24 September 2018

Johan Kaart

For decades, Johan Kaart junior (1897-1976) was a huge star in the Dutch entertainment world. Between 1934 and 1937, he starred in seven films and after the war he played in several more films. He also often worked for radio and television, but his main stage was the theatre.

Jan van Ees, Willy Costello, Johan Kaart jr
Dutch postcard by Hollandia Film Prod. / Loet C. Barnstijn. Photo: publicity still for De Jantjes/The Tars (Jaap Speyer, 1934).

Johan Kaart in Malle Gevallen
Dutch postcard, no. 7. Photo: Loet C. Barnstijn Film. Publicity still of Johan Kaart junior in the comedy Malle gevallen/Silly Situations (1934).

Johan Kaart in De familie van mijn vrouw
Dutch postcard by M.B. & Z. Photo: Loet C. Barnstijn Productie. Publicity still of Johan Kaart junior in the Dutch comedy De familie van mijn vrouw/My Wife's Family (Jaap Speyer, 1935).

Theatre Dynasty


Johannes Antonius Kaart was born in a theatre dynasty in Amsterdam in 1897. He was the son of small-time actor Johannes Antonius Kaart (Senior), and soubrette and actress Isabella Willemsens.

When Johan Junior was 16, he made his debut as an extra with the in Amsterdam located stage company Het Tooneel under direction of Willem Royaards, against the wishes of his parents. A year later, his father gave in and sent him to acting classes.

With his stubby shape, gritty timbre and somewhat roughly cut facial features, he was not the appropriate figure for the role of young lover. However, he soon became a star in the Dutch entertainment world. He played many classic theatre roles, but he also developed himself more and more as a comedian.

According to IMDb, Kaart made his screen debut in the Dutch silent film  Helleveeg (Theo Frenkel, 1920) with Mien Duymaar van Twist and Lily Bouwmeester. This is a mistake, it was actually his father who appeared as a butler in the film.

Junior would have his breakthrough in one of the first Dutch sound films, De Jantjes/The Tars (Jaap Speyer, 1934), based on the popular play by Herman Bouber. The film is based on a fairly well known and still popular Dutch play, set in the Jordaan, a neighbourhood where the the working class of Amsterdam used to live.

Kaart played Manus or 'De Schele' (the Cross-Eyed), one of the three roguish tars of the title. The other two were Jan van Ees and Willy Costello. The three friends return from their military service in the navy. Dolle Dries is happily united with his girlfriend Blonde Greet. Schele Manus courts Jans, but is less lucky, since she adores luxury. The third sailor, De Blauwe, is usually tipsy. The three sailors continue their comradeship, and support each other during hardships.

Johan Kaart and Lau Ezerman in Don Quichot
Dutch postcard for the stage play Don Quichot op de Bruiloft van Kamatcho/ Don Quichot on the Wedding of Kamatcho (1711) by Pieter Langendijk, starring Lau Ezerman as Don Quichotte and Johan Kaart Jr. as Sancho Panza. The play was performed by the Schouwburgtoneel of Jan Musch in the open air theatre in Valkenburg in 1920. In 1925 the play was performed again with Kaart as Sancho Panza at the Amsterdam open air theatre Frankendaal, this time by the company Vereenigd Tooneel.

Johan Kaart, Suzy Klein, Willy Castello, Henriette Davids, Jan van Ees and Sylvain Poons in De Jantjes
Dutch postcard by Hollandia Film Prod. / Loet C. Barnstijn. Photo: publicity still for De Jantjes/The Tars (Jaap Speyer, 1934).

Jan van Ees, Willy Costello, Johan Kaart jr.
Dutch postcard by Hollandia Film Prod. / Loet C. Barnstijn. Photo: publicity still for De Jantjes/The Tars (Jaap Speyer, 1934).

Marlene Dietrich Impersonation


After De Jantjes had become a surprisingly huge success, Johan Kaart went on to star in six more films between 1934 and 1937. These were all comedies.

First he reunited with director Jaap Speyer to make Malle gevallen/Silly Situations (Jaap Speyer, 1934) and De familie van mijn vrouw/My Wife's Family (Jaap Speyer, 1935) with Sylvain Poons.

