France | 22-23 August 1928

folies_bergere_1928DATE August 22nd
Free day to Layfette Gallerie to buy some more presents. Then home for lunch. Afterwoods I took in all the junk shops along the Seine. Tonight we went to the Follies Bergere [1] which were ruder than Moulin Rouge, and not nearly as well put on. Then to the Cafe that has all the walls fixed up like hell [2]. To a place the taxi driver suggested to us the Gyptsie [3] which was tough as heck real Paris life. Next to a cafe in Montmatre that had two orchestra’s a Spanish & American (L’Abbaye). This place broke us so we came home.

This 8-minute short film starring Josephine Baker was filmed the same year that an impressionable teenage Vincent encountered the raunchy Folies-Bergère. Baker – who like Price hailed from St Louis Missouri but was five years older than him – had become a hit on the Paris club scene with her infamous banana dance in 1925. One could only imagine what would have happened had the two St Louisans met on 22 August 1928? Ooh! la! la!

rivoli_postcard_1928DATE August 23rd
Another free day. Went walking down to the old junk boxes again & along the rue de Rivoli where a group of good shops are. In the afternoon we went around doing nothing in particular. Tonight we went to the Paris Opera house a thrill of a life time. Thaïs playing and with that marvellous opera house staging in it was wond-erful beyond description. Met the mother of our conductor & his wife refined people & very charming.

Here is a YouTube video featuring a piece from Jules Massenet’s 1894 opera Thaïs, based on the 1890 Anatole France novel of the same name.

Vincent Price Travel Journal 1928 22_August

Vincent Price Travel Journal 1928 (reproduced courtesy of Peter Fuller)

folies_bergere_thumb[1] The iconic Folies-Bergère building in Paris got a big makeover when Vincent Price visited the infamous revue show in 1928. The 1869 building’s original 1872 façade was replaced with a magnificent art deco fresco by the sculptor Pico, while seat capacity was expanded from 930 to 1679. The show started life as the Folies Trévise until 1918 when manager Paul Derval put revealing costumes on his mainly English chorus girls and added outlandish decorations. It was such a success it changed musical theatre forever.

Cafe L'Enfer[2] Le Café de L’Enfer was a Hell-themed café located at 53 Boulevard de Clichy in Pigalle, Paris. One of the premier themed nightclubs of the Belle Époque era – the others being Café du Bagne (Café of the Penitentiary) and Cabaret du Néant, where guests would be served drinks in imitation skulls and dine amongst coffins – L’Enfer operated next door to Le Ciel (Heaven) from the 1890s until 1952.

[3] Gypsy

[sic] Although Vincent misspells words in his journal, we have kept them as he wrote them.