Archive for December, 2012

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December 31, 2012

John & Emma Ray (fl. late 19th/early 20th Century), American entertainers, ‘eccentric comedy team’ (photo: unknown, USA, circa 1900)

John and Emma Ray and Company in the farce, A Hot Old Time, Bastable Theatre, Syracuse, April 1901

‘Few stars circling in the farcical orbit are more warming in their effect upon an audience than are the Rays, Johnny and Emma, in A Hot Old Time. Their appearance in this now familiar compound of hilarity provoking nonsense at the Bastable last evening was welcomed by an audience whose large size indicated that extravagantly boisterous amusement of this sort is well liked by many local theater goers.

‘There is little rhyme or reason in A Hot Old Time, but the absence of everything that would compel the exercise of one’s intelligence in considering its contents contributes rather than detracts from popular enjoyment of it. Absurdly comical situations are strung together in a sufficiently clever way to enable the Rays and their dozen or more assistants to disport themselves with an energy and vociferousness that are unceasing from the rise until the fall of the curtain and that evoke a rapid fire accompaniment of laughter from the spectators.

‘The Rays are like unto no other farcical comedians on the stage. Johnny Ray is unique in personality, comic resources and humorous method of expression, and he has his audience with him all the time. In her own way Mrs. Ray is equally as exuberant, and their capable company, including J. Bernard Dyllyn, the De Forrests, Hayes and Healey, the Lynn Sisters and the Bright Brothers, ably abets them in the fun-making.

‘The performance will be repeated this and to-morrow evenings and Wednesday afternoon.’ (The Post-Standard, Syracuse, New York, Tuesday, 2 April 1901, p.5a)

‘The popularity of A Hot Old Time in which John and Emma Ray are starring, is enriching those farcical comedians, who only a short time ago were earning comparatively small salaries in vaudeville. Their recent purchase of a handsome and costly residence in Cleveland is one evidence of their prosperity.’ (The Post-Standard, Syracuse, New York, Sunday, 5 May 1901, p.2g)

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John and Emma Ray

December 31, 2012

John & Emma Ray (fl. late 19th/early 20th Century), American entertainers, ‘eccentric comedy team’ (photo: unknown, USA, circa 1900)

John and Emma Ray and Company in the farce, A Hot Old Time, Bastable Theatre, Syracuse, April 1901

‘Few stars circling in the farcical orbit are more warming in their effect upon an audience than are the Rays, Johnny and Emma, in A Hot Old Time. Their appearance in this now familiar compound of hilarity provoking nonsense at the Bastable last evening was welcomed by an audience whose large size indicated that extravagantly boisterous amusement of this sort is well liked by many local theater goers.

‘There is little rhyme or reason in A Hot Old Time, but the absence of everything that would compel the exercise of one’s intelligence in considering its contents contributes rather than detracts from popular enjoyment of it. Absurdly comical situations are strung together in a sufficiently clever way to enable the Rays and their dozen or more assistants to disport themselves with an energy and vociferousness that are unceasing from the rise until the fall of the curtain and that evoke a rapid fire accompaniment of laughter from the spectators.

‘The Rays are like unto no other farcical comedians on the stage. Johnny Ray is unique in personality, comic resources and humorous method of expression, and he has his audience with him all the time. In her own way Mrs. Ray is equally as exuberant, and their capable company, including J. Bernard Dyllyn, the De Forrests, Hayes and Healey, the Lynn Sisters and the Bright Brothers, ably abets them in the fun-making.

‘The performance will be repeated this and to-morrow evenings and Wednesday afternoon.’ (The Post-Standard, Syracuse, New York, Tuesday, 2 April 1901, p.5a)

‘The popularity of A Hot Old Time in which John and Emma Ray are starring, is enriching those farcical comedians, who only a short time ago were earning comparatively small salaries in vaudeville. Their recent purchase of a handsome and costly residence in Cleveland is one evidence of their prosperity.’ (The Post-Standard, Syracuse, New York, Sunday, 5 May 1901, p.2g)

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Charles Kean

December 31, 2012

Charles Kean’s reappearance as Hamlet at the Princess’s Theatre, London, Wednesday, 3 January 1855 (photo: published by T.H. Lacy, London, late 1850s)