Then followed De vier Mullers/The Four Mullers (Rudolf Meinert, 1935) with Johannes Heesters, the army comedy De big van het regiment/The Mascot of the Regiment (Max Nosseck, 1935) with Frits van Dongen aka Philip Dorn), and 't was een april/It was April Fools' Day (Detlev Sierck aka Douglas Sirk, Jacques van Tol, 1936).

In Kermisgasten/Carnival People (Jaap Speyer, 1936) with Henriëtte Davids, he did a hilarious Marlene Dietrich impersonation.

Dutch critic Henk van Gelder writes in his biography of Kaart at Huygens.ING: "Unlike many of his colleagues, Kaart realised very well that the camera did not allow stage acting. He radiated a natural kind of joviality that made him a crowd favourite. Whether he played a popular type, a slow student or a dedicated policeman, he easily knew how to create a credible character out of every kind of role."

Johan Kaart, Sylvain Poons, Hansje Andriesen, Matthieu van Eysden, and Adolphe Engers in De Big van het regiment (1935)
Dutch postcard by Monopole Film N.V. Photo: Dick van Maarseveen. Still for De Big van het Regiment (Max Nosseck, 1935). Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute. For a better view of the postcard please click double on the picture.

Johan Kaart in De Big van het Regiment (1935)
Dutch postcard by N.V. Monopole Film. Photo: Dick van Maarseveen. Still for De Big van het Regiment (Max Nosseck, 1935). Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

Frits van Dongen, Cruys Voorbergh, Matthieu van Eysden, Adolphe Engers, and Johan Kaart in De Big van het regiment (1935)
Dutch vintage postcard by Monopole Film NV. Photo: Dick van Maarseveen. Still for De Big van het Regiment (Max Nosseck, 1935). Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

Box Office Hit


After the war, Johan Kaart returned on the screen in the old fashioned comedy Een koninkrijk voor een huis/A Kingdom for a House (1949), again directed by Jaap Speyer and co-starring Henriëtte Davids.

Next he played a cab driver who wants to emigrate to Australia in the comedy Sterren Stralen Overal/Stars Twinkle Everywhere (Gerard Rutten, 1953).

A huge box office hit in the Netherlands was the drama Ciske de Rat/Ciske the Rat (Wolfgang Staudte, 1955) in which Kaart played a supporting part.

He played more supporting parts in the comedy Kleren maken de man/Clothes Make the Man (Georg Jacoby, 1957) starring Kees Brusse, and the thriller Rififi in Amsterdam (Giovanni Korporaal, 1962) with Maxim Hamel.

Louis de Bree, Johan Kaart, Malle gevallen
Dutch postcard by Loet C. Barnstijn Film, no. 1. Photo: Publicity still for the comedy Malle gevallen (Jaap Speyer, 1934).

Annie van Duyn, Enny Meunier, Johan Kaart jr., Roland Varno in Malle gevallen
Dutch postcard by Loet C. Barnstijn Film, no. 3. Photo: publicity still for Malle Gevallen/Silly Situations (Jaap Speyer, 1934).

Roland Varno, Louis Borel & Johan Kaart in Malle gevallen
Dutch postcard by Loet C. Barnstijn Film, no. 4. Photo: publicity still for Malle Gevallen/Silly Situations (Jaap Speyer, 1934).

Roland Varno, Johan Kaart, Annie van Duyn, Louis Borel, Jopie Koopman, Enny Meunier, Malle gevallen
Dutch postcard by Loet C. Barnstijn Film, no. 11. Photo: still for Malle Gevallen/Silly Situations (Jaap Speyer, 1934). Collection: Geoffrey Donaldson Institute.

Potash & Perlmutter


Johan Kaart often worked for radio and later also for TV, but his main stage was the theatre. Since 1950 he performed Potasch en Perlemoer (Potash & Perlmutter) by Montague Glass for more than 3,500 times. The farce is about the ups and downs of two constantly squabbling Jewish textile merchants. His co-star in this evergreen was Johan Boskamp.

Kaart was also acclaimed for his role as the job-shy garbage collector Alfred Doolittle in the 1960 Dutch stage version of My Fair Lady, alongside Wim Sonneveld as Professor Higgins. It was another success.

