystery" episode, Archie was one of The Joyful Girls.

In the twelfth episode he was one of the Meistersingers.

Opened: 2/9/1922
Closed: 28/4/1923
Total Performances: 405
Music by Raymond Hubbell and Lyrics by R.H. Burnside.

Golden Dawn:
Hammerstein's Theatre.
1697 Broadway at W.53rd Street.

Exterior of Hammerstein's (now the Ed Sullivan).

Interior of the auditorium.

Typical booklet cover.

Archie played Anzac in "Golden Dawn"

Opened: 30/11/1927
Closed: 5/5/1928
Total Performances: 184
Music by Herbert P. Stothart, Emmerick Kalman and Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, Otto Harbach.

Boom Boom:
Casino Theatre,
1404 Broadway (W.39th)

Exterior of the Casino Theatre.

Interiors of the auditorium.

Booklet cover. Archie played "Reggie Phipps, alongside Jeanette MacDonald.

Cover for the sheet music.

Opened: 28/1/1929
Closed: 30/3/1929
Total Performances: 72
Music by Werner Janssen and Lyrics by Mann Holiner and J. Keirn Brennan.

A Wonderful Night:
Majestic Theatre,
245 W. 44th Street.

Exterior of the Majestic.

Interiors of the auditorium.

Booklet cover.

Archie appeared as "Max Grunewald"

Opened: 31/10/1929
Closed: 15/2/1930
Total Performances: 125

Longacre Theatre,
220 W.48th Street.

Exterior of Longacre Theatre.

Interior of the auditorium.

Archie played "Cary Lockwood", the character from who he took his first name.
The show also starred Fay Wray.

Opened: 29/9/1931
Closed: 31/10/1931
Total Performances: 39

More Stage Appearances:
The Municipal Opera.
At the "Muny" (fifth from the left).

Archie is listed as appearing in:
"Three Little Girls"
"The Street Singer"
"Music In May"
"The Three Musketeers"
"A Wonderful Night" (See above)
and "Rio Rita".

In "The Three Musketeers".

Also appearing in a Pre-Broadway Premiere at the Shubert Playhouse in Wilmington, Delaware.
It was a flop!! Running from 31/10/1928 - 3/11/1928.

An early stage appearance.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

On This Day...Operation Olympic! (1920)

On this not a film...but the start of a bigger adventure!

At just 16-years old Archibald Leach was just one of 1,207 names making up the passenger list of the R.M.S Olympic.


It was 1920 and the ship, built alongside the Titanic, was departing from Southampton, bound for New York.

The passenger list from the White Star Line ship reveals Archie's name, tucked away at the bottom of a string of names of men and women travelling second class.

One page of the White Star Line manifest for 21st July 1920.

The only information he was required to provide when boarding on July 21st, 1920, was the question of country of intended future permanent residence. In a display of ambition, Archie said the U.S.A.

He also described himself as an actor, from England, who was just one of the 1,207 passengers.

Also on board were Hollywood heartthrob Douglas Fairbanks and actress Mary Pickford.

Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks.

The couple had married on March 28th, and enjoyed an extended honeymoon in Europe.

She was 26 and he was 37, and unlike Archie, the glamorous couple were travelling in first class.

Archie was sailing second class with the Bob Pender Troupe, and sharing a ship with Fairbanks and Pickford was to leave a big impression.

Second Class cabin accommodated 3 passengers.

He later recalled the meeting: 

 "Among the fellow passengers were newlyweds Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and Mary Pickford, the world’s most popular honeymooners and the first film stars I ever met.

They were gracious and patient in face of constant harassment, by people with cameras and autograph books, whenever they appeared on deck; and once even I found myself being photographed with Mr. Fairbanks during a game of shuffleboard.

As I stood beside him I tried with shy, inadequate words to tell him of my adulation.

He was a splendidly trained athlete and acrobat, affable and warmed by success and well-being. A gentleman in the true sense of the word."

With Douglas Fairbanks Snr?

The actor was to claim that he had striven to maintain a glowing tan in order to emulate the healthy appearance of Fairbanks.

On arriving in New York, Archie was amazed! He later wrote:

"Manhattan Island. That skyline in the early-morning July sunshine. New York City. There it was; but was I there? Was I actually there at the ship’s rail, neatly scrubbed and polished, standing with a small, solitary band of Pender-troupe boys--none of whom had slept all night for fear of missing the first glimpse of America? The excitement. Those skyscrapers I had seen so many times before. Oh my, yes. In England. In Bristol. In the films."

Archie Leach circa.1920's

After arriving in the U.S he toured with several vaudeville acts and even worked as a stilt-walker, before finally becoming a regular on Broadway in the late 1920s.