Archive for September, 2014


Marceline (1873-1927), celebrated Spanish clown

September 27, 2014

Marceline (Martinez Orbes, 1873-1927), Spanish clown, who appeared successfully during long engagements at the London Hippodrome (1901-1905) and the New York Hippodrome (1905-1914), but who died in obscurity.
(photo: unknown, circa 1905)

The Mishaps of Marceline – Lost Silent Film Reconstructed, based on the lost film by Thanhouser Company, with acknowledgements to Darren R. Reid.


F.R. Duberly’s ‘The March Hares’ concert party, circa 1908

September 26, 2014

Three members of Mr. F.R. Duberly’s Company, ‘The March Hares’ (active 1907-1916 and later), English concert party
(photo: unknown, UK, circa 1908)

‘Mr. F.R. Duberly’s Company, ”The March Hares,” appears at the Victoria Rooms, Cheltenham, this week. The entertainment embraces songs, concerted numbers, sketches, and a duologue, and the company includes Mr. Davy Burnaby.’
(The Gloucester Citizen, Gloucester, Monday, 3 June 1907)


September 26, 2014

Three members of Mr. F.R. Duberly’s Company, ’The March Hares’ (active 1907-1916 and later), English concert party
(photo: unknown, UK, circa 1908)

‘Mr. F.R. Duberly’s Company, “The March Hares,” appears at the Victoria Rooms, Cheltenham, this week. The entertainment embraces songs, concerted numbers, sketches, and a duologue, and the company includes Mr. Davy Burnaby.’
(The Gloucester Citizen, Gloucester, Monday, 3 June 1907)


Marie Jansen in a scene from The Merry Monarch, New York, 1890

September 25, 2014

Marie Jansen (1857-1914), American star of comic opera, as she appeared as Lazuli, a travelling perfume seller, in the comic opera, The Merry Monarch (Broadway Theatre, New York, 18 August 1890), based on Eugène Leterrier and Albert Vanloo’s opéra-bouffe, L’Étoile.
(photo: B.J. Falk, New York, 1890)


Jennie Opie as the Duchess of Della Volta, Australia, 1905

September 14, 2014

Jennie Opie (1871-1943), Australian contralto in comic opera and musical comedy as she appeared as the Duchess of Della Volta in a revival of La Fille du Tambour Major at the New Theatre Royal, Melbourne, 8 April 1905
(photo/postcard: Talma, Melbourne and Sydney, Australia, circa 1905)

Jennie Opie, whose real name was Jane Opie, was born in Wallaroo, South Australia on 24 March 1871. On 26 October 1895 she was married in Rugby, South Australia to Isaac Killicoat (1861-?) but their union did not last; they separated in 1898 and finally divorced in 1929. By that time Jennie Opie had been semi retired from the stage since about 1914, the year in which she advertised herself as the new proprietress of the Scotch Thistle Hotel, North Adelaide (The Mail, Adelaide, Saturday, 31 October 1914, p. 2s); she later became the licensee of the Botanic Hotel, Adelaide.

Jennie Opie, who began singing at the age of 13, spent much of her career on tour throughout Australia with the J.C. Williamson’s company, with whom she also made two trips to India. From the summer of 1905 she spent five years in America and was in San Francisco at the time of the earthquake in 1906. She appeared in New York at Daly’s Theatre from 3 December 1906 to 30 March 1907 in The Belle of Mayfairas Lady Chaldicott, the part originated in London by Maud Boyd. Other leading parts were played by Christie MacDonald, Bessie Clayton and Valeska Suratt, the latter playing the Duchess of Dunmow, the part originated in London by Camille Clifford.

