Archive for October, 2013

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Mons. Nello, ‘The Renowned Bottle King,’ equilibrist and juggler

October 31, 2013

Mons. Nello (active 1881-1897), equilibrist and juggler, sometimes billed as ‘The Renowned Bottle King’ and ‘The Great Scandinavian Feet Equilibrist’
(cabinet photo: The Vienna Photo Art Company, 48 Donegal Place, Belfast, probably 1881)

‘THE LORENZI TROUPE, England’s Greatest Male and Female Acrobats, bar non. All should see this Troupe. Their Performance is acknowledge by Proprietors, Managers, Public, and Press to be the best Acrobatic Show of the Day. ‘All should see the Marvellous Female Serpent, the great Female Contortionist on record. All should see FRANCIS, the Wonder Worker, on the Carpet and Pedestal. See Mons. NELLO’s Performance on the High Pedestal, with his Barrel and wonderful Bottle, his first visit to England. All should see the Sisters KALOLO, the Accomplished Song and Dance Performers. ‘The above Troupe stands alone, Six in Number and all Performers. Great Success of Six Months in Spain and France last Summer. Mr Warden’s Pantomime. The Greatest success ever known. Cheered Nightly to the echo. Notice. – The above Troupe is at Liberty June 6th [1881], to accept Engagements for Home or Abroad. All communications to LORENZI Troupe, STAR MUSIC HALL, DUBLIN.’

(The Era, London, Sunday, 21 May 1881, p. 21c, advertisement)
At Christmas 1881, Mons. Nello appeared at the Theatre Royal, Edinburgh, in the pantomime Whittington and his Cat as Pantaloon in the Harlequinade, with Fred Talbert as Harlequin, the Misses E. and M. Lorenzi as Columbine and Harlequina, Mr Bellwood at the policeman and the Lorenzo family as sprites.

(The Era, London, Saturday, 24 December 1881, p. 9b)
Theatre of Varieties, Warrington, Cheshire, week beginning Monday, 24 April 1881
‘… Mons. Nello (surnamed the continental wonder) gives a novel performance on a high pedestal with his magic barrel and wonderful bottle of champagne, 5ft. High.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 29 April 1882, p. 11c)

Gaiety Theatre, Halifax, Yorkshire, week beginning Monday, 8 March 1886
‘… Mons. Nello does some marvellous feats of equilibrium with his feet.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 13 March 1886, p. 17d)

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Adelaide Early’s butterfly dance, New York, 1890s

October 30, 2013

Adelaide Early (active 1890s), American vaudeville dancer, whose costume in this photograph was clearly inspired by one of Loie Fuller‘s butterfly dances. (cabinet photo: Schloss, 467 and 470 Fifth Avenue, New York, 1890s)

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The Seldoms at the London Pavilion, 1906

October 29, 2013

an ‘athletic group’ posed by two members of The Seldoms (active early 20th Century), at the time of their appearance at the London Pavilion, 1906
(photo: unknown, circa 1905/06)

Harry Houdini writes from Paris with news of The Seldoms, April 1905
‘The Three Seldoms are going to America with their unique statue act. In this turn they are stripped almost naked and do some wonderful posing. They are the best marble imitators I have ever seen. Two of them are veritable Samsons, and the way they hold each other in complicated positions in midair is remarkable. They work on some of the lines that the Gloss Brothers made use of years ago.’
(The New York Dramatic Mirror, New York, Saturday, 9 April 1905, p.20a)

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Blanche Stocker at the Holland Park Skating Rink, Christmas season, 1911

October 28, 2013

Blanche Stocker (1885-1950), English musical comedy actress
(photo: G.P.P., London, December 1911/January 1912; The Sketch, London, Saturday, 17 January 1912, p. 58)

Like her younger sister, Doris Stocker, who was also a musical comedy actress and the wife of Sir Henry Segrave, Blanche Stocker was born in Bombay, India. Blanche was never married.

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Rena Goldie leaves court without a stain on her character, London, 1907

October 27, 2013

Rena Goldie (1880-), English musical comedy actress
(photo: probably Foulsham & Banfield, London, circa 1907)

‘VICTIM OF A POLICE BLUNDER: THE FLAT CHARGES THAT FAILED – Miss Catherine Goldie, The Young Actress Who Was Accused Of Conducting Her Flat In Langham Street In An Improper Manner, But Left The Court Without A Stain On Her Character.
‘As we have already noted, the police failed utterly to substantiate their charge against Miss Goldie, known professionally as Rena Goldie, and a member of The Gay Gordons company. The young actress was able to prove, indeed, that at the time the police imagined her to be in her flat she was on the stage at the Aldwych. To an interviewer, she stated that she was in bed when the police came to arrest her, and that one of the officers insisted on remaining in her room while she dressed. Similar charges brought against two other ladies [Mrs Maud Cooper, 26, and Mrs Jessie Crawford, 26] at the same time also failed.’
(The Sketch, Saturday, 25 September 1907, p. 331)

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Helen Redmond, star of American operettas and musical comedies

October 27, 2013

Helen Redmond (1878-1914), American actress and singer, star of operetta and musical comedy
(photo: unknown, USA, circa 1906)

For a biography of Helen Redmond, see Lawrence P. Gooley’s two part article in The Adirondack Almanack, 18 March 2013 and 25 March 2013.

