[ Vaudeville Broadside ] THE EMPIRE ... Direction Holland & St. John Ltd ... Holland's Vaudeville Entertainers ... Paul Stanhope's .. Roley-Poley ... Ford & Perrin ... Clemo the Clever ... McKay & Graham ... Jolly Johnny Larkin the Clever Coloured Comedian ... Blake & Granby. Johnny Larkin, Clemo the Clever, Ford, Perrin, Paul Stanhope, Holland, St. John, acts entertainers.
[ Vaudeville Broadside ] THE EMPIRE ... Direction Holland & St. John Ltd ... Holland's Vaudeville Entertainers ... Paul Stanhope's .. Roley-Poley ... Ford & Perrin ... Clemo the Clever ... McKay & Graham ... Jolly Johnny Larkin the Clever Coloured Comedian ... Blake & Granby ...
[ Vaudeville Broadside ] THE EMPIRE ... Direction Holland & St. John Ltd ... Holland's Vaudeville Entertainers ... Paul Stanhope's .. Roley-Poley ... Ford & Perrin ... Clemo the Clever ... McKay & Graham ... Jolly Johnny Larkin the Clever Coloured Comedian ... Blake & Granby ...
The Clever Coloured Comedian (American comedian Jolly Johhny Larkin)

[ Vaudeville Broadside ] THE EMPIRE ... Direction Holland & St. John Ltd ... Holland's Vaudeville Entertainers ