30 November 2021

La Collectionneuse: Josephine Baker at the Panthéon

The Panthéon in Paris is the resting place for eminent personalities who have made the History of France such as Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, Emile Zola, Jean Jaurès, Marie and Pierre Curie, Jean Moulin, André Malraux, Simone Veil, etc. Josephine Baker (1906-1975) enters the Panthéon today, 30 November 2021. She is the first Black woman and the first personality from the performing arts to have this honour. Josephine’s remains will stay in Monaco, where she is buried. So, homage will be paid to her in the form of a cenotaph with a plaque. Josephine Baker will be the sixth woman to be panthéonised, against seventy-five men. A great discrepancy, to say the least. The first was Sophie Berthelot in 1907, but she’s there only because her husband, scientist Pierre Berthelot didn’t want to be separated from her after death. The first woman to enter the Panthéon in view of her merits was Marie Curie in 1995. She was followed in 2015 by Resistance fighters Germaine Thillon and Geneviève de Gaulle-Anthonioz and, in 2018, by politician Simone Veil.

American-born Josephine Baker, who became a French citizen in 1937, was a great star but her achievements in show business are not the main reason for her Panthéonisation. She worked for French Resistance during the Second World War and was a tireless anti-racist activist. She was awarded the 'Médaille de la Résistance' in 1946 and received, by the hands of General Martial Valin, the 'Légion d’Honneur' and the 'Croix de Guerre avec Palme' in 1961. On 28 August 1963, she participated in the historic March on Washington and addressed the crowd. In August 2021, an official statement from the Presidency of the Republic called Josephine an 'embodiment of French spirit' and sang the praises of her: "Through her destiny, France honours an exceptional personality who chose eternal Enlightenment’s France, for the sake of her neverending fight for freedom and emancipation".


Josephine Baker
French postcard, no. PA37. Photo: George Hoyningen-Huene (Condé Nast Publications).

Josephine Baker
French postcard by P.A., no. 13. Photo: G.L. Manuel.

Josephine Baker
French postcard by Ajax, no. 31. Photo: Josephine Baker. Collection: Marlene Pilaete. Caption: The black Venus.

Josephine Baker
French postcard, no. 116. Photo: Waléry, Paris. Collection: Marlene Pilaete. Josephine Baker and the famous banana belt she wore in the revue 'La Folie du jour' at the Folies-Bergère (1926-1927).

Josephine Baker in La Sirène des tropiques (1927)
French promotional postcard. Photo: Josephine Baker in La Sirène des tropiques/Siren of the Tropics (Mario Nalpas, Henri Étiévant, 1927). The script was written by Maurice Dekobra.

Josephine Baker
German postcard by Ross Verlag, no. 7426/1, 1932-1933. Photo: Studio Piaz. Josephine Baker with Chiquita, her pet cheetah.

Her life and career


Josephine Baker was born Freda Josephine McDonald on the 3rd of June 1906 in St Louis, U.S.A.

Determined to escape poverty and menial jobs, she made her stage debut in 1920. In 1922, she was a chorus girl in a touring company of 'Shuffle Along', a musical that had opened in Broadway to much success in 1921. She began to be noticed and she continued touring with 'Shuffle Along' until the end of 1923.

She danced in the revue 'The Chocolate Dandies' on Broadway in 1924 and in 'Tan Town Topics' at the Plantation Club in Harlem in 1925.

Josephine Baker became a sensation in France when 'La revue nègre' premiered at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées on the 2nd of October 1925. Half-naked, she performed a 'Danse sauvage' that left audiences speechless and she became the toast of Paris. Amazed by the lack of segregation and experiencing a freedom she never had in her native country, she decided to stay in France.

In 1926, she starred in the revue 'La folie du jour' at the Folies-Bergère and wore a banana belt, which would become her trademark. This was followed by 'Un vent de folie' in 1927.

The French film industry soon took notice of her success and she appeared as herself in La folie du jour (1927), La revue des revues (1927) and in the short Le pompier des Folies-Bergère (1928). She also played the title role in La sirène des Tropiques (1927). It was probably the first time that a black performer headlined the cast of a film that was not aimed at coloured audiences.