On TV he was seen in the popular youth series Ja zuster, nee zuster/Yes Nurse, No Nurse (1967) and Oebele (1968-1971).

Between 1969 and 1972, he went on tour again with Johan Boskamp as opponent in Potasch & Perlemoer. Forced by the aftermath of a fractured hip, caused by a fall during a performance of this success, and Parkinson's disease, he disappeared from the scene.

In 1975 the Johan Kaart Prijs was introduced, a Dutch theatre entertainment award named after him.

In 1976, Johan Kaart died in Amsterdam at the age of 78. He was married to former actress Maria Wilhelmina Jeanne 'Willy' von Saher from 1920 till his death in 1976. They had one daughter, Freddie (1924). Johan Kaart was also the uncle of the talented film actor and opera singer Hans Kaart.

Johan Kaart en Jacques van Bijlevelt in De Vier Mullers
Dutch postcard. Photo: Habé Film. Publicity still of Johan Kaart and Jacques Bijlevelt in the comedy De Vier Mullers (1935), a Dutch version of the Austrian multilingual Alles für die Firma (1935). Both were shot at the Schonbrunn studios in Vienna. The film deals with three quarrelsome generations of textile business owners: granddad Philip (Adolf Bouwmeester), dad Max (Bijlevelt) and son Otto (Johannes Heesters). Kaart plays their go-between Jacob Schat.

Johan Kaart en Johan Heesters in De Vier Mullers
Dutch postcard by Habé Film. Photo: publicity still for De Vier Mullers/The Four Mullers (Rudolf Meinert, 1935) with Johannes Heesters.

Johan Kaart
Dutch postcard. Photo: Godfried de Groot, Amsterdam.

Johan Kaart in Sterren stralen overal (1953)
Dutch postcard by Editions Altona, Amsterdam, no. T 63. Photo: publicity still for Sterren Stralen Overal/Stars Twinkle Anywhere (Gerard Rutten, 1953).

Sources: Henk van Gelder (Huygens ING - Instituut voor Nederlandse Geschiedenis - Dutch), Wikipedia and IMDb.

23 September 2018

Viktor de Kowa

Viktor de Kowa (1904-1973) was a German actor, singer, director and comedy writer. In the 1930s he became one of the most prominent and beloved comedy actors of the German cinema.

Viktor de Kowa
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 8909/1, 1933-1934. Photo: Ufa.

Viktor de Kowa
Dutch postcard by M.B. & Z. (M. Bonnist & Zonen), no. 1221. Photo: Filma.

Viktor de Kowa
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 3382/1, 1928-1929. Photo: Tita Binz / Tobis.

Viktor de Kowa
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 8698/1, 1933-1934. Photo: Atelier Binder, Berlin.

Viktor de Kowa
German postcard by Film-Foto-Verlag, no. A 3754/1, 1941-1944. Photo: Star-Foto-Atelier / Tobis.

A Darling of the Female Public


Viktor (sometimes Victor) de Kowa was born as Viktor Paul Karl Kowarzik (some sources write Kowal(l)czyk) in 1904 in the village Hochkirch (nowadays Przesieczany), Germany (now south-western Poland, close to the German border).

He was educated at the Art Academy in Dresden and started his career as a poster and fashion drawer. Soon he abandoned this job and took acting lessons by the famous actor Erich Ponto.

He debuted in 1922 at the Dresdner Staatstheater and also worked in Lübeck, Frankfurt am Main and Hamburg before he went to Berlin. There he was engaged at the Volksbühne, the Deutsches Theater and from 1935 at the Staatstheater.

He made his cinema debut with the silent film Der Herzensdieb/The Heart Thief (Nils Olaf Chrisander, 1927) starring Joseph Schildkraut and Lya de Putti. Two years later he had a supporting part in the circus film Katharina Knie (Karl Grune, 1929) featuring Carmen Boni.

After the introduction of the sound film he became a darling of the female public with his very individual romantic roles.

