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Francis Laidler “The King of Pantomime” (1867 - 1955) opened The Alhambra Theatre, Bradford 1912, close to the sites of both the Prince’s and Palace Theatres where he’d been enjoying a successful career as music hall owner. The Alhambra was a spectacularly elaborate new theatre boasting a 1,650 capacity, hot water heating and electric light. Eleven dressing rooms also enjoyed these benefits, though with the caveat of generosity pinned to each door: “Please DO NOT ask the management for complimentary tickets for your friends. If your friends will not pay to see you, why should the public?” Although Laidler remains widely regarded as The King of Pantomime, these were not produced at the Alhambra until 1929, preferring, as seen in the ledger, a large variety of alternative entertainments. All the artists' agents' names are clearly entered into the ledger, along with their weekly salary, and any notes regarding payment. Some artists include: Belle Davis, American choreographer, dancer and singer, said ro have been the first black woman to make a recording. The Great Carmo, one time the leading illusionist of British vaudeville, and somewhat tragic circus owner. The Great Carmo’s show eventually became the most lauded of its time in England. George Formby - inspiration for Chaplin’s “The Tramp”, and father to George Formby OBE. Nelson Keys, the British musical comedy star of stage and screen, including with the Ziegfeld Follies. Harry “The Handcuff King'' Houdini, appears here also in 1920, having become one of the world's highest paid entertainers over the last decade touring Europe.

Alhambra Bradford, Artistes’ Salaries and Commission Account. 1917 - 1921.

SKU: 1118
  • Bradford, UK. 1917-1921.

    8.5 x 11”, lined ledger. Cloth over half brown calf, title to front in gilt. Spine is worn and chipped, corners all bumped with cosmetic losses. Ledger remains tightly bound, page block bright and fresh.  Fully lined, entries in black ink, contemporary notes in red, filled out throughout. Two contemporary newspaper cuttings related to the theatre are loosely inserted.

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