02 October 2013


Every year during the last week of September, Utrecht is the Dutch capital of film with the Netherlands Film Festival. During the festival, EFSP provides you daily with postcards of Dutch films and stars from the past. In the late 1960s and the early 1970s, sweet little Wilma (1957) was a popular Dutch child star. At 11, she had hits in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany and also appeared in some Schlager films.

German postcard by Rüdel-Verlag, Hamburg, no. 5000, 1969. Photo: Constantin / Rialto / Vogelmann.

Spanking at School

Wilhelmina Landkroon was born in Enschede, Netherlands in 1957. She is the sister of composer, text writer and singer Henny Thijssen and singer Reiny Landkroon.

Only eleven years old, Wilma had her first chart success in the Netherlands and Germany with the song Heintje, bau ein Schloss für mich (Heintje, build a castle for me) in 1968. The song, written and produced by Gert Timmerman, was an answer to that other child star Heintje’s hit Ich bau dir ein Schloss (I Build You A Castle), and was with 500,000 records even a bigger success than the original song.

Two other hits followed, including Een klomp met een zeiltje/A Clog with a Sail (1969), before the cooperation with Timmerman stopped. Ben Essing then became her manager.

Late 1969, when German Klaus Lorenzen became the new producer of the sweet young singer, Wilma started to record some of her songs in different languages, as English and even Japanese. With her clear voice, she had international chart successes singing Tulips from Amsterdam and Lavender blue.

She also sang her hits in German Schlager films like Unser Doktor ist der Beste/Our doctor is the best (Harald Vock, 1969) with Roy Black and Helga Anders, and in Klassenkeile/Spanking at School (Franz Josef Gottlieb, 1969) with Uschi Glas and Walter Giller. Because of her many performances, Wilma herself neglected school.

Walter Giller and Wilma in Klassenkeile
German postcard by Rüdel-Verlag, Hamburg, no. 5009, 1969. Photo: Constantin / Rialto / Vogelmann. Publicity still for Klassenkeile/Spanking at School (Franz Josef Gottlieb, 1969).

German postcard by Filmbilder-Vertrieb Ernst Freihoff, Essen, no. AX 7119.

Melancholy View

The Dutch singer and composer Pierre Kartner became Wilma’s new producer. In the following years she had success in the Netherlands with songs like the #1 hit Zou het erg zijn lieve opa (Would You Mind Dear Granddad) (1971), a duet with Vader Abraham (Pierre Kartner), but her later records were less successful.

In 1973, she tried a new, more adult repertoire with the band De Makkers, but just a few years later she was nearly forgotten. When her divorced father got ill, she lived in a children’s home in Enschede for a while and in 1975, she was even arrested for burglary.

When she was 19, Wilma married, and had two sons. Both her father and her former manager Ben Essing died. As an adult, she never received any of the earnings from her international career as a successful child star, and in 1994, a house fire destroyed all her golden records and other memorabilia.

In 2003, she recorded a new CD, Wilma – toen en nu (Wilma – Then and Now), with old and new songs of her. In the song Gouden platen – volle zalen (Golden Records – Full Halls) she gives a melancholy view on her life as a successful child star.

In 2005 Wilma Landkroon was a guest in Paul de Leeuw’s TV show Paul’s parenavond. Her memories of her manager Ben Essing, her producer Pierre Kartner and the music industry were not very positive. In 2009 she recorded the duet Niets of Niemand (Nothing or Nobody) with the singer Sylvia Corpiér. It was a hit, but again she returned to her anonymous life.

Nowadays, Wilma is a grandmother. In a recent interview she told that she can also see the positive side of her career as a child star now.

Wilma sings 80 rode rozen (80 red roses) (1969). Source: Hermanb1 (YouTube).

Wilma sings Ein holzschuh mit Segel (A Clog With A Sail) (1969) in the film Unser Doktor ist der Beste/Our doctor is the best (1969). Source: Maikfurhrer (YouTube).

Sources: Anne de Vroomen (Geschiedenis24), Muziekencyclopedie.nl (Dutch), Wikipedia (German, English and Dutch) and IMDb.

No comments: