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Pearl Argyle

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it does look like her. (What a beauty.):



Also, he and Andre Charlot were in Hollywood at the same time, and there was a Carlot's Revue at the El Capitan in 1940 -- and possibly in 1941. There are photos of the 1940 production in Special Collections at the UCLA Library.

She was still dancing at this time in California, appearing as the "young ballerina" in the 1941 film Nuit de Decembre (English title: Night in December), by German emigre director Curtis Bernhardt.


I appreciate this chance to learn more about this dancer, whom Julie Kavanagh describes as Ashton's "first English muse." And Ashton had already worked for Charlot in London, in 1936. So there are several connections.

So the attribution is possible, though not at all proven (so far).

Argyle,was "in Ashton's estimation, the most beautiful woman of her generation." Your photo, rg, certainly captures something of that.

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The woman is blonde enough to be Pearl Argyle and English performers appeared in Charlot's revues at El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood. However I think Miss Argyle generally looks more beautiful in other photographs than in the one published by rg.

Miss Argyle retired from the stage in 1938 when she married the American film director Curtis Bernhardt(Kurt) settling in Hollywood where she had two sons, Steven Bernhardt (1937-1999)also a film director and another son Tony.

However as to the Harry Asmus I know of, he was born in 1934 and did not make his first stage appearance until 1946 well after Mis Argyle's retirement from performing. Was there a Harry Asmus Senior, also a dancer?

However, there is also something clearly wrong with the legend on the reverse of the photograph as the names have been obviously added more recently in a hand similar, but not close enough to the original text.

When I first saw this photograph on ebay I somewhat doubted the attribution.

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There was a Harry Asmus back in the Victor Herbert era (190xs-191xs), but I believe he was a comedian. Anyway, this young man looks VERY young, and I was never confident of the 1934 proposed birthyear for Asmus the dancer. It would have made him 12 when he came into Show Boat. He would have been 15 when Jackie Gleason's revue Along Fifth Avenue opened, and he was assistant stage manager for that, AND danced "I Love Love in New York" with Marian Horosko. Additionally, there's some strange re-naming that went on with the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood. The original El Capitan was a legitimate theater venue in the movie capital, but it foundered in 1941 and became a Paramount property and was renamed. El Capitan went to another theater which eventually became a TV studio. Much of a puzzlement.

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Anyway, this young man looks VERY young, and I was never confident of the 1934 proposed birthyear for Asmus the dancer.

I now think you are quite about the birth year of Harry Asmus who died in 1977. I had thought perhaps that he was a child performer in "Show Boat."

Details of the time he spent with Ballet Theatre can be found below.


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The easiest method of identifying Pearl in a photograph is by looking at her nose; she had a very memorable profile and the shape of her nose was very distinctive. I've been doing a lot of research on her for a journalism project, and I can say with 98% certainty that this is indeed Pearl Argyle.

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Thanks so much, PeakAction, for that photograph. My zooming didn't get a clear image of the title; can it be Diane? I think I can make out the words "A Choreographic Idyll," but not the other names associated with this piece.

Among the Hollywood names I WAS able to read, in other segments: Rita Hayworth (as you mention), Charles Farrell, Fanny Brice, Buster Keaton, Mischa Auer, Henry Fonda, Jackie Cooper, Bonita Granville, Alan Mowbray.

It's like a Turner Classic Movie reunion !!! Nice to see that classical ballet had its part in this.

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