‘Mr. C. Kean appeared on Wednesday night, for the first time this season, in Hamlet – a character which he has long since made his own – and in which he stands unrivalled amongst living artists. The house, as might have been expected on such an occasion, was crowded in every quarter soon after the doors opened. There is much to occupy the public mind at present of a more grave character than mere amusement; the performance that commands such powerful attraction at such a moment proclaims its own strength, and speaks a volume of criticism on its own inherent merit. Mr. C. Kean, by time and study, has improved on his original vigour and elegance in this great part, and was applauded with as much enthusiasm in all the most striking passages as during his first successful career at Drury-lane, in 1839 [sic]. The tragedy was well played throughout, Miss [Caroline] Heath was a highly-interesting Ophelia, while Mr. [John] Ryder and Mrs. [Alfred] Phillips imported the importance so often wanted when inferior actors are placed in the characters of the King and Queen. Mr. [Walter] Lacy made a most impressive and majestic Ghost.’ (The Illustrated London News, London, Saturday, 6 January 1855, p.11a)

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Mariette Sully

December 31, 2012

Mariette Sully (1874-?1940), Belgian born French actress and singer, as Pervenche in The Merveilleues, Daly’s Theatre, London, 27 October 1906 (photo: probably Foulsham & Banfield, London, 1906)

‘”GYM-CO-VAU-DE-PA-O.”
‘The dramatic profession across the water possesses no such thing as a distinctive club. It has, that is to say, no professional club-house. Paris can show nothing in the nature of the London Garrick, and provides nothing in the shape of the Beefsteak, or a Green Room, or a Savage. The clubability of ”the’ profession has never extended to anything of this kind. Its individual members appear to find quite sufficient everyday accommodation in the café of their predilection. Still, there are actors’ clubs of sorts in Paris, and the hieroglyphic seeming rubric above is, or rather was, the name of one of them.
‘This particular society meets in the good old Johnsonian fashion, at a tavern, and there, once a month, it dines. The tavern lies outside the ruck of restaurants, in a quiet and sequestered quarter, whither the feet of the roysterer never stray. But the dinners to be had there are none the worse for that, and the liquors all the better.
‘When the ”Gym-Co-Vau-Dé-Pa-O” was started a decade or so ago its members numbered thirty. The method of election was eclectic, and the original name of the club implies as much. Writ long it means, ”Gymnasc, Comédie Française, Vaudeville, Déjazet, Palais Royal, Odéon.” Not, however, that members of the companies of these theatres only are eligible.
‘The original designation of the Club, however, has been changed, and more than once. It became first the ”Petites Vedettes,” then the ”Mentons-Bleus,” or Blue Chins. To-day it is known fondly as the ”Guignot,” and the monthly symposium is thus a monthly Punch Dinner. But once a year, in this present month of January, the Punch dinner takes the form of supper; and, on these occasions, the Punchmen have a pretty custom of asking a lady – of course, a member of the profession – to preside. The first lady president was Mdme. Blanche Pierson, of the Gymnase. One of her successors was Mdme. Alice Lavigne, the désopilante soubrette of the Palais Royal. Last year Mdlle. Cheirel took the chair and the other night the revels were ruled by Mlle. Mariette Sully, the bewtiching heroine of Audran’s Poupée, who found under her serviette a counterfeit presentment of herself as she appears upon the stage of the Gaieté – a Doll of Dolls, which a floral tribute in her wooden hands, the offering of the gallant Guignol.
‘After reflection, and with the cigarettes, comes the literary portion of the entertainment. This habitually takes the peculiarly Parisian form of a ”revue,” or rhymed skit upon things in general, as wicked and as witty as the club pens can make it. Sarah in excelsis [i.e. Sarah Bernhardt], Sarcey in his critic’s seat, and M. Antoine in the shades, formed its features on this occasion.
‘The whole concluded with a tombola, conducted on professional lines, and lasting till the traditional baked apples had all given out.’ (The Pall Mall Gazette, London, Tuesday, 12 January 1897, p. 3c)

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December 30, 2012

Rita Barrington (fl. late 19th/early 20th Century), English dancer, a pupil of John D’Auban, as she appeared as The Blue Bird in the pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk, Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London, 26 December 1899 (photo: Hana, London, 1899/1900)

