Posts Tagged ‘Cambridge music hall (London)’


Edward Trevanion’s pupils, Tell and Tell, English juvenile gymnasts and trapezists

July 21, 2014

Edward Trevanion’s pupils, Tell and Tell (active 1876-1879), ‘Trevanion’s Wonders,’ briefly known in 1876 as Sillo and Vertie, English juvenile gymnasts and trapezists
(carte de visite photo: T. Pope, 36 New Street, Birmingham, 1876-1879)

Edward Trevanion (a pseudonym) was born in Bolton, Lancashire, about 1846. He is recorded in the 1871 Census as a lodger at The Lord Nelson public house, Smithfield Street, Coventry, with his wife, Cerissa Trevanion (a pseudonym), who was born in Middlesborough, Yorkshire, about 1851. Both were described as gymnasts. Cerissa (or Mdlle. Cerissa as she was known professionally) died in childbirth on 19 June 1871 following an accident at the Alhambra music hall, Nottingham, a few days earlier on 8 June. (The Era, London, Sunday, 3 July 1871, p. 6d) During the next decade Edward Trevanion trained several pairs of young boys as acrobats and trapeze performers, including Tell and Tell. There is reason to believe that Trevanion subsequently changed his professional name to Tom Rezene (not to be confused with Charles F. Rezene, who was born about 1870, of Rezene and Robini, comic acrobats), who was responsible for training and exhibiting Lillo and Zetti, ‘Rezene’s Wonders,’ another pair of boy acrobats.

‘CAMBRIDGE … … . 9.15
‘ROYAL, HOLBORN . . 10.25
‘Trevanion’s Wonders.’
‘Innumerable inquiries have been made to ascertain Mr Trevanion’s reasons for changing the celebrated names of his celebrated pupils to the novel and mysterious titles of TELL and TELL.
‘All who are acquainted with Edward Trevanion, his habits, nature, and history, can understand his determination not to be classed with a would-be Comic Song Singer, who has hesitated at nothing to achieve mercenary ends. The most daring and desperate rapacity of the Bashi Bazouks, was preceded by the kidnapping violence of the liquor vault fellow alluded to; he who, as for mercy, implored the aid of the law, that children might be taken from the lawful and loving care of their legal and experienced master, to become his victims – victims of his glaring and deplorable incapacity to ensure their safety. The ignorant abuse of such an unnatural creature will never again be notices.
‘Agent, Charles Roberts.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 27 August 1876, p. 13d)

The Cambridge music hall, London, week beginning Monday, 28 August 1876
‘The flying children Tell and Tell meet with remarkable success. They succeed better without artificial aid then some who attempt flying do with all the resources of science.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 3 September 1876, p. 5a)

The Cambridge music hall, London, week beginning, Monday, 4 September 1876
‘The wonderful juvenile gymnasts Tell and Tell went through their aerial trapeze performance with their accustomed intrepidity and neatness.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 10 September 1876, p. 4d)

J.S. Sweasey’s Benefit, The Royal music hall, London, Wednesday evening, 1 November 1876
‘… the youthful trapeze performers Tell and Tell one of whom was on this occasion presented with a silver medal at the hands of Mr. Sweasey, jun.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 5 November 1876, p. 5a)

‘PRESENTATION. Tell and Tell, the wonderfully clever youthful gymnasts, have been presented by Mr and Mrs Johnson, of the ”Alexandra,” Wigan, with handsome gold rings, set with rubies, in recognition of their ability, and as memorials of their great success at the establishment named.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 18 February 1877, p. 7c)

The Sun music hall, Knightsbridge, London, week beginning Monday, 23 April 1877
‘The daring youths Tell and Tell keep the spectators in a state of breathless excitement by their marvellous flights through space from bar to bar, a huge net precluding all sense of peril.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 29 April 1877, p. 4a)

Royal Alhambra music hall, Barrow-in-Furness, week beginning Monday, 17 July 1877
‘Trevanion’s pupils, Tell and Tell are the principal attractions, and their marvellous performance on the lofty trapeze is both graceful, daring, and clever, bringing down the house with thunders of applause.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 22 July 1877, p. 6a)

The Royal music hall, London, week beginning Monday, 6 January 1879
‘the first name on the list of those who appear on the stage is that of Mr Cavendish, whose buffo songs never fail to find deserved favour. We are sorry to learn that this gentleman has recently suffered to some considerable extent by reason of an accident, in which he was the victim of somebody’s carelessness in connection with a gymnastic entertainment which just now forms one of the main features of the programme. We may as well say at once that it is provided by the marvellously clever and daring children Tell and Tell, who are very properly described as flying trapeze wonders. Their extraordinary feats, performed on the high swinging bar, are positively astounding. They are characterised by an amount of neatness, precision, grace, and rapidity that we have never seen excelled even by gymnasts of more extended experience and of less tender years. The flights through space taken by the more youthful of the pair are watched with breathless interest and excitement, and call forth the most vociferous plaudits, no small share of the honours going, of course, to the plucky youngster, who, hanging head downwards, never fails to catch his flying confrère, who once at least makes his seemingly perilous journey while enveloped in a sack. We say ”seemingly” perilous because in reality danger is precluded by the presence beneath the performers of a huge net, and, indeed, by their own coolness and skill.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 12 January 1879, p. 7c)


Thomas S. Dare, gymnast, clown and pantomimist

August 1, 2013

Thomas S. Dare (about 1855-after 1910), American gymnast, clown and pantomimist
(photo: H.T. Reed & Co, London, 16 Tottenham Court Road, London, circa 1877)

Thomas S. Dare, whose real name was Thomas S. Hall, was born in New York and for a time worked with his brothers, George and Stewart, both of whom were also gymnasts. He was married for the first time on 1 July 1871 in New York City [(The Sun, New York, New York, Thursday, 12 February 1885, p. 2g)] to Susan Adeline Stuart/Stewart (1854/55-1922) who became internationally celebrated as the trapeze artist, Leona Dare. T.S. Dare subsequently married in 1882 Frances Mary Stevenson, whose stage name was Ada Dare, and was later professionally associated with the boxer James J. Corbett (1866-1933).

Mr. W. Knowles’s Benefit, Cambridge music hall, London, Tuesday evening, 29 May 1877
‘… Mr Steward [sic] Dare (the one-legged gymnast) and Little Hall (the American Clown) gave an exceedingly clever and also amusing exhibition of their talent as performers on the horizontal bar… .’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 3 June 1877, p. 4b)

‘Original, Sensational, Amusing.
‘the Unipedal, or One-Legged, Gymnast,
‘the Merry Gymnastic Clown,
‘in their Wonderful and Mirthful Gymnastic entertainments. Big success everywhere. Splendidly dressed, and the handsomest Apparatus I the country. Read extracts from Testimonials:-
”’Gentlemen, – We take great pleasure in bearing testimony to the merit and success of your wonderful and unique entertainment. – J.H. JENNINGS, Oxford.”
”’Gentlemen, – I take great pleasure in recommending your wonderful performance to all Managers. – F. ABRAHAMS.”’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 11 November 1877, p. 17d, advertisement)

‘MARRIED [in London], at the Register office, Brixton, on Wednesday, the 20th inst. [December 1882], Thomas S. Hall, better known as Thomas Dare, of the Dare Brothers, to Miss Frances Mary Stevenson.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 23 December 1882, p. 4b)

Springfield, Ohio, September 1886
‘Tony Pastor’s Own Company Tonight At the Grand.
‘Tony Pastor and company arrived this morning and are stopping at the Arcade. His company this season is stronger and better than ever. The Boston Press speaks as follows of the company: … Thomas S. and Stewart Dare, the marvelous gymnasts, and the performance of the latter, the one-legged acrobat, on the horizontal bar are truly marvelous, while the former is too well known in the role of grotesque clown and facial comedian to need any commendation… .’
(Springfield Globe-Republic, Springfield, Ohio, Wednesday, 15 September 1886, p. 1g)

‘She is in Lillian Russell’s Company and Her Husband is a Well-known Acrobat.
‘Thomas S. Dare, the well-known clown, pantomimist, and acrobat, has brought suit for absolute divorce against his wife, Ada Dare, an actress, who appeared last season in Sinbad, the Sailor, at the Madison Square Garden. She is now a member of the Lillian Russell comic opera company, which is on its way to San Francisco. Mr. Dare asks for a decree on the statutory grounds, naming as co-respondents several men said to be prominent in commercial and theatrical circles. Mr. Dare also asks for the custody of his seven-year-old son. According to the not of issue of the case, which has been filed for the September term of the Superior Court, Mr. Dare’s real name is Thomas S. Hall. The papers were served on Mrs. Dare early in August, when she was playing at the Madison Square Garden, but she was allowed the usual twenty days’ notice to pass by without making an answer, and it is probably that the decree will be granted without opposition.
‘Mr. Dare is widely known as a circus and variety performer both in this country and abroad. For eleven years he and his brother, Stewart H. Dare, a one-legged acrobat, travelled in Europe and met with great success. Another brother, George H. Dare, is also an acrobat. Dare’s first wife was Leona Dare, the trapezist, whom he met in New Orleans in 1869, and in 1871 they were married in this city. He taught her to perform on the trapeze and she accumulated a fortune in the business, but she left Dare in 1876. in 1880 she secretly obtained a divorce in Illinois in order to marry Baron Greenebaugh, an Austrian whom she met while performing abroad. The Baron was disinherited by his father and soon after abandoned his wife.
‘Dare was managing a music hall in Paris in 1882 when he met his second wife, whom he is now suing for divorce. Her name then was Frances Mary Stevenson, and she was a member of the Zento troupe of bicyclists. They were married in London, and performed together on the Continent until 1885, when they came to America.’
(The Sun, New York, Thursday, 1 September 1892, p. 9f)

