Vivien Leigh for McMichael Gramophones


Collections Cataloguing: Box 4

During the past month I’ve steadily continued with repackaging, cataloguing, and digitising the Richard Mangan Laurence Olivier Collection. As a result, I’ve happily managed to get ahead with a few of the boxes, which means I can share updates more regularly. As of this writing I’ve catalogued 605 individual pieces of ephemera (!!). That’s taken me up to…1945 in Laurence Olivier’s stage career. But hey, it’s not a race!

Here are some highlights from Box 4 (1935-1937), when Vivien Leigh finally enters the picture. As ever, special thanks to the Viv and Larry Patrons for helping me to afford archival supplies! You guys are the greatest.

I hope you enjoy!

Laurence Olivier and Jill Esmond’s 1935 Christmas card

RMLO_299 / Kendra Bean Collection
RMLO_299 / Kendra Bean Collection

1936 Theatrical Garden Party

Programme signed on front cover by Gertrude Lawrence. Laurence Olivier assisted with Diana Wynyard’s Millinery and Dress Accessories booth, along with Jill Esmond, Kathryn Hammill, Anthony Bushell, Frank Allenby, Hartley Power. This programme marks the first appearance of Vivien Leigh in Laurence Olivier’s life (as far as this particular archive is concerned). She appeared as Maxine, “a fast young French maid,” in Ivor Novello’s Theatre Royal “Grand Giggle” skit “Love WILL find a Way.”
RMLO_303 / Kendra Bean Collection
Also in the above programme is this advertisement for McMichael Gramophones. Vivien didn’t lend her image to many advertisements in her later career so it’s very interesting to find early examples.
RMLO_303 / Kendra Bean Collection

Twelfth Night (1937)

Jill Esmond as Olivia and Laurence Olivier as Toby Belch. Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, The Old Vic, 1937. Photo by J.W. Debenham.
RMLO_337 / Kendra Bean Collection

Henry V (1937)

One of a set of 10 snapshot photographs taken in situ by an unknown member of the audience during a performance of Henry V at the Old Vic, 1937. Several of the images were autographed by cast members.
RMLO_352 / Kendra Bean Collection
Autographed postcard with image of Laurence Olivier as Henry V at the Old Vic. Photograph by Angus McBean.
RMLO_360 / Kendra Bean Collection

Hamlet at Kronborg Castle, Denmark (1937)

Vintage Danish postcard showing Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh in the Old Vic production of Hamlet. Kronborg Castle, Denmark.
RMLO_371 / Kendra Bean Collection

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Kendra has been the weblady at since 2007. She lives in Yorkshire and is the author of Vivien Leigh: An Intimate Portrait, and co-author of Ava Gardner: A Life in Movies (Running Press). Follow her on Twitter @kendrajbean, Instagram at @vivandlarrygram, or at her official website.

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