Posts Tagged ‘Hana (photographer)’

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Philip Braham’s The March Hares

June 4, 2013

Philip Braham’s ‘The March Hares’ (fl. Circa 1910&#451913), English concert party
top to bottom, G. Davy Burnaby, Sybil Clare, Eric Blore, Byon Dreno, Bernard Ansell, and Faith Lonnen (Mrs Philip Braham)
(photo: Hana, London, 1913)

The March Hares concert party was the brainchild of Philip Braham (1881-1934), the composer who wrote a large number of songs for West End musicals and revues between 1913 and the mid 1920s. Perhaps his best remembered number is ‘Limehouse Blues’ which has been recorded many times.

Two members of The March Hares went on to enjoy very successful careers: Davy Burnaby (1881-1949) and Eric Blore (1887/88-1959). Burnaby appeared in a string of West End productions as well as in films, while Blore, following a similar path, found even greater success on Broadway and in Hollywood where his bumbling bulter/valet character earned him lasting popularity.

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Bert Terrell

June 3, 2013

Bert Terrell (fl. early 20th Century), British music hall entertainer and yodeller, billed as ‘The Dutch comedian’
(photos: Hana Studios Ltd, London, circa 1912)

The reverse of the above photograph is inscribed as follows: ‘Bert Terrell, The Dutch Comedian. Hair, Very fair. Eyes, Blue. Blouse, Claret. Muffler, Red with white spots. Cap, Claret brown, Navy Blue Peak. Buttons, Pearl. Belt, Navy Blue, Nickel Buckle. Trousers, Navy Blue. Socks, Scarlet. Sabots, Wood.’

Terrell, who appeared in the United States and Australia in 1910, is known to have made a number of disc and cylinder recordings, including ‘Silvery Moonbeams,’Aloha,’ ‘Mine Leedle Boy’ and ‘Dairy Fairy’ all recorded in London for the Edison Bell Radio label in 1929.

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Chummie La Mara

June 1, 2013

Chummie La Mara (d. 1945), British music hall comedienne, billed as a ‘burlesque artiste’
(photo: Hana, London, circa 1899)

Gatti’s Palace of Varieties, 214 Westminster Bridge Road, London, July 1899.
‘It would require too great a knowledge of the vernacular of the modiste for the mere man to attempt to describe the charming costumes worn by Miss Chummie La Mara, who sings with any amount of go a lilt laudatory of Bacchus. “She hasn’t been the same girl since” tells of the alteration in a damsel’s way of conducting herself since her residence in Pimlico – favoured locale of the music hall song writer – and, clad in handsome principal boy’s costume, which displays her fine proportions to the utmost advantage, she has the vigorous assistance of the gods to help her trill “Meet me, love.” Miss La Mara’s is a very pleasing and popular turn.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 29 July 1899, p.16a)

‘Chummie LaMara.
‘Songs.
‘18 Mins.; Two [changes of costume].
‘Pastor’s [14th Street, New York City, week beginning Monday, 22 July 1907]
‘Chummie LaMara came over from London for her first American appearance without a marked English accent, but the young woman brought over a new wrinkle in dressing for the vaudeville stage. Probably by this time eight or ten burlesque managers have decided that each will use the design ”exclusively” for next season. Miss LeMara [sic] wears it after the second song. The costume is a silver embroidered decollete gown, overlaid with a black net covering. On the right side, from the waist down, the skirt has a partly concealed opening, but the aperture is permanent. To meet the exigencies of sudden draughts, Miss LaMara’s lower limbs are encased in a nice looking pair of tights, or at least what could be seen had that appearance. Chummie isn’t extravagant in the display. Were she to throw one end of the skirt over her shoulder for a Claude Duval effect, Chummie would be a stunning picture, according to all the information at hand. But she doesn’t, and she isn’t featuring the tights here, although that might have happened at the Oxford Music Hall in London, the the program says Chum came from. Another thing about Chum is that she sings two verses only of her songs. The usual English singer heretofore invariably seemed to have learned the third verse first, and would cancel an engagement rather than forego the singing of it. Miss LaMara sang four songs, ”What’s the Use of Waiting,’ ”You Can’t Do without a Girl,” ”Sailing in My Balloon” and ”Swing Me Higher, Obadiah.” From those tights, one might imagine that Chummie would take a chance with the lyrics, but she really has the cleanest collection of selections of any foreign singer who has played on this side [of the Atlantic]. Chummie looks good on the stage. The songs are not alarmingly catchy, but Chum manages to induce the audience to join in a couple. With a pleasing stage presence, it must be much gratification to Chummie to know she is making a big hit at Pastor’s Tuesday evening, the audience applauded so vociferously that she was compelled to return before the footlights after the card for the next act had been placed, an unusual occurrence at the Fourteeth street house. The girl doesn’t try for comedy, and she is not likely to achieve the success some of her predecessors, but Chummie is all right. She is a type of the English singer we have not seen before.’
(Variety, New York, Saturday, 27 July 1907, p. 12c/d)

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La Divine Amylla

May 27, 2013

La Divine Amylla (fl. early 20th Century), dancer
(photo: Hana, London, circa 1908/1909)

This real photograph postcard, probably dating from about 1908/1909, is by Hana, theatrical and music hall photographer, London.