AMUSEMENTS IN BIRMINGHAM … GRAND THEATRE. Proprietor and Manager, Mr J. W. Turner. – Mr Dan Leno is attracting huge houses here, where he is the life and soul of the new musical farce, In Gay Piccadilly, which is being played for the first time in Birmingham by Mr Milton Bode’s company. The many disguises he assumes in his rôle of a comic detective, his patter, and his extraordinary antics are excruciatingly funny. Mr Dan Leno is well supported by Mr Johnnie Danvers as Ebenezer Tinketop, Mr. George Sinclair, and Mr Tim Riley. Miss Florence Darley, Miss Emily Stevens, and Miss Lillie Young all played well. Miss Beatrice Willey sang very sweetly as Lady Molly, and Miss Adie Boyne, a clever little comedienne, created much fun as Gladys Ada; and mention must be made of the exceedingly pretty dance which was beautifully executed by Miss Rita Barrington.’ (The Era, London, Saturday, 11 November 1899, p. 23a)

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Rita Barrington as The Blue Bird in Jack and the Beanstalk, Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, 1899

December 30, 2012

Rita Barrington (fl. late 19th/early 20th Century), English dancer, a pupil of John D’Auban, as she appeared as The Blue Bird in the pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk, Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London, 26 December 1899 (photo: Hana, London, 1899/1900)

AMUSEMENTS IN BIRMINGHAM … GRAND THEATRE. Proprietor and Manager, Mr J. W. Turner. – Mr Dan Leno is attracting huge houses here, where he is the life and soul of the new musical farce, In Gay Piccadilly, which is being played for the first time in Birmingham by Mr Milton Bode’s company. The many disguises he assumes in his rôle of a comic detective, his patter, and his extraordinary antics are excruciatingly funny. Mr Dan Leno is well supported by Mr Johnnie Danvers as Ebenezer Tinketop, Mr. George Sinclair, and Mr Tim Riley. Miss Florence Darley, Miss Emily Stevens, and Miss Lillie Young all played well. Miss Beatrice Willey sang very sweetly as Lady Molly, and Miss Adie Boyne, a clever little comedienne, created much fun as Gladys Ada; and mention must be made of the exceedingly pretty dance which was beautifully executed by Miss Rita Barrington.’ (The Era, London, Saturday, 11 November 1899, p. 23a)

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December 30, 2012

Arthur Bourchier (1863-1927), English actor manager, in the title role of Henry VIII, His Majesty’s Theatre, London, 1 September 1910 (photo: F.W. Burford, London, 1910)

This real photograph postcard of Arthur Bourchier in the title role of Henry VIII was published in London in 1910 in the Rotary Photographic Series (no. 147 M) of the Rotary Photographic Co Ltd. This production of Shakespeare’s play, in which Herbert Beerbohm Tree appeared as Wolsey and Violet Vanbrugh as the Queen, was revived at His Majesty’s on 12 June 1911 and again on 27 May 1912.

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Grey & Grey, ‘The Original Comedy Duo,’ England, circa 1910

December 30, 2012

Grey & Grey (fl. 1908-1913), ‘The Original Comedy Duo,’ speciality patter comedians (photo: unknown, probably Bradford, Yorkshire, England, circa 1910)

This real photograph postcard, which dates from about 1910, is without photographer’s or publisher’s credit. In addition to their solo work together, Grey & Grey are noted in 1911 to have formed part of The Greys, ‘Kostume Komedy Koncert Kompany of Five Talented Artistes (two Ladies and three gentlemen).’

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December 30, 2012

Dennis Creedon (1878-1953), English violinist and tenor, and Jessie Broughton (Mrs Dennis Creedon, 1885-1938), English actress and contralto; together they toured as entertainers between about 1910 and the mid 1930s (photo: unknown, probably UK, circa 1913)

This real photograph postcard of Dennis Creedon and Jessie Broughton, which dates from about 1913 and is without photographer’s or publisher’s credit, was produced in the UK.

Jessie Broughton, daughter of Broughton Black, studied singing under Madame Oudin before launching her career at the Apollo Theatre, London, in The Girl from Kay’s in 1903. Between then and 1910 she appeared in various other musical productions, notably in Havana at the Gaiety in 1908. Afterwards she toured variety theatres and concert halls in the UK and abroad with her husband Dennis Creedon until the early 1930s. They both made a number of recordings.

