Friday, 30 September 2011

Bognor b******d...



Ernest Sewell Marionettes

Wallis Arthur came to Bognor in 1900 and subsequently turned the coal yard at the sea end of Lennox Street into the "Olympic Gardens" after neatly boarding it in and roofing it with canvas.

He and his business partner Paul Hill were presenting Pierrots at other seaside towns. Unfortunately he lost money in his first three seasons until he joined the programme himself and helped to make his first profit.

Members of his companies were interchanged and consequently the people of Bognor saw many young performers on their way to fame; Gillie Potter, Ernest Sewell and his marionettes, Milton Hayes with his usual monologues such as “The Green Eye of the Little Yellow God”, and many others.

One day a short good looking youth in a rather shabby blue suit and a straw hat came to see him. He wanted to be a Pierrot and appeared extremely nervous, pressing his light cane into the sand causing it to flick up into the air and then adeptly catching it.

Wallis Arthur who had always had such a good judgement was sadly lacking it that day for he told him that he needed a light comedian – not a low one.

So the young man went to America and the Cinema gained what Bognor had lost, for the man who wasn’t good enough to get a job in Bognor was Charlie Chaplin.

8 comments:

Trubes said...

Wow Scrobs, Is that really true...If so what a loss, but then I never did get Charlie Chaplin, or Buster Keaton.
When I was at school we were bused to The new Shakespeare Theatre that Sam Wannamaker had painstakingly restored, He staged a series of silent movies for the benefit of the good people of Liverpool. I'm afraid I found it all rather dreary. We all had to shake hands with Sam Wannamaker. I hadn't a clue who he was until later. He was trying to form a Shakespearian reperatory Company...I don't think it was ever very successful. you see, the good people of Liverpool preferred The Beatles. Susequently it was turned into a very successful cabaret club, until it was sadly burned down.
Voila!

DI.xx
P.s. have you been to see my latest blog about my new set of wheels....Do hurry, it's a sell out!

Philipa said...

I've cried at Charlie chaplin's films, totally captivatd. He was a good actor.

Great story, Scrobs :-)

Scrobs... said...

Being a charlaton Trubes, I really struggle on Shakespeare for kids, something to do with watching a girl chum (when I was eight) in a part of - I think, 'The Merchant of Venice', throwing a knife to the floor at the wrong moment, and all hell being let loose...

And the Shakespeare Festival at our girls' school was totally dire, so much so that as I was I/C Parents' Assoc, I instigated a bar for the interval. The rush from the hall was rather like every scrum in the world cup converging on the last beer barrel...

And yes, the bit about Charlie Chaplin is true, that came from the Bognor website...!

Ho hum!

Scrobs... said...

He was Pips wasn't he.

The directors of his films were clearly limited by their equipment, but because of his demeanour, a forward shot of the man, at some distance, brought a masterclass in film photography.

Electro-Kevin said...

I never found Charlie Chaplin funny.

I did find Laurel and Hardy funny though.

Scrobs... said...

There was a film of L and H shown in our village hall about 60 years ago, where the two chaps were in a tank (WW1) in a trench...

Somehow, I've never forgotten that film Elecs...

Philipa said...

Scrobs, I thought Chaplin directed a lot of what he did, when he'd made some money I mean. I thought his bluebeard film was very good and his eating his shoe was so sad but funny at the same time. L&H are faves too, esp moving the piano.

Trubes I thought Buster Keaton and his contempories did some fantastic stunts.

Scrobs... said...

That shoe scene was a classic Pips.

Somewhere we used to have a clip where L and H had some sort of fight or affray in an old building, and the whole lot crashes down around them, missing them both by inches!

Utterly hilarious - I'll try to find it!