‘Beauty and Classicism at The Empire [Johannesburg, South Africa].
‘The ”sensation” of the Empire season just now, the ”top-liner,” is Mdlle. Amylla, classic dancer. She brought a huge audience to the Palace [sic] on Monday, and there has been little or no falling off through the week. Opinions may clash as to the ”sensuality” of the lady’s show. I can see none. It is Art, pure unadulterated Art, of a kind that explains the furore created by Maud Allan and her imitators in England. The ”divine Amylla,” I should imagine, is unequalled in her own line. She is the embodiment of Moods – lithe, sinuous, graceful, sometimes snake-like in her dancing; reflecting the meaning of the music, subtly conveying its lesson without words. In her illustration of the Chopin Marche Funebre, she is the very abandonment of woe, crushed to the earth by calamity; a one bound she reaches the other Pole, when Mendelssohn’s Spring Song begins – she is the Spirit of Youth, the Nymph of dancing for sheer lightness of heart in ”meadows trim with daisies pied.” As the awakened statue she is a picture of unreasoning ecstasy in her dance before the shrine. But the masterpiece is her presentation of Herodia’s daughter, the young lady who so charmed her step-father by her dancing that he vowed a vow she should have whatso’er she wishes – and she took him at his word and got the head of John the Baptist, in disfavour with her mother because he had condemned that person’s marriage with her deceased husband’s brother Herod. This items is distinctly ”thrilly.” We have to imagine Herod sitting in the great hall, in ”bad eminence,” with his vindictive spouse by his side, surrounded by stern soldiery. Enter Salome, fit daughter of a wanton mother, very neglige as to costume. She dances after a fashion fit to wile the senses of any man, until once can fancy the enraptured Herod crying, ”with an oath,” that she could have her wish even to half of his kingdom. ”Being instructed of her mother,” she compasses the death of John, and presently receives the ghastly head, which she now fondles, now taunts, now spurns, a very Megæra tormented by the memory of her own crime. It is a wonderful, a magnetic illusion, lasting until the woman falls, exhausted as much by physical strain as by mental stress so it is presented. There was no questioning Amylla’s triumph. She gripped the crowded house from the first, and her hold grew stronger until the ”Salome incident,” which drew thunders of cheering and brought her again and again to the divided curtain.’
(The Transvaal Critic, Johannesburg, South Africa, Friday, 4 December 1908, quoted in The Encore, London, Thursday, 28 January 1909, p. 9 advertisement)

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Doris Ashton

May 20, 2013

Doris Ashton (fl. 1919-1938), English popular singer, variety theatre entertainer and pantomime principal boy
(photo: Hana, London, circa 1919)

Doris Ashton appears to have had some success as a popular singer in the United Kingdom during the 1920s and ’30s. She began her career in 1919 and that year and the following she was at the London Coliseum. In 1920 she made a handful of recordings in London for the Regal label. She next appeared in Pot Luck!, described as a ‘Cabaret Show,’ which opened for a successful run at the Vaudeville Theatre, London, on 24 December 1921. The cast also included Jack Hulbert, Beatrice Lillie, Mary Leigh, Margaret Bannerman, Norah Blaney and Gwen Farrar, and Maidie Scott. ‘Miss Doris Ashton has a good voice, which she has no need to force.’ (The Daily Mirror, London, Tuesday, 27 December 1921, p. 12a)

During 1926 and again in the 1930s, Doris Ashton made a number of broadcasts for the BBC. In the late 1920s she also appeared with the entertainer Billy Rawson. They were at the London Palladium together in 1928, the year in which they made an 8 minute synchronized sound film in London for the De Forest Phonofilm company, which was released in May that year. In January 1929 the couple appeared in the pantomime Dick Whittington and His Cat, at the Metropole Theatre, Glasgow. This was followed in March by a personal appearance on stage at the Astoria cinema in London.

Doris Ashton’s other pantomime parts included as the Princess Guenevere in the Brixton Theatre, London, pantomime of 1927/28, St. George and the Dragon. At Christmas 1931 she was principal boy at the Brixton Theatre’s pantomime, Sleeping Beauty. ‘Miss Doris Ashton is a principal boy good enough in diction, presence, and voice for Drury Lane – or should it be in these days be the Lyceum?’ (The Times, London, 28 December 1931, p. 8b) (The last Drury Lane pantomime was The Sleeping Beauty at Christmas 1929). Miss Ashton returned to the Brixton Theatre for the Christmas pantomimes of 1936 and 1937, respectively Babes in the Wood, when she appeared as Robin Hood, and The Sleeping Beauty, when she appeared as the principal boy.

