Archive for November, 2013

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Birchmore & Lindon’s Gay Cadet Pierrots, Bournemouth, circa 1920

November 30, 2013

Birchmore & Lindon‘s Gay Cadet Pierrots (active about 1910-1930), Bournemouth, Dorset, south England
(snapshot photo: unknown, Bournemouth, circa 1920)

Tom Birchmore and Surrie Lindon both had experience in minstrel, pantomime and variety shows before they became a team about 1910 and established their Gay Cadet Pierrot shows, which took place during the summer months between about 1910 and 1930 on the beach at Bournemouth.

Birchmore, an American whose real name was Tom Moore, had spent some time in the late 1880s and 1890s with the Moore & Burgess Minstrels at St. James’s Hall, Piccadilly, London. He was also sometime with the Mowhawk Minstrels. He made at least one recording, for the Jumbo label, A28035/6, about 1910.

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Gladys Guy in Dick Whittington, New Theatre, Cardiff, Christmas 1909

November 29, 2013

Gladys Guy (1888-1968), English actress and singer, as she appeared as Alice in the pantomime Dick Whittington at the New Theatre, Cardiff, Christmas, 1909. Other leading members of the cast were Isabelle Dillon in the title role, Johnny Fuller as the cat and Mark Lester as Idle Jack.
(photo: C. Corn, Cardiff, 1909; postcard published by the Metropolitan Studios, Cardiff, Panto Series)

Gladys Juhel Guy was born in London on 27 February 1888, one of the several children of George Augustus Guy (1851/52-1939), a French-born violinist, and his wife, Mary. Her career began about 1905 and between then and 1917 she appeared successfully in London and on tour in a number of musical productions as well as in pantomime. Miss Guy was also understudy at various times to both Phyllis Dare and Gabrielle Ray.

Gladys Guy was married at St. Jude’s Church, Kensington, London, on 1 June 1912 to Hugh Arnold Henson (1884-1958), an actor whose credits included a small part during the run of The Dollar Princess at Daly’s Theatre, London (1909-1910). He later joined the Indian Army in which he eventually became a lieutenant colonel. Miss Guy’s career came to an end just before the birth in 1918 of the couple’s son, Basil Edmund Wyvill Henson. The latter, who died in 1990, became the well-known actor, Basil Henson.

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November 27, 2013

Grace Huntley (née Fanny Taylor, 1860?-1896), Scottish actress and singer, as she appeared in Dorothy, the successful comedy opera by B.C. Stephenson, with music by Alfred Cellier, which was first produced at the Gaiety Theatre, London, on 25 September 1886. The production was transferred to the Prince of Wales’s Theatre, London, on 20 December 1886 and Miss Huntley joined the cast there to play the part of Phyllis Tuppitt in March 1887. Dorothy was subsequently transferred on 17 December 1888 to the Lyric Theatre, London, and its run finally ended on 6 April 1889 after a run of 931 performances and many changes of cast.
(photo: unknown, probably London, 1887)

‘Regret will be felt in play-going circles at the news of the death, at Harrogate, of Miss Grace Huntley, one of the best known and most successful of burlesque actresses. She was the sister of Mrs. Richard Edgar, and had another sister and brother connected with the stage.’
(The Leeds Mercury, Leeds, Wednesday, 14 October 1896, p. 5h)

DEATHS.
‘HUNTLEY. – On Oct. 10th [1896], at Harrogate, of Bright’s disease, Grace Huntley, actress’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 17 October 1896, p. 14d)

Pick-Me-Up pays the following kindly tribute to the memory of Miss Grace Huntley and to the good work she did in Bristol:- “The death of Miss Grace Huntley removes from the stage one who in her time was probably the best ‘principal boy’ we have had. Miss Huntley had, of course, been ‘principal boy’ at Drury Lane, but it was in provincial pantomimes – where the ‘principal boy’ is expected to work, not only to be looked at p that she was seen at her best. I have seen, I imagine, pretty well all the ‘principal boys’ in England, but with the exception of Ada Blanche (the Ada Blanche of five years ago) there was never a pantomime ‘boy’ to rival Miss Huntley. Her particular ‘note’ was a peculiar softness of speech and a certain indefinable charm, which was quite irresistible. Her voice never jarred upon you, and to gain her success she never resorted to anything but what was strictly legitimate. She was at the height of her ability, perhaps, seven or eight years ago. At Bristol, about that time, she was a particular favourite, and nothing could have been better than her performances in Mr. [John Henry] Chute’s Prince’s Theatre pantomimes, where she appeared several years running. Those who, like myself, had the pleasure of seeing her on those occasions will not easily forget her memory.’
(The Bristol Mercury and Daily Post, Saturday, 31 October 1896, p. 8e)

‘The will of Miss Fanny Taylor, popularly known by her professional name of Grace Huntley, who died on Oct. 10th, at 13, Belmont-avenue, Harrogate, has been proved in London by Mr James Kenwick Edward, the sole executor, by whom the testatrix’s personalty is sworn at £2,416 9s. 8d. gross, and £2,385 15s. 8d. net.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 14 November 1896, p. 12a)

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Grace Huntley, Scottish actress and singer, as she appeared in Dorothy, London, 1887

November 27, 2013

Grace Huntley (née Fanny Taylor, 1860?-1896), Scottish actress and singer, as she appeared in Dorothy, the successful comedy opera by B.C. Stephenson, with music by Alfred Cellier, which was first produced at the Gaiety Theatre, London, on 25 September 1886. The production was transferred to the Prince of Wales’s Theatre, London, on 20 December 1886 and Miss Huntley joined the cast there to play the part of Phyllis Tuppitt in March 1887. Dorothy was subsequently transferred on 17 December 1888 to the Lyric Theatre, London, and its run finally ended on 6 April 1889 after a run of 931 performances and many changes of cast.
(photo: unknown, probably London, 1887)

‘Regret will be felt in play-going circles at the news of the death, at Harrogate, of Miss Grace Huntley, one of the best known and most successful of burlesque actresses. She was the sister of Mrs. Richard Edgar, and had another sister and brother connected with the stage.’
(The Leeds Mercury, Leeds, Wednesday, 14 October 1896, p. 5h)

DEATHS.
‘HUNTLEY. – On Oct. 10th [1896], at Harrogate, of Bright’s disease, Grace Huntley, actress’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 17 October 1896, p. 14d)

Pick-Me-Up pays the following kindly tribute to the memory of Miss Grace Huntley and to the good work she did in Bristol:- ”The death of Miss Grace Huntley removes from the stage one who in her time was probably the best ‘principal boy’ we have had. Miss Huntley had, of course, been ‘principal boy’ at Drury Lane, but it was in provincial pantomimes – where the ‘principal boy’ is expected to work, not only to be looked at p that she was seen at her best. I have seen, I imagine, pretty well all the ‘principal boys’ in England, but with the exception of Ada Blanche (the Ada Blanche of five years ago) there was never a pantomime ‘boy’ to rival Miss Huntley. Her particular ‘note’ was a peculiar softness of speech and a certain indefinable charm, which was quite irresistible. Her voice never jarred upon you, and to gain her success she never resorted to anything but what was strictly legitimate. She was at the height of her ability, perhaps, seven or eight years ago. At Bristol, about that time, she was a particular favourite, and nothing could have been better than her performances in Mr. [John Henry] Chute’s Prince’s Theatre pantomimes, where she appeared several years running. Those who, like myself, had the pleasure of seeing her on those occasions will not easily forget her memory.’
(The Bristol Mercury and Daily Post, Saturday, 31 October 1896, p. 8e)

‘The will of Miss Fanny Taylor, popularly known by her professional name of Grace Huntley, who died on Oct. 10th, at 13, Belmont-avenue, Harrogate, has been proved in London by Mr James Kenwick Edward, the sole executor, by whom the testatrix’s personalty is sworn at £2,416 9s. 8d. gross, and £2,385 15s. 8d. net.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 14 November 1896, p. 12a)

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Grace Huntley in Dorothy

November 27, 2013

Grace Huntley (née Fanny Taylor, 1860?-1896), Scottish actress and singer, as she appeared in Dorothy, the successful comedy opera by B.C. Stephenson, with music by Alfred Cellier, which was first produced at the Gaiety Theatre, London, on 25 September 1886. The production was transferred to the Prince of Wales’s Theatre, London, on 20 December 1886 and Miss Huntley joined the cast there to play the part of Phyllis Tuppitt in March 1887. Dorothy was subsequently transferred on 17 December 1888 to the Lyric Theatre, London, and its run finally ended on 6 April 1889 after a run of 931 performances and many changes of cast.
(photo: unknown, probably London, 1887)

‘Regret will be felt in play-going circles at the news of the death, at Harrogate, of Miss Grace Huntley, one of the best known and most successful of burlesque actresses. She was the sister of Mrs. Richard Edgar, and had another sister and brother connected with the stage.’
(The Leeds Mercury, Leeds, Wednesday, 14 October 1896, p. 5h)

DEATHS.
‘HUNTLEY. – On Oct. 10th [1896], at Harrogate, of Bright’s disease, Grace Huntley, actress’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 17 October 1896, p. 14d)

Pick-Me-Up pays the following kindly tribute to the memory of Miss Grace Huntley and to the good work she did in Bristol:- ”The death of Miss Grace Huntley removes from the stage one who in her time was probably the best ‘principal boy’ we have had. Miss Huntley had, of course, been ‘principal boy’ at Drury Lane, but it was in provincial pantomimes – where the ‘principal boy’ is expected to work, not only to be looked at p that she was seen at her best. I have seen, I imagine, pretty well all the ‘principal boys’ in England, but with the exception of Ada Blanche (the Ada Blanche of five years ago) there was never a pantomime ‘boy’ to rival Miss Huntley. Her particular ‘note’ was a peculiar softness of speech and a certain indefinable charm, which was quite irresistible. Her voice never jarred upon you, and to gain her success she never resorted to anything but what was strictly legitimate. She was at the height of her ability, perhaps, seven or eight years ago. At Bristol, about that time, she was a particular favourite, and nothing could have been better than her performances in Mr. [John Henry] Chute’s Prince’s Theatre pantomimes, where she appeared several years running. Those who, like myself, had the pleasure of seeing her on those occasions will not easily forget her memory.’
(The Bristol Mercury and Daily Post, Saturday, 31 October 1896, p. 8e)

‘The will of Miss Fanny Taylor, popularly known by her professional name of Grace Huntley, who died on Oct. 10th, at 13, Belmont-avenue, Harrogate, has been proved in London by Mr James Kenwick Edward, the sole executor, by whom the testatrix’s personalty is sworn at £2,416 9s. 8d. gross, and £2,385 15s. 8d. net.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 14 November 1896, p. 12a)

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Ernest Linden, American minstrel and female impersonator, sometimes billed as ‘The Burlesque Queen of Song’

November 25, 2013

Ernest Linden (active 1870-1887), American minstrel and female impersonator, sometimes billed as ‘The Burlesque Queen of Song’
(photo: H.S. White, 264 North 2nd Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, circa 1875)

‘Three of the finest female impersonators ever seen in this country [the United Kingdom] were Fred Dart in 1870, Frank Pieri in 1875, and Ernest Linden who was with the company [Moore and Burgess Minstrels] from 1879 to 1885. His singing voice was not of exceptional strength, but sufficient for the serio songs he adhered to. His speaking voice was of a contralto quality; extremely graceful in all his movement and quite a humorist, he had just the requisite touch of burlesque in all his business that made it so supremely clever and entertaining. Few female impersonators could wear their frocks with the same grace as Linden; these brilliant concoctions were usually made by Worth of Paris. This fact was advertised and they were the admiration of all the ladies present.’
(Harry Reynolds, Minstrel Memories, London, 1928, p. 124)

* * * * *

Philadelphia, Monday, 26 September 1870
‘AT THE ARCH STREET OPERA HOUSE, Ernest Linden, the female impersonator, will appear for the first time this evening, in conjunction with other attractions.’
(The Daily Evening Telegraph, Monday, 26 September 1870, p. 5b)

New Memphis Theatre, Memphis, May 1872
‘Duprez & Benedict’s minstrels, the best troupe that has visited Memphis for a long while, are doing a fine business at the theater. Last night the theater was well filled, and the audience enthusiastic in their praises of the performance. The ballads of Messrs. Frank Dumas and G.B. Harcourt are nearly all new and beautiful, and are among the best we have ever heard, and never fail to convulse the audience with laughter. The falsetto singing of Mr. Ernest Linden is always highly appreciated, while his ”get up” is not interior in style and gorgeousness to that of any operatic singer on the stage. The Messrs. J. Fox and W. Ward are the most artistic clog dancers and acrobats that have ever appeared on the boards of the Memphis Theatre, and their performances never fail to elicit a hearty encore. Altogether the performance is most excellent, and should not fail to draw a crowded house nightly.’
(The Public Ledger, Memphis, Tennessee, Thursday, 9 May 1872, p. 2b)

Emerson’s California Minstrels, The Opera House, Wheeling, West Virginia, December 1976
‘… Ernest Linden is indeed the burlesque queen of song, and won shouts upon shouts of applause from the audience… .’
(The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer, Wheeling, Saturday, 16 December 1876, West Virginia, p. 4d)

