Sunday, 30 April 2017

Mary Gonçalves in transition 1951-1952

Actress-singer Mary Gonçalves had been around since the mid 1940s. She was born in Santos-SP and made her movie career mostly out of Sao Paulo which boasted a sizeable movie industry.

Circa 1950, Mary knew her career was going nowhere so she thought she'd take drastic measures to rekindle it. Mary moved to Rio de Janeiro and entered a competition promoted by Pel-Mex (Peliculas Mexicanas) in association with Rio de Janeiro daily 'A Noite' to choose a 'new star' who would star in a movie in a co-production called 'Encontro no Rio' (Encuentro en Rio).

Jaime A. Menace, a Pel Mex executive was in Rio to launch the competion in November 1950 and journalist Ney Machado supervised the screening of hundreds of candidates until they came down to 30 finalists with only 15 making it to the final night – 23rd January 1951.

The young hopefuls recited or acted some well-known theatrical part on the stage in front of a jury made up of actor Rodolfo Mayer, playwright Pedro Bloch and 8 other show people. At 1:00 AM they announced the final result: Lice Miranda, a professional ballet dancer from Teatro Municipal in Sao Paulo won the competition; the runner up was Gilda Nery. Mary Gonçalves got the 3rd position. Araçari de Oliveira who would achieve stardom in the Brazilian movies in the late 1950s was among the 15 finalists.

Mary Gonçalves (wearing a dark dress), Jaime A.Menace & Norma Thamar at a cinema in Rio - 26 November 1950.
Lice Miranda wins the 'new star'-competition but Mary Gonçalves takes the real prize: to become really popular in less than 12 months; 'A Noite' - 23rd January 1951
'Carioca' tells all about the competition to find a 'New Star' promoted by Pel Mex & 'A Noite'. Lice Miranda won but did not take it, as Brazilians famously say: 'Venceu mas não levou!' Even the bigger photo on the left is of Gilda Nery, the runner up. 
Mary talks to 'Carioca' and tells her immediate plans. She wasn't signed to Radio Clube do Brasil yet.
while Mary started her singing career in Rio, Bill Farr kept on singing in English...


'Carioca' talks to Mary Gonçalves: Claribalte Passos writes an extensive biographical article about her and J. Ribeiro takes a few photos. 

Nice Figueirêdo Rocha is Mary Gonçalves' real name. She was born on 25 October 1927, in Santos-SP. She's extremely romantic, loves to go the movies everyday, but mind you, she only enjoys going to the movies by herself. Mary likes Brazilian slow-samba (samba-canção) and fox-blues. Doris Day is her favourite international singer. Frédéric Chopin is her most loved composer, followed by George Gershwin

We visited Miss Gonçalves at her flat in Copacabana one afternoon and we had a chat. She said: 'I started singing professionally in 1942. I was only 15 years old when I first sang at Radio Tupi in São Paulo. Soon after I was invited by the Copacabana Palace to a recital of classical ballet, for I had practice ballet for 4 years at São Paulo's Theatro Muncipal. Still in Rio I took a screen test and was signed to appear in 'Não adianta chorar' with Oscarito, followed by 'Vidas solitárias' with Mario Brasini, 'Fantasma por acaso' with Oscarito again and 'Asas do Brasil' with Paulo Porto'. 

Mary Gonçalves visited the U.S.A. in 1947 and went back in 1950. Mary says: 'I should point out I am proficient in four languages so I decided to visit Hollywood, the Babel of internacional cinema, in order to keep abreast of the latest trends in U.S. pop music which is really popular in Brazil. I met young actor John Derek, Joan Fontaine, the great Eddie Cantor'. 

'While in New York I had the chance to be a special guest at a TV musical programme beamed by Columbia Broadcasting System in which I had the honour to be introduced to Doris Day herself. On my way back to Brazil, I had a stint in Buenos Aires and Montevideo singing at Carrasco and Park Hotel with the orchestra of Simon Boutman.  

'Back in Brazil I decided to fix myself in Rio de Janeiro and delve into the musical-theatre which is a genre I love. I sing and dance in the musical-revue 'Boca de sirí' at Teatrinho Jardel with Colé' and 'Cafe Concerto no. 5' at the Acapulco night-club.

'I was signed by Sinter for 2 years and recorded my first single: 'Penso em você' backed with 'Só eu sei' both songs written by Fernando Lobo & Paulo Soledade with orchestrations done by Lyrio Panicalli. Within a few days I will enter the Sinter studios again to record two slow-sambas written by Pernambuco & Marino Pinto: 'P'ra mim tudo é chuva' backed with 'Chega mais'. 

Mary has also been signed by Radio Clube do Brasil. She has played Lidia at Ivany Ribeiro's latest radio-drama hit 'A hipócrita'. Mary also appears at Adolfo Cruz's 'Cine reportagem' interviewing stars from the silver screen. She also sings live at Aerton Perlingeiro's 'Fim de semana' making her one of the busiest members of Radio Clube. 


'A Noite' - 6 April 1951 - 'Cafe Concerto no.4' had Dora Lopes and Mara Rubia in the cast.

Mary is signed by Cesar Ladeira to appear as a show-girl at 'Café Concerto n.5' - 'A Noite' - 6 April 1951.

'A Noite' - 24 April 1951

'A Noite' - 24 April 1951

Mary Gonçalves may not have won the 'new star' Pel Mex-A Noite-competition but soon after that she landed a part at 'Cafe concerno no. 5', a musical revue produced by Cesar Ladeira a popular radio-man whose wife Renata Fronzi, a former show girl was coming back from retirement after having had two kids. The show was directed by Geysa Boscoli, a competent stage man having Walter D'Avila and Wellington Botelho in the cast too.  
'A Noite' - 26 May 1951.
'A Noite' - 26 May 1951. Mary could not be stopped. She worked at two places in Copacabana at the same time. Miss Gonçalves was a show-girl (vedette) at the revue 'Boca de Sirí' at Teatro Jardel and then later she went to the Acapulco to be a crooner in 'Cafe Concerto no.5'.

'A Noite' - 28 May 1951.
Mary couldn't get enough! Mary Gonçalves stars in 'Carrousel' and 'Bacanal', the new musical revue written by Silveira Sampaio, produced and directed by Carlos Machado, the so-called Brazilian Ziegfeld.  23 Oct 1951. 'A Noite'.

Miss Gonçalves has been invited by David Conde to star in his new company revue that will premiere at the Alvorada on 29 October 1951

Mary knew she had to have the maximum exposure possible to become a 'star'; she couldn't miss a photo oportunity with Odette Amaral (and Lidia Bastiani) for a 'Carioca' article. 

'A Noite' - 20 December 1951. By Christmas time Mary Gonçalves' name was not only mentioned at 'A Noite' but at weekly magazine 'Carioca' that on its Xmas issue brought pictures of Rio de Janeiro's radio royalties like: Nelson Gonçalves, Carlos Galhardo, Mario Reis, Linda Baptista, Ruy Rey, Sylvio Caldas, Gilberto Alves, Dalva de Oliveira, Jorge Goulart, Black-Out, Gilberto Milfont, Emilinha Borba, Isaura Garcia, Ademilde Fonseca, Virginia Lane, Odette Amaral, Aracy de Almeida, Carmélia Alves, Ester de Abreu, Dircinha Baptista, Olivinha Carvalho, Marlene plus Marion and Bidu Reis, Princess Margaret visiting Paris, show-girl Nelia Paula and much more... 


At the beginning of the Queen of Radio competition on 22 December 1951 there were 5 competing ladies: Radio Nacional's Olivinha Carvalho & Carmelia Alves; Radio Tupi's Doris Monteiro; Radio Clube do Brasil's Mary Gonçalves and Mayrink Veiga's Zilah Fonseca

'A Noite' also learned that as of next week other stars would join the competition: Radio Clube do Brasil's Marilena Alves; Radio Mauá's Linda Rodrigues plus representatives of Minas Gerais radio stations like Belo Horizonte's Radio Inconfidência and Juiz de Fora's Radio Industrial. 

'A Noite24 December 1951.

'A Noite' - 27 December 1951.
Suprise at the last-but-one ballot counting for Queen of Radio - 'A Noite' - 8 February 1952.

Bill Farr helps Mary count ballots on 7 February 1952.

Suddenly, on 7th February 1952, Mary Gonçalves shot up to 4th place on the last-but-one ballot-counting. Those following the 'battle of votes' knew something was 'cooking' but no one was sure what was in store.   

On the last-but-one ballot counting for 1952 Queen of Radio done on 7th February 1952 these were the results:

1. Carmelia Alves (Nacional) - 140,868 votes
2. Adelaide Chiozzo (Nacional) - 131,572
3. Olivinha Carvalho (Nacional) - 119,248
4. Mary Gonçalves (Clube do Brasil) - 98,392
5. Aracy Costa (Tupi) - 94,538

6. Doris Monteiro (Tupi) - 43,944
7. Zilah Fonseca (Mayrink Veiga) - 26.432
8. Iná Coelho (Industrial de Juiz de Fora) - 7.755
9. Marilena Alves (Clube do Brasil) - 3.530
10. Ilza Silveira (Farropilha) - 2,227

11. Teresinha Ribeiro (Industrial Juiz de Fora) - 1,755
12. Hebe Camargo (Tupi de São Paulo - 1,600
13. Cacilda Lanuza (Jornal do Comercio de Recife) - 815 votes. 

Adelaide Chiozzo had been the most voted so far, but as she refused to present her latest ballots she went down one notch to the Number 2 position. Carmelia Alves went up to Number One but she obviously smelled a dead rat there. Carmelia knew Miss Chiozzo had a trump up her sleeves.

In the mean time, the biggest surprise - apart from 'hiding of ballots' by Adelaide Chiozzo and Olivinha Carvalho - was Mary Gonçalves, who presented 72,861 votes out of the blue and made heads turn. Miss Gonçalves was sponsored by night-club impresario Carlos Machado who owned 'Monte Carlo' a top-club where she performed at revue 'Zona Sul'.

Then, on 16 February 1952, all hell broke loose when MARY GONÇALVES won the Competition

The final counting of ballots for 1952 Queen of Radio was held at the Brazilian Radio Association (Associação Brasileira de Radio) at the 8th floor on Rua Acre, 47 - downtown Rio de Janeiro. 

It started at 5:00 PM on 16 February 1952 and lasted until 5:00 AM on 17 February 1952 when Manoel Barcellos, the A.B.R. President proclaimed the name of the new Queen and her princesses. More than 2 million ballots were counted and here are the final results:

1. Mary Gonçalves - 744,825 votes
2. Adelaide Chiozzo - 706,639
3. Carmelia Alves - 189,049 

4. Olivinha Carvalho - 135,343
5. Aracy Costa - 98,211
6. Doris Monteiro - 60,450

7. Zilah Fonseca - 47,104
8. Ilza Silveira - 14,200
9. Marilena Alves - 11,815

10. Iná Coelho - 9,610
11. Teresinha Ribeiro -  2,851
12. Cacilda Lanuza - 2,775
13. Hebe Camargo - 2,000

Up until the last ballot counting everyone thought Adelaide Chiozzo would win the competition. She was backed by upper-middle-class Bangu Sports Club and Renato Murce, a Radio Nacional 'strong man' who was married to Eliana Macedo, Miss Chiozzo's best friend. 

'A Noite' 18 February 1952; 'A Noite' 20 February 1952; weekly 'Carioca' tells all the details of the last minute of the ballot-counting when Queen Mary was finally acknowledged as Radio Sovereign!
'A Noite' tells only half the truth about how Mary Gonçalves ended up winning the race and become Queen of Radio 195220 February 1952.


Nunca houve tanto barulho após as eleições da Rainha do Radio e Rainha das Atrizes como em 1952.

Nunca se fez uma campanha tão inteligente quanto a que foi tramada pelos cabos eleitorais de Mary Gonçalves.  Vinte dias antes da ultima apuração, Carlos Machado resolveu que a estrela de sua boite e cantora exclusiva da Radio Clube do Brasil seria a Rainha do Radio. Teria conseguido financiamento importante. É o que se afirma.

Depois que Machado reuniu esse dinheiro, começou a despistar na compra de votos. Diversas pessoas iam à A.B.R - Associação Brasileira de Radio, comprar talões. Para quem? Ninguém sabia. Deixavam escapar os nomes de Olivinha, Adelaide, Carmelia e outras. Com isso, Mary Gonçalves ficou esquecida das suas rivais. Na hora da apuração arrebentou a bomba! Mary tinha mais de 750.000 votos.

Não é verdade que Carmelia Alves tenha aberto mão de 100.000 votos para Mary Gonçalves, no intuito de prejudicar Adelaide Chiozzo. Podemos informar que apenas 4.000 votos destinados a Carmelia, foram cedidos a Mary. Ela não poderia perder a parada com tão grande apoio financeiro e com um trabalho eleitoral tão perfeito. Foi justamente a surpresa de sua vitória que desnorteou algumas de suas contendoras. 

Rainha das Atrizes

Momentos antes da apuração final, tinha-se como certa a vitória de Nelia Paula. A vedette do Teatrinho Jardel e do Acapulco fizera os maiores esforços para vencer o pleito. Sacrificios dos maiores foi ter gasto o dinheiro que recebera para comprar seu apartamento, cerca de 150.000 cruzeiros. Trocou a casa própria pela corça e essa lhe fugiu das mãos nos últimos instantes.

Dizia-se nos meios teatrais que, à ultima hora, Solange França passara para Virginia Lane grande quantidade de votos não-carimbados. Ficou sendo praxe a compra de votos em cima da apuração, sendo que a própria Nelia usara esse recurso. Daí as surpresas na apuração final. 

Houve momentos dramáticos no final do pleito, inclusive um espetacular desmaio de Neusa, cabo eleitoral de Nelia.


'Carioca' tried to minimize the brouhaha created by the election of Mary Gonçalves as 1952 Queen of Radio. The magazine says the Carmelia Alves was much more popular but Mary was not exactly bad. Mary had a pleasant voice, grace, personal charming and beauty and she won the competition because she had more votes than the others. In other words, 'Carioca' was almost apologetic about Mary's victory but they were magnanimous toward her. 

Mary Gonçalves was actually such a diplomatic person that she seemed cut out for the task. As soon as Mary won the title of Queen of Radio, she started acting as a Queen, as the next page will attest to. 
Adelaide Chiozzo's dream of becoming Queen of Radio vanished in smoke when Mary Gonçalves took the crown right out of her hand... in the nick of time.

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