Posts Tagged ‘Tony Pastor’


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)


Flora and May Hengler, American duettists and dancers

January 5, 2013

Hengler Sisters (Flora and May, fl. late 19th/early 20th Century),
American duettists and dancers
(photo: Morrison, Chicago, mid 1890s)

‘Announcement is made that the Hengler sisters lately danced at an entertainment in the house of one of the Vanderbilts at Newport. The unimpeachability of the Vanderbilts is less significant in this instance than the delicate compliment carried to the taste of the entertainment committee of the Hanover club. It will be remembered that the Hengler sisters danced at that club with so much chic and agility that the integrity of the organization was seriously threatened by the women who were not present.’
(The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, New York, Monday, 24 July 1893, p. 4e)

‘The Hengler sisters, two little girls, who began their professional career about the time that they made a stir by dancing at the dignified Hanover Club of this city, are in Paris. They began a return engagement at the Folies Bergeres in Paris on September 4. During their previous engagement they made such a hit that M. Marchand, the manager, gave them this return engagement, which is for three months. They are the stars of the bill, and the fact that they are Americans is noted on the programmes. They are said to be the first performers to make a success in Paris with what is known as a ”neat” singing and dancing act.’
(The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, New York, Sunday, 3 October 1897, p. 16c)

‘In connection with this production [The Sleeping Beauty and the Beast, Broadway Theatre, New York, 4 November 1901] the appearance of the Hengler sisters brings back memories to the old-time theatre-goer. They are the daughter of T.M. Hengler, dead these many years, who with his partner, W.H. Delehanty, was a pioneer in what for many years was known as the ”refined clog-dancing speciality.” Both men were Albanians, and had been in minstrel troupes for several years, when, in 1868 they formed the team of Delehanty and Hengler and joined Dingess and Green’s minstrels. Then they introduced the act of coming on dressed in the pink of costume fashion, the stage usually being set as a garden. There is a sample of the kind of song they sang:

White wandering in the park one day
In the pleasant month of May,
What was my surprise
When a pair of roguish eyes
Met me by the fountain in the park

‘At the end of each verse they broke into a clog-step in rhythmical harmony with the music.
‘The little Hengler girls have speaking parts in the extravaganza. One of them has had more serious dramatic ambitions, and has devoted time to the study of Shakespeare and reading. Tony Pastor first saw their talent, and was largely responsible for their first opportunities in London.’
(The New York Times, New York, Sunday, 10 November 1901, Magazine Supplement, p. 3d)

‘Shuberts Sign Hengler Sisters.
‘The Hengler sisters, Flora and May, have signed a contract to appear under the management of Shubert Bros. when they make their new production that Reginald De Koven is writing for the new Lyric Theater. Prominent roles will be assigned the Hengler sisters, and it is said they will be seen in more pretentious parts then they have yet essayed.’
(The Post-Standard, Syracuse, New York, 30 November 1902, p. 11c)

‘The Hengler Sisters are reported to be arousing the audiences to great enthusiasm at the Alhambra Music Hall, London, with their dainty turn. They are billed to appear at 10.30 P.M., which is headliners’ time in England, and are effectively singing ”The Maiden With the Dreamy Eyes” and ”Down Where the Cocoanut Grows,” Horowitz & Bowers’ latest effort. It is expected that they will arrive in new York shortly, to go into one of the Shubert productions.’
(The New York Clipper, New York, 4 April 1903, p. 134d)

‘Mrs. Stuyvesant Fish gave a dinner Thursday evening at her house, 25 East Seventy-eighth street, New York, for Mr. and Mrs. Albert Zabriskie Gray. Her guests were seated at tables decorated with spring flowers.
‘After the dinner, which was accompanied by the music of Highland bagpipers, there were songs and dances by the Misses May and Flora Hengler. General dancing followed the entertainment, and for this other guests arrived.’
(The Washington Post, Washington, D.C., Saturday, 4 February 1911, p. 7e)