Orval Hixon

Portrait of Baby Rose Marie

Rose Marie Mazzetta was the last theatrical subject photographed by Orval Hixon in Kansas City. Mazzetta began performing as Baby Rose Marie at the tender age of three. She became an NBC radio star at age five and at age six made her acting debut in the 1929 musical short "Baby Marie: The Child Wonder." Mazzetta joined Rosemary Clooney, Helen O’Conner and Margaret Whiting in a musical revue, "4 Girls 4," that toured for eight years starting in the 1940’s.

Portrait of Beth Beri

Beth Beri was a dancer who was rumored to have made up to $3,000 a week in her prime. Sometimes she danced alone and sometimes, she partnered with others such as Jay Velle and Paul O'Neill. She appeared in two musical revues (Jack and Jill in 1923) and (Rufus LaMaire's Affairs in 1927). She was in the very successful musical comedy Kids Boots from 1923 to 1925. In this image made in 1920,

Portrait of Beth Beri

Beth Beri was a dancer who appeared in two musical revues, "Jack and Jill" (1923) and "Rufus LaMaire's Affairs" (1927). Between those gigs, she played in the musical comedy "Kid Boots" (1923) which was successful enough to be produced in print and on Broadway. She is depicted here in humble costume wearing cut-off overalls, an oversized button-up shirt, and a sun hat. Her feet are postured coyly, shifting her weight away from the object of her attention. Yet as she peers out of the corner of her eyes and prepares to take a bite of fruit, she comes off as playful and seductive.

Portrait of Beth Beri in Dance

Dance Beth Beri never found success equal to that of fellow dancers such as Ann Pennington, but she did achieve notoriety through the 1920s for appearing in musical revues such as Jack and Jill and The Florenz Ziegfeld production Kid Boots. In this image, she stands barefoot against a wall with her right foot En Pointe and her left leg tucked up under a semi sheer ballet tutu. She completes her look with an embellished bralette She faces to her right and holds crosses her arms at the wrist and holds Tibetan tingsha bells at the ready.

Portrait of Beth Beri in Motion

Beth Beri was a dancer who appeared in two musical revues (Jack and Jill in 1923) and (Rufus LaMaire's Affairs in 1927). She was in the very successful musical comedy Kids Boots from 1923 to 1925. In this image made in 1920, her striking figure is posed in a composite stance. While her face remains mostly in shadow, her body is highlighted by an intricately designed oriental rug hung on the wall. A ginger jar placed by her right foot gleams in the light. She stands with her left foot on tippy-toe behind her right foot and parallel to her right arm.

Portrait of Beth Beri with Smokey Vase

Beth Beri was a dancer who appeared in two musical revues, "Jack and Jill" (1923) and "Rufus LaMaire's Affairs" (1927). Between those gigs, she performed in the musical comedy "Kid Boots" (1923) which was successful enough to be produced in print and on Broadway. In this portrait Beri is positioned kneeling towards an open vase that appears to have smoke rising from its opening. Beri is attired in an off shoulder full length dark dress with pattern top and diaphanous skirt.

Portrait of Beverly Bayne

Beverly Bayne walked into Chicago’s Essanay Studios when she was 16 years old and immediately turned heads with her big brown eyes and soft, dark hair. She became a pioneering silent film star of the 1910s, forming a popular romantic duo with matinee idol Francis X. Bushman – most notably in 1916’s Romeo and Juliet. Their onscreen chemistry was real. The couple married in 1918, but it begot scandal as Bushman had been divorced from his previous wife for only three weeks.

Portrait of Bobbie Tremaine

Like Ruth St. Denis, Bothwell Browne, and many other performers of the era, dancer and songwriter Bobbie Tremaine used exotic costumes and dances associated with foreign cultures to heighten her appeal to American audiences. In 1921, Tremaine wrote a serialized story entitled "Confessions of a Dancer," a greatly romanticized tale chronicling her encounters with Eastern cultures. A portion of the story appeared in Physical Culture Magazine alongside photographs of Tremaine in what were termed "Hindoo" dance poses.

Portrait of Bothwell Browne

Though cross-dressing vaudevillians were fairly common in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, dancer Bothwell Browne (1877-1947) broke from a tradition of broadly humorous bawdy or vulgar impersonations in favor of work that explored a more nuanced view of gender. Famous for playing characters such as Cleopatra, Browne often drew from an Eastern tradition he imagined as sensual and feminine. Browne is not dressed in women's clothing in Orval Hixon's portrait, but his sinuous pose and draped costume certainly challenged conventions of American masculinity.

Portrait of Charles "Buddy" Rogers

Charles "Buddy" Rogers was born in Olathe, Kansas. He was a student at the University of Kansas with plans to become a band leader. While his dream of becoming a band leader did not come to fruition, he became a performer nonetheless. Rogers moved to Hollywood and became an actor. He performed in more than 40 films including the World War I silent film, "Wings", winner of the first best-picture Oscar in 1929. The talented musician performed with his own jazz band in some films.