Josephine Baker
French promotion postcard for Clacquesin.

Josephine Baker (front),
French promotion card for Pernod films, no. 15. Front side. Photo: Walery, Paris.

Josephine Baker (back)
French promotion card for Pernod films, no. 15. Backside.

Josephine Baker
Vintage postcard by Goca: Illustration: ?. Collection: Marlene Pilaete. We’ve not been able to decipher the name of the talented artist who made this drawing of Josephine Baker.

Josephine Baker
French promotional postcard. Photo: Josephine Baker in La Sirène des tropiques/Siren of the Tropics (Mario Nalpas, Henri Étiévant, 1927). The script was written by Maurice Dekobra.

Josephine Baker
Belgian postcard in the La Photo Mystérieuse series by Burtec, Bruxelles. Collection: Marlene Pilaete. Caption: Great innovation! The Mysterious Photo. Stare at the four dots on the nose and at the same time slowly count to 40. Then raise your head and stare at a certain point of a solid surface of one colour either in the sky (day and night) or inside on the opposite side to the light. After a few seconds, you will see 'Josephine Baker' over and over again.

Persona non grata in the U.S.A.


At the end of the 1920s, Josephine Baker went on tour all over Europe and in South America. She was then back in Paris for 'Paris qui remue' (1930-1931), for which she recorded her signature song: 'J’ai deux amours', and 'La joie de Paris' (1932-1933). In 1934, she tried her hand at operetta with Offenbach’s 'La créole' at the Théâtre Marigny.

She also starred in two films: Zouzou (1934) and Princesse tam tam (1935). On Broadway, she was one of the featured players of The Ziegfeld Follies in 1936 but she was not a success. Fortunately, France welcomed her back with 'En super folies' (1936-1937) and 'Paris Londres' (1939-1940). In the cinema, she had her last acting role in Fausse alerte (1940).

During the Second World War, she worked tirelessly for the French Resistance and her patriotism earned her several decorations. In 1947, Josephine Baker bought a castle, called 'Les Milandes', in Dordogne, France. At the end of the 1940s, she failed again to establish herself as a popular entertainer in the U.S.A. with 'Paris Sings Again'. Furthermore, she bitterly noticed that there was still no equal rights for coloured people. When she went back to France, she appeared successfully in several shows at a Paris nightclub in 1948 and in 'Féeries et Folies' at the Folies-Bergère in 1949.

In 1951, she finally made it as a star in her native country and was acclaimed in several cities. But she was still upset by racial discrimination and, in October, she decided to sue the owner of the famous Stork Club in New York, after considering that she had been refused service because she was black. This caused a feud with columnist Walter Winchell and made headlines.

Josephine became more and more strident in her criticism against the way black people were treated and, in the end, she found herself persona non grata in the U.S.A. for several years. Wanting to prove that racial harmony was possible, she decided, from 1954 on, to adopt children of various races, colours and religions. Les Milandes became the living place of her 'Rainbow Tribe', as she called it.

Josephine Baker
French postcard, no. 109. Photo: G.L. Manuel Frères.

Josephine Baker
French postcard, no. 124. Photo: Nadar.

Josephine Baker
French promotional postcard for the revue 'La joie de Paris' at the Casino de Paris (1932-1933). Photo: Studio Piaz.

Josephine Baker
French promotional postcard for the revue 'Paris qui remue' at the Casino de Paris (1930-1931), by P.A., no. 4. Photo: D’Ora. Collection: Marlene Pilaete.


Josephine Baker
French promotional postcard for the revue 'Paris qui remue' at the Casino de Paris (1930-1931), by P.A., no. 18. Photo: Haas, Hamburg. Collection: Marlene Pilaete.

Josephine Baker
French promotional postcard for the revue 'Paris qui remue' at the Casino de Paris (1930-1931). The inspiration for this card was a photo by D’Ora. Caption: The world-famous star.

A triumphant comeback


Despite a series of 'farewell' shows at the Olympia in 1956, Josephine Baker didn’t give up her career and she was notably back at the same place for 'Paris mes amours' (1959-1960) which drew large crowds. She got back in touch with the US public with 'The Fabulous Josephine Baker' in 1960 and with 'Josephine Baker and Her Company' in 1964.

