The Davenport Collection
- a growing resource on magic and entertainment history

1898

Programme for David Devant’s Entertainment at the Pier Pavilion, Exmouth. 1898

Programme for David Devant’s Entertainment at the Pier Pavilion, Exmouth. 1898

The programme is for David Devant’s Entertainment ‘direct from Maskelyne and Cooke’s Egyptian Hall, London’. The bill consists of Animated Photographs and Mr. Maurice Victor. It’s interesting to note that on the week of this performance, starting Monday 29 August 1898, Devant had another group performing in Ramsgate. The programme for the Ramsgate performances is N1928. We know that Devant had four cine projectors to make use of, including the one permanently at the Egyptian Hall. The details may be found in item N2979, although no doubt the names of the people involved would have changed over time. See Devant and early cinema for similar items.

Publicity item for David Devant’s Animated Photos. 1897

Publicity item for David Devant’s Animated Photos. 1897

Page 1 mentions the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee which was in June 1897, so the likely date is 1897 or 1898. Pages 2 and 3 are most interesting because they state that Devant has four ‘Cinematographes’: No. 1 is used twice daily at the Egyptian Hall, No. 2 is on tour, No. 3 and No. 4 are for Public or Private Engagements. The names of the operators and others involved in these performances are also given. All the pages are illustrated here. See Devant and early cinema for similar items.

Unusual advertisement for David Devant in a programme for ‘Babes in the Wood’ at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in 1898

Unusual advertisement for David Devant in a programme for ‘Babes in the Wood’ at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in 1898

The printer’s date on the programme is 5 February 1898. The Devant advertisement is apparently hand-written along the bottom of pages 2 and 3. It reads: ‘Notice. Mr. David Devant’s “Animated Photos” can be sent anywhere; are suitable for any audience; 40 finest subjects at each performance. Mr. Devant, the famous conjurer, attends evening parties, etc. For particulars address The Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly, W.’ All pages of the programme are illustrated here. See Devant and early cinema for similar items.

Maskelyne and Cooke programme for the Egyptian Hall, 25th consecutive year

Maskelyne and Cooke programme for the Egyptian Hall, 25th consecutive year

25th consecutive year, 1897-1898. The programme includes the sketch ‘Trapped by Magic’ which was first presented on 7 May 1898, according to the book on the Egyptian Hall by George Jenness. However, the programme does not include the sketch ‘The Gnome’s Grot’ which was introduced at the start of the Christmas shows on 16 December 1898, according to Jenness. The likely date of this programme is therefore between 7 May 1898 and 16 December 1898.

Maskelyne and Cooke programme for the Egyptian Hall, 25th consecutive year

Maskelyne and Cooke programme for the Egyptian Hall, 25th consecutive year

25th consecutive year, 1897-1898. The programme includes animated photographs of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee Procession which was on 22 June 1897. According to the book on the Egyptian Hall by George Jenness, topical scenes from the Procession were shown from 5 July 1897. The earliest date for this programme is therefore 5 July 1897. The programme does not include the sketch ‘Trapped by Magic’ which was first presented on 7 May 1898, so the period of this programme is probably somewhere between July 1897 and May 1898. This is consistent with the hand written date on page 1 of 8 April 1898. The wording of this programme, but not the colour of the paper, is the same as programme Ref. no. N2069.

Granville Theatre, Ramsgate, 29 August 1898, containing a rare photograph of Mr Walter R. Booth

Granville Theatre, Ramsgate, 29 August 1898, containing a rare photograph of Mr Walter R. Booth

The programme is for David Devant’s Entertainment ‘direct from Maskelyne and Cooke’s Egyptian Hall, London’. The performance included songs, dancing, a ventriloquial sketch, animated photographs and Devant’s Zauberwunder!. The reader is warned that ‘this programme is subject to frequent alteration’. Mr Walter R. Booth provides the vent. sketch and is also part of Zauberwunder. The back page names Mr Booth as the Stage Manager for Devant’s animated photograph entertainments. The photograph of Booth in the programme is significant because, as at 2020, it is one of only two known photographs of him which allows early cinema historians to identify Booth when he appears in early films. It had long been suspected that a magician in the films was Booth, but there was no firm evidence. For more information, click on the name Walter Booth below.

Photograph of Walter R. Booth: magician with a career in early cinema

Photograph of Walter R. Booth: magician with a career in early cinema

The photograph is on page 4 of a programme for David Devant’s Entertainment at the Granville Theatre, Ramsgate in 1898. For the whole programme see Ref. no. N1928. This photograph of Walter Booth is significant because, as at 2020, it is one of only two known photographs of him which allows early cinema historians to identify Booth when he appears in early films. It had long been suspected that a magician in the films was Booth, but there was no firm evidence. For more information, click on the name Walter Booth below. For still more information on Booth visit his Wikipedia page.

George Cooke’s copy of the 1898 testimonial honouring J.N. Maskelyne’s 25 years at the Egyptian Hall

George Cooke’s copy of the 1898 testimonial honouring J.N. Maskelyne’s 25 years at the Egyptian Hall

Members of J.N. Maskelyne’s company presented the original of this testimonial, dated 26 May 1898, to JN. This particular copy is rather special because JN gave it to George Cooke for Christmas 1898. His inscription on the reverse is ‘To G.A. Cooke| Accept this copy with my [incomplete word, possibly ‘heartfelt’] reciprocation of the good wishes in the original. | J.N. Maskelyne | Christmas 1898.’

The Era reported the ceremony at which JN received the testimonial at the Egyptian Hall. Download the file to read their report.