Portrait of Chic Sale in a Woman's Dress

Usually, rube comics were favored by rural audiences who liked their entertainers down to earth. In Chic’s case, you couldn’t get more down to earth than the outhouses that figured in his storytelling. Despite a preference for sophisticated monologists, Broadway audiences took to two of the cracker barrel types, including Will Rogers and Chic Sale. Sale portrayed a village full of hayseed characters in his storytelling of which “Grandpa” was the most successful. He also wrote a best selling book of outhouse humor called “The Specialist” which is still in print after 80 years.

Portrait of Chic Sale with Gloves

Usually, rube comics were favored by rural audiences who liked their entertainers down to earth. In Chic’s case, you couldn’t get more down to earth than the outhouses that figured in his storytelling. Despite a preference for sophisticated monologists, Broadway audiences took to two of the cracker barrel types, including Will Rogers and Chic Sale. Sale portrayed a village full of hayseed characters in his storytelling of which “Grandpa” was the most successful. He also wrote a best selling book of outhouse humor called “The Specialist” which is still in print after 80 years.

Portrait of Chief All O'Fire (i)

This is a portrait of a circus and vaudevillian performer who went by the name of Chief All O'Fire. It is speculated that he was actually Deaf Bull, a Crow chief active in the 1880s. Deaf Bull's screen name, Good Eye, was attributed to the one good eye he still had after a military prison guard hit him in the other eye with the back end of a rifle. Here he crouches in an action pose with a marked bow and arrow ready. He is wrapped up to the chest in a wool blanket and is adorned with large non-traditional necklaces, a scarf and brooch, and wide silver cuff around his arm.

Portrait of Chief All O'Fire (ii)

This is a portrait of a circus and vaudevillian performer who went by the name of Chief All O'Fire. It is speculated that he was actually Deaf Bull, a Crow chief active in the 1880s. Deaf Bull's sub name, Good Eye, was attributed to the one good eye he still had after a military prison guard hit him in the other eye with the back end of a rifle. Here he crouches in an action pose with a marked bow and arrow ready. He is wrapped up to the chest in a wool blanket and is adorned with large non-traditional necklaces, a scarf and brooch, and wide silver cuff around his arm.

Portrait of Chief Two Guns White Calf

Two Guns, the last Chief of the Pikuni Blackfoot Indians, was also known as John Two Guns and John White Calf. A widely held belief, by some historians, is that Chief Two Guns was the main model for the Indian Nickel. The Chief headed a secret group known as the “Mad Dog Society” whose purpose was to protect and sustain the Blackfoot Heritage. Chief Two Guns was very outspoken about US policies and the mistreatment of Native Americans.

Portrait of Cleo and Friend

In this portrait, Hixon has captured the playful youthfulness of Cleo and her friend. The two girls appear to be in a ship's cabin that is decorated with American flag streamers , a poster of soldier on horseback, and other miscellaneous items. Cleo is seated on the bed with her arms resting atop a life-preserver with the words "CLEO - Port of Kansas City" stenciled onto it. Her friend kneels behind her on the bed holding a pennant with the name "CLEO" on it. Both girls are dressed in nautical attire with fancy hats.

Portrait of Cleo Hixon

In this portrait of Cleo, Hixon depicts her in a seated profile pose. Cleo gazes in the distance with a bemused expression. She is dressed in a nautical outfit and holds a life-preserver with the name "CLEO" printed onto it. Cleo wears her hair up and a slight smile across her girlish face.

Portrait of Cleo Playing Cards with Friends

This photograph features Cleo Hixon, center, flanked by two friends while playing a game of cards. They appear to be in a casual seating area with a dense accumulation of memorabilia and small American flags strung across the walls. To the right of the gentleman in the photograph is a life preserver labeled "CLEO / PORT OF KANSAS CITY" which appears in a number of Hixon's scene photographs. Each of the figures is formally dressed with Cleo herself in nautical attire, a theme that reoccurs along with the life preserver in Hixon's work featuring her.

Portrait of Cleveland Bronner

This portrait features Cleveland Bronner as a full length solitary figure with arms extended in the act of worshipful reverence. Bronner appears mostly nude with the exception that he wears a full feather headdress, long plumed boa, sparkling beaded arm and leg bands, and sandals. He takes a confident step forward, with his chin tilted up, generating a seductive atmosphere. The background is completely dark, allowing the lighting to accentuate Bronner's pose. The print appears chemically altered to emphasize the ornamentation with which he is adorned.

Portrait of Clifton Webb

Clifton Webb's mother, with whom he lived until her death at age 91, transferred her own theatrical ambitions to the son she called "little Webb." He performed in Vaudeville and on Broadway, primarily in musicals, before director Otto Preminger took notice and brought him to Hollywood to appear in the 1944 film noir "Laura." Webb earned an Oscar nomination for best-supporting actor, then two more acting nominations for "The Razor's Edge" (1946) and "Sitting Pretty" (1948). His series of roles as the starchy Mr.

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