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The Three Meers

April 26, 2013

a cabinet photograph of The Three Meers (fl. late 19th/early 20th Century), English comedy wire act (left to right, George Omo, Alf Meers and his wife, May Meers)
(photo: Hana, London, circa 1900)

Alfred Meers, said to have been born about 1868 at Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England, the son of Robert Meers and his wife, Lucy (née Koplen), married May Vinson Warren in Manhattan, New York, on 12 April 1896.

”’Alfy” Meers is now a landlord, as he writes me, having purchased two houses at Catford, London, one of which is called the ”Meers,” and the other ”Warren” Villa. His title must be increasing in size in consequence. When you see him, ask him what ”Pop’s” Villa comes off.’
(The Music Hall and Theatre Review, London, Friday, 21 September 1894, p. 10c)

The Royal music hall, London
‘What a technically known as ”straight shows” are apparently slowly but surely becoming almost a dead letter in the music halls. It has become quite a rarity to see either vocal or acrobatic performers who do not introduce more or less comedy into their act, skill of the most expert order often being made subservient to mere comic fooling. The Meers don’t go quite as far as this, but they have re-modelled their clever wire act in such a manner as to appeal to the risible faculties of the audience, as well as to its appreciation of a distinguished exposition of the art of wire-walking. Mr. Alf Meers is responsible for most of the fun, and, together with his partner, performs a series of feats that are remarkable for extraordinary powers of balancing the body while careering on a thin, lightly-stretched wire. As a conclusion he mounts a wire which is made to travel along at a very rapid speed, maintaining his foothold in surprising fashion. After this comes tumultuous applause from the audience, who can but be delighted with what they have seen.’
(The Music Hall and Theatre Review, London, Friday, 9 August 1901, p. 91c)

‘The Meers now proceed on a short provincial tour. They return to the London Pavilion early in September, and thereafter again visit the Continent.’
(The Music Hall and Theatre Review, London, Friday, 16 August 1901, p. 111d)

‘The Meers, whose comic wire act, entitled ”Early Morning,” is so popular a constituent of the Pavilion programme just now, shortly proceed on another tour of the Continent. They go to Amsterdam for a fortnight, to Brussels for a for fortnight, and to Dusselldorf for a fortnight. In December they cross the Atlantic, in fulfilment of engagements that will occupy them six months.’
(The Music Hall and Theatre Review, London, Friday, 6 September 1901, p. 157c)

‘Another sensational European novelty heads the bill at Keith’s Theatre this week, where the three Meers, from the Palace Theatre at St. Petersburg, make their debut.’
(The New York Times, New York, Sunday, 20 April 1902, p. 14b)

‘THE THREE MEERS.
‘(Alf. Meers, May Meers and Geo. Omo)
‘Alf. Meers, the manager of the Three Meers, was born in Cheltenham, in the county of Gloucester, England, and made his first appearance before the public as a boy four years old, at Newsome’s Circus, in Liverpool, 1872. He is the originator and first producer of three people on one wire at the same time. He is also the originator of ”the endless wire trick.” Mr. Meers made his first American debut in 1894, with the Lottie Collins Co., and has returned three times to fulfil successful engagements. The Three Meers open on the Keith Circuit Oct. 23, 1903.’
(The New York Clipper, New York, Wednesday, 25 February 1903, p. XIIb)

‘The Three Meers.
‘Comedy wire artistes. Now doing a round of the chief provincial towns. In October next they sail for America, where they are under contract for twelve months. After this they return to England to fulfil an engagement at the Empire, Leicester Square.’
(The Variety Theatre, London, Friday, 14 July 1905, p.9)

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Winifred Hare, English actress and singer, and popular pantomime principal boy

February 2, 2013

Winifred Hare (1875-?1930), English actress and singer,
and popular pantomime principal boy
(photo: Hana, London, circa 1908)

‘When [Hervé’s] Chilperic is produced at the Coronet and Camden Theatres next March it will be found considerably altered in story from the version which set the town a-talking thirty years ago, when, as The Referee reminds us, the brothers Mansell produced it at the Lyceum. The new author, inspired by the whitewashing with which recent historians have rehabilitated Henry VIII., Nero, and other quondam-reprobates, has set himself the task of demonstrating that Fredegonde, the much-abused third wife of Chilperic, was much more sinned against then sinning, and that the charges recited against her by historians are mere symptoms of a monstrous conspiracy organised by Brunchant, Chilperic’s brother’s wife, to punish Fredegonde because she prevented Brunchant from stealing Chilperic’s kingdom. In this formidable task the new author has an ally who will surely convince the most pedantic of critics that the historians must have been mistaken, for “Fredegonde” is to be represented by Miss Winifred Hare, and in this re-incarnation no one will think her capable of any worse crime than that of stealing hearts.
(programme note, Camden Theatre, Camden Town, north London, week beginning Monday, 8 December 1902)