‘If You Would Succeed in the Acrobatic Art Take a Foreign Name.
‘So Says a Clever Impersonator of That Highly Mischievous Character.
‘A gymnastic team which was billed under the names of Paulinetti and Piquo lately appeared at the Orpheum Theater in this city [San Francisco] and presented an act on the horizontal bar that was probably as entertaining as any that has ever been witnessed on the stage. One would infer from the Italian nature of the names that the possessors were born and reared in Italy’s sunny country, but would be somewhat surprised to learn that instead of being of foreign extraction the two gentlemen are both natives of these glorious United States, and to use the words of Piquo himself they are proud of it. There are tricks in all trades, and the theatrical profession is no exception to this general rule, but in an interesting talk with Piquo the reasons for this assumption of foreign cognomens were readily understood and it must be granted that the little deception practised on the American public is fully warranted by the attendant circumstances. It is a well known fact, says Piquo, that a variety artist who appears under a name peculiar to European countries is almost invariably assured of being well received by an American audience simply because there is a mistaken impression that whatever is foreign must be good. This, says he, militates against the American artist, especially in acrobatic performances, and Piquo evidently knows whereof he speaks, for he is no novice in the theatrical business. He first commenced to earn regular salary and thereby professionalized himself in 1868 in the city of New York, where he was born. His proper every day name is T.S. Dare, or Tommy Dare, as he is familiarly called by those who know him best. He played the part of the clown in the act, and will be remembered as having caused considerable merriment in that character. His partner, who rejoices under the name of Paulinetti when he is doing his turn, is Ph. Thurber when he is not going through his very clever and difficult scientific work on the horizontal bar.
‘Piquo says that the immediate cause of their taking the foreign names was the fact that they had traveled extensively throughout Europe, showing at the best music halls in the principal cities, and on returning to this country conceived the scheme. The first manager to whom they applied for an engagement, on learning that they had just arrived from across the pond and had closed a successful season of several months at the Folies Bergeres, in Paris, immediately contracted for their appearance at his theater and paid them double salary for the European name. When they first went to England as the American artists, ”Dare and Thurber,” they were coldly received by the English managers, who said there was a surfeit of that horizontal bar business in the theatrical market, ”don’t you know,” but condescended to give them a trial. The managers soon thawed out, however, on the opening night, when they saw how well the team was received by the languid English audiences, who really became enthusiastic in their applause. After that long engagements were the rule. Mr. Dare (of Piquo), for his identity must be preserved, is authority for the statement that English acrobatic artists cannot compare with the Americans engaged in the same line. In their gymnastic work, while the former are slow, studied and lumbering, the latter are more easy, quick and graceful. Piquo also says that the feats which he and Paulinetti perform are not on-half as difficult as answering to their foreign aliases. After a performance one evening a gentleman of color was overhead to remark to his companion, ”Say, Johnson, dem fellers, Polinaris and Pie-cut, were de best on de programme.”
‘Piquo’s countenance became sad when he said that there was some danger of the team separating, on account of some little misunderstand, but it is to be hoped that such an event will not occur, for two people who work so well together in public should experience no difficulty in getting along in their private life. But Piquo says that it is the gratitude of the world. To use his language: ”I have had a score of partners in the course of my theatrical career; have given them all the benefit of my thirty years’ experience in the acrobatic business, and the they gave me the frigid shake. But, never mind, if this one leaves me I will soon get another one, and we will hold on to the name of ‘Paulinetti and Piquo’ even if the new man should be Scandinavian.”’
(The San Francisco Call, Friday, 14 January 1898, p. 9b)


Ella Wesner

February 7, 2013

Ella Wesner (1841-1917), American dancer, singer and male impersonator.
(photo: Sarony, New York, circa 1870)

For several later photographs of Miss Wesner as a male impersonator, see the New York Public Library Digital Gallery). Miss Wesner’s sisters Mary, Sallie, Lizzie and Margaret were also actresses.

Ella Wesner at the Cambridge music hall, London, June/July 1871
‘Miss Ella Wesner, the new and popular American impersonator of male characters, delighted everybody by the spirited and finished style in which she sang ”I’m the pet of the ladies,” ”Glorious champagne,” ”Pistols for two,” and ”The light fantastic toe.” In response to an earnest recall she danced as well.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 2 July 1871, p.5c)