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

Walter Booth

Novelty give away advertisement for Devant’s Entertainment at the Masonic Hall, Birmingham. Commencing 27 February 1899

Novelty give away advertisement for Devant’s Entertainment at the Masonic Hall, Birmingham. Commencing 27 February 1899

This advertisement can be folded to show The Box Trick in action. The words explain: ‘The performer enters the box which he completely fills so that no part can collapse inwards. It is then locked, enveloped in a sack, corded and sealed thus preventing any section giving outwards. Yet in a few seconds the gentleman escapes without disturbing a single knot, leaving the box perfectly empty.’ The year is not stated, but we know from other publicity that the year is 1899. The same novelty design was used by Maskelyne and Cooke’s Mysteries when they were performing in Dublin in 1901 (item N2592).

Programme for David Devant’s Entertainment at the Town Hall, Oxford. 1899

Programme for David Devant’s Entertainment at the Town Hall, Oxford. 1899

This is a programme from Devant’s cinevariety tour 1898-1899. The programme tells us that Devant was actually performing twice nightly at the Egyptian Hall. See Devant and early cinema for similar items.

We have Ian Keable to thank for pointing out that the show differed from the one advertised in the progamme. Ian discovered from the Oxford Times and Reading Gazette of 25 February that Mr Mel. B. Spurr was ill and Animated Photographs were shown instead.

Davenport Collection website e-news #7, September 2020

Davenport Collection website e-news #7, September 2020

Click on Details if you would like to download a PDF of this e-news.
E-newsletters like this one are sent out four times a year, highlighting recent additions to the website. If you’d like to be added to the mailing list, please contact the curator.

The September 2020 issue included:
– Cecil Lyle’s Chocolate Box Illusion.
– The Egyptian Hall, 19th century lithographs.
– Novelties and toys – old and new.
– David Devant, Walter R. Booth and early cinema.
– A talk about John Ramsay by Dr E.A. Dawes.

To see all the other e-news, click on Website e-news.

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.

‘The Waif and the Wizard’ song sheet, dedicated to David Devant Esq.

‘The Waif and the Wizard’ song sheet, dedicated to David Devant Esq.

The dedication to Devant is mentioned at the top right corner of the cover. ‘The Waif and the Wizard’ was written, composed and sung by Edward Kent. The cover tells us it was also sung by Miss Fannie Leslie. Published by Reynolds & Co., Music Publishers & Exporters, London. A search of the web reveals that there was also a 1901 R.W. Paul film ‘The Waif and the Wizard’ directed by Walter R. Booth. The song could be sung while the film was showing. Booth was an entertainer turned film maker who at one time worked with Devant.

Advertisement for Mr. Walter Booth: entertainer and magician with a career in early cinema

Advertisement for Mr. Walter Booth: entertainer and magician with a career in early cinema

This is one page from a Maskelyne and Cooke’s Entertainment Bureau brochure, the cover of which is also illustrated. This item on Booth contains a clear photograph of him, which 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 the other photograph, click on Walter Booth below. For still more information on Booth visit his Wikipedia page.

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.