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Filmkünstler - Wir über uns selbst by Dr Hermann Treuner. Sibyllen-Verlag, Germany, 1928. (Click to enlarge.)
Mein Film Buch, edited by Friedrich Porges. Vienna, 1929. Courtesy of Kees Kleihues van Tol. (Click to enlarge.)
During 2011, amateur historian Dennis Davino was asked to take a look at an old book which had turned up in a "$1.00" box at an estate sale near his home in Los Angeles. While Dennis couldn't understand the German, French, Russian and Swedish handwriting that filled most of it, he was able to work out that it was the guestbook of the Schwarze Katz ("Black Cat"), a Gasthaus in Berlin. Crammed with signatures and messages, the book started in 1923 and ended in 1939, by which time the owners had relocated to Berverly Hills, California. A Gasthaus was a small hotel with a bar and rooms for banqueting, and Dennis found many messages from guests thanking their hosts for jolly times and parties - but one page particularly caught his eye - it had a drawing of a woman with bobbed hair and tears rolling down her cheeks. Many of the signatures in the book had faded over the years, but "Truus van Aalten, 29-5-1930" was still strong.
"I didn't know who she was, but with a little research she was easy to find," Dennis says. "When I finally saw her photograph, it was clearly the face of the caricature in the guestbook. My favorite part is the question mark placed just above her head. To me it says, "No one really knows what I am thinking..."
On the face of it, 1930 was a very good year for Truus - she was even offered the lead role in the film comedy Susanne macht Ordnung. Why did she draw herself crying (though perhaps they were tears of laughter after a riotous night at the Schwarze Katz...)?
We'd like to thank Dennis Davino for his great generosity in sending us this story and picture. (Click to enlarge.)
Twaalf van de film by B Binger-Cantor. JM Meulenhoff, Netherlands, c1931. (Click to enlarge.)
Het meisje met de blauwe hoed by Johan Fabricius. HP Leopold, Netherlands, 1934. With thanks to Sally Mens. (Click to enlarge.)
Donker in de Zaal, by BJ Bertina. IVIO, Netherlands, 1970. A short history of Dutch films up to 1940. (Click to enlarge.)
Nederlandse acteurs in de Weimarrepubliek en Nazi Duitsland, by Adrian Stahlecker. Uitgeverij Aspekt, Netherlands, 2008. (Click to enlarge.)