‘Ernest Linden is having a dress built which will cost between four and five hundred dollars when finished. For a detailed description of it we must refer our readers to some of the Miss Nancies of the press.’
(Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California, Sunday, 25 November 1877, p. 2b)

‘The following description of Ernest Linden’s new dress may interest our lady readers; White satin princess en train; elegantly embroidered vine, commencing at the back and running round train, composed of pansies, forget-me-nots and daisies. Wheat worked in gold and other pretty flowers. All worked in bright colors. The front is worked in one large bouquet of beautiful flowers and birds of Paradise. Bottom of dress slashed in blocks, edged with pink satin, and filled with white and pink French lace; round train boxed pleating, piped with pink. Sleeves, Marie Antoinette. Square corsage, fitted with crape lace. A band of white satin embroidered for neck, edged with lace. Gloves, stockings and slippers embroidered to match.’
(Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California, Sunday, 9 December 1877, p. 2b)

‘Ernest Linden has a wardrobe that a princess might envy. He does not depend upon his clothes for success, however, as his female impersonations are wonderful simulations of femininity. – Philadelphia Mirror.’
(Daily Alta California, San Francisco, California, Sunday, 19 May 1878, p. 2c)

Hague’s Minstrels, ‘The Original Slave Troupe,’ St. James’s Hall, Lime Street, Liverpool, England, August 1878
‘Mr. Hague’s latest addition to his company – Mr. Ernest Linden – is a great acquisition. His representation of the ”burlesque prima donna” is an undoubted success. His make-up is clever and tasteful, and his vocalisation natural and artistic.’
(The Liverpool Mercury, Liverpool, Wednesday, 7 August 1878, p. 6e)

‘Hague’s Minstrels at the Colston Hall, Bristol, England, April 1879
‘… The second part of the entertainment was as varied and as interesting at the first. Mr. Ernest Linden, who is styled the ”Patti of the Minstrel Stage,” was immense in his burlesque in personation of a Prima Donna, and his wonderfully flexible voice and powers of humour won for him an enthusiastic encore… .’
(The Bristol Mercury and Daily Post, Bristol, Monday, 14 April 1879, p. 3e)

The Moore and Burgess Minstrels, St. James’s Hall, Piccadilly, London, Thursday, 18 September 1879
‘On Thursday evening the Moore and Burgess Minstrels entered upon the fifteenth year of their marvellously successful entertainment … A new artiste of great merit, Mr Ernest Linden, appeared as a coloured prima donna with great success. Mr Linden was arrayed in a magnificent costume by Worth, of Paris, and his scene was extremely amusing and effective… .’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 21 September 1879, p. 3d)

The Moore and Burgess Minstrels at the Colston Hall, Bristol, England, Saturday, 9 December 1882
‘Messrs. Moore and Burgess’s Minstrels, who make it their boast that for seventeen years they have never ”performed out of London,” but who, in consequence of the St. James’s-hall, Piccadilly, which has been their home for so many years, being temporarily closed for repairs and alterations, are now making a provincial tour… . Mr. Ernest Linden, the ”burlesque Queen,” convulsed his hearers by his intensely comic interpretation of the song ”Awfully Awful.”’
(The Bristol Mercury and Daily Post, Bristol, Monday, 11 December 1882, p. 3c)

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George Vincent in Tom Taylor’s drama, The Ticket-of-Leave Man, Olympic Theatre, London, 1863

November 22, 2013

George Vincent (died 1876), English actor, as Melter Moss in the first production of Tom Taylor’s drama, The Ticket-of-Leave Man at the Olympic Theatre, London, 27 May 1863.
(photo: The London Stereoscopic & Photographic Co Ltd, London, 1863-1866)

‘Death of Mr G. Vincent.
‘We have regretfully to record the death, on Monday night [24 January 1876], of Mr George Vincent, the well-known actor, so long identified by playgoers with the representation of Melter Moss, in the drama of The Ticket-of-Leave Man, produced at the Olympic Theatre, in May, 1863. After running the usual course of Provincial probation Mr G. Vincent appeared at the Surrey and other Theatres, and made his first entry on the Olympic stage under the management of Messrs. Robson and Emden, in October, 1862, when he performed the part of Sir Arthur Lassell, in All That Glitters is Not Gold. For some time Mr Vincent was in failing health, and his last engagement was at the Holborn Theatre, under Mr Horace Wigan’s management, which terminated only a few weeks ago.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 30 January 1876, p. 10d)