Gabrielle Ray

'Gabrielle Ray said, 'I am always dancing; I love it! When I don't dance, I sing. What else is there to do?'

Gabrielle Ray (Philco – January)


December 31, 2018 Posted by | Actress, Deltiology, Gabrielle Ray, Philco, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mother Goose – Manchester Evening News – Tuesday 15th February 1921

The “Royal” Goose.


If you want to see a fine goose, a real human goose that will divert you when either humour or dancing or other things old fashioned and spectacular may have failed -now is the time to see this year’s Manchester “Royal” panto. Fred Conquest must have studied geese and their ways from prehistoric times.

Dan Lenny junr., is now at the top of his bent as Mother Goose, and Miss Gabrielle Ray continues to have her own special charm – very dainty and self-confident in every turn and gesture.

Manchester Evening News – Tuesday 15th February 1921

December 27, 2018 Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Mother Goose, Pantomimes, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mr. and Mrs. Eric Raymond Loder – 1933

 Mr. and Mrs. Eric Raymond Loder

The subjects of our photograph are familiars of all the places named and strangely, the fact that they were not two widely separated entities was divulged at a private dinner party given by the lady a few nights ago in New York. They are Mr. and Mrs. Eric Raymond Loder, Cosmopolites. She was Lady Davis, widow of the late Sir Montimer Davis, Canadian multimillionaire. He is the son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Basil Loder of Aldwickbury, Hersfordshire, England. They were married secretly last December at Long Branch New Jersey and as we said the news of the marriage has been just divulged. Mrs. Loder was born Miss Eleanor Curran, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Curran of New Orleans, L.A.  Dated 23 – 10 – 1933.


December 21, 2018 Posted by | Actress, Biography, Eleanor Curran, Eric Loder, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Eric Loder – The Sketch – Wednesday 19th December 1923



The Squash Rackets match between ladies and men at Queen’s resulted in a draw, the men giving the ladies ten and two hands. Our group shows, from left to right, back row – Major Eric Loder, Mr. C. B. Noel, Mr. C. B. Browning, Mr. T. O. Jameson (Amateur Champion), Miss Lees, Miss Fenwick, Mr. P. le Gros, Miss P. Blake, Mr. C. M. Prior, the Hon. Mrs. E. G. Tew, Colonel L. H. Frisby, and Mr. G. T. C. Watt and, seated Miss S. Huntsman, Miss N. Cave (Amateur Lady Champion), Miss J. Nicholson, Miss J. Cave, Miss E. Nicholson, and Miss J. Huntsman. [Photograph by S. and G.]


The Sketch – Wednesday 19th December 1923

December 20, 2018 Posted by | Actress, Biography, Eric Loder, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gabrielle Ray (Rotary 967 B)

Lady Madcap (Rotary 1939 J)

December 16, 2018 Posted by | Actress, Deltiology, Gabrielle Ray, Rotary, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gabrielle Ray (Post Card A 10 – 2)

December 9, 2018 Posted by | Actress, Deltiology, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Smoking in theatres – The Manchester Evening News – Wednesday 28th April 1920

Smoking in theatres - The Manchester Evening News - Wednesday 28th April 1920


Once upon a time smoking in the theatres was an abomination. It is now in some theatres. But at the Empire it is a pleasure to the smoker, and does not interfere with the comfort of the non-smoker, owing to the perfect system of ventilation and the spaciousness provided. There are more cubic feet per person at the Empire than at any other variety theatres in Manchester.


The Manchester Evening News – Wednesday 28th April 1920

December 7, 2018 Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Collecting Old Postcards – Irish Independent – Saturday 24th March 2001

Collecting old postcards

With Ian Baird



MANY of the best social history postcards depict regular events or one-off occurrences. Market days in Ireland always attracted crowds from neighbouring towns and villages and the livestock to be bought and sold often featured in the picture.

Sometimes the name of the town will appear in white on the postcard. This was because the photographer wrote the location on the negative and when developed this came out in white. In Ireland the figures in village postcards are often recognised today by old friends or relatives.

British postcards may have views of gypsy camps, village fetes or natural and man-made disasters including floods, and storm damage, and fires.

