Saturday, January 08, 2011

Sepia Saturday 56 : The Acme Of Perfection In Pierrotic Entertainment


I inherited this photograph from my Auntie Annie and Uncle Harry. During the late twenties and early thirties, Uncle Harry "trod the boards" as a member of a touring concert party, and this, I believe, is a picture of the group in question - "The Silhouettes Concert Party". Without doubt, that is Uncle Harry ("Harry Moore Pianist and Tenor Vocalist"), second from the right. The identity of the other members of the party is somewhat unclear, but I also inherited a small programme from an appearance by the group at the Pier Hall, Bognar in 1931 and this provides a cast list.


Now we have names, the game becomes matching names to faces. My guess is as follows, but there is no reason why my guess is better than anyone else's, so feel free to mix and match at will. But, for me, the photograph could well feature (from left to right) :

Elsie Prince (Soprano, late of "Farce" and other leading concert parties)
Tom Lind (The London Light Comedian and Dancer, late of Albert De Courville Productions)
Unknown Dancer
Unknown Puppet!
Harry Christian (Comedian, late of "Catlins" and own show "Comedy")
Johnny Dixon (Comedian/Producer, prior to the last season for three years with the "Arcadian Follies" at Blackpool and Hastings)
Mason Cole (Baritone, lead from musical comedy and revue)
Unknown Dancer
Harry Moore
Audrey Hawke (Soubrette and Dancer, a well known young pantomime principal boy)

The reverse of the cast list provides a wonderful description - "We Beg To State ... " - of the type of entertainment on offer by this "exceptional attraction", which was "The Acme of Perfection In Pierrotic Entertainment". So roll up, roll up and reserve your seats now. 


I have another document dating back to Uncle Harry's career in the Concert Party which I will return to next week. In the meantime why not take a look at some of the other fabulous Sepia Saturday entries by going to the Sepia Saturday Blog.


26 comments:

  1. Nice Post, Alan. Treading the boards in those days was not a bed of roses. They would have been a robust and determined group, that's for sure.

    My son-in-law is from Felpham, in Bognor Regis. I'm guessing the Pier Hall in question was at the end of the pier, that was opened in 1865?

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  2. Nice bit of local/family history in this post.

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  3. alan, methinks you have you been up to your usual hijinxs and have created another marvelous new word - pierrotic? as to mean pier dancing???

    fabulous post!

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  4. p.s. I was so focused on complimenting you on your wordsmithing i forgot to mention how i thought the industrial background added such an interesting touch to the cast portrait!

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  5. What did Sherlock Holmes say about a little art in the blood? Heh, heh! You seem to have come by your artistic sensibilities honestly.

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  6. What a fantastic and surreal photo! The puppet! The smokestacks! Your uncle's peculiar hairdo!

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  7. This is a gem. They all look as if they're truly having a wonderful time. The smokestacks are very interesting as a backdrop. Great post!

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  8. i guess they are on a pier not a rooftop. there is a story here for sure.

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  9. Brilliant. That's what I call real entertainment - they knew how to do it in those days.

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  10. Such interesting family history!

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  11. What an interesting family you belong to. Apart from the police inspector (whom I have heard described as a nasty bugger), mine were all farmers and quarrymen.

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  12. Oh I love Uncle Harrys hair! And those ladies..showing all different skirt lengths! Wonderful photo:)

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  13. Acme, now there's a good word. Might have to try and find a use for that. It sounds like a disease. "She's got terrible acme. Comes from all that pierrotic entertainment she gets up to."

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  14. Fantastic photo and I love Uncle Harry and his hair. They look a very happy bunch.

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  15. Thats a lovely piece of family history you have there. Any talent remaining on your side? Sing us a song then!

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  16. oh how great, complete with puppet! The lady standing to the far right looks like she could be from any time today too...Pierrotic, ala Pierre, Pierro and Pierrette? Great photo and imagine the fun they had..

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  17. interesting pic and facts. a good thing the kneeling girls were holding on to their skirt as it looked quite breezy...
    none of that "sharon stone" business!!
    :D~
    HUGZ

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  18. ha i second the singing of a song for us alan...nice little snippet of your family...

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  19. Interesting to see the cityscape behind the pose and the busy smokestacks.

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  20. Great photos. I had followed your blog a while back but then something happened and I was no longer following. But I keep seeing you comment on all the other blogs I follow so I'm back!

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  21. Wonderful stuff! Particularly interesting is the wonderful ventriloquist dummy.

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  22. It is a good post of times gone by. Live entertainment was one thing we have lost from our quality of life. The town opera house was torn down the year before I moved to town. I would have been protesting the happening but all that was there was an empty lot by the time I arrived.

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  23. Oh this is very interesting and what a great group of performers too! Thanks!

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  24. I thought it might be fun to search for some of these people on google. You know, the internet has nearly everyone these days. Strange, but the first hits were either directly to your blog or to aggregators who'd found your blog. But, there was one link about the opening of the St. James Theatre in Sydney that talked about Elsie and included a photo (http://www.hat-archive.com/stjamestheatre.htm).

    Interesting photo. I was surprised that some of the people seemed to be wearing their stage make-up. Your Uncle Harry looks like he was a pleasant man.

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  25. Thanks so much for that research Nancy. I checked out the website - fascinating story.

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  26. Anonymous11:17 PM

    Love the photo! Do you know if any of them went on to entertain in WW2 (ENSA or the CEMA?) I'm just researching the performing artistes of WW2,
    Kate

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