Archive for August, 2010

Bank Holiday Bonus III – A printer’s warning

Monday, August 30th, 2010

It seems that not all jugglers can be trusted. In 1972 Robert Wood wrote a book entitled “The Victorian Provincial Printer and the Stage; an essay based on information gleaned from the papers left by John Procter and his son”. It has a section describing the letters that printers sent to each other to warn their colleagues about dodgy characters. Here’s one of them:

Letter from Wood, R (1972). The Victorian Provincial Printer and the Stage; an essay based on information gleaned from the papers left by John Procter and his son

From Wood (1972)

Middlesbrough
Dear Procter,

A person named Shaw, ‘recreative philosopher’ or ‘Juggler’, left this part six years ago, owing me 21/-. He is now in the neighbourhood and tells me a ‘cock and bull story’ about giving someone the money to pay me and that this somebody gave him a receipt, purporting to be mine, and he is going to prosecute the individual.

He promises to pay me this week, whether or no, so you had better look out for some tin should you do him any work.

Yours truly,

J. JORDISON

Emeline Ethardo at Newcastle Empire

Friday, August 20th, 2010

 Readers of rec.juggling may recognise today’s material – it’s the very first stuff that I found when I started looking for  material about the history of  juggling in the North East. This advertisement appeared in the 27 July 1895 edition of the Gateshead Guardian: 

Emeline Ethardo advert - Gateshead Guardian, July 27 1895

Gateshead Guardian, July 27 1895

Emeline Ethardo, “A distinct Novelty, A Juggler, a Contortionist, a Dancer, an Acrobat, an Instrumentalist. Something new” was on the bill at the Newcastle Empire Theatre for the week of 29 July 1893. Also of note on the bill is the second appearance on this blog of Conway and Leland, “One-legged Acrobats” who also appeared with WC Fields in Sunderland in 1908, billed as “Cheerful Monopedes”! 

Emeline is listed in Michale Kilgariff’s book ‘Grace, Beauty and Banjos: Peculiar Lives and Strange Times of Music Hall and Variety Artistes’ as a juggler, which suggests a link with Signor Ethardo – the Spiral Ascensionist (he used a walking globe and climbed enormous spiral tracks) – although he was possibly as a mentor or trainer rather than a relative.  The excellent arthurlloyd.co.uk  also has her listed as appearing at the opening of the Metropolitan Theatre, Paddington, London in 1897. 

But the only information we have about the performance comes from the review from the Gateshead Guardian in the week following the advert above. On 3 August 1895 they say: 

The Empire, Newcastle
There has been this week an excellent company at the Empire, and full houses. The chief attraction is Mr Edwin Boyd, the favourite London comedian, whose songs were rendered in a very talking manner, and were received with the greatest enthusiasm, especially his song “Life in the East End of London”. Miss Emmeline Ethardo pleased the audience immensely with her clever displays of juggling and contortion feats. Conway & Leland, the one legged acrobats, met with a great reception with their clever tumbling, etc. The Albert & Edmund troupe provide a highly amusing sketch, “The Locket”. The other artistes were Edith Yorke, vocalist; the Waldrons (Joe and Etty), burlesque artistes and dancers; Lily Langtree, comedienne; the Fairy Four, vocalists and dancers; and Arthur F. Cecil, mimic; all of whom gained the cordial approval of the audience. 

The Zanettos and the Korosko Bale Sisters

Friday, August 6th, 2010

Firstly – my apologies for missing a post last time, hopefully this double dose will make up for it!

The Zanettos, “World-renowned jugglers and equilibrists” are advertised to appear at the Newcastle Empire on the front cover of the Gateshead Guardian of 31 August 1895:

The Zanettos at Newcastle Empire 31 August 1895 - Gateshead Guardian Advert

From Gateshead Central Library

As you can see from their review a week later (published on 7 September 1895) there’s scant information apart from describing their routine as “clever”, and misspelling their name:

The Zanettos at Newcastle Empire 7 Sept 1895 - Gateshead Guardian article

From Gateshead Central Library

However, a bit of Googling has revealed a real treat. http://www.theroyalzanettos.com/ is a treasure trove of information about the Bale family who were the core of the Zanettos. The Posters, Press and Programmes page has some great material that fans of this site will enjoy, but for me the best stuff is on http://www.theroyalzanettos.com/stoppressapril2010.htm – which includes an interview with Edwin Bale published while he was performing in Newcastle.

The interview describes how the performers came to impersonate Japanese jugglers (with some language that’s probably most kindly described as “of its time”) which leads me onto the second half of this weeks double-header. At the Gaiety Theatre of Varieties in Hartlepool, for the week of 11 August 1902 the Sisters Korosko Bale, “Double Japanese Jugglers, Balancers &c” appeared, along with their “splendid performing pigeons”:

Sisters Korosoko Bale Poster

From Tyne & Wear Archives

The name Bale associated with ‘Japanese’ juggling must mean that they’re linked to the Zanettos, but I’ve not been able to confirm the exact nature of the connection. However I did find the abstract for a academic conference presentation that refers to the Zanettos and the Korosko Bale troupe, and has some more pictures of the Zanettos. Scroll right down to the bottom of the page to find a link to the presentation slides.

I hope you enjoy all that linked material as much as I did.