Saturday, January 5, 2013

Stars of Efftee films

A wonderful reader kindly sent me some cigarette cards of Australian born actors. The cards are beautiful and date from the 1930s. Thanks Sarah!

They represent stars from Efftee films. Efftee film studios were apparently created in Melbourne in the early 1930s by Frank Thring. The name comes from his initials, FT.

A list of their films is here

Firstly we have  George Wallace. George was a stage comedian and film actor. His bio on the back of the card states;
Australian comedian, born Brisbane (q) aged 33 years. Comes of a theatrical family. Has toured his own revue companies. First film, 'His Royal Highness." (Efftee Films)

Cicely Coutneidge. Born Sydney NSW; age 39. Daughter of Robert Courtneidge famous actor-producer. Married Jack Hulbert. First film 'Elstree Calling'. Talking pictures, "The Ghost Train" , "Jack's the Boy", and "Happy Ever After".

Cicely, of course spent most of her life in England, she was born during one of her father's tours of Australia in 1893. She was an accomplished stage actor.

Cecil Scott. Born Bathurst NSW, 25 years old. Has appeared in Australia in musical comedy and revue. Specially selected to play the title role in Efftee Films 'The Sentimental Bloke."
Pat Hanna. Born Mercury Bay (NZ) Height 6ft 1 in. age 42. Lieut NZ Forces during the Great War. Formed 'Famous Diggers' company and toured world. Appeared at Royal command performances. First talking picture, 'Diggers' (efftee) and "Diggers in Blighty."

Ray Fisher. Aged 19. Born Melbourne. Began stage career a dancer. Specially selected by Mr F W Thring to play Doreen in Efftee' "The Sentimental Bloke."

Betty Stockfeld. Born Sydney (NSW) age 25. Was educated at Carisbrooke College Canterbury (Vic). First film "City of Song."Recreations; swimming and flying. Plays piano and ukelele. Clever linguist and has appeared in French films. Hobbies; gardening, travelling and reading.

Many stage actors turned to film during the early years of the talkies. In Sydney, the Prince Edward Theatre had a stage show as part of the film experience. The early 1930s were the era of the huge film palaces such as the Prince Edward and the State Theatre in Sydney. Unfortunately it was also the depression era and economic circumstances combined with  competition from the talkies, destroyed live theatre. In 1933 the great Her Majesty's Theatre in Sydney, which was located on the Centrepoint corner, closed down. The Criterion also closed in this period.

These cards, however, show no sign of terrible economic times and are a beautiful reminder of the elegance of the era. Thanks again to Sarah for her kindness.

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