The photographer’s equipment was cumbersome at the turn of the century. Sometimes a bulky camera with photographic plates had to be manhandled across fields to get a good view of an event. After taking the photographs and producing the postcards, these would be sold in limited numbers to the locals. If only a handful – or even one or two – of these postcards survive, the collector will pay a good price.

Social history postcards can be very difficult to value and each must be assessed on its own merits. The relevant particulars include location, event, clarity of the picture, action in the photograph, and the scarcity of the cards. One popular group was shop fronts and the most collectable of these are the small village stores, post offices and butcher shops, often with the proud owners standing in the doorway.



Postcards sold to advertise new plays in are very collectable. The Superstar did not originate during the golden days of Hollywood. Many Edwardian actresses were household names and – even without television their faces were known in every home throughout the land. This was usually by means of the picture postcard.

Hundreds of thousands of portraits were put out by publishing companies and almost every Edwardian album included cards of Marie Studholme, Gertie Millar, Lily Elsie, Gabrielle Ray, Zena and Phyllis Dare, Mabel Love, and Gladys Cooper. Hundreds of other pre-First World War stars of the stage were known by means of the picture postcard.

Although the stars of drama – such as Henry Irving, H.G. Tree and Ellen Terry – were not forgotten, the principal form of theatrical entertainment was the musical comedy. One collector has over 2,000 different cards of Marie Studholme alone.


Donald McGill

One of the best known of the British comic postcard artist during the 20 century was Donald McGill whose work spanned a period of almost 60 years. The characters he created were sold mainly in the shops of seaside resorts.

Born in 1875, McGill started designing his colourful and amusing postcards in 1904. He continued working right up until the time of his death in 1962. His saucy drawings featured red-nosed drunks or buxom ladies with their henpecked husbands. Although present-day collectors would be interested in all of his cards, it is the older ones – before the First World War – that are most in demand.

In the 1920s a girl on the beach would expose little more than an ankle. By 1950 many of McGill’s girls were considered too revealing and his cards became the subject of controversy.

McGill’s sense of humour was nothing if not even-handed. His men could be paunchy, drunk, loud-mouthed, lacking in tact and rude.

The women were often depicted with ferocious red-faced scowls and huge bosoms heaving with indignation. More often than not the husband would be small, inoffensive and timid, clearly well-used to bullying treatment.

The artist also had an eye for beauty and the stunningly curvaceous bathing belles were a favourite among the male holidaymakers sending a postcard to their local pub or trying to impress a friend.

More innocent cards by McGill portrayed children on the beaches with bucket and spade.

One shows a small boy digging his heels in as a hand tries to pull him from the beach. The caption reads, ‘I don’t want to leave Bridlington.’ Another illustrates a chubby red-headed child sitting disconsolately on a sand-castle with the title, ‘We’re leaving here tomorrow.’


Irish Independent – Saturday 24th March 2001


December 6, 2018 Posted by | Actress, Deltiology, Gabrielle Ray, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Mother Goose – The Manchester Evening News – Friday 24th December 1920


 A Bird that Will Not “Get the Bird.”


Four Hours of Fun that Tired None.


“Mother Goose” made an auspicious first appearance at the Theatre Royal last night. The goose proved such a delectable bird that very many weeks will pass before the appetite of Manchester audiences is satiated. There was, perhaps, trifle too much stuffing, but the head chef will quickly make that all right. No finer tribute could be paid than to record the fact that after four hours the audience was still enthusiastic.

In theatrical parlance “Mother Goose” is a bird that will not get “the bird.”

The story is neither here nor there. There was probably never any serious intention to recount the somewhat vague wanderings of the goose that laid the golden eggs. When Mr. Fred Conquest waddles on to the stage with the solemn gait of that stupid bird the joy of the audience was complete, and the story didn’t really matter.

Caleb Plummer never got so “near to nature” as did Mr. Conquest, and his work is surely the last word in impersonation.

One is truly spiteful for the many beautiful stage settings, notably the Magic Vine and the Squire’s Garden Pets. The artists have conceived their pictures in subdued tones, so that instead of headache one finds rest and enjoyment in contemplation of their work.