He took part in such films as the comedy Pension Schöller (Georg Jacoby, 1930), the war drama Die andere Seite/The Other Side (Heinz Paul, 1931) with Conrad Veidt, the comedy Der Stolz der 3. Kompanie/The Pride of the Third Company (Fred Sauer, 1932), the horror comedy Unheimliche Geschichten/Unholy Tales (Richard Oswald, 1932) with Paul Wegener, and the romantic drama Ein Lied geht um die Welt/The Joseph Schmidt Story (Richard Oswald, 1933).

He had his great breakthrough with the post-war drama Kleiner Mann - was nun?/Little Man What Now (Fritz Wendhausen, 1933), based on the novel by Hans Fallada.

Viktor de Kowa
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 8089/1, 1933-1934. Photo: Klagemann.

Käthe von Nagy, Viktor de Kowa
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 8822/1, 1933-1934. Photo: Ufa. Publicity still for Der junge Baron Neuhaus/The Young Baron Neuhaus (Gustav Ucicky, 1934) with Käthe von Nagy.

Liane Haid, Viktor de Kowa
Dutch postcard by City Film, no. 501. Photo: publicity still for Das Schloß im Süden/The Castle in the South (Géza von Bolváry, 1933) with Liane Haid.

Viktor de Kowa and Hilde Weissner in Lockvogel
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 8883/1, 1933-1934. Photo: Ufa. Publicity still for Lockvogel/Decoy (Hans Steinhoff, 1934) with Hilde Weissner.

Pacifist or God-gifted NSDAP actor?


In the following years, Viktor de Kowa became a star with comedies like Die Finanzen des Grossherzogs/The Grand Duke's Finances (Gustaf Gründgens, 1934) opposite Hilde Weissner, Der junge Baron Neuhaus/The Young Baron Neuhaus (Gustav Ucicky, 1934) with Käthe von Nagy, Die grosse und die kleine Welt/The Big and the Small World (Johannes Riemann, 1936), and Die göttliche Jette/The Divine Jetta (Erich Waschneck, 1937) with Grethe Weiser.

During the war years, he starred in Wir machen Musik/We Make Music (Helmut Käutner, 1942) co-starring Ilse Werner, and the crime comedy Peter Voss, der Millionendieb/Peter Voss - the million thief (Karl Anton, 1943-1946).

In those years he also directed three films - Schneider Wibbel/Tailor Wibbel (1939) starring Erich Ponto, Casanova heiratet/Casanova Marries (1940) and Kopf hoch, Johannes/Head Up, Johannes (1941) starring Albrecht Schoenhals and Dorothea Wieck.

He continued his acting during the war. He was a member of the NSDAP and directed the Nazi propaganda film Kopf Hoch, Johannes/Head high, Johannes. In this Nazi youth film the independent, freedom-loving boy Johannes is converted in a Nazi-youth organization, a Napola school, to discipline and obedience. This subject made De Kowa euphoric: "The task to create an image from the life of this young generation, these future leaders of Greater Germany - this is a work about which one can be enthusiastic honestly and without reservations."

Although Joseph Goebbels called the subject of the film 'well', he was disappointed by the direction of De Kowa. Nevertheless, Goebbels placed De Kowa in August 1944 on the Gottbegnadeten-Liste (god-gifted list of the indispensable actors) which retained him from a war application, and from the Heimatfront.

Viktor de Kowa
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. A 2401/1, 1939-1940. Photo: Tobis / Sandau.

Viktor de Kowa
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 9260, 1935-1936. Photo: Atelier Binder, Berlin.

Viktor de Kowa
German postcard by Film-Foto-Verlag, no. A 3889/1, 1941-1944. Photo: Tobis / Star-Foto-Atelier.

Viktor de Kowa
German postcard by Das Programm von Heute / Ross Verlag, Berlin. Photo: Harlip.

Working Permit


After the war, Viktor de Kowa immediately received a working permit and he became the manager of the Berliner Tribüne till 1950. From 1956 to 1962 he was a member of the Burgtheater in Vienna. As chairman of the trade unions for art, culture and media, he was also a board director of the Confederation of German Trade Unions (DGB).