* * * * *

La Fille du Tambour Major revived at the New Theatre Royal, Melbourne, 8 April 1905.
‘The revival of La Fille du Tambour Major at the Theatre Royal was brought to a close on Saturday night [22 April 1905], after a successful run of a fortnight. The opera is so well known, or perhaps I should say, has been, as it is seldom heard nowadays, that is is unnecessary to describe the plot, and indeed there is very little plot to describe – it is of the simplest and most transparent kind, and it is certainly not n it that the opera relies for its popularity; but on its bright, rhythmical music, and the scope which it gives for picturesque dressing and effective ensembles. The production was notable for its excellent chorus, some numbers of which had to be repeated each night, and the beautiful minuet introduced in the second act. In the latter the dancers look as if they had stepped straight off a beautiful Dresden china plate. The colouring was most lovely – a pale pink and pale blue: the gallants in knee-breeches, old-fashioned coats and waistcoats, and the ladies in full short skirts and low-necked lace bodices, and carrying which ostrich feather fans. All wore white curled wigs. The minuet also received nightly a well-deserved encore. Miss Jessie Ramsay, as La Fille du Tambour Major, looked very pretty, and acted her part well; her voice is pleasant, but was hardly big enough for the theatre. Miss Jennie Opie made a very handsome Duchess Della Volta, gowned first in a beautiful white satin ball dress, trimmed with deep yellow roses, and afterwards in a most becoming russet brown velvet riding habit, and large brown velvet hat, with which ostrich plume. Miss Maud Thornton as Griolet, the little drummer boy, acted with great vivacity and abandon. She looked very taking in her drummer-boy costume, and her drum solo was much appreciated. She has a good voice, but had very few opportunities in which to display it. Mr. Con Burrow made a rollicking Tambour Major, his sallies being greeted with much laughter. Mr. George Majeroni, as the Duc Della Volta, and Mr. John Wallace, as the Marquis Bambini, were also very amusing. The staging was excellent, the scenery having been specially painted by Mr. Rege Robins; the costumes were designed by Mr. T.J. Jackson. A full orchestra was conducted by Mr. Edward Hanstein; the whole production being under the direction of Mr. A. M’Nicol Turner.’
(Rowena, ‘Melbourne Lady’s Letter,’ The Town and Country Journal, Sydney, NSW, Australia, Wednesday, 26 April 1905, p. 40b)


Happy Joe Williams, American eccentric singing and dancing humourist, ‘The Creole Prince’

September 8, 2014

Joseph ‘Happy Joe’ Williams (active early 20th Century), American eccentric singing and dancing humourist, sometimes billed as ‘The Creole Prince.’ The reverse of this postcard is inscribed by Williams, as follows: ‘Yours truly in Cork Joe Williams the un Happy’
(photo: unknown, circa 1910)

‘Among the players engaged for A Romance of Coon Hollow are: Ruby Erwood, Cecil Jefferson, Dollie Bardell, Cecile Wright, Gus Gauss, Archie Allen, William T. Asher, Samuel Gaines and Joseph Williams, with J.E. Murray, manager, and J.H. Rice, in advance. The ninth season of the play will open at the Third Avenue Theatre, New York, Aug. 25.’
(The New York Clipper, New York, Saturday, 26 July 1906, p. 466b)

‘Happy Joe Williams writes that he is not with A Romance of Coon Hollow this season, but will join the musical comedy , The Folley Players.’
(The New York Clipper, New York, Saturday, 17 September 1904, p. 684e)

Camberwell Palace, London, March 1907
‘Happy Joe Williams, coloured singer and dancer, in immaculate evening dress fairly dances himself to merry ragtime music into favour.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 27 March 1907, quoted in Edward S. Walker, ‘The Spread of Ragtime in England,’ Storyville magazine, April 1980, p. 124)

London, September 1910
‘Happy Joe Williams is back in London from Turkey. He will be seen soon in one of the London music halls doing a single turn.’
(The New York Age, New York, Thursday, 1 September 1910, p. 6d)