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December 29, 2012

Mlle. Latour (fl. late 1870s/early 1880s), circus acrobat, celebrated for ‘The Great Latour Leap for Life’(lithographic publicity flyer, the reverse with printed description [see below], USA, circa 1880)

‘THE GREAT LATOUR LEAP FOR LIFE. To the Patrons of the Great London Show:

‘The Beautiful Young Lady whose portrait adorns the front of this page will be presented in an Act original with herself, requiring more skill than ever before displayed by mortal, known as the “LATOUR LEAP FOR LIFE.”

‘She ascends a platform placed in the apex of the pavilion and at a signal and with a courage possessed by no man, makes a perilous dive downward SIXTY-THREE FEET, During her flight performing a triple somersault in mid-air, before gracefully alighting in the netting upon an elastic rubber platform, which sends her rebounding in the air a distance of twenty feet. M’LLE LATOUR is the only person living, man or woman, who attempts this marvelous performance. It is the successful accomplishment of an Act which is original with herself alone, and to the perfection of which she has industriously devoted, in persevering practice, half her life.’

THE GREAT LONDON SHOW exhibiting at Chester, Pennsylvania, October 1880

‘The Circus and Menagerie.

‘The chief place of amusement yesterday afternoon and last night was, of course, the lot on Third street, below Kerlin, where the Great London circus displayed their tents and menagerie. The number of people in attendance upon the great show was very large indeed, but such was the capacity of the great caravan tent that no one seemed to be crowded or inconvenienced in the least. The canvas inclosure devoted to the various departments of the great show, with the stables, boarding tents, etc., cover a very large extent of ground. Entering the first pavilion, the visitor is ushered into the presence of a dozen or more elephants. America, the baby elephant, and her mother, Hebe. The crowd quickly makes its way for the diminutive specimen of elephanthood, which is the greatest star of the show.

‘The baby is in reality a wonderful curiosity, and worthy of all the attention she is creating. In the same pavilion with Hebe and her offspring are a large number of cages containing some of the finest lions, tigers, leopards and other wild animals ever seen in Chester. In the other tent, the largest of all, and containing seats for 6000 or 8000 persons, the ring performances and the exhibition of trained animals take place. There are two large rings, and performances are carried on in both simultaneously. One is occupied by the great London Circus, and the other by the Great International Circus. There is a grant <I>entrée</I> and march, in which elephants, camels, ponies and a great number of equestrians appear, and then the double acts begin. Six performing elephants appear in one ring under the direction of their tamer, Mr. Arstingstall. These animals execute some very wonderful feats. A grand display of ground and lofty tumbling next takes place, one band of performers being under the leadership of James Murray and the other under Fred Runnels.

‘But the closing feature is, perhaps, the greatest of all. It is a grand exhibition of battoute leaping by nearly a score of performers, who make nothing of throwing double somersaults over elephants or into space. The crowning achievement of all is the perilous act of William H. Bacheler, who throws a double somersault over six elephants, one of the largest of the animals being elevated upon a pedestal. During the various acts Johnny Patterson, Billy Hayden and others of the corps of clowns keep the audience in the best of humor. For upward of two hours the performance goes on uninterruptedly, and every act is received deservedly with storms of applause. After the main exhibition there was a concert by the Georgia Cabin Singers, and other performances, one feature of which was the “leap for life” by Mlle. Latour, who jumped from the apex of the tent, some sixty feet. Last evening the whole exhibition was given under the illumination of electric lights.

‘In the evening it is estimated that fully 7000 people were present, but in the afternoon the attendance was not very large. The entire lot from Third street to the railroad was taken up with tents. They have 160 fine draught horses, which are stalled in four tents, and the horses consume two tons of hay and seventy-five bushels of oats daily. There are nearly four hundred persons on the pay roll of the circus. The eating arrangements are not under the charge of the circus, but are given to a gentleman who feeds the men, excepting performers who eat at a hotel, at so much per head. These tents are used for dining, and the cooking is done in pots on a crane and on a stove in a wagon. The way the four cooks and fifteen waiters wrestle pots, pans and kettles, and slash potatoes, turnips and steak around there is wonderful. The circus people have their own blacksmith and harness maker with them, and everything seems to be taken care of. It is thought they took a great deal of money out of the town which they left last night for Wilmington. It is certainly the largest and best circus ever exhibited in Chester.’ (Chester Daily Times, Chester, Pennsylvania, Thursday, 7 October 1880, p.3d)