Singer Georgia Carr with Stan Kenton after a Detroit, MI performance of “The Biggest Show of ‘52”. It was Ms. Carr in the picture with Sarah Vaughan, Nat King ColeMonica Lewis and Mr. Kenton, not Thelma Carpenter. Thanks to Derrick Lucas for contacting Mr. Cole’s former manager, Dick LaPalm, but clearly Mr. LaPalm was mistaken. And thank you Toni Callender for your comment and giving me the opportunity to correct the original post - and the excuse to share the lovely Georgia Carr with VBG fans. Photo: University of North Texas Digital Library.

Happy Easter! I hope you are enjoying the day if you celebrate. This Ella Fitzgerald photo was taken by the legendary William Gottlieb in November 1946. Lars Gotrich added the bunny ears for a 2011 NPR story on Easter and Jazz. Photo: The Library of Congress

I thought I’d share one of the first pictures that inspired me to create Vintage Black Glamour. The caption from Corbis on this circa 1920s picture reads “Photo shows Thelma and Bonnie, called the “Graceful Creoles,” posing coyly for the photographer at the Lido. The Lido is in Venice, Italy. And you thought you just loved “Thelma and Louise”… :)

I thought I’d share one of the first pictures that inspired me to create Vintage Black Glamour. The caption from Corbis on this circa 1920s picture reads “Photo shows Thelma and Bonnie, called the “Graceful Creoles,” posing coyly for the photographer at the Lido. The Lido is in Venice, Italy. And you thought you just loved “Thelma and Louise”… :)

Thelma Carpenter, the singer and actress best known as “Miss One” from 1978’s “The Wiz” in the 1950s. We have solved the riddle of the mystery lady in the photo with Sarah Vaughan, Nat “King” Cole, Stan Kenton and Monica Lewis (who provided the photo to VBG). Thelma Carpenter (1922-1997). Best known to my generation as “Miss One” from “The Wiz” (!!!) like so many of our great performers, she was SO much more. Born in Brooklyn, Ms. Carpenter was already on the road to stardom at the age of 5, when she started singing on the “Kiddies Hour” radio show and by age 11, she had her own show on WNYC radio. After winning the venerable “Amateur Night” competition at the Apollo Theater, she would go on to sing with jazz greats like Teddy Wilson, Coleman Hawkins and Count Basie. In 1945, she replaced Dinah Shore on the very popular Eddie Cantor radio program, one of the first Blacks to replace a star on White radio show. She made her Broadway debut in 1944 in ”Memphis Bound” with Bill “Bojangles” Robinson and was Pearl Bailey’s understudy in “Dolly” in 1968, performing the role over 100 times. In later years, along with ”The Wiz” in 1978, she had roles in the ABC version of “Barefoot in the Park,”in the early 1970s, ”The Cotton Club,” in 1984 along with “The Love Boat” and “The Cosby Show.” Ms. Carpenter died in New York City at the age of 77 in 1997. Photos: JET, October 2, 1952 (bottom right) and Amazon.com. ***Thanks to Derrick Lucas, who kindly contacted Mr. Cole’s manager, Dick LaPalm, who identified Ms. Carpenter for us. ***The lady in question was actually the singer Georgia Carr. Thanks to Toni Callendar for catching this and commenting on the VBG Facebook page.

Thelma Carpenter, the singer and actress best known as “Miss One” from 1978’s “The Wiz” in the 1950s. We have solved the riddle of the mystery lady in the photo with Sarah Vaughan, Nat “King” Cole, Stan Kenton and Monica Lewis (who provided the photo to VBG). Thelma Carpenter (1922-1997). Best known to my generation as “Miss One” from “The Wiz” (!!!) like so many of our great performers, she was SO much more. Born in Brooklyn, Ms. Carpenter was already on the road to stardom at the age of 5, when she started singing on the “Kiddies Hour” radio show and by age 11, she had her own show on WNYC radio. After winning the venerable “Amateur Night” competition at the Apollo Theater, she would go on to sing with jazz greats like Teddy Wilson, Coleman Hawkins and Count Basie. In 1945, she replaced Dinah Shore on the very popular Eddie Cantor radio program, one of the first Blacks to replace a star on White radio show. She made her Broadway debut in 1944 in ”Memphis Bound” with Bill “Bojangles” Robinson and was Pearl Bailey’s understudy in “Dolly” in 1968, performing the role over 100 times. In later years, along with ”The Wiz” in 1978, she had roles in the ABC version of “Barefoot in the Park,”in the early 1970s, ”The Cotton Club,” in 1984 along with “The Love Boat” and “The Cosby Show.” Ms. Carpenter died in New York City at the age of 77 in 1997. Photos: JET, October 2, 1952 (bottom right) and Amazon.com. ***Thanks to Derrick Lucas, who kindly contacted Mr. Cole’s manager, Dick LaPalm, who identified Ms. Carpenter for us. ***The lady in question was actually the singer Georgia Carr. Thanks to Toni Callendar for catching this and commenting on the VBG Facebook page.