But after all what would a pantomime be without the comedians?  Mr. John Hart has gathered around him a notable company of laughter makers who provide a very remarkable study in the contrast of styles. There is, for instance, Den Leno, Junior (shades of the past), whose quaint, jerky methods and peculiar shuffling of the feet betray his origin. As the dame who sought to regain her youth and beauty he displays histrionic gifts of no mean order.

Mr. Fred A. Leslie, solemn and restrained, at once established himself a favourite. The “Chicken Reel” dance with the goose was only one of a score of good things to the account of this comedian. Mr. J. H. Wakefield is robust and full of confidence. He has a quick wit, and when a bell rang “off “ at the wrong moment he turned it to good account, and at once the right atmosphere was created between audience and players.

With memories of the pantomimes of one’s youth there may have been a little regret that the wicked magician was such a very pleasant fellow. Red and green limelight fail to make him anything else, and one feels confident that whatever happens he would never exceed the bounds of good taste. He sang an excellent song “The Great Wide Road” with a charm that would have done credit to musical comedy hero.

Miss Gabrielle Ray, who must have discovered the secret of eternal youth, looked like a piece of Dresden china. She danced and sang with great charm, and her youthful assistants were as graceful and dainty as thistledown. Miss Madge White the attributes of a successful principal boy. She emerges as a singer of character songs, and “Swanee” in particular will be taken up by the boy in the street.

Mr. Alex Flood, under whose stage direction the pantomime is produced, must have been a very happy man to see the fruits of his labour turn out so successfully. “Mother Goose” deserves well of the public, and is a sure winner.


The Manchester Evening News – Friday 24th December 1920


December 3, 2018 Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Mother Goose, Pantomimes, Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Dollar Princess – The Bystander – Wednesday 6th October 1909








THE subject of money is always a very fascinating one to people like myself, who know no more of it than we read about in books or see in plays. Now and again you meet a man who has some money, or, at least, knows someone who once saw some of it; but these are rare occasions nowadays. Perhaps that is why the atmosphere of The Dollar Princess is so refreshing. Not only do the various scenes suggest wealth in really reckless quantities, but I have read a paragraph in a paper to the effect that the production itself cost no less than ten thousand pounds. I had no idea there was all that money left in the country.

IT is generally admitted that one of the most difficult things in the world is to repeat a success, and Mr. George Edwardes must have had to look about him with a very wary eye when the time came to replace The Merry Widow with an attraction that would be equally successful but, after having seen The Dollar Princess, it seems to me that his eye might have been a trifle warier with advantage. For now that what Mr. Kipling calls the “tumult and the shouting” have faded away, and we have had the leisure to reflect upon what can be done with ten thousand pounds, it really seems to me that Mr. Edwardes ought to have got a little more for his money. I quite understand that the bare suggestion of such a thing is rank heresy to the third power, but with that yearning for truth which is the undoing of all great reformers, I am compelled to say that The Dollar Princess impressed me as being a very ordinary musical comedy, distinguished from the average only by the very high quality of the musical part. In coming to this conclusion 1 feel my position keenly – like the prisoner in the dock. All London has been positively whooping over the success of the thing, and here am I, like a Jonah barking in the wilderness, or whatever it is, obstinately refusing to be guided by the judgment of my betters.

THE idea of the comedy is good – distinctly good. There is a young multi millionaire, whose name sounds like “cucumber” until you find on referring to your programme that it is Harry Q. Conder (Mr. Joseph Coyne), and whose staff of servants is recruited entirely from the ranks of the impoverished British aristocracy. There are a duke and an earl, and there is one young man without a title of any kind, but who claims noble descent because he was called William – after the Conqueror, a little gleam of nonsensical humour which is welcome, not so much for its brilliance as for its rarity. Mr. Conder, having engaged his aristocrats at a high salary, always gets his money’s worth by addressing them by their full titles, whether they are grooms or butlers or chambermaids. This idea, generously developed, should have been sufficient to make a success of the story but it is not insisted on after the first scene or two, and we gradually come to regard the servants surrounding the millionaire and his sister as quite ordinary mortals. It would not matter much if there were any other source of fun in the play; but as this idea seems to have been the motif of the piece, it seemed to me a pity not to insist on it a little more.

