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Myra Hammon

June 16, 2013

Myra Hammon (1886?-1953), Australian singer, actress and pantomime principal boy
(photo: unknown, probably UK, circa 1914)

Myra Hammon appears to have begun her career with J.C. Williamson’s Musical Comedy Company, touring Australia in 1902 and 1903 in Florodora and The Circus Girl. She afterwards in 1906 began a partnership with Alice Wyatt and together they were billed as a serio-comic duo or ‘the Sandow Girls.’

Tivoli Theatre, Adelaide, Saturday evening, 16 February 1907
‘The Tivoli Theatre was crowded in every part on Saturday evening, when a change of programme was given, and several new artists made their first appearance. The performance was bright and lively all through, and called for vigorous demonstrations of appreciation. The Sandow girls, Misses Myra Hammon and Alice Wyatt created a favourable impression, first by their physique, and next by their vocal talent. In the second part they gave an amusing travesty of heavy weight-lifting and Sandow exercises, and the ease with which they manipulated huge dumbbells afforded genuine mirth, not unmixed with astonishment on the part of many in the audience.’
(The Advertiser, Adelaide, South Australia, Monday, 18 February 1907, p. 8 f; the Sandow Girls routine would appear to have been inspired by the song sung by Carrie Moore, herself an Australian, and chorus in the London production of The Dairymaids, a musical comedy which opened at the Apollo Theatre, London, on 14 April 1906)

Hammon and Wyatt were included in Allan Hamilton’s Mammoth Vaudeville Company, when it played at the Theatre Royal, Hobart, Tasmania, on Saturday, 15 June 1907.

‘Myra Hammon and Alice Wyatt, the Australian Sandow Girls, are doing splendidly in Great Britain, and having a good time.’
(The Newsletter: an Australian Paper for Australian People, Sydney, New South Wales, Saturday, 14 August 1909, p. 2c)

‘Myra Hammon and Alice Wyatt, the Australian Sandow Girls, are touring the Continent, opening at Vienna in August.’
(The Newsletter: an Australian Paper for Australian People, Sydney, New South Wales, Saturday, 21 August 1909, p. 2a)

At Christmas, 1910, Myra Hammon and Alice White were appearing in the pantomime of Babes in the Wood at Brixton, South London. Shortly afterwards they seem to have gone their separate ways and in the Spring of 1914 Miss Hammon was married:
‘News has leaked out in Birmingham (Eng.) of the marriage, which took place quietly in a registrar’s office, of one of the local ”principal boys” – Miss Myra Hammon. The happy man is Mr. Charles Butler, a well-known business man in that city. Miss Hammon is leaving England for a world’s tour, including Australia, South Africa, and India. In the [music] halls she appears with her sister, Edie [sic] Wyatt, as ”Hammon and Wyatt, the Australian Sandow girls and singers.’
(The West Australian, Perth, Western Australia, Saturday, 4 April 1914, p. 9g)

Miss Hammon did not retire from the theatre until about 1920, however. She was the Prince Perfect in the pantomime Cinderella at Christmas 1914 at the Grand Theatre, Middlesborough, before appearing in Look Out, a revue, produced on 4 October at the Empire, Newport, prior to an extended tour, including the Hippodrome, Leeds, the Empire, Finsbury Park, and the Hippodrome, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Cast included Ennis Parkes (Mrs Jack Hylton). Myra Hammon was then seen as Principal Boy in the pantomime Babes in the Wood at the Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham, at Christmas 1916, and again at the Bordesley Palace, at Christmas 1919.

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