Posts Tagged ‘Amy Grundy’


Frank Backus

July 6, 2013

Frank Backus (1848?-after 1901), English comedian, billed in 1874 as ‘The Voluble and Eccentric Negro Delineator’
(photo: unknown, probably UK, 1870s)

‘MESSRS. J.C. MARSHALL and FRANK BACKUS beg most respectfully to thank Albert D. Lane, Esq., for his kindness in giving them an Engagement and Benefit, and also presented them with a handsome Silver Cup on their farewell benefit, January 10th, 1868. Yours most respectfully, J.C. MARSHALL and FRANK BACKUS, the Only American Flag Comedians in England. Present Engagement, ORIENTAL MUSIC HALL, GRAVESEND.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 2 February 1868, p. 1c, advertisement)

Bellamy’s Royal Model Gallery, Alford, Lincolnshire, December 1870.
‘BELLAMY’S ROYAL MODEL GALLERY has been located here during the past three weeks, and at this time of year is very acceptable. In addition there is a promenade concert every evening, in which some well-known artistes appear, including Miss Victorine Bellamy, an excellent juvenile pianist; Mrs. Pat Dennis, a good Irish comedian; and Mr. Frank Backus (Negro comedian) whose songs, dances, jokes, &c., create roars of laughter.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 1 January 1871, p. 5a)

‘MR. FRANK BACKUS, American comedian and Minstrel Corner Man, will be at Liberty June 12th and future dates for Troupe or Concert Hall Business. First-class Wardrobe. Address, 87, Cleveland-street, Doncaster.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 4 June 1871, p. 16b)

The Bedford Music Hall, London, February 1880
‘Mr Frank Backus (a Negro comedian) who next undertook the task of amusing the audience, thoroughly succeeded in accomplishing it. He sang of being ”Samuel the Great.” ”The Nigger Swell,” ”I’m going to Kentucky once more,” and ”There’s a funny little Nigger I know,” were also sung by him. His rendering of the last-named merry, laughing lay was preceded by facetious talk about being in gaol and about trades. While some of his sayings were familiar many were fresh. His manner is original and funny. He made the people laugh heartily.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 8 February 1880, p. 4a)

The People’s Palace of Varieties, London, October 1881
‘The name of Mr Alf. Rivers was in the bill, but he did not appear, owing, it was announced, to indisposition. His place was taken by Mr Frank Backus, who caused great amusement by his Negro eccentricities. He talked in fluent and humorous fashion about the disadvantages of being married, and sang of being a coloured boy aged twenty-one, who is fond of dancing. His second discourse was concerning various trades, and included smart puns and jokes. The titles of newspapers were ingeniously worked into a piece about what the newsboy sells, and might be, as he does. This facetious speech was followed by a song with the retrain ”I’m going to Kentucky once more.” He finished with a dance of an original and nimble kind, which, like his other doings, caused hearty applause.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 8 October 1881, p. 4b)

Robinson Crusoe, pantomime, with Amy Grundy in the title role, Theatre Royal, Nottingham, Christmas, 1881
‘… Mr. Frank Backus as King Cockalorum introduces some sprightly dancing, and makes much of the somewhat minor character.’
The Stage, London, Friday, 6 January 1882, p. 5a)

The Coliseum, Leeds, December 1885
‘THE SAN FRANCISCO MINSTRELS. – This band of sable minstrels have at present a brief engagement at the Coliseum, Leeds. They gave the second of a series of eight entertainments on Saturday evening, and the crowded state of the house indicated afresh how popular still is this class of amusement. The variety which the programme of such a band usually presents, and which is no doubt one of the chief attractions, is here found in full measure. There is a good display of vocal power, with the sentimental and comic happily blended, delightful choruses, in which the instrumentalists take no unimportant part, much laughter provoked by the end men, with burlesque, negro eccentricities, and ventriloquism to heighten the merriment. The comic business is not entirely new – it never is – but taken as a whole it is very amusing. Mr. Charles Wilson’s singing of ”Tidings of Comfort and Joy,” is irresistibly funny, as are also the joint performances of himself and his droll colleague, Mr. James Sanford, in ”Nic-nacs.” Mr. Frank Backus does the chief part of the dancing, and does it well. The ventriloquist is Mr. Frank Mordaunt, who also excites hilarity. Amongst the vocalists, none excel Mr. A. Clifford, who has a find baritone voice, and Mr. Fred Salcombe, one of the tenors. the entertainment is a capital one of its kind.’
(The Leeds Mercury, Leeds, Monday 28 December 1885, p. 5c)


Julia Warden

May 24, 2013

Julia Warden (Mrs George H. Mostyn, fl. 1877-1900), English actress, as she appeared in the title role of the pantomime, Dick Whittington and His Cat, New Theatre Royal, Park Row, Bristol, produced on Saturday, 23 December 1882
(carte de visite photo: Harvey Barton, Bristol; from the collection of Maurice Wilson Disher)

‘NEW THEATRE ROYAL. – There was again last night an enormous audience at this house to witness the gorgeous holiday pantomime of ”Dick Whittington.” The pantomimes’ excursion train brought a regular army of visitors, and so many made their way to Park-row that after the popular parts of the theatre had been filled to their utmost capacity, and a very large number had taken seats in the dress circle and orchestra stalls, several hundreds had to be turned from the doors. A crowded audience is never without its influence on the actors, and the piece went with great spirit. Miss Julia Warden, having recovered from her indisposition [bronchitis], resumed the part of Dick, and upon her appearance received a very marked recognition. Miss Agnes Taylor, who so cheerfully and so gracefully acted in the title rôle during Miss Warden’s illness, filled once more her original character, and was deservedly applauded. All the salient parts of the pantomime were received with marked enthusiasm. Several of the songs and dances were encored, the scene with the living marionettes was literally screamed at, and the disclosure of the beautiful scene of Hampstead Heath provoked such a furore that the Messrs. Chute were compelled to appear and bow their acknowledgements. Miss Fanny Brown and her ballet troupe also came in for a share of approval, and all the artistes, we should say, must have been gratified.’
(The Bristol Mercury and Daily Post, Bristol, Tuesday, 30 January 1883, p. 5e)

‘The 1882-3 pantomime was ”Whittington and his Cat,” the former finding an excellent exponent in Miss Julia Warden and the latter in Master Cummins. As Alice Fitzwarren Miss Amy Grundy was delightful; as idle Jack Mr. George Thorne was, as at all time, ”top hole” and Mr. E.M. Robson made a capital ”old woman.” there were several important features of the work, which was written and produced by Mr. C.H. Stephenson. Amongst these was a violin solo by Mlle. Rita Presano, a double panorama of the Thames (Mr. Arthur Henderson), and the ”Turn again Whittington” sounded by an octave of magnificent bells, manufactured for the Messrs. Chute at a cost of £450. A further welcome item was the inclusion in the cast of Messrs. Henderson and Stanley, the ”living Marionettes.” Mr. Harry Paulo was the clown.’
(The Bristol Stage, G. Rennie Powell, Bristol, 1919, p. 126)