Posts Tagged ‘Harriett Vernon’


Florence Dysart as Maid Marion in the pantomime, Babes in the Wood and Robin Hood and his Merry Men, produced at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London, on 26 December 1888

May 3, 2014

Florence Dysart (active 1881-1897), English mezzo-soprano and actress, as she appeared as the principal girl, Maid Marion in the pantomime Babes in the Wood and Robin Hood and his Merry Men, which was produced at the Drury Lane Theatre, on Boxing night, 26 December 1888.
(cabinet photo: The London Stereoscopic & Photographic Co Ltd, London, 1888)

‘TEN MINUTES’ CHAT WITH AUGUSTUS DRURIOLANUS [i.e. Augustus Harris, manager of the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane].
‘I risked my life in order to catch Mr. Harris, for I arrived at the stage door in the middle of the great scene in The Armada, and when I reached the stage soon began to feel as helpless as a straw in a maelström. I was driven hither by perspiring men-at-arms, and thither by panting halberdiers, shoved here by the blowing scene-shifters and there by gallant knights, glared at by beetle-browed Spaniards, glowered at by Elizabethan jacks, nearly spitted by the professional rippers [a reference to Jack the Ripper]of the period, crushed by the tumbling masts, blinded by the flash of musketry, and deafened by the cannon’s roar. So I was glad to find myself in the Harrisian haven, a cosy little den, from which the great Druriolanus directs his many enterprises.
”’Well, Mr. Harris, how is the pantomime getting on, and what is it to be?”
”’Jack the Giant K——, Babes in the Wood, I mean, replied Druriolanus, who had forgotten for the moment.
”’Will the Babes beat the record?”
”’The Babes will beat the record.”
”In what way, Mr. Harris? More money, more spectacle?”
”People seem to think that a successful pantomime is only a matter of money, It is a great mistake. You can’t make an omelette without eggs, of course, but many an omelette has been spoiled notwithstanding the sacrifice of a good many good eggs.”
”’Your refer to brains, Mr. Harris?” Mr. Harris refused to answer; but a smile played about his swarthy countenance, and he, blushing in his confusion, began to take to pieces a little camera, with which he photographs designs and scenery.
”’There is no doubt that money spent on a pantomime without brains might as well be thrown into the gutter.”
”’Well, now, tell me, Mr. Harris, when do you begin to thank about pantomimes?”
”’Last January I fixed on the Babes, and began to make arrangements for my book, my business, my stars, my properties, and my sensations.”
”’Which are ——?”
”’My big scene will be the ‘Ballet of Birds,’ the most beautiful thing I have ever done. You smile. Ha! because I told you that last year, eh? You bow. But don’t I tell you that every year I try to beat the record? So it will be more beautiful than ever. The birds will be selected for their splendid plumage. Birds of Paradise, birds of Japan, birds of the East – but there, you can imagine the stage filled with hundreds of feathered things.” Without knowing, I should prophesy that Mr. Harris will invent a good many specimens unknown to ornithologists, such as birds with tails of diamond sprays, with golden beaks, silver legs, ruby eyes, and so on.
”’Any other sensation, Mr. Harris?”
”’Well, I think I have got a novelty which will be very attractive. When the ‘Babes’ go into the wood, the wood will move with them. As they lose themselves the forest gets thicker, the scrub denser, until they reach the gloomiest glade of the forest, when they lie down and die. I have tried to get this effect for four years, but only now have I succeeded. The machinery is made abroad.”
”’Who are the ‘Babes’?”
Mr. Harry Nicholls and Mr. Herbert Campbell. Mdme. Ænea is Robin Redbreast, Miss Harriet Vernon is ‘the’ boy, and Miss Florence Dysart the leading lady.”
”’And your danseuse?”
”’Well, the pantomime public doesn’t care about the ballet in the sense that the word is used – I mean too much dancing.”
”’Nevertheless I suppose you will have a good many ladies on the stage?”
”’A few hundreds,” replied Mr. Harris, with nonchalance.
”’I suppose you are overwhelmed with applications?”
”From all parts of the country, for months past. The process of selection takes some time and trouble, I can tell you. When a girl writes we ask her to send her photo and previous experience, and all the letters are carefully sifted. I need not tell you that all sorts of dodges are tried in order to secure an engagement. A young lady may squint, in which case she would probably send me the photo of her sister or her friend. Or she may have only one eye, and request the photographer to add the other. What I do is to sift the photos, and I have letters written to the likely ones requesting them to be at the theatre on a certain day. They come and are marched on to the stage. I then arrange them in regiments, putting them into little squadrons of all and small, and fair and dark, and comely and otherwise. With my secretary I then go through them, having already sampled them, so to speak. We have their letters, and as we pass each one I say to the secretary, ‘A,’ ‘B,’ ‘C,’ ‘D,’ ‘E,’ &c., each of the letters having a special significance. This done, we then write to the selected ones. I need not tell you that this is a very important business which I always do myself.”
”’Have you many children in the pantomime this year?”
”’Not many. The children are a great deal of trouble.” The the joy bells began ringing, and Mr. Harris took me to see the grand procession in the Armada.’
(The Pall Mall Gazette, London, Tuesday, 4 December 1888, p. 6a)


