Posts Tagged ‘A. & G. Taylor (publishers)’

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Queenie Leighton’s visit to the studios of The Gramophone & Typewriter Co Ltd, London, December 1904

August 6, 2014

Queenie Leighton (1874-1943), English singer, actress and pantomime principal boy
(photo: unknown; colour halftone postcard published by A. & G. Taylor, London, ‘Orthochrome’ series no. C.O. 213, circa 1905)

Queenie Leighton is thought to have made only one recording: the song ‘Love’s Gramophone‘ for the Gramophone & Typewriter Co Ltd of London. Her first attempt at recording, on 14 December 1904, was a failure, but she returned to the studios two days later and the result was eventually issued in February 1905 as a 10” black label ‘Gramophone Concert’ record, matrix no. 6382b, catalogue no. 3577.

‘The talking machine figures in Drury Lane Pantomime in Miss Queenie Leighton’s song, ”Love’s Gramophone,” now reproduced on the instrument itself. Messrs. the Gramophone and Typewriter Co., Ltd., of 21, City Road, E.C., have just been awarded the Grand Prince for Talking Machines and Records, Department of Liberal Arts, Group 21, St. Louis Exposition, 1904.’
(The Illustrated London News, London, Saturday, 14 January 1905, p. 74c)

This short report was indeed correct. Miss Leighton’s inclusion of ‘Love’s Gramophone’ in the Drury Lane pantomime, The White Cat, which opened on 26 December 1904, was one of the features of the show. While she played the part of Prince Peerless, the cast also included Marie George as Cupid; James Welch as Prince Plump; Johnny Danvers as King Ivory; Fred Eastman as Prince Plummett; Hugh J. Ward as Simeon; Tom Wootwell as Populo; Harry Randall as Fairy Asbestos; Ruth Lytton as Aristo; Tom Hearn as Snale; and Whimsical Walker as Clown.

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The framed photograph on the wall above the gramophone is by the Biograph Studios, London, of Miss Leighton as she appeared as Dona Teresa in the musical play, The Toreador, which opened at the Gaiety Theatre, London, on 17 June 1901.

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Gabys Deslys and Surye Kichi Eida in the Ju-Jitsu Waltz, Gaiety Theatre, London, 1907

August 31, 2013

A real photograph postcard of ‘Mdlle Gaby Deslys & S.K. Eida, in the new Ju-Jitsu Waltz at the Gaiety’ published in A. & G. Taylor’s ‘Reality’ series, no. 1300, 70 Queen Victoria Street, London, EC
(photo: Bassano, London, probably 1907; there were at least five photographs taken at this sitting)

Gaby Deslys and S.K. Eida introduced the Ju-Jitsu Waltz to London audiences during the run of The New Aladdin, a musical extravaganza, which ran at the Gaiety Theatre, London, from 29 September 1906 to 27 April 1907.

Surye Kichi Eida (1878-1918), who was born in Japan, appears in the 1901 Census as an assistant gardener, living in Acton, West London, with his brother, Saburo Eida (1858-1911), an importer of art, and his family. In 1909 he married Ellen Christina Brown (1886-1931) and together they toured United Kingdom music halls in a Japanese dancing and ju-jitsu act, billed as Nellie Falco and S.K. Eida.

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Kitty Melrose, English musical comedy actress and singer, London, circa 1909

January 10, 2013

Kitty Melrose (1883-1912),
English musical comedy actress and singer;
(photo: Rita Martin, London, circa 1909)

This real photograph of the actress and singer Kitty Melrose was published in London about 1909 by A. & G. Taylor in its ‘Reality’ Series, no. 1353.

Miss Melrose first came to notice in 1905 when she made an appearance as Rectory Belle in a revival of Seymour Hicks’s musical dream play, Bluebell (Aldwych Theatre, London, 23 December 1905). Remaining with Hicks, she was next seen as one of the twelve Bath Buns in The Beauty of Bath, a musical play produced at the Aldwych on 19 March 1906. Again with Hicks, she then took the part of Miss Liverpool in the less successful musical play, My Darling (Hicks, 2 March 1907) before appearing as Trixie Clayton in Brewster’s Millions (Hicks, 1 May 1907), a comedy with Gerald du Maurier in the leading role. Miss Melrose’s next part was Fanny in Cosmo Hamilton’s farce, ProTem (Playhouse, 29 April 1908) before returning to musical comedy in Charles Frohman’s New York production of The Dollar Princess at the Knickerbocker Theatre (6 August 1909). Kitty Melrose’s last appearance was as Cleo in The Quaker Girl (Adelphi, 5 November 1910), starring Joseph Coyne, and Gertie Millar for whom she was sometime understudy.

‘Golf Ball Hurts Actress.
‘Miss Melrose May Be Disfigured – Her Nose Fractured.
‘Kiss Kitty Melrose, an English actress, playing in The Dollar Princess at the Knickerbocker Theatre, received so severe a fracture of the nose on Friday afternoon from a blow of a golf ball that the doctors who have her in charge fear that she may be permanently disfigured.
‘She was hurried to this city in an automobile from the Links of the Danwoodie Country Club under an anaesthetic for treatment here. She had gone to the course with F. Pope Stamper of the same company. They had gone over the course once when Mr. Stamper prepared to make a long drive. Miss Melrose stood watching, about forty feet to the right. He swung with great force, but sliced the ball. It shot out, rotating at an angle, and, making a curve, struck Miss Melrose squarely on the side of the nose.’
(New York Times, New York, Sunday, 17 October 1909, p.18f)

‘Pathetic Death of Deserted Woman.
‘Actress Dead With Her Head Inside a Gas Oven.
‘London, June 7 [1912]. – the love affairs of the actress, Kitty Melrose, aged 29, who has lately been an understudy for Gertie Millar in The Quaker Girl, at the Adelphi theater and who was found dead in her flat with her head inside a gas oven, occupied the attention of the coroner at Westminster today.
‘Letters read at the inquest, showed that she had been living with Lawson Johnston, a young man about town, who had promised to marry her. Later he wrote her that he found it impossible to carry out his promise owing to the opposition of his people, upon whom he was dependent.
‘He acknowledged it was wrong for him to allow her to think that marriage was possible, but he added, the family had found out that they had been living together and said the marriage was impossible.
‘Kitty’s letters in reply were very pathetic. The last one said among other things:
‘“Eddie. By leaving me alone, you thought you were doing right, but it was all wrong. God forgive you, as I hope he will forgive me.”’
(The Evening Observer, Dunkirk, New York, 7 June 1912, p.7d)

The full story surrounding Kitty Melrose’s suicide, which took place on 3 June 1912, is recounted by James Jupp, The Gaiety stage door; thirty years’ reminiscences of the theatre, Jonathan Cape, London, 1923. She is buried at Kensal Green Cemetery, London.