Archive for April, 2013

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Arthur Forrest

April 30, 2013

Arthur Forrest (1850-1908), English music hall comedian and pantomime dame, in character on a song sheet cover for the song ‘I Couldn’t Say No; or, The Beautiful Song and Dance Lady,’ written and composed by Charles Williams
(published by V. & A. Dobrowolski, London; lithography by Concanen & Spalding, London, 1889)

Oxford music hall, London, week beginning Monday, I March 1886
‘Mr Arthur Forrest notions of humour are not in accord with those of Oxford frequenters, who could not, or would not, see the point of his songs, though applauding some slight eccentricities in a step dance.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 6 March 1886, p. 10a)
Royal Clarence Theatre, Dover, week beginning Monday, 20 September 1886
‘Mr Arthur Forrest has a melodious voice and dramatic ability.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 25 September 1885, p. 16a)<br.
Deacon’s music hall, London, week beginning, Monday, 27 June 1887
‘Mr Arthur Forrest was very successful in entertaining his audience in song and dance, more especially the latter, which was eccentric to a degree and laughable. ”The girl I saw in my dreams,” one of his selections, has a good tune, and tells a fairly amusing story, but Mr. Forrest should immediately avoid the trick of shutting his eyes when singing. It is absurd, and spoils his otherwise comic efforts.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 2 July 1887, p. 17a)

The Trocadero, London, week beginning Monday, 24 June 1889
‘Mr Arthur Forrest’s song and dance lady roused the somewhat languid spectators to laughter by its excellent parody of the school of dancing in which white lace petticoats are duly displayed. Who has not seen the merry little nymph, exhibiting clouds of lace, kick up her heels, and bring the more susceptible of her audience under the spell of her fascinations. Mr Forrest has taken this school of lady dancers and burlesqued it. As he is a capital exponent of the saltatory art, he has no difficulty in executing the steps, and the well-known tricks with the petticoats affected by his professional sisters he hits off funnily and without offence.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 29 June 1889, p. 15b)

‘MUSIC HALL GOSSIP…
‘Mr Arthur Forrest has christened his beautiful song and dance lady Princess Prettypet, and she comes forward to receive a bouquet provided by herself from the hands of the conductor. She presses this to her lips, and then the fun begins. The bouquet is flowerless but full of flour, and finally blossoms into the portrait of an infant in long clothes.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 21 September 1889, p. 15c)

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April 29, 2013

Sisters Roma (fl. late 19th/early 20th century), music hall duettists and dancers
(photo: unknown, late 1890s)

This real photograph cigarette card was issued in England about 1900 by Ogden’s of Liverpool in one of their Guinea Gold series.

The Sisters Roma, duettists and dancers, are recorded as having appeared at the Eastern Empire music hall, Bow, East London, during the week of Monday, 28 August 1899. Other items on the bill included Frank Hardie & Co in the dramatic sketch, Pedlar Sam; varieties by Felix De Marce and his Troupe of Ponies and Baboons; and Mademoiselle Irma Orbasany and her Troupe of Cockatoos.
(The Era, London, Saturday, 26 August 1899, p.16d)

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Sisters Roma

April 29, 2013

Sisters Roma (fl. late 19th/early 20th century), music hall duettists and dancers
(photo: unknown, late 1890s)

This real photograph cigarette card was issued in England about 1900 by Ogden’s of Liverpool in one of their Guinea Gold series.

The Sisters Roma, duettists and dancers, are recorded as having appeared at the Eastern Empire music hall, Bow, East London, during the week of Monday, 28 August 1899. Other items on the bill included Frank Hardie & Co in the dramatic sketch, Pedlar Sam; varieties by Felix De Marce and his Troupe of Ponies and Baboons; and Mademoiselle Irma Orbasany and her Troupe of Cockatoos.
(The Era, London, Saturday, 26 August 1899, p.16d)

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The Blue Moon

April 29, 2013

colour lithograph cover (after original artwork by Richard Pannett) to the score of The Blue Moon, a musical play by Harold Ellis, revised by A.M. Thompson, with lyrics by Percy Greenbank and Paul A. Rubens and music by Howard Talbot and Paul A. Rubens, published by Chappell & Co Ltd, London, 1905, printed by H.G. Banks Ltd.

The Blue Moon, was first produced at the Opera House, Northampton, on 29 February 1904, before its London premier at the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, on 28 August 1905. The principal parts on the opening night in London were played by Courtice Pounds, Fred Allandale, Walter Passmore, Willie Edouin, Eleanor Souray, Florence Smithson (a stylized portrait of whom is on the above score cover), Billie Burke and Carrie Moore.