Paris, December 1910
‘Donnons le très beau programme du prochain ”Vendrei de la Parisienne” à la Renaissance. m. Paul Franck parlera de la ”Pantomime et de la danse”, et quelques-uns des plus illustres artistes de mime et de danse lui prêteront leur concors:
‘1o Mlle Alice de Tender, danses montmartroises; 2o Mlle Trouhanowa et M. Quinault, danses russes; 3o Mme Colette Wily, danses improvisées; 4o Mlle Marthe Lenclud et M. Léon Bucourt, danses espagnoles; 5o Mlle Cléo de Mérode (pour la première fois en France), danses paysannes; 6o les célébres boxeurs Sam Mac-Vea et Happy Joe Williams dans leurs danses nègres; 7o Mlle Yetta Rianza et M. Quinault, danses classiques françaises; 8o la Romanichelle, conte zignaresque mêlé de danses et de chants, poué par la California et Paul Franck et chanté par Mme Marie Boyer.
‘Enfin, comme intermède, M. Rozenberg, récitera plusieurs monologues, et Mlle Lucy Vauthrin, l’exquisite cantatrice de l’Opéra-Comique, chantera trois mélodies (la Maison gruise, la Chanson et la Valse), de M. André Messager.’
(Le Figaro, Paris, Tuesday, 6 December 1910, p. 5f)

‘HAPPY JOE WILLIAMS, after nine years’ abroad through the big cities of Europe, with good success, will shortly open in or around New York City, in vaudeville.’
(The New York Clipper, New York, Saturday, 7 November 1914, p. 8b)


Marjorie Hume (1893-1976), English stage and screen actress

September 7, 2014

Marjorie Hume (1893-1976), English stage and screen actress
(photo: unknown, probably London, circa 1914)

Marjorie Hume, who became a well-known actress in British films after 1917, began her career on the London stage, making her first appearance during the run of the musical play The Dancing Mistress (Adelphi Theatre, London, 19 October 1912). Miss Hume, who in 1933 married Eric Lindsey (1900-1964), died on 13 March 1976.


Ivan Berlyn, English actor

September 2, 2014

Ivan Berlyn (1867-1934), English actor
(photo: Augustus Charles Huber, 120 Princes Street, Edinburgh, circa 1915)

Ivan Berlyn, an actor of very wide experience who in 1906 was described as one ‘of weird and eccentric character parts.’ (The Green Room Book, p. 30) He appeared in every type of production, from pantomime to Shakespeare, and in 1922 played both Shylock and Fagin in films. His real name was Isaac Berlin, although in the same edition of The Green Room Book he gilded the lily by declaring that it was actually Ivan Emanuel Julian von Berlin.’ He added that he ‘comes from and old Alsace-Lorraine family, and was originally intended for the legal profession; prepared for the stage at the (now defunct) London School of Elocution [i.e. the South London School of Elocution and Dramatic Art, established 1884] and by the late Samuel Brandram.’ He was certainly using the forename Ivan by the age of 21 when, as Ivan Berlin, he organized a concert at the Prince’s Hall, Piccadilly, London, on 9 June 1888 (The Morning Post, London, Thursday, 24 May 1888, p. 1c). He was again recorded as Ivan Berlin in the 1891 Census. On that occasion he was living at 17 All Saints Road, Kensington with his parents, Emanuel Berlin (1840?-1921), ‘mercantile clerk,’ a native of Hamburg, who came to England in 1857, and his wife Amelia (née Joseph), who were married in 1864, as well as his sisters, Emily and Jenny Berlin and his brother, Joachim Norman Berlin (1875?-1943), described as the ‘Manager of the Chelsea Palace.’

In the 1911 Census Ivan Berlyn is recorded as living at 3 King William Street, London, WC, together with a boarder, Henry Armstrong (Henry Louis Winthrop Armstrong, 1881-1915), an actor who was born in New South Wales, Australia, and a lodger, Wyn Williams (1885?-?), a London-born theatrical organizer. Berlyn and Armstrong appeared together in The Great Young Man, a comedy by Prince V. Bariatinsky, which was produced at the Kingsway Theatre, London, on 31 October 1911.

Ivan Berlyn died on 11 December 1934 at the National Hospital, Queen Square, Holborn, London.