Harriett Vernon as Sir Thomas Wyatt in the burlesque, Herne the Hunted, produced at Toole’s Theatre, London, on 3 July 1886.

January 24, 2014

Harriett Vernon (1852-1923), English music hall singer and burlesque actress, as Sir Thomas Wyatt in the burlesque, Herne the Hunted, produced at Toole’s Theatre, London, on 3 July 1886.
(photo: unknown, probably London, 1886)

Toole’s Theatre, London, Saturday evening, 3 July 1886
‘This house opened for the Summer season on Saturday evening, under the management of Messrs. [William] Yardley and H.P. Stephens… . Herne the Hunted [the third item on the bill] is principally noticeable for the clever manner in which the principal characters sing and danced. What story it possesses is certainly not worth relating; but the antics and quaint manner of Mr. Arthur Williams as the ”Demon Hunter,” who admits that he is a fraud; the animation of Miss Emily Spiller as Mabel Lyndwood, and of Miss Harriett Vernon as Sir Thomas Wyatt; the clowning of Mr. Allnutt as Henry VIII.; and the humour of Miss Harriet Coveney as Katherine of Arragon are all worth recording. Mr. Frank Wood has no opportunity as Will Somers; but Mr. [Herman] De Lange makes a capital French Ambassador, and renders great assistance to the vocal music. Perhaps the funniest incident of the burlesque is the fox hunt, which occurs in the last scene (the burlesque is divided into five). Pantomime hounds cross the stage, followed by all the Royal party and retainers, and, last of all – the fox! The French Duc shoots the quarry with a Lowther-arcadian gun [i.e. toy guy: Lowther Arcade in London’s Strand was once famous for its toyshops], and returns in triumph, shouting ”Vive la France!” The music, selected and composed by Mr. Hamilton Clarke, is bright and inspiriting; and Mr. Arthur Williams has a topical song, ”Just in the old sweet way,” which is certain to achieve popularity. Messrs. Yardley and Stephens were called at the fall of the curtain.’
(The Standard, London, Monday, 5 July 1886, p. 2b)


Harriett Vernon in The Japs, 1885

July 15, 2013

Harriett Vernon (1852-1923), English music hall singer and actress as Cammpi in The Japs; or, The Doomed Daimio, a burlesque by Harry Paulton and Mostyn Tedde, first produced at the Prince’s Theatre, Bristol, 31 August 1885 and the Novelty Theatre, London, 19 September 1885. Other members of the cast included Lionel Brough, Willie Edouin, Fred Kaye, Kate James and Alice Atherton.
(photo: unknown, probably London, 1885)


Harriett Vernon’s ‘Young King Neptune,’ 1894

January 11, 2013

a portrait of Harriett Vernon (1852-1923),
English music hall singer, pantomime principal boy and actress,
featured on the lithograph song sheet cover of Arthur Seldon’s patriotic song,
‘Young King Neptune’
(published by Francis, Day & Hunter, London, and T.B. Harms & Co, New York, 1894; printed by H.G. Banks, London, 1894)

London Pavilion, Bank Holiday Monday, 7 May 1894
‘… The serio-comic business found excellent exponents in Miss Marie Le Blanc, Miss Florrie Robina, and Miss Maggie Duggan. Miss Harriett Vernon was vociferously applauded in the character of Neptune, her costume being simply superb… .’
(The Standard, London, Tuesday, 15 May 1894, p. 2d)

Harriett Vernon

Harriett Vernon in the character of ‘Young King Neptune’
(photo: unknown, probably London, 1894)

This real photograph cigarette card was issued in the United States of America during 1894 or shortly thereafter.