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A Handsome Couple: 1915

A Handsome Couple: 1915

Circa 1915. "Couple at champagne supper." Anyone recognize their uncle here? 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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Whether or not the "lady" is Eltinge, the photograph is clearly a staged image. There are several clues: first, the gregarious amount of makeup on both diners, second, the lack of dinner in our dinner scene, third, perfectly full champagne glasses, and fourth, the lady's gloves -- it is a complete breach of etiquette for a lady to have gloved fingers at the dinner table.

[Gregarious makeup -- her lips said no, but her lipstick said Hello! - Dave]

Look closer, but not too close

Eltinge was probably very effective onstage but enlarging the picture doesn't do him any favors. Still, unlike most of today's drag queens, he's not attempting to look like a hooker. Not a cheap one, anyway.

Types of American Women

Washington Post, Feb 9, 1913

Couldn't Fool Vienna

Several years ago, before he began starring in "The Fascinating Widow," and while touring the world as a "headliner," Julian Eltinge played an engagement in Vienna, and received in that city what he claims to be his greatest and queerest compliment.

Eltinge's act was entitled "Types of American Women," and during the course of his exhibition he presented four dazzling pictures of femininity. At the end of his performance the famous impersonator pulled off his wig and walked off the stage.

The next day the leading newspaper of Vienna came out with a "roast" on the act. The heading was "The Latest American Bunk." The article said, in part: "A woman with closely cropped hair sings two or three ditties, pulls of her wig, and then struts off the stage like a man, trying to make you believe her a female impersonator. She is not. This is merely another clever American 'bunk.'"

Washington Post, Oct 11, 1914

Want to Keep Thin?
Eltinge Tells How

Of all the dire worries that confront an actor in the line of his stage-craft that of taking on a pound or two of weight is probably the least. Yet with Julian Eltinge, star of "The Crinoline Girl," the fear lest his figure grow the least bit stouter is his bete noir.

With Eltinge's productions almost everything depends upon his ability to wear his gowns with all and more than the grace of a woman. So, to keep his figure in perfect trim, he wages a constant battle against adipose tissue. In the ten years that he has been on the stage, he has reduced his weight warfare to a science.

In the first place he eats no starch foods whatever, such as wheat bread, potatoes, and sugar, or such fatty foods as fat meat, butter, and foods prepared with lard. Nor does he ever touch a drop of alcoholic stimulant, one of the greatest fatteners.

Every morning when he arises he takes a cold shower. Than for half an hour he takes stooping and bending exercises, winding up with work on an "exerciser." He eats a very light breakfast. An hour after breakfast he walks for 5 miles. Then follows a light luncheon. Two hours after luncheon he spars for an hour with a professional boxer; after which he takes a cold plunge. His dinner might be termed moderate.

After performance he walks from the theater to his hotel, where he repeats the morning exercise. These followed by a hot bath and then to bed. In eight years he has not varied this routine. As a result, Eltinge is far more lithe and graceful than he was a decade ago, and last year's gowns he finds fit him quite as well as those made for him yesterday.

Washington Post, Oct 25, 1914

Laughter Lures to Theaters This Week

There are many female impersonators and there is Julian Eltinge. But Mr. Eltinge prefers to be known as an "interpreter" of feminine roles. The success with which he impersonates warrants his being a big captious. So he shall be designated as an interpreter of femininity in his new play, "The Crinoline Girl," which returns to the Columbia tomorrow night. Unlike "The Fascinating Widow," the new entertainment is not a musical comedy, but a "dramatic farce with songs."

She wouldn't all look that bad

with a closer shave

You can't fool me

That's Tony Curtis!

Eltinge - Well spotted, all!

Well done spotting Julian Eltinge! I found on YouTube quite a tremendous compilation of stills from his films and stage appearances.

Queen Of Pop

Am I the only one to notice that the shemale looks eerily like Michael Jackson in his later years? Major full-body shiver when I saw the photo. No good night's sleep for me tonight, I guess.

She's no Divine

And here I thought Divine was the most popular Female Impersonator in the world.

Handsome couple?

Pretty scary couple if you ask me.

The gent

Should put that cellphone down and concentrate on his, uh, lady. He's already got her all atwitter.

Some Like It Hot

Jack Lemmon he's not.

Julian from Edinburgh

I am so glad someone has suggested that the photo is of a female impersonator (and a namesake no less!) Stupidly, it never occurred to me that this might be the case. I just thought that she was, in the words of my Grandma, "blessed in less obvious ways."

The "lady"

is, I am pretty sure, the noted stage actor and female impersonator Julian Eltinge.


What's with the makeup on both of them? - and yeah - that might be my uncle on the right.

Please tell

me that they are in stage makeup or something. Otherwise .
And that sure looks like a man trying to pass himself off as a woman. I mean the one in the hat so there is no mistaking.

Okay, if you say so

I believe I prefer the "Daddy's Back" lady a few panels earlier.

Pancake dinner

The makeup looks like it was applied with a crop duster!

Bob's your uncle

Or Roberta, as he liked to be called at Champagne suppers.

Every Inch a Lady

The lady looks like Julian Eltinge (1881-1941), probably the most popular female impersonator in American history. After the success of his performance in "A Fascinating Widow," Broadway producer A.H. Woods built him the Eltinge Theatre on 42nd Street, still in business as the AMC Building.

Uncle, No

but maybe Charley's aunt.

I don't know about my uncle

but that "lady" looks a lot like Michael Jackson.

If that's my uncle

... that sure isn't my aunt!


Yeah, he's the guy in drag.

My uncle

didn't wear that much eyeliner.

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