The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux, Signed by Actress Carla Laemmle, Photoplay Edition, 1925

Leroux, Gaston.  The Phantom of the Opera. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, [1925]. Illustrated by Andre Castaigne. Signed by actress Carla Laemmle. 8vo. Rebound in black 1/.4 leather and cloth boards, with raised bands, gilt stamps, and gilt titles to spine. New matching archival slipcase.

Presented is a photoplay edition of Gaston Leroux’s best-known novel, The Phantom of the Opera. This printing was published by Grosset & Dunlap, in New York, in 1925, to accompany the 1925 Universal Pictures film adaptation starring Lon Channey. It is illustrated throughout with scenes from that production, as well as with illustrations by Andre Castaigne. Additionally, the book is signed on the full title page by actress and prima ballerina Carla Leammle. The book has been beautifully rebound in handsome ¼ black leather and black cloth boards, with raised bands and gilt stamps and tiles to the spine, and a matching black archival slipcase. 

Partly inspired by historical, nineteenth century events that took place at the famous Paris Opera, the novel chronicles the masked Phantom’s obsessive love for a young chorus girl named Christine. The Phantom of the Opera was first published as a serial in the French Magazine Le Gaulois from September 1909 to January 1910.  It was released in volume form in late March 1910 by Pierre Lafitte & Cie. The first American edition was published by Bobbs-Merrill in 1911. Due to its popularity, The Phantom of the Opera became the source for numerous adaptations, including the 1925 Universal Pictures film starring Lon Chaney and Andrew Lloyd Webber's Tony Award-winning 1986 musical.

Alexander Grosset and George T. Dunlap first met while working for the American Publishers Corporation. In 1898, Grosset & Dunlap formed a new partnership with the goal to shift the focus of the publishing industry from expensive books for the few to inexpensive books for the masses. In order to avoid paying royalties and other publishing fees, Grosset & Dunlap started reprinting books that were already in print. With these profits, the partners purchased paperbound books in bulk to rebind them in cloth and resell. As the company grew, Grosset & Dunlap were able to purchase reprint rights from publishers before publication, including reprint rights from Edward Stratemeyer for the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. Though it was primarily a reprint house, some notable first editions were published by Grosset & Dunlap, including King Kong, the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series, and Fran Striker’s “Lone Ranger” series. 

Carla Laemmle (1909-2014) was an American actress and dancer, and the niece of Universal Pictures studio founder Carl Laemmle. As an actress and a dancer, she is known primarily for her small roles in The Phantom of the Opera and Dracula. Carla Leemmle signed the full title page of this book in blue ink. The inscription reads, “The Prima Ballerina of 1925/ Carla Laemmle/1999.”


Very good condition. 8vo. Rebound in ¼ black leather and black cloth boards, with raised bands, gilt titles, and gilt stamps to the spine. New endpapers. Interior pages are generally healthy, with light scattered staining and occasional toning. Illustrations by Andre Castaigne, with additional scenes from the Universal Pictures movie of The Phantom of the Opera. Signed on the full title page by actress Carla Laemmle. Signature in blue ballpoint ink, “The Prima Ballerina of 1925/ Carla Laemmle/ 1999.” Signature is legible, but a little shaky. Presented with a new matching archival black slipcase, with an inlaid image of the original dust jacket design.

Book Dimensions: 7 3/4" H x 5 1/2" W x 1 3/4" D. Slipcase Dimensions: 8 1/4" H x 5 5/8" W x 2" D.

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