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Fanchon and Marco Collection of Photographs and Ephemera: Finding Aid
photCL 487  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Access
  • Administrative Information
  • Historical Note
  • Sources
  • Scope and Content
  • Related materials in the Huntington Library
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Overview of the Collection

    Title: Fanchon and Marco Collection of Photographs and Ephemera
    Dates (inclusive): approximately 1917-1940
    Bulk dates: 1926-1937
    Collection Number: photCL 487
    Creator: Fanchon & Marco
    Extent: 18 boxes
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Photo Archives
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2191
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: The Fanchon and Marco collection contains approximately 1400 photographs depicting hundreds of Fanchon and Marco Inc. sets and performers for the company's live variety shows performed before feature films in California and across the country in the 1920s and 1930s. These shows, known as "Ideas," were produced by the Los Angeles-based theatrical production team of sister and brother Fanchon Wolff Simon (1892–1965) and Marco Wolff (1894–1977). The collection also includes a box containing newspaper clippings, musical scores, miscellaneous photographs, and the supplemental press books that were included with the Fanchon & Marco promotional magazine, Now (and later The Idea), dating from 1930 and 1931.
    Language: English.
    Note:
    Finding aid last updated on September 29, 2015.

    Access

    Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

    Administrative Information

    Publication Rights

    The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

    Fanchon and Marco Collection of Photographs and Ephemera. The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Provenance

    Gift of Sandra Holden and William H. Simon, Jr., July 2008.
    The newspaper clippings on album pages (Box 17, Folder 5) were the gift of Faye Hueston, 2013.

    Processing/Project Information

    Preservation treatment in June 2011 included removal of photographs from the original binders for humidification and flattening, as the items were severely warped. Photographs were individually numbered according to their original order in the binders, interleaved, and placed in archival boxes. One original binder (volume 5) was retained as an example; the rest of the binders were discarded.

    Historical Note

    The sister-and-brother duo of Fanchon Wolff Simon (1892–1965) and Marco Wolff (1894–1977) founded the theatrical-production company of Fanchon & Marco Inc. in 1923. The company, located at 5600 Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, California, provided live stage shows to movie houses in California and across the country.
    Born and raised in a large Jewish family in turn-of-the-century Los Angeles, Fanchon and Marco Wolff began performing on vaudeville as teenagers. In 1919, they left the stage to produce a musical revue called “Let’s Go!” A year later they created Sun-Kist, a California-themed act starring a line of high-kicking chorus girls. Sun-Kist opened on the West Coast before launching a successful national tour in 1921.
    In 1923, Fanchon and Marco presented their first “Idea” at the Warfield Theatre in San Francisco. The Idea concept became a Fanchon and Marco trademark and referred to a live variety show performed before a feature film, a genre also called a “prologue.” Fanchon & Marco Ideas – which centered on various themes – were distinguished by their snappy pace, intricate choreography, spectacular costumes, lavish sets, and teams of chorus girls, including the Sunkist Beauties and the Fanchonettes.
    Between 1923 and 1936, Fanchon & Marco produced hundreds of Ideas that toured California, the Pacific Coast, and the United States. The company closed its Hollywood offices in 1936 and stopped producing Ideas by 1938.

    Sources

    Reva Howitt Clar, Lollipop: Vaudeville Turns with a Fanchon and Marco Dancer (Lanham, Maryland: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2000). Edited by Mimi Melnick.
    Faye Hueston, Fanchon’s Daughter: A Memoir (2015). [Place of publication not identified] : [publisher not identified]
    Shyrle “Shanna” Hacker, On Stage, Gypsies: A Memoir of a Dancer in the 30’s (Falcon Books, 1994).
    William Simon Jr., “Fanchon and Marco.” Marquee 44:4 (2012), pp. 16-24.
    Phil Wagner, “`An America Not Quite Mechanized:’ Fanchon and Marco, Inc. Perform Modernity.” Film History 23:3 (2011), pp. 251-267.

    Scope and Content

    The Fanchon & Marco collection contains approximately 1400 photographs depicting hundreds of Fanchon and Marco Inc. sets and performers between approximately 1925 and 1938. The collection also includes two boxes of ephemera, dated from around 1917 to 1940, that consist of newspapers clippings, musical scores, miscellaneous photographs, and the supplemental press books that were included with Fanchon & Marco's promotional magazine, Now (later The Idea), dating from 1930 and 1931.
    The 16 volumes (now disbound) of photographs in this collection served as a visual inventory for hundreds of Fanchon & Marco sets and performers. The images document the actors, dancers, costumes, sets, and concepts and appear to have been primarily photographed during rehearsals before the shows premiered in Los Angeles theaters such as Loew's State Theater and the Paramount Theater. The first volume contains some photographs presumably taken in San Francisco and later volumes include a few photographs by New York-based photographers.
    Accompanying descriptive information is scant with few performers identified by name. A typescript inventory with Idea titles precedes volumes 1-8. The production name appears in pencil on the back of many of the pages in Volumes 1-12. Volume 13 contains stage and lighting directions in typescript on the backs of some photographs.
    Photographers represented in the collection are: Archer’s Art Shop of Los Angeles (Volume 6, 8, 11, 13); Hollywood photographers Irving Archer (Volume 12, 13, 14), Archer’s Studios (Volume 8, 11, 13, 14); Curt Fox (Volumes 5-6); Paralta Studios (Volumes 2-4); and Harry Wenger (Volumes 1, 2-4, 6). A few photographs include the imprints of Peerless Photo of Los Angeles (Volume 13), John Sirgio (Volume 13), H.W. Steward of San Francisco (Volume 1), Talbot of New York (Volume 12), Weaver of Los Angeles (Volume 1), and White Studio of New York (Volume 9).

    Alternative Form of Materials Available

    Visit the Huntington Digital Library: Photographs   to view digitized items from this collection.

    Related materials in the Huntington Library

    Arrangement

    The collection is organized in the following series and subseries:
    • I. Photograph volumes
      • Volumes with 4 images per page (Vols. 1-5)
      • Volumes with 1 image per page (Vols. 6-14)
      • Thumbnail volumes (Vols. 15-16)
    • II. Ephemera (Boxes 17-18)

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  

    Subjects

    Fanchon, 1892-1965.
    Fanchon, 1892-1965 -- Photographs.
    Marco, 1894-1977.
    Marco, 1894-1977 -- Photographs.
    Fanchon & Marco.
    Fanchon & Marco -- Photographs.
    Actors -- United States -- Photographs.
    Choreography -- Photographs.
    Dance -- Production and direction -- Photographs.
    Dancers -- Photographs.
    Dancers -- United States -- Photographs.
    Musical theater producers and directors -- United States -- Photographs.
    Theaters -- California -- Los Angeles -- Photographs.
    Theater -- Production and direction -- United States -- Photographs.
    Theatrical productions -- United States -- Photographs.
    Vaudeville -- United States -- Photographs.
    Women musical theater producers and directors -- United States -- Photographs.

    Forms/Genres

    Photographs.
    Photograph albums.
    Sheet music.

    Contributors

    Fanchon, 1892-1965.
    Marco, 1894-1977.
    Weaver, M. F. (Miles F.), 1879-1932, photographer.
    Archer, Irving, photographer.
    Fox, Curt, photographer.
    Sirgio, John, photographer.
    Steward, H. W., photographer.
    Talbot, photographer.
    Wenger, Harry, photographer.
    Archer's Art Shop, photographer.
    Archer Studio, photographer.
    Fanchon & Marco.
    Paralta Studios, photographer.
    White Studio (New York, N.Y.), photographer.