He was also active in the post-war film, produced some films and wrote plays. To his well-known films after the war belong Zwischen gestern und morgen/Between Yesterday and Tomorrow (Harald Braun, 1947) starring Hildegard Knef, Anonyme Briefe/Anonymous Letters (Arthur Maria Rabenalt, 1949) with Käthe Haack.

During the 1950s, such films followed as Des Teufels General/The Devil's General (Helmut Käutner, 1955) opposite Curd Jürgens, Ein Mädchen aus Flandern/The Girl from Flanders (Helmut Käutner, 1955) with Maximilian Schell, Scampolo (Alfred Weidenmann, 1957) starring Romy Schneider, and Der veruntreute Himmel/Embezzled Heaven (Ernst Marischka, 1958), based on a novel by Franz Werfel.

From the 1960s on, Viktor de Kowa worked for the cinema as well as for television. To his last films belong the Edgar Wallace mystery Der Fälscher von London/The Forger of London (Harald Reinl, 1961), the thriller Es muss nicht immer Kaviar sein/Operation Caviar (Géza von Radványi, 1961) with O.W. Fischer, and the comedy Das Haus in Montevideo/The House in Montevideo (1963, Helmut Käutner) with Heinz Rühmann.

His last film part was Ravenhurst in Winnetou und sein Freund Old Firehand/Thunder at the Border (Alfred Vohrer, 1966) with Rod Cameron and Pierre Brice.

Viktor de Kowa was married twice. In 1926 he married the actress Ursula Grabley. After their divorce he married in 1941 the Japanese actress and singer Michiko Tanaka. Viktor de Kowa died of cancer in 1973 in Berlin. He was 66.

Viktor de Kowa
German postcard by Film-Foto-Verlag, no. 3457/1, 1941-1944. Photo: Tobis / Tita Binz.

Viktor de Kowa
German postcard by Film-Foto-Verlag, no. A 3582/1, 1941-1944. Photo: Tobis.

Viktor de Kowa
German postcard by Ufa/Film-Foto, no. FK 3081. Photo: Dührkoop / Ufa.

Romy Schneider, Viktor de Kowa
Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V., Rotterdam, no. 1108. Photo: Ufa (Universum-Film Aktien-gesellschaft, Berlin-Tempelhof). Publicity still for Scampolo (Alfred Weidenmann, 1958) with Romy Schneider.

Sources: Thomas Staedeli (Cyranos), The Androom Archives, Wikipedia (German), and IMDb.

22 September 2018

JosPe

From 1925 on, the Dutch firm JosPe printed and published hundreds of film star postcards. Founder of the company was the German businessman Joseph Peter Welker.

Greta Garbo
Greta Garbo. Dutch postcard by JosPe, Arnhem, no. 34. Photo: MGM / Clarence Sinclair Bull. Publicity still for the German version of Anna Christie (Jacques Feyder, 1930).

Greta Garbo in Mata Hari (1931)
Greta Garbo. Dutch postcard by JosPe, no. 299. Photo: Clarence Sinclair Bull / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Mata Hari (George Fitzmaurice, 1931).

Greta Garbo in Grand Hotel (1932)
Greta Garbo. Dutch postcard by JosPe, no. 381. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Publicity still for Grand Hotel (Edmund Goulding, 1932).

Truus van Aalten
Truus van Aalten. Dutch Postcard by Jospe, no. 462. Photo: Godfried de Groot, Amsterdam.

Fien de la Mar
Fien de la Mar. Dutch postcard by JosPe, no. 581. Sent by mail in 1935. Photo: Godfried de Groot.

Louis Davids
Louis Davids. Dutch postcard by JosPe, no. 582. Photo: Godfried de Groot.

Real Industry


Postcards used to be a real industry in the Netherlands in the first decades of the 20th Century. There were many firms who produced postcards. JosPe from the city of Arnhem was one of the biggest photo postcard printers and publishers of the country.

The firm was named after Joseph Peter Welker, a businessman from Hamburg in Germany, who founded the company in 1925. First it was located in the Koningstraat in Arnhem, later in the Kerkstraat in the same city.

In Germany, Welker had been the main owner of Jos-Pe Farben-Photo GmbH, a camera-maker firm in Hamburg and later Munich. The company is known only for the Tri-Color Camera, made between about 1924 and 1934, a metal-bodied plate camera for 'one-shot' colour separation photography.

