Archive for December, 2012

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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)

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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)

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December 29, 2012

Harry Rose (fl. late 19th/early 20th Century), American actor/comedian (photo: unknown, USA, circa 1900)

This real photograph cigarette card of Harry Rose was issued in England about 1900 with Ogden’s Guinea Gold Cigarettes. A comedian of this name, working at the time at the Garrick Theatre, Broadway, murdered his wife in 1902 because she had taken a lover. He is said to have been sentenced to 19 years’ in Sing Sing prison, commuted to just over seven years.

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December 29, 2012

Harry Rose (fl. late 19th/early 20th Century), American actor/comedian (photo: unknown, USA, circa 1900)

This real photograph cigarette card of Harry Rose was issued in England about 1900 with Ogden’s Guinea Gold Cigarettes. A comedian of this name, working at the time at the Garrick Theatre, Broadway, murdered his wife in 1902 because she had taken a lover. He is said to have been sentenced to 19 years’ in Sing Sing prison, commuted to just over seven years.

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December 28, 2012

Madge Rockingham (fl. late 19th Century), English actress manageress, singer and pantomime principal boy and principal girl(photo: unknown, UK, probably 1890s)

This real photograph cigarette card of Madge Rockingham was issued about 1900 in England in one of Ogden’s Guinea Gold series. It shows her in the title role of Robinson Crusoe, a pantomime in which she took the lead at the Theatre Royal, Halifax (Christmas, 1894) and at the New Theatre, Kilburn (Christmas, 1895)

New Theatre, Kilburn.

‘But the bright particular star and success of the production is Miss M.R. as Crusoe, one of the best principal boys on the stage. Why this lady is not heard more of in London we cannot understand. Now, Mr. George Edwardes, keep your eye on this. A lady with a fine presence, pretty face and figure, grand mezzo=soprano voice, and can use it, and, what is more, an actress. Bravo! Dick Mansell [manager of the New Theatre, Kilburn], for being the first in the field in London with such a valuable article.’ (from The Encore, London, 3 January 1896, reprinted in The Era, London, Saturday, 11 January 1896, p. 12a)

‘Miss Madge Rockingham is a native of Sheffield, where Mr Edgar Ward, the theatrical manager and musical director, heard her sing at a concert in the Albert Hall. He engaged her for Fairy Queen in the pantomime at the Theatre Royal, Plymouth, 1883, and so she made her first appearance on the stage. Subsequently, Miss Rockingham played Germaine throughout five tours of Les Cloches de Corneville, the last with Mr Shiel Barry. She appeared on tour in La Fille du Tambour Major, Les Manteaux Noirs, and The Princess of Trebizonde. Miss Rockingham played principal girl in Randolph the Reckless (with Mr Victor Stevens, Miss Alice Brookes, and Miss Alice Cooke); in Miss Esmeralda, with Maggie Duggan and Little Tich; and in Cartouche and Company, with Miss Vesta Tilley. Miss Rockingham also toured as Thames Darrell, in Little Jack Sheppard, with Miss Fanny Robina and Mr J.J. Dallas. For three years she was in management on her own account, the ”Madge Rockingham company” appearing in the Gaiety version of Miss Esmeralda, also in a musical comedy, specially written by Mr Arthur Shirley and Mr Benjamin Landeck, entitled A Fight for Freedom. Miss Rockingham’s pantomime engagements include the following: – Principal girl – Alexandra Theatre, Liverpool; Theatre Royal, Sheffield; Theatre Royal, Bath; Avenue Theatre, Sunderland; and two Easter pantomimes at York; principal boy – Opera Comique, London; Theatre Royal, Brighton; Alexandra Theatre, Liverpool; Theatre Royal, Reading; and Theatre Royal, Kilburn. Next Christmas Miss Rockingham plays Aladdin at the West London Theatre. Meanwhile she is appearing as Madame Montesquieu with Miss Cissy Grahame’s All Abroad company.’ (The Era, London, Saturday, 17 October 1896, p. 13d)