Vintage Tess Gardella "aunt Jemima" Signature Screen & Theatre Actress For Sale
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Please note that from May 12 - May 17 we will be away on business. Any items paid for by May 11th will be shipped within one busniess day. Items from the 13th - 16th will be shipped between Sat. May 18th and Mon. May 20th. Items paid for first will be shipped first.
Items Paid for Friday May 17, 2013 will be shipped by next business day (Monday 20th). Feel free during this time to hold payment until Friday the 17th unless you prefer to make payment immediately. Sorry for any inconvience.
Part of a new collection of Autographs obtained in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Many of the most sought after autographs. Roughly 160 pages of top and high end material. Please check our sales for the next week or so. Includes Spencer Tracy, Lucy Ball etc., so please check back.
Signature is hand signed in pencil on the back of a laundry slip. Inscription reads: For Carol Loucheim on a Laundry Slip, Aunt Jemima (Tess Gardella).
Minor toning from age; many folds, as it was folded up and put inside an autograph album. (see scan).
Therese "Tess" Gardella (December 19, 1894 - January 3, 1950) was an Italian American performer on the stage and screen whose stage persona was "Aunt Jemima". She performed on both stage and screen, usually in blackface. A native of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Gardella came to New York City in 1918, singing in dances and nightclubs and also political rallies.
She died of diabetes in Brooklyn, New York, on Jan.3, 1950
She was introduced to the vaudeville stage by Lew Leslie, who gave her the stage name of Aunt Jemima. She appeared at the Palace and the New York Hippodrome, and attracted very favorable reviews from Variety.
For her final performance, she returned to vaudeville, playing the Palace once more in 1949.
Her first performance in the legitimate theater was in the 1921 version of George White's Scandals. But she was best known for her role in the classic stage musical Show Boat in 1927, where she . originated the role of Queenie. She was the only member of the original Broadway cast to appear in blackface; the show featured an African-American chorus. Jules Bledsoe, who originated the role of Joe in the same production and sang Ol' Man River, was also African-American. She left the cast in 1930, returning to the vaudeville stage.
During the 1930s, Gardella appeared in occasional movie shorts filmed in New York, including the Vitaphone series Rambling 'Round Radio Row (1932–1934). She was usually billed as "Aunt Jemima." In 1938, the Vitaphone studio starred her as "Tess Gardella (Aunt Jemima)" in the two-reel musical short A Swing Opera. In this updated condensation of the famous operetta The Bohemian Girl, with special lyrics by Sammy Cahn and Saul Chaplin, Gardella was top-billed as the gypsy queen and does not wear blackface.
Billboard summed up her appeal as the personification of the "colored mammy"
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