She also participated in the March of Washington in 1963. In the 1960s, her finances went downhill and her castle was sold in 1968. Deeply touched by Josephine’s misfortunes, Princess Grace offered her a place to stay in Monaco.

In her last years, she continued to perform. She was a hit at the Carnegie Hall In New York in 1973 and, in 1974, at the Monegasque Red Cross gala and at a Royal Performance in London. On the 8th of April 1975, she made a triumphant comeback in Paris in a show based on her life at the Théâtre Bobino. In the audience were such people as Princess Grace, Mick Jagger, Jeanne Moreau, Alain Delon, Mireille Darc, Tino Rossi and Sophia Loren.

She also performed cheerfully the day after but, on the 10th of April, she was found unconscious, a victim of a brain haemorrhage. She was taken to the hospital, where she died on the 12th of April.

Josephine Baker had a tumultuous love life. Her first husband was Willie Wells in 1919 but the marriage was already over in 1920. She then married William Howard Baker in 1921 but Josephine was much more interested in her stage career than in marital life and they soon separated. From 1926 to 1936, her 'official' lover was Giuseppe Abatino, who also became her manager. But this didn’t prevent Josephine to have affairs with other men such as singer Jacques Pills, who, later became Edith Piaf’s first husband. When she planned her trip to America in 1935, she admitted before the authorities that she was still married to William Baker. It seems that she took the opportunity of her stay in the U.S.A. to finally get a divorce.

In 1937, she remarried businessman Jean Lion but they soon separated and the divorce was granted at the beginning of the 1940s. Her last husband was orchestra leader Jo Bouillon in 1947. At the end of the 1950s, their marriage was in serious trouble and a discouraged Jo Bouillon finally called it quits in 1960. According to Josephine Baker’s death certificate, she was still officially married to Bouillon when she passed away. Several sources mention a last marriage to American artist Robert Brady in 1973 but it is said that they only unofficially exchanged marriage vows in an Acapulco church and this 'spiritual' union had no legal value.

Josephine Baker
Italian postcard by Eliocromia Zacchetti e C. Milano, no. A74. Josephine Baker by Nino Za.

Josephine Baker
French postcard by Cinémagazine-Edition (CE), no. 531. Photo: Walery, Paris. Josephine Baker in La revue des revues/Parisian Pleasures (Joe Francis, 1927).

Josephine Baker
Italian postcard by Ed. A. Traldi, Milano, no. 967. Photo: Walery. Collection: Marlene Pilaete. You will notice a difference between this postcard and the previous one: a bra covering Josephine’s breasts. Italian editor Traldi chose to censor Josephine’s nakedness and print a retouched photo, possibly in a bout of prudery?

Josephine Baker
French postcard, no. 136. Photo: Studio d'Ora. Collection: Marlene Pilaete.

Josephine Baker
French postcard, no. 125. Photo: Henri Manuel, Paris.

Josephine Baker in La Sirène des tropiques (1927)
Spanish postcard by IFAG. Photo: Josephine Baker in La Sirène des tropiques/Siren of the Tropics (Mario Nalpas, Henri Étiévant, 1927).

Josephine Baker
Autographed French postcard by Exclusivité G. Abatino. Photo: Studio Piaz, Paris. Signed in 1933. Giuseppe Abatino was Josephine Baker’s lover and manager from 1926 to 1936.

Josephine Baker
French postcard. Photo: Harcourt. A previous owner of this card wrote in pencil on the back that it was related to the revue 'Paris-London' at the Casino de Paris (1939-1940).

Josephine Baker
French postcard “Lumicap” by Compagnie des Arts Photomécaniques, Paris. This card shows Josephine and her fourth husband, Jo Bouillon, with the first nine children they adopted: Aiko, Luis, Janot, Jari, Jean-Claude, Moïse, Brahim, Marianne, and Koffi. Later, three more children were added to the 'Rainbow Tribe': Mara and Noël in 1959 and Stellina in 1962 or 1964 (sources differ). Collection: Marlene Pilaete.