Between 1925 and 1987, the Dutch JosPe firm produced thousands of postcards of cities and villages in the Netherlands, mostly pictures of streets and buildings. JosPe could also be commissioned by local hotels, cafes, churches and industries to make postcards of the respective buildings.

In 1930 A. Bruinier started working as a director at the company. Until the bankruptcy of the company in 1978, the Bruinier family remained in the management. In 1978 the activities were continued by new companies. In 1984 another bankruptcy followed and the BV was dissolved in 1987 for lack of income.

Buster Keaton, Anita Page and Cliff Edwards in Sidewalks of New York (1931)
Buster Keaton, Anita Page and Cliff Edwards. Dutch postcard by JosPe, no. 310. Photo: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). Publicity still for Sidewalks of New York (Zion Myers, Jules White, 1931).

Dickie Moore RIP (1925-2015)
Dutch postcard by JosPe, no. 327, ca. 1932. Photo: Paramount. Publicity still of Marlene Dietrich, Herbert Marshall and Dickie Moore in Blonde Venus (Josef von Sternberg, 1932).

Happy birthday, Márta Eggerth!
Marta Eggerth. Dutch postcard by JosPe, no. 330. Photo: City Film.

Marta Eggerth, Richard Tauber
Marta Eggerth with operetta colleague Richard Tauber. Dutch postcard by JosPe, no. 468.

Marta Eggerth
Marta Eggerth. Dutch postcard by JosPe, no. 547.

Marta Eggerth
Christmas with Marta Eggerth. Dutch postcard by JosPe, no. 593.

Serrated Pictures


Through the years JosPe also published hundreds of film cards, all with the logo JP. The format of the JosPe postcards is 142 x 92 mm. Their pictures are sometimes serrated, and always printed glossy.

There are many JosPe cards of film stars like Greta GarboMarlene DietrichMaurice Chevalier and Marta Eggerth (in Dutch Martha Eggerth), who very popular stars in the Netherlands during the 1930s. With operetta diva Eggerth, JosPe even made a special Christmas card.

Other popular subjects were Dutch actors like Fien de la MarLouis Davids and Truus van Aalten, who was one of the backfish stars of the German film industry. Their portraits were often taken by glamour photographer Godfried de Groot in Amsterdam.

JosPe shut down in 1987 (or 1989 - the sources differ). In 2005 the Regionaal Archief Tilburg in the south of the Netherlands bought a part of the negatives of the firm; other archives did the same.

Anny Ondra
Anny Ondra. Dutch postcard by JosPe, Amsterdam, no. 285. Photo: Remaco. Publicity still for Eine Nacht im Paradies/One Night in Paradise (Carl Lamac, 1932).

Ralph A. Roberts and Anny Ondra in Eine Nacht im Paradies (1932)
Ralph A. Roberts and Anny Ondra. Dutch postcard by JosPe, no. 287. Photo: Remaco. Publicity still for Eine Nacht im Paradies/One Night in Paradise (Carl Lamac, 1932).

Maurice Chevalier visits the Netherlands
Dutch postcard by JosPe, Arnhem, no. 290. In 1932 Maurice Chevalier visited the Dutch cities of Amsterdam, The Hague and Volendam.

Maurice Chevalier
Maurice Chevalier. Dutch postcard by JosPe, Arnhem, no. 392.

Maurice Chevalier
Maurice Chevalier in the fishertown of Volendam, The Netherlands, 1932. Dutch postcard by JosPe, Arnhem, no. 298.

Maurice Chevalier in The Hague (1932)
Maurice Chevalier in The Netherlands. Dutch postcard by Jospé, Arnhem. 'Den Haag 21 September 1932 is written on the back of the card. That night Chevalier performed at the Gebouw voor Kunsten en Wetenschappen (Arts & Sciences building) in Den Haag/The Hague. The day before Chevalier had visited Volendam and Amsterdam and had performed at the Amsterdam movie palace Tuschinski Theater, which still exists today.

Sources: Het Volkspark Enschede (Dutch), Camera Wiki, OudOmmen.nl (Dutch) and Archieven.nl (Dutch).