Showing posts with label W C Fields. Show all posts
Showing posts with label W C Fields. Show all posts

Friday, September 1, 2023

Some updates


Just some small updates; 

I am currently trying to write about W C Fields' tour of Australia. Neil Litchfield of Stage Whispers Magazine sent this photo of Fields to me.

This photo was taken in Australia and shows Fields in the costume he wore on stage. He toured in 1903 and in 1914, and, according to Variety Magazine, was supposed to tour in 1918, but broke his contract with the Tivoli to continue performing with the Follies in the USA.

I have also recently found a postcard of Clara Braatz, aunt of Selma Braatz, a juggler who toured Australia in 1914. Clara accompanied Selma on her tour.

And in news that belongs to the category of 'humble brag', I was able to identify some photos of Jimmy Wallace held in the State Library of NSW. They agreed with my ID and have labelled the photos accordingly.

The link to the photos is here 


Sunday, November 13, 2022

Odds and ends and Ads...Kremo Family, Morris Cronin, Long Tack Sam, Melba Littlejohn, Rhodesia, Selbo, The Brunins..W C Fields.

 Many years ago I purchased about 10-20 scrap books from an old collector. Sometimes I look through them and discover some interesting things. Some I've shown before, but it's nice to have them together.

Advertisement for the Kremos, the greatest of all Risley Acrobats, in Theatre Magazine

The Brunins in Theatre Magazine

A tiny ad for Selbo- The King of Clubs in Theatre Magazine.

WC Fields as a juggler..

Melba Littlejohn in a 1920s Australian newspaper

and here she is again

Morris Cronin and his complete London Company in Mr Cronin's world famed Juggling Act.

A 1900 matinee to support the distressed actors fund. Mdme Rhodesia is performing in this. Ferry the human frog is also performing under the auspices of the Tivoli.

Look on the right hand side under Fitzgerald brother's circus and Tivoli.

Long Tack Sam 1923

Saturday, December 19, 2015

WC Fields again!

A rather fetching picture of W C Fields from an Australian theatre magazine of 1903.

Here he is without makeup, looking young, dapper and very much the gentleman.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

W C Fields juggling in Australia 1903

In the early 20th Century, Cinquevalli popularized juggling in Australia and due to this, Harry Rickards, the owner of the Tivoli circuit, looked for other jugglers to entertain his audiences.

In 1903, Rickards succeeded in persuading the American 'eccentric juggler' W C Fields to tour Australia.

At the time of his arrival, Fields was 23 years old. The local version of Theatre Magazine described him as 'A comparatively good looking , fair coloured youngster. ...a good revolver shot and a capital horseman.'

Fields began his tour in Melbourne in June, traveled to Adelaide for about a week in July and then had a two month stint at the Tivoli in Sydney.

His act was most notable for its comedy.

Fields dressed as a tramp, said little and let his antics and dumb show provide the laughs.

For a ten minute turn in Adelaide, he used a battered old  grey belltopper (hat) and twisted it around his feet, hands and head. He then placed a cigar on the hat, placed both on his toe and whipped them up so that the hat fell onto his head and the cigar into his mouth.

He followed this with feats of three ball juggling. (He used tennis balls)  The Adelaide Advertiser said that 'under his control the balls were made to bound from place to place with lightning speed.'

In Sydney and Melbourne, Fields did the  billiard ball trick. Apparently this involved the use of a trick pool table. Field would bounce balls off parts of his body and they would rebound into the pockets. This trick was very well received by audiences.

The juggler was very popular in Sydney in particular.The Referee newspaper described the encore demands from the audience on his opening night as 'unreasonable.' Most reviews commented on his humour. The same newspaper said 'he does the most difficult feats with a drollness which is irresistibly funny.' 

Fields returned to Australia in 1914 for another tour. Of course he followed up his juggling career with star turns as a comedian in the Ziegfeld follies and in movies. Field gave up juggling, partly because he wanted to drink, and partly because he wanted a more rewarding occupation. Nonetheless, he did gain his initial fame through juggling and was one of the most successful acts on the Tivoli circuit in Australia in 1903.

If you are interested in contemporary juggling in Australia try Sydney Juggling.

notes on sources.

Fields' description from Theatre Magazine is quoted in Tivoli by Frank Van Straten

The picture of Fields comes from Melbourne Punch, 25/06/1903

The description of his act in Adelaide comes from The Adelaide Advertiser, 13/07/1903

The description of the billiard ball trick is based upon a description found at

Finally, quotations about his performance in Sydney come from The Referee, 29/03/1903