Text: Marlene Pilaete. All postcards: Collection Marlene Pilaete.

Fernand Fabre

French stage, screen and television actor Fernand Fabre (1899-1987) acted in cinema between 1925 and 1980, and had a continuous and most active career there, but did only two films during WWII. Memorable titles of his films are Knock (1925), Toute sa vie (1930), Les jeux sont faits (1947), and Franz (1972).

Fernand Fabre
French postcard by A.N., Paris, no. 764. Photo: Studio Rudolph.

Fernand Fabre in Le collier de la reine (1929)
French postcard by A.N., Paris, no. 440. Photo: Engberg. Fernand Fabre as the Count de la Motte in Le collier de la reine/The Queen's Necklace (Tony Lekain, Gaston Ravel, 1929).

A manipulative country doctor who creates his own circle of patients


Fernand Louis Adelin Fabre was born in 1899 in Salon-de-Provence, Bouches-du-Rhône, France.

In the early 1920s he acted at the Théâtre de l'Odéon in 'Les Misérables' (1921), based on Victor Hugo's classic novel, and Molière (1922).

From the mid-1920s he alternated stage performances with screen Roles. He made his film debut as the title character in the French silent film Knock, ou le Triomphe de la médecine (René Hervil, 1925), based on Jules Romains' play (1923/24). It's about a manipulative country doctor who creates his own circle of patients, thereby beating his competitor. The exteriors were shot in Uzerche, Corrèze. Louis Jouvet, who played the doctor in the stage version, later on also acted in a sound film version (1933).

From 1927 Fabre had a steady career in French cinema. First he appeared in the late silent films Miss Helyett (Maurice Kéroul, Georges Monca, 1928) with Marie Glory, Minuit... place Pigalle (René Hervil, 1928) with Nicolas Rimsky and Renée Heribel, L'appassionata (André Liabel, Léon Mathot, 1929) with Mathot and Heribel, La femme du voisin (Jacques de Baroncelli, 1929) with Dolly Davis, Le permis d'aimer (Georges Pallu, 1929) with Desdemona Mazza, and Paris' Girls (Henry Roussel, 1929) with Suzy Vernon.

He also appeared with Marcelle Chantal and Diana Karenne in the historical drama Le collier de la reine/The Queen's Necklace (Gaston Ravel, Tony Lekain, 1929), a part-talkie without spoken dialogue.The film is an adaptation of Alexandre Dumas's novel 'The Queen's Necklace' which portrays the Affair of the Diamond Necklace which occurred before the French Revolution.

Fernand Fabre
Belgian postcard by S.A. Cacao et Chocolat Kivou, Vilvoorde / N.V. Cacao en Chocolade Kivou, Vilvoorde. Photo: Paramount.

Fernand Fabre
French postcard by Cinémagazine-Edition, no. 642.

A never-do-well husband, who after years of abusing his wife, disappears with their son


In 1930 Fernand Fabre starred in his first all-talkie, Toute sa vie (Alberto Cavalcanti, 1930), produced at the Paris Paramount studios, and co-starring Marcelle Chantal. It was the French language version of Dorothy Arzner's Sarah and Son (1930), about a "ne'er-do-well husband, who after years of abusing his wife, disappears with their son, and winds up selling him to a wealthy family. Years later, the wife - now a world-famous opera singer - finally has enough time and money to begin a search for him." (IMDb)

All through the 1930s, Fabre had male leads or major supporting parts in French sound films such as the Alexandre Dumas fils adaptation L'étrangère (Gaston Ravel, 1931) with Elvire Popesco, Le réquisitoire/The Indictment (Dimitri Buchowetzki, 1931) with Marcelle Chantal, the Colette adaptation La vagabonde (Solange Térac, 1932), the comedy thriller On a volé un homme/A Man Has Been Stolen (Max Ophüls, 1934), Barcarolle (Gerhard Lamprecht, Roger Le Bon, 1935), La mystérieuse lady/The Mysterious Lady (Robert Péguy, 1936), Nuits de princes/Nights of Princes (Vladimir Strizhevsky, 1938), Les nouveaux riches (André Berthomieu, 1938), plus several minor parts in films.

