Friday, 30 September 2011
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.