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    Description

    Blanche Calloway 1933 "Sepia Siren of Syncopation" Large Concert Poster. An original and highly unusual large paper concert poster advertising Blanche Calloway performing at the Old Orchard Pier in Old Orchard Beach, Maine on Saturday night, August 26, 1933.

    Ms. Calloway was the sister of Cab Calloway, and being the older sibling, found success before he did, although he then soared to grander heights. One of her biggest claims to fame was being the first woman to lead an all-male orchestra. Jazz critic and historian Scott Yanow once wrote of her, "Blanche Calloway sings with plenty of spirit and sass, showing that she was in the same league as her better-known brother."

    Almost all big-band, jazz and swing concert posters we've seen from the 1930's are the standard 14x22" cardboard window-card types. This (and the accompanying Rudy Vallee poster) breaks all the rules with its comparatively enormous size and paper composition. And yet it follows the template that the smaller posters use: It has the venue, the day of the week, the date, the large image area, an artistic rendition of the musician, an attractive design with musical notes, and a catchy slogan at the top - "The Sepia Siren of Syncopation." This could even be a tour blank, with that white box up at the top, but who's to say; this and the Vallee are the only ones of this type we've ever seen in 30 years of studying concert posters.

    The Old Orchard Pier was quite the venue back in the day, a grand central station of sorts during the swing era, and this poster shows just how serious they were about marketing. The provenance of this poster is perfect, in that it came from an old house in Maine that was being cleaned out, and once belonged to the woman who used to own the Old Orchard Pier ballroom venue.

    Measures 28 1/2" x 41" and grades to Good condition - for lack of a better word. Poster has been folded up its entire existence so the creases are sharp and obvious. There's a 2 ½" x 1 ½" tear in the crease on Blanche's chest, and two tear-holes (with no missing paper) just to the right of her head. There's also another breakthrough tear where the creases meet between the "N" and "C" in "Blanche." This is obviously not a "condition play," it's an ancient paper artifact which has never been flattened out properly, so would probably frame up pretty nicely, especially if dry-mounted. Despite all the little dings, creases, folds and tears you see around the edges, there is not a single instance of any paper missing... it's all there. COA from Heritage Auctions.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    July, 2021
    16th-18th Friday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 33
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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