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April 28, 2013

Whimsical Walker (1850/51-1934), English clown
(photo: unknown, probably 1915/16)

‘Dear Girls and Boys –
‘How many of you have never seen a pantomime? Not many, I imagine, for the funny business between clown and pantaloon with which all proper pantomimes still conclude has always strongly appealed to the hearts of the children. I wonder if any of you have seen Whimsical Walker, the world’s most famous living clown. For some years he has been appearing regularly in the pantomime at Drury Lane Theatre, and because he is also appearing in the Trans-Atlantic British-made film comedies I have published his portrait, and feel sure a few facts about his adventurous career will interest you.
‘Mr. Walker was born at sea on July 5th, 1854, and first appeared before the public at Burnley as a tiny clown who emerged from a carpet bag carried by another member of the company. In 1872 he was engaged for the famous Sanger’s Circus in Westminster Bridge Road, London (as a boy “Uncle Tim” saw and enjoyed many shows there), where a stage performance was given in addition to the circus. Mr. Walker admits that his stage efforts were so bad that he was sacked every night, but always re-engaged because of his skill in the circus. In 1874, and important period in his career, he was engaged by Charles Hengler to appear at his circus in London, where he was christened “Whimsical Walker,” and for fourteen winter seasons he appeared there regularly. (“Uncle Tim” also enjoyed himself on rare occasions at Hengler’s, which stood on the site of the present Palladium.) In America Mr. Walker appeared with other circuses, including the great Barnum and Bailey shows, and was also commissioned to purchase the famous elephant Jumbo from the Zoo at a cost of £1,000.
‘Jumbo was an enormous success in America, many single day’s takings amounting to as much as £3,000. The cast was poured into great wooden casks and sent to a bank in New York.
‘In 1882 Whimsical Walker opened a theatre of his own in new York with a pantomime called Three Wishes. Its success brought temporary misfortune, for the top gallery dropped a bit when filled with people, a stampede followed, and actions for damages reduced poor Mr. Walker to the clothes he wore and a few dollars. He had to borrow money to return to Liverpool, where he was again engaged by Mr. Hengler.
‘On boxing Day, 1882, feeling in need of a refresher, Whimsical Walker chartered a horse at 7 a.m., and started off for a gallop. Before he had travelled far, however, the horse stumbled and fell, and the clown sustained a fractured leg, which laid him up for five months.
‘In a singularly adventurous career, this is the only serious accident he has ever suffered.
‘On February 20th, 1886, Whimsical Walker was honoured by a Command Performance to appear with his singing donkey before her Majesty the Queen at Windsor Castle. In commemoration of this visit the queen presented Mr. Walker with the beautiful diamond tie-pin which he is wearing in the [above] photograph.
‘In 1904 the great clown embarked for Australia for a long tour there, but on landing at Melbourne he was cabled for by Mr. Arthur Collins, of Drury Lane Theatre, and he returned immediately. The fact is that Whimsical Walker had been appearing every season in the Drury Lane harlequnade since 1890, and the reason for his sudden recall was that, owing to the death of Herbert Campbell, and the absence of Dan Leno from the cast, Mr. Collins felt that he could not possibly do without the popular clown as well.
‘I hope these details have not bored you. The subject fascinates me. I should like to write a big book about Mr. Walker’s life. Oh, I’ve forgotten to tell you that the first of these films in which he is now appearing on the screen is called The Knut and the Colonel, so mind you look out for it.’
(Uncle Tim, ‘The Young Picturegoer,’ Pictures and the Picturegoer, London, weed ending Saturday, 12 February 1916, pp. 463 and 464)

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Whimsical Walker

April 28, 2013

Whimsical Walker (1850/51-1934), English clown
(photo: unknown, probably 1915/16)