Nat “King” Cole and Maria Cole dance at their wedding reception 65 years ago today, March 28, 1948, which happened to be Easter Sunday. The Coles were married at Harlem’s famous Abyssinian Baptist Church by Rev. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., the legendary Harlem congressman. According to Michael Henry Adams, author of the beautiful coffee table book, "Harlem Lost and Found,” Ms. Cole wore a $700 ice-blue satin dress designed by none other than VBG fashion designer legend, Zelda Wynn Valdes! Photo by Lisa Larsen/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images.

This photo of Nat “King” Cole, Sarah Vaughan and Thelma Carpenter Georgia Carr comes to VBG courtesy of the lovely blonde woman in the picture, Monica Lewis, who had a remarkable decades long career as a jazz singer. Ms. Lewis is 90 years old today and just as stunning! She is joined by Sarah Vaughan and Nat King Cole of course, along with Stan Kenton, a progressive jazz bandleader that she was dating at the time. The occasion was a gathering of top musicians in Chicago sponsored by BILLBOARD magazine. I wish I knew the name of the beautiful lady standing in between Ms. Vaughan and Mr. Kenton (she is not Mr. Cole’s wife, Maria Cole) so if you do know, tell me her name in the comment section!***

*** Thanks to Derrick Lucas for contacting Mr. Cole’s former manager, Dick LaPalm, but clearly Mr. LaPalm was mistaken. And thank you Toni Callender for your comment and giving me the opportunity to correct the original post - and the excuse to share the lovely Georgia Carr with VBG fans.

A model wears Art Smith’s “Modern Cuff” Bracelet, circa 1948. Art Smith (1917-1982) was a modernist jeweler born in Cuba to Jamaican parents who eventually emigrated to Brooklyn. He opened his first shop on Cornelia Street in Greenwich Village in 1946 - no small feat.  According to the Brooklyn Museum (host of a 2008 exhibit of his work) he was one of the leading modernist jewelers of the mid-twentieth century. Along with being covered by magazines like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, Smith, an avid jazz lover, once made cufflinks for Duke Ellington which included some notes from Mr. Ellington’s “Mood Indigo.” Mr. Smith was also a supporter of early Black modern dance groups and an active supporter of Black and gay rights. Art Smith was quoted in the 1969 catalog for his one man exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Craft: “A piece of jewelry is in a sense an object that is not complete in itself. Jewelry is a ‘what is it?’ until you relate it to the body. The body is a component in design just as air and space are.  Like line, form, and color, the body is a material to work with.  It is one of the basic inspirations in creating form.”  

A model wears Art Smith’s “Modern Cuff” Bracelet, circa 1948. Art Smith (1917-1982) was a modernist jeweler born in Cuba to Jamaican parents who eventually emigrated to Brooklyn. He opened his first shop on Cornelia Street in Greenwich Village in 1946 - no small feat.  According to the Brooklyn Museum (host of a 2008 exhibit of his work) he was one of the leading modernist jewelers of the mid-twentieth century. Along with being covered by magazines like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, Smith, an avid jazz lover, once made cufflinks for Duke Ellington which included some notes from Mr. Ellington’s “Mood Indigo.” Mr. Smith was also a supporter of early Black modern dance groups and an active supporter of Black and gay rights. Art Smith was quoted in the 1969 catalog for his one man exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Craft: “A piece of jewelry is in a sense an object that is not complete in itself. Jewelry is a ‘what is it?’ until you relate it to the body. The body is a component in design just as air and space are.  Like line, form, and color, the body is a material to work with.  It is one of the basic inspirations in creating form.”