I THINK the story is weakened by the fact that the love interest is split, just for all the world as if it were one of those horrid infinitives. Mr. Conder shares his palatial mansion with his sister Alice (Miss Lily Elsie), and we have two leading love stories to follow to their happy conclusion. This is a rather daring novelty to spring upon a public which has always been taught to believe that it has a sort of hereditary claim to see the hero and the heroine of a play marrying each other at the finish. It is true that, for the sake of contrast, Conder conducts his love making with light and buoyant humour, as if, after all, it didn’t matter whether the lady married him or not while Alice takes her love affair with dead seriousness, and positively staggers with excitement at the end of the second act on finding that the young man of her choice declines to admit that her dollars are to be compared to his own advantage of gentle birth. In this part Mr. Robert Michaelis makes what is unquestionably the hit of the production. One of the reasons for the success of Mr. Michaelis is that the play is strongest on its musical side, and as this gentleman not only has a very fine voice, but also possesses the ability to employ it to the greatest advantage, he has had good luck added to his own good management. I think his ideas of humour are at times a little extravagant, but much may be forgiven an artist with so many admirable qualities. His final duet with Miss Elsie as the curtain falls is one of the most pleasing features in the entertainment.

MISS EMMY WEHLEN is a newcomer at Daly’s, but she bids fair to rank as one of the prime favourites at that house. She is called Olga in the piece, and it therefore seems quite superfluous to add that she is a Russian Countess. We should doubt the credentials of a Russian Countess who had not got Olga for at least one of her names. Miss Wehlen has a well-trained voice, and she sings with a delicate humour that adds a considerable charm to her efforts. Mr. W. H. Berry has quite a small part, but he works very hard to wrench a little fun out of it, and in this respect I think he is the most successful of any of the humorists in the piece. His performance came as quite a relief at times when we were, to use a very ordinary term, “fed up” with mere prettiness and severely correct music. Perhaps, as the play settles down, Mr. Berry may have more opportunities of showing his quality; and I think the same benefit might be conferred on Mr. Evelyn Beerbohm, who is a good man practically left idle when there is a really crying demand for the sort of work he knows how to do so well. Another of the successes is Miss Gabrielle Ray, who gives, with Mr. Willie Warde, one of the happiest song-and-dance turns of the evening. It seems a trifle cheap to talk about a little Ray of sunshine, but, after all, the facts must speak for themselves, even if they are guilty of punning when they do it.

JOSEPH COYNE seems to lose a little of his glamour in conventional costume. We have associated him for so long with astrachan and top boots that it is a little difficult to accept him as the pink of West-End fashion. His best turn is a song and dance on the tennis courts with a number of pretty ladies, who oblige with the chorus but doubtless he, too, will feel more at home in his part presently. Miss Lily Elsie is, as ever, quite delightful. She sings and acts with a gentle grace that wins all hearts, my own included, and there is no doubt, to judge by the temper of the audience, that she is still the queen of the ——– excuse me. I had very nearly said “Daly males,” and we really can’t allow that sort of thing in a responsible paper, especially as Miss Elsie seems to be quite as popular with the ladies as with us boys.

WHAT is the matter with the piece? Mr. George Edwardes has clearly spared neither pains nor money in his effort to produce a worthy piece of work. The music and the acting are all that could be desired, except that I could find nothing that promised to be “popular” among the melodies. It almost looks as if the aim had been a little too high, with the result that the whole thing has turned out to be too severely correct. After all, the man in the street still counts for something, but unless he has a highly developed taste in music I do not see where he is catered for in this avowedly popular production. It seems a poor return for the great courtesy shown to me at Daly’s Theatre that I should go out of my way to say unpleasant things about the piece, but the best of us can do no more than speak according to the light that is in him.



The Bystander – Wednesday 6th October 1909


December 1, 2018 Posted by | Actress, Gabrielle Ray, Lily Elsie, Social History, The Bystander, The Dollar Princess, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment