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PHOTO CREDIT: Above photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.

Historic Photos of Badia Masabni


Collected By Priscilla Adum




Badia By Herself

Click any of the photos below to see more detail.

The caption in the circle says:

The Queen of the Shows

The famous star Madame Badia Masabni

Who has recorded many skits and show films

She will surprise her audiences at the beginning of next month

By opening a new theater and presenting new and innovative programs.

The "show films" that they are referring to here were short films that Badia made. They were meant to be shown at cinemas either before the feature film or during the intermission. Apparently she filmed many of those shorts.

Badia Masabni
This photo and the two below it are the framed originals that still hang as of 2014 at the dairy farm that was once owned by Badia Masabni in Chtaura, Lebanon. They were kindly shared with me by the owner of the dairy. Badia Masabni
This photo plus the one immediately above and the one immediately below are the framed originals that still hang as of 2014 at the dairy farm that was once owned by Badia Masabni in Chtaura, Lebanon. They were kindly shared with me by the owner of the dairy. Badia Masabni
This photo plus the two immediately above are the framed originals that still hang as of 2014 at the dairy farm that was once owned by Badia Masabni in Chtaura, Lebanon. They were kindly shared with me by the owner of the dairy. Badia Masabni

This beautiful picture of Badia Masabni appears to be an advertisement for an Egyptian store that sells German-made Hofmann pianos and Telefunken radios.

The white letters in the center say BADIA MASABNI TROUPE.

Center bottom says "Aziz Poulis" which is the salesman.

On the bottom right it says in both English and Arabic: Piano Hofmann, Masr Telephone 56114.

On the bottom left it says in both English and Arabic: Radio Telefunken Alexandria Telephone 3305.

Aziz Poulis' music store used to provide musical instruments for Egyptian films during the Golden Era. In 1938, they announced that they were giving a free gift away with each purchase of a piano or other musical instrument from their store, in honor of King Farouk's wedding. So far as I know they're still around today, located on Adli street in Cairo.

The source where this photo was found did not identify the date when it originally appeared. Badia looks very young and thin in this picture. Judging by her hairstyle, it seems to be from the early 1930's.

Badia Masabni

This rare photograph of Badia Masabni was taken in 1912. It shows her wearing traditional Syrian/Lebanese garb sitting with a balas (jug) on her lap.

Traditionally, people used a balas to carry water, store honey, or save cheese.

In this photo, Badia Masabni welcomes in the new year 1939. Badia Masabni

In this photo, Badia Masabni poses in a dance costume. The caption says that the photo was taken on September 11, 1924 and that it's her "wedding dress", but that is incorrect.

Below is a photo of Badia Masabni and Naguib el Rehani on their wedding day, and the dress in this photo is definitely not the dress she was wearing on the occasion of her wedding. The 1924 date on this picture is probably incorrect as well, because she didn't yet own any of her nightclubs in 1924. At that time she was mostly known for being an actress rather than a dancer.

Badia Masabni

Badia poses in a costume, holding a lyre. Judging by the hat style, I believe this was taken in the mid-1920's.

The caption in the lower right corner says, "Badia Masabni, spouse of Naguib El Rehani".

Badia and Naguib separated in 1926. They never actually divorced, and remained legally married until el-Rehani's death in 1949.

Badia Masabni
Badia Masabni wears a costume inspired by the Levant. Note the coin trim.



Badia with Professional Colleagues

Click any of the photos below to see more detail.

This rare picture shows Badia Masabni and her dance troupe in the 1939 movie Cairo Nights, one of the handful of films that Badia appeared in. She is standing in the center of the photo next to Mohamed Fawzy.

To the right, you can see a very young Taheya Carioca (who was a member of the troupe) smiling widely and leaning against another dancer.

The plot of the film is about a young Bedouin girl who travels to Cairo in search of her betrothed. Once in Cairo, she meets a nightclub owner who offers her work at the club. Eventually, she becomes a famous artist. When her family discovers it, they travel to Cairo to punish her. However, her betrothed finds her, rescues her from her angry family, and marries her. The film also stars Abdel Salam El Naboulsi and dancer Gamalat Hassan.

Photo Credit:

Badia Masabni and Her Troupe

From left to right:

  • Singer/composer Mohamed Fawzy who was the brother of singer Hoda Sultan. He was "discovered" by Badia Masabni and he got his first big break at her club. Mohamed Fawzy founded the very first vinyl LP record factory in Egypt in 1958. His company recorded as well as manufactured records.
  • Badia Masabni
  • Next to Badia, in the center of the picture is Taheya Carioca.
  • Gamalat Abdo, a dancer in Badeya's club and Taheya's best friend. According to the Egyptian television series Carioca, Gamalat never made it as a solo artist and never achieved fame. She wasn't considered as talented and beautiful as the other girls who made it as soloists such as Taheya Carioca and Samia Gamal. Gamalat Abdo danced in the ensemble pieces with other dancers, including Taheya Carioca before Taheya made it as a soloist. The fact that Gamalat was sick and poor made her retire early. For that reason, Taheya shared a flat with Gamalat and hired her as a personal assistant when Taheya retired from dancing and moved on to a career as an actress. Gamalat died of lung cancer at the age of 38.  
  • The man on the right is famous violin player Anwar Mansi who was married to Lebanese singer/actress Sabah. He is the father of her daughter. 
Badia and Friends

In this photo, Badia Masabni is dancing at a wedding. She is the one on the left playing sagat (finger cymbals) and wearing an evening gown. In a 1966 interview she said she always wore evening gowns for her performances rather than revealing outfits.

The other dancer is Fathya Sherif who used to work at Badia's nightclub as a dancer and a monologuist (stand-up comic). Fathya was married to actor Imad Hamdy.

This photo appears on many Arabic-language web sites. El Destour is one example.

Badia Masabni
This photo shows Badia Masabni standing onstage with some of her performers. She is wearing an assuit dress. Easily recognizable on the left side of the photo is her adoptive daugher Juliette, who was also a dancer at Badia's club. Badia Masabni and Group

Badia Masabni (near the left of this photo) sits with her musicians. In front of her, wearing Arab garb, is Farid al-Atrache.

I think the musician to the right of Farid holding the oud is Farid Ghosn.

Badia Masabni with Musicians
Badia Masabni dances with Farid el-Atrache. The caption says that it's a photo of Badia Masabni who left Cairo in the 1950s and bought a farm in the country, pulling down the final curtain on Cairo night life. Badia Masabni and Farid al-Atrache
Badia gets her hair done. Badia Masabni



Badia in Her Personal Life

Badia Masabni and her new husband Naguib el-Rihani pose for a wedding photo. Her long-sleeved wedding dress is typical of the 1920's style. Badia Masabni and Naguib el-Rihani

This photo shows Badia Masabni showing a young Taheya Carioca how to crochet.

Source and date of photo not known, but was may have been taken shortly after Taheya went to work at Badia's club in 1933.

Badia Masabni and Taheya Carioca

Oum Kalthoum (in the dark glasses) and Badia Masabni enjoy a moment together as old friends reunited. This photo lies in the center of a collage displayed at the Oum Kalthoum Museum on Rhoda Island at Cairo, Egypt.

Oum Kalthoum and Badia Masabni

This photo shows Badia Masabni, Samia Gamal and Taheya Carioca in their later years. This historic snapshot was taken long after Badia had sold her Opera Casino and had retired to Lebanon. Witness the joy of three old friends reunited.




Related Articles

Other Historic Photos

Other Articles About Badia Masabni


Badia, the Club Owner


Flyers and Ads



About the Collector

Priscilla is a dancer of Lebanese heritage who enjoys researching the Golden Era of Egyptian dance. She owns a collection of more than one hundred classic black and white Egyptian films which is continually expanding.

Priscilla has also gathered a large library of dance related articles and clippings from Middle Eastern magazines and newspapers, many of which she has translated from the original Arabic to both English and Spanish.

Priscilla currently resides in Central America where she is a dance instructor. 




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