‘Dear Girls and Boys –
‘How many of you have never seen a pantomime? Not many, I imagine, for the funny business between clown and pantaloon with which all proper pantomimes still conclude has always strongly appealed to the hearts of the children. I wonder if any of you have seen Whimsical Walker, the world’s most famous living clown. For some years he has been appearing regularly in the pantomime at Drury Lane Theatre, and because he is also appearing in the Trans-Atlantic British-made film comedies I have published his portrait, and feel sure a few facts about his adventurous career will interest you.
‘Mr. Walker was born at sea on July 5th, 1854, and first appeared before the public at Burnley as a tiny clown who emerged from a carpet bag carried by another member of the company. In 1872 he was engaged for the famous Sanger’s Circus in Westminster Bridge Road, London (as a boy ”Uncle Tim” saw and enjoyed many shows there), where a stage performance was given in addition to the circus. Mr. Walker admits that his stage efforts were so bad that he was sacked every night, but always re-engaged because of his skill in the circus. In 1874, and important period in his career, he was engaged by Charles Hengler to appear at his circus in London, where he was christened ”Whimsical Walker,” and for fourteen winter seasons he appeared there regularly. (”Uncle Tim” also enjoyed himself on rare occasions at Hengler’s, which stood on the site of the present Palladium.) In America Mr. Walker appeared with other circuses, including the great Barnum and Bailey shows, and was also commissioned to purchase the famous elephant Jumbo from the Zoo at a cost of £1,000.
‘Jumbo was an enormous success in America, many single day’s takings amounting to as much as £3,000. The cast was poured into great wooden casks and sent to a bank in New York.
‘In 1882 Whimsical Walker opened a theatre of his own in new York with a pantomime called Three Wishes. Its success brought temporary misfortune, for the top gallery dropped a bit when filled with people, a stampede followed, and actions for damages reduced poor Mr. Walker to the clothes he wore and a few dollars. He had to borrow money to return to Liverpool, where he was again engaged by Mr. Hengler.
‘On boxing Day, 1882, feeling in need of a refresher, Whimsical Walker chartered a horse at 7 a.m., and started off for a gallop. Before he had travelled far, however, the horse stumbled and fell, and the clown sustained a fractured leg, which laid him up for five months.
‘In a singularly adventurous career, this is the only serious accident he has ever suffered.
‘On February 20th, 1886, Whimsical Walker was honoured by a Command Performance to appear with his singing donkey before her Majesty the Queen at Windsor Castle. In commemoration of this visit the queen presented Mr. Walker with the beautiful diamond tie-pin which he is wearing in the [above] photograph.
‘In 1904 the great clown embarked for Australia for a long tour there, but on landing at Melbourne he was cabled for by Mr. Arthur Collins, of Drury Lane Theatre, and he returned immediately. The fact is that Whimsical Walker had been appearing every season in the Drury Lane harlequnade since 1890, and the reason for his sudden recall was that, owing to the death of Herbert Campbell, and the absence of Dan Leno from the cast, Mr. Collins felt that he could not possibly do without the popular clown as well.
‘I hope these details have not bored you. The subject fascinates me. I should like to write a big book about Mr. Walker’s life. Oh, I’ve forgotten to tell you that the first of these films in which he is now appearing on the screen is called The Knut and the Colonel, so mind you look out for it.’
(Uncle Tim, ‘The Young Picturegoer,’ Pictures and the Picturegoer, London, weed ending Saturday, 12 February 1916, pp. 463 and 464)

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Lola Lee

April 28, 2013

Lola Lee (fl. 1908-1912), English dancer
(photo: Bassano, London, circa 1910)

‘Miss Lola Lee, who has distinguished herself at the Tivoli in her Oriental dances, is probably going to give Paris a taste of her talent. She has been carefully trained under Mr. John D’Auban. Her repertoire is not confined to Eastern dances.’
(Daily Express, London, Wednesday, 16 December 1908, p. 7f)

‘MISS LOLA LEE, a cousin of Mrs. Langtry, who has been specially engaged to appear at the London Hippodrome from Monday next. She will make a very special appeal with a Kate Vaughan measure. The late Miss Vaughan always declared that there was no dance more difficult to execute with grace than a slow waltz that took the dancer off the floor at each turn, and required her to ”reach” it again without shaking the body. Miss Lola Lee is a pupil of Mr. John D’Auban and has caught the Kate Vaughan grace of movement. Miss Lee is only 14 years of age, but looks like a woman and dances like one. All Miss Lee’s dances are preformed in high-heeled shoes, a performance very seldom attempted by balled dancers.’
(P.I.P.: Penny Illustrated Paper and Illustrated Times, London, Saturday, 30 April 1910, p. 562)

‘SPIRITS OF THE DESERT.
‘WEIRD EFFECTS IN A MUSICAL SPECTACLE.
‘The fantastic flittings of Miss Lola Lee and her companions lend a finishing touch of reality to Mr. Holford Bottomley’s musical spectacle, entitled ”The Desert,” of which the first performance takes place to-night on the occasion of Clarke’s College prize distribution at the Albert Hall.
‘The Dance of the Dancing Girls is only one of many vivid effects. In the course of four scenes we are introduced to a sequence of panoramic events. A ghostly, chanting procession of desert spirits is followed by the dread swirl of a storm which overtakes an Aram encampment, and pell-mell, calling on Allah to save them, the travellers hurl themselves this way and that in an abandon of terror.
‘Calm is restored, and with the fall of evening come diversions of song, jugglery, and dance. Night passes, and the Arabs prepare to depart. The droning sound of prayer is heard, and the caravan disappears, and the final tableau – ”Allah! Allah!” – fittingly concludes a pageant peopled with lean, dusky-limbed forms in tossing draperies and haunted with the throb of the kettle-drum.
‘The work is founded on Felicien David’s symphonic ode, and set throughout to suitable music. Mr. Holford Bottomley is to be congratulated on his invention, and Mr. George Clarke on the admirable choice of a programme.’
(Daily Express, London, Monday, 22 April 1912, p. 9b/c)