During the war he acted in only two films, L'escalier sans fin/The Stairs Without End (Georges Lacombe, 1943) with Pierre Fresnay, and Le colonel Chabert/Colonel Chabert (René Le Hénaff, 1943) with Raimu.

After the war, Fernand Fabre had major supporting parts in crime and espionnage films such as Dernier metro/The Last Metro (Maurice de Canonge, 1945), Le cabaret du grand large (René Jayet, 1946) with Sessue Hayakawa, and L'homme de la nuit (Jayet, 1946), but also the Jean-Paul Sartre adaptation Les jeux sont faits/The Chips are Down, (Jean Delannoy, 1947) with Micheline Presle, the comedy Le crime du Bouif (André Cerf, 1952), and the Jacques Brel drama Franz (1972) with Brel himself in the lead.

from the mid-1950s, Fabre also acted in French TV movies and series, such as the series En votre âme et conscience (1956-1959), Roberto Rossellini's TV movie La prise de pouvoir par Louis XIV (1966), and two episodes of Les enquêtes du commissaire Maigret. While on stage Fabre had acted several times in Somerset Maugham's 'Adorable Julia' (in 1954, 1962, and 1972), he also acted in a TV version of it in 1972.

Fernand Fabre was married three times: to Marguerite Guerrau (divorced), the actress Mona Goya (1935, divorced in 1944), and Reine Fages. He died in Paris in 1987, at the age of 87.

Fernand Fabre
French postcard by A.N., Paris, no. 617. Photo: Paramount.

Fernand Fabre French postcard, no. 95. Photo: Star.

Sources: Cinememorial.com, Wikipedia (French and English), and IMDb.

29 November 2021

Michael Wilding

British actor Michael Wilding (1912-1979) worked steadily in British films for nearly three decades. Though never a star of the first rank, he had leading roles in numerous films, including several musicals in which he co-starred with Anna Neagle. Wilding moved to Hollywood and was featured in two Hitchcock films, Under Capricorn (1949) and Stage Fright (1950).

Michael Wilding
British postcard, no. 256. Back: 'This is a real photograph'.

Michael Wilding
British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. W. 356. Photo: Herbert Wilcox Productions.

Michael Wilding and Anna Neagle in Spring in Park Lane (1937)
British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. W. 417. Photo: Herbert Wilcox Production / British Lion. Michael Wilding and Anna Neagle in the romantic comedy Spring in Park Lane (Herbert Wilcox, 1948).

Anna Neagle and Michael Wilding in Maytime in Mayfair (1949)
British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. W 716. Photo: Herbert Wilcox Production / British Lion. Anna Neagle and Michael Wilding in Maytime in Mayfair (Herbert Wilcox, 1949).

Michael Wilding
British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. W. 723. Photo: Herbert Wilcox Production.

Never a star of the first rank


Michael Charles Gauntlet Wilding was born in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, England, in 1912. After leaving school, Michael wanted to be a portrait and commercial artist. He left home at age 17 and trained for the career by traveling around nightclubs and cafes in Brussels, Antwerp, and Paris, earning a living by sketching portraits.

In 1933, he approached a London film studio for a job as a set designer in the art department. Instead, they invited him to come to work as an extra due to his dashing good looks.

At age 21, he debuted as an extra in Bitter Sweet (Herbert Wilcox, 1933) starring Anna Neagle. He was sent to Austria to play opposite Mabel Poulton in Pastorale, which didn't get released.

Horrified at his performance he decided to go into rep theatre to learn his job properly and was accepted by Watford Repertory Theatre. In 1934, he made his stage debut in 'The Ringer'. A year later, he made his West End debut in 'Chase the Ace' (1935), and then he returned to films.

He had bigger film parts in the sports drama There Ain't No Justice (Pen Tennyson, 1939), Convoy (Pen Tennyson, 1940), and Tilly of Bloomsbury (Leslie S. Hiscot, 1940). He had a good role in Sailors Three (Walter Forde, 1940), and Sailors Don't Care (Oswald Mitchell, 1940).

