Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Vera Ellen 1921-1981

This is the first in a series of posts inspired by a combination of; the etchings of Frank Martin (1921-2005), Graphic Art od poster design and the glamour of Hollywood. Orignally these were posted on my "Screen Goddess" blog, but I have now decided to combine the two lines of research.

Today we start with Vera   Ellen (1921-1981), who had the “smallest waist in Hollywood” and was also born in the same year as the artist Frank Martin. She was a dancer actress both on Broadway and in Hollywood – she danced or acted with all the best – including; the Marx Brothers in their last film, Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, David Niven, Frank Sinatra, Edward G Robinson and more. Shows and films include Words and Music, On the Town, White Christmas, Love Happy and Three Little Words.

As with many stars she started young, beginning dancing when only 10years, by 16 she was a winner on the “Major Bowes Amateur Hour” and by 18 she was making her Broadway debut in the musical “Very Warm for May”. Soon she was with the Rockettes at Radio City Musical Hall.

Naturally more Broadway roles followed and during “A Connecticut Yankee” she was spotted by Samuel Goldwyn, who cast her opposite Danny Kaye and Virginia Mayo in the film Wonder Man. There was no stopping her now and numerous roles followed, continuing to appear in films throughout the 1940′s and 1950′s before finally retiring from the screen in 1957.

Vera Ellen - etching by Frank Martin.

But what other art can we find ?? – the above is by our friend Frank Martin 1921-2005 which is based on a scene from the film “Wonder Man”- but who else ?? Here are poster for each of her films – sadly by the 1950′s most film posters a photo based, but I was able to find a few old style commercial art types. Click on the highlighted film titles to purchase a copy from Amazon.

Wonder Man - RKO 1945 – Starring Virginia Mayo and Danny Kaye.

The Kid From Brooklyn – RKO 1946 – starring Danny Kaye and Virginia Mayo

 Three Little Girls in Blue – 1946

Carnival in Costa Rica – 1947 – 20th Century Fox

Words and Music – 1948 MGM – starring Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, Micky Rooney and Cyd Charisse

Love Happy – 1949 – The Marx Brothers’ last film.

On The Town – 1949 MGM – starring Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Ann Miller.

Three Little Words – 1950 MGM with Fred Astaire

Happy Go Lovely – RKO 1951 with David Niven.

Belle of New York – MGM 1952 – with Fred Astaire.

Call Me Madam – 1953 with Ethel Merman

Big Leaguer – 1953

White Christmas – Paramount 1954 with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye.

Let’s Be Happy – 1957

There are plenty of beautiful studio portraits of her.

 ….. and whilst I struggled to find art of Vera Ellen, I was able to find an artist called Vera Ellen For a full filmography try –
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