Archive for May, 2011

Howard Brothers at Newcastle Empire

Friday, May 27th, 2011

Newcastle Weekly Journal and Courant of 27 February 1909 describes a performance by the Howard Brothers at Newcastle Empire:

Howard Brothers at Newcastle Empire article from Newcastle Weekly Journal and Courant 27 February 1909 - From Newcastle City Library

From Newcastle City Library

In the 1996 Andrew Conway posted an extract from Variety Magazine of 23 December 1911 in this rec.juggling post. It describes the routine beautifully:


There are many players of banjo touring the vaudeville circuits, and banjo playing acts must posess exceptional features in order to be classed among the Novelties. The exacting demands of modern vaudeville fall most heavily
upon acts of this sort. The Howard Brothers are far in advance of all other exponents of this form of entertainment, and the musical possibilities of the banjo have never been shown to greater advantage than by these young men who play classical and popular airs, and give pleasing imitations, and cap their performance by juggling the banjos like Indian clubs between them, and at the same time playing popular airs with wonderful precision and real art.

Andrew adds “The illustration shows the two brothers standing back to back and passing
eight banjos. Now that’s what I call entertainment…”

The Great Weiland at Sunderland Empire

Friday, May 20th, 2011

The Great Weiland, “America’s Funniest Juggler” performed at the Sunderland Empire for the week of 15 March 1909:

The Great Weiland at Sunderland Empire Poster - From Tyne & Wear Archives

From Tyne & Wear Archives

My brain is playing tricks on me – I’m sure I’ve seen references to him all over the place, but all I can find is this 6 April 1912 article from the New York Clipper (towards the bottom of the final column) were we see The Great Weiland appearing in Birmingham at the Grand alongside the great magician Chung Ling Soo.

There are poster prints of a cartoon of Weiland available form lots of sources around the internet – you can see an example at Can you help my faulty memory?




Professor Renniff, circa 1873

Friday, May 13th, 2011

Professor Valentine was a mystery when I blogged about him on March 18 this year, and so is Professor Reniff now:

Professor Renniff Poster, around 1873 - From the Tyne & Wear Archives

From the Tyne & Wear Archives

This seems to be a draft version of the poster as it features alterations and a very PostIt-like note, but details of the venue or the date don’t survive. It’s believed to be from around 1873.

Has anyone out there heard of him? Let me know in the comments. I can’t find another reference to him anywhere.

Cornalla & Eddie at Sunderland Empire

Friday, May 6th, 2011

For the week of 5 June 1911 Cornalla and Eddie, “Toss ’em and Miss ’em”, perform “their funny and clever juggling and acrobatic act”:

Cornalla & Eddie at Sunderland Empire 5 June 1911 Poster - From the Tyne & Wear Archives

From the Tyne & Wear Archives

Before they appeared in Sunderland the only online references come from the USA – in 1906 they performed in Newark as described in the Cranford Chronicle of 9 August 1906 (third column, where the description says they are “a pair of comedy acrobats whose feats are unparalleled…and doubtless will be one of the hits of the bill”) and in 1909 in Washington DC as the Washington Times of  16 May 1909 (in the third column) shows.

If they’re American performers then they seem to have settled in Britain. The Bristol Hippodrome’s website shows them appearing there every year from 1912 to 1922 (although in 1921 it’s Knapp and Cornalla) and again in 1924, 1925 and 1928 and 1930, so we can assume that they’re regulars on the variety circuit.

We know from the poster above that they added juggling to their acrobatics by 1911 but unfortunately it’s rare to find a description of a juggling routine, and we’re in that situation again. We know that they were still concentrating on the comedy from the listings in Barcelona’s Mirador from 30 October 1930 (see the advert in column four at the bottom of page 5) La Vangardia for the next day, 31 October (half way down column 5) for their appearance at the Principal Palace Theatre. They’re described as “champions of laughter” in Catalan in the Mirador (“campions de riallo”) and promise “continuous laughter” in Spanish (“risa continua”) in La Vanguardia. Perhaps we can also assume that it was a non-verbal routine as they’d performed in the English speaking world for so long and then went to Spain towards the end of their careers?