Wilding worked steadily in British pictures for nearly three decades. Though never a star of the first rank, he had leading roles in numerous films, including a part in the classic In Which We Serve (Noël Coward, David Lean, 1942), the story of a British Naval ship, H.M.S. Torrin, from its construction to its sinking in the Mediterranean during action in World War II.

Michael Wilding
British Real Photograph postcard, no. 285.

Anna Neagle, Michael Wilding and Josephine Fitzgerald in Spring in Park Lane (1948)
British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. W. 414. Photo: Herbert Wilcox Production / British Lion. Anna Neagle, Michael Wilding, and Josephine Fitzgerald in Spring in Park Lane (Herbert Wilcox, 1948).

Anna Neagle and Michael Wilding in Maytime in Mayfair (1949)
British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. W 711. Photo: Herbert Wilcox Production / British Lion. Anna Neagle and Michael Wilding in Maytime in Mayfair (Herbert Wilcox, 1949).

Anna Neagle and Michael Wilding in Maytime in Mayfair (1949)
British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. W. 713. Photo: Herbert Wilcox Production / British Lion. Anna Neagle and Michael Wilding in Maytime in Mayfair (Herbert Wilcox, 1949).

Michael Wilding in Into the Blue (1950)
British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. W. 941. Photo: British Lion. Michael Wilding in Into the Blue (Herbert Wilcox, 1950).

Featuring in two of Hitchcock's lesser efforts


Michael Wilding finally became a film name with Dear Octopus (Harold French, 1943), starring Margaret Lockwood. He followed it with English Without Tears (Harold French, 1944). After the war, he starred opposite Paulette Goddard in An Ideal Husband (Alexander Korda, 1947) based on the play by Oscar Wilde.

In the following years, Wilding co-starred with Anna Neagle in such musicals as Spring in Park Lane (Herbert Wilcox, 1948), and Maytime in Mayfair (Herbert Wilcox, 1948).

Wilding moved to Hollywood and was featured in two of Hitchcock's lesser efforts, Under Capricorn (Alfred Hitchcock, 1949) with Ingrid Bergman and Stage Fright (Alfred Hitchcock, 1950) starring Marlene Dietrich.

Wilding's last film role was a two-line cameo in Lady Caroline Lamb (Robert Bolt, 1972), in which he co-starred with his fourth wife, Margaret Leighton. Michael Wilding passed away in 1979 in London, England. An epileptic seizure triggered Wilding's fall down a long flight of stairs. The head injuries received in that fall proved fatal. He was 66.

He was married to Kay Young (1937-1951), Elizabeth Taylor (1952-1957), Susan Neill (1958-1962), and Margaret Leighton (1964 -1976 - her death). The first three marriages ended in a divorce and he had two sons with Elizabeth Taylor, Christopher Edward Wilding, and Michael Wilding Jr.

Allegedly, he had a homosexual affair with playwright Noël Coward in the mid-1930s. In 1964, Wilding filed a $3 million libel suit against gossip columnist Hedda Hopper for implying that he was gay in her book, 'The Whole Truth and Nothing But the Truth'. The suit was settled for $100,000.

Michael Wilding
British [?] signed photo.

Michael Wilding
British postcard in "The People' series by Show Parade Picture Service, London, no. 1037 Photo: Herbert Wilcox Productions.

Michael Wilding
British postcard in the Celebrity Autograph Series, no. 151. Photo: M.G.M. Michael Wilding in Torch Song (Charles Walters, 1953).

Michael Wilding
Vintage postcard. Photo: Lloyd Film.

Lana Morris and Michael Wilding in Spring in Park Lane (1948)
British postcard in the Picturegoer Series, London, no. W 413. Photo: Herbert Wilcox Production / British Lion. Lana Morris and Michael Wilding in Spring in Park Lane (Herbert Wilcox, 1948).

Sources: Jon C. Hopwood (IMDb), Wikipedia, and IMDb.

28 November 2021

Published by Santoro Graphics

Who were the most popular international film stars of the 1980s and 1990s? The postcard collection of Santoro Graphics Ltd. gives a good impression. The British design studio, based in London, worked at the time for the youth market and published postcards of classic film icons like Marilyn Monroe and Brigitte Bardot but also of such teen idols as River Phoenix and the young Tom Cruise. Santoro covered pops divas (Madonna!) and TV heroes, such as the two British hunks who starred as Robin Hood.

Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
British postcard by Santoro Graphics, London, no. C 213. Photo: Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Howard Hawks, 1953).

Brigitte Bardot
British postcard by Santoro Graphics, London, nr. C 254. Photo: Sam Lévin. Brigitte Bardot.

Madonna
British postcard by Santoro Graphics, London, no. BW 123. Photo: Steven Meisel. Photo for the cover of Madonna's album 'Like a Virgin' (1984).

Clint Eastwood
British postcard by Santoro Graphics Ltd, London, no. BW 878. Photo: The Hulton Deutsch Collection. Clint Eastwood.

Sylvester Stallone in Rhinestone (1984)
British postcard by Santoro Graphics, London, no. C 201. Photo: Twentieth Century Fox. Sylvester Stallone in Rhinestone (Bob Clark, 1984).

Jean-Claude van Damme
British postcard by Santoro Graphics Ltd., South Yorks, no. C 349. Jean-Claude van Damme.

Sting
French postcard by Carlton Cards / Santoro Graphics, no. CR 33. Sting.

20th Century Fox came to visit


Santoro was founded in 1985 and today it is still alive and kicking. On the Santoro website, the story of the firm is told: "In a little studio tucked away in a little street off the iconic Carnaby Street in London, two individuals had a BIG idea...." These individuals were Lucio Santoro and his wife Meera. They set up their first premises in a London studio. Soon after the launch of their debut collection, representatives of film studio 20th Century Fox came to visit and granted Santoro the license to create a print collection featuring Hollywood icons.

Before long, Santoro had outgrown its little studio and needed space to expand its horizons. Driven by their desire to innovate and break new ground, Lucio and Meera embarked on the creation of a revolutionary, interactive, moving 3D greeting card collection which would be folded down flat to be sent by post without the need of any assembly. The Swing Cards® were born in 1994 and have won numerous accolades since, including 'Card of the Year'.

Ín 2000, Santoro's Bang on the Door collection won LIDA's 'Brand of the Year' award - the highest accolade in the brand and licensing industry. This collection of bright, bold sketches generated over $800USD million at retail, and a new division in the Santoro group was launched - Santoro Licensing.

Lucio and Meera's first pop-up book followed in 2007. 'Journey to the Moon' was published by Simon and Schuster. Centered on Santoro's interactive designs and vivid artistic style, 'Journey to the Moon' and the following publications 'Predators' (2008) and 'Wild Oceans' (2010) bring designs to life by creating intricate moving 3D works of art.

In 2010 Santoro launched the Gorjuss collection which currently features over 800 products and is available in more than 55 countries around the world. In 2013, Santoro opened a pop-up boutique in Harrods and in 2015 Santoro opened a Santoro store in Milsom Street in Bath. There you can buy bags, accessories, stationery, toys, and yes, also greeting cards.

Matt Dillon
British postcard by Santoro Graphics Ltd., London, no. C 236. Matt Dillon.

Richard Gere
British postcard by Santoro Graphics Ltd., London, no. C 237. Richard Gere.

Michael Praed
British postcard by Santoro Graphics, London, no. BW 133. Michael Praed.

Jason Connery
British postcard by Santoro Graphics, London, no. BW 136. Photo: Paul Cox / Idols. Jason Connery.

Tom Cruise
British postcard by Santoro Graphics Ltd, London, no. C 243. Tom Cruise.

River Phoenix
British postcard by Santoro Graphics Ltd., London, no. C 297. River Phoenix.

Keanu Reeves
British postcard by Santoro Graphics Ltd., South Yorks, no. C 350. Photo: Keanu Reeves in My Own Private Idaho (Gus Van Sant, 1991).

Emilio Estevez
British postcard by Santoro Graphics, London, no. C 289. Emilio Estevez.

Nastassja Kinski in Unfaithfully Yours (1984)
British postcard by Santoro Graphics, London, no. C 200. Photo: 20th Century Fox. Nastassja Kinski in Unfaithfully Yours (Howard Zieff, 1984).

Source: Santoro.