Throwback Thursday | Feathers of Stage and Screen

Vaudeville shows were staged at the historic Rialto Theatre in 1927

PHOTO: Rick Thomas Collection | | Sunkist Beauties pose for a publicity photograph promoting Franchon & Marco’s “Indian Summer Idea” at the Rialto Theater (1927)

In 1927 the Franchon & Marco’s vaudeville show featuring the Sunkist Beauties performed at the Rialto theater in South Pasadena. The ostrich farm in town supplied the ostrich feather plumes for the dance troop’s extravaganza Indian Summer Idea.

South Pasadena’s Cawston Ostrich Farm was a major supplier of ostrich feathers for actress costumes and accessories for the stage and film. The farm enjoyed the publicity, and the actresses loved to pose in specially-made extravagant feather fashion.

According to local history author, Glen Duncan, “The vaudeville producers Fanchon and Marco used the Rialto theater in South Pasadena as an important tryout stage for new talent before booking them into their top house, the Paramount in Los Angeles.”

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Throwback Thursday is written and produced by Rick Thomas

Author Rick Thomas is the former museum curator and vice-chair of education for the South Pasadena Preservation Foundation. He served on the South Pasadena Natural Resources Commission, helping to maintain a strict policy protecting the city’s great old-growth trees. Using touchstone photographs from his own collection—one of the San Gabriel Valley’s largest accumulations of historical images and artifacts—as well as national, state, and local historical archives, Thomas provides a window to his city’s past and an understanding of why its preservation is so important.