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October 26, 2013

José Collins (1887-1958), English actress and singer, as she appeared in Alone at Last, an operetta in three acts with music by Franz Lehar, adapted from the German for the American stage by Edgar Smith and Joseph Herbert and produced at the Shubert Theatre, New York, on 19 October 1915.
(photo: Moffett, Chicago, 1915)

‘Jose Collins returned to the cast of Alone at Last this week after having walked out of the rehearsals last week. Miss Collins will open with the show when it comes into the Shubert theatre unless she changes her mind between now and the opening date.’
(Variety, New York, Friday, 8 October 1915, p. 1d)

‘White Alone at Last, the most recent operetta from the pen of Franz Lehar, famed as the composer of the celebrated and justly sensational success, The Merry Widow, is endowed with a fine musical score, it is only fair to state that the big song hit of the piece is an interpolation. The song in question, contrary to the usual rule, is not a dreamy waltz ballad of love and soul kisses, but a comic ditty entitled “Some Little Bug Will Find You Some Day.”
‘It occurs during the action of the second scene of the second act, and receives the best of treatment through the very able recitative attainments of Roy Atwell. Incidentally the latter collaborated in the writing of it in conjunction with Benjamin Hapgood Burt and Silvio Hein. Mr. Atwell tendered some ten extra verses of the ”Bug” song the opening night, and, to use a vaudeville colloquialism, “stopped the show.”
‘But there is a great deal more to Alone at Last besides this most excellent humorous lyric. Take, for instance, Mr. [Joseph Harry] Benrimo’s superior producing ability as evidenced in the Swiss mountain scene in the second act.
‘The effect obtained is atmospheric to a remarkable degree, thanks to extraordinary lighting and Mr. Benrimo’s superlative knowledge of stage craft.
‘There are other beautiful and convincing scenic backgrounds as well, notably in the first act, with brings froth a realistic hotel set. The third act set, a hotel interior, while good in its way, is not up to the outdoor effects.
‘Then the music, both solo and ensemble, is pleasing, sweet and melodious. The score on the whole, although it contains nothing startling in the way of an individual “hit,” is highly satisfactory. One might say that Lehar’s music was “pretentious,” inasmuch as it often approaches great opera standards.
‘The chorus costumes are correct, in no way vulgar or obtrusive, and sufficiently kaleidoscopic in coloring. They show a nice refinement of taste in their designing and selection.
‘The book is only fair, and judicious eliminations of long and tedious passages of dialogue would help considerably. Particularly is is lacking the comedy values. This fault, of course, must be charged up to its programmed foreign authors [Dr. A.M. Willner and Robert Bodansky]. Admittedly the book contains no horseplay or buffoonery.
‘The cast is exceptionally talented in almost every instance. Jose Collins, as Tilly Dachau, sings charmingly, acts competently and wears her numerous costume changes bewitchingly. A champagne colored riding suit work in the second act, with the cutest of tightly fitting “pants” imaginable, fills the eye in decidedly pleasure fashion. Miss Collins, it might be said in passing, fills the costume quite in the same manner.
‘John Charles Thomas, a strapping young fellow with a beautiful singing voice, that is quite as robust as his splendid physique, established himself in the good graces of the first nighters immediately after his first vocal number. His performance was highly enjoyable in every way.
‘Harry Conor, veteran American comedian, did splendidly with the material at hand. He was always at east and made his rather inane lines sound natural and convincing. A genuine achievement.
Madame Namara is a pretty girl of the frail, flower-like variety of beauty. The madame made the most of excellent opportunities offered her tat the finish of the second act. Her singing voice, a soprano of good range and fair quality, seemed to be not in the best of condition on the opening night.
‘Roy Atwell was very slightly remindful of Richard Carle as a mollycoddle sort of lover. Outside of the big song hit in the second act, Mr. Atwell was assigned little that was entertaining or amusing. He seemed to be mis-cast. However, the way in which he put over the “Bug” song more than made up for any deficiencies of singing or acting.
‘The rest of the large cast, including Ed. Mulcahey [Edward Mulcahy], who made a realistic looking and sonorous voiced Swiss mountaineer, and Elizabeth Goodall, who impersonated an American widow without unnecessary affectations, were eminently satisfactory with one or two exceptions.
‘The dialogue exchanged by three or four chorus men in the second act should either be given to competent principals or else left out altogether. It would never be missed.
Alone at Last is a big show scenically, a delightful show musically, and a pleasing show generally speaking.’
(The New York Clipper, New York, Saturday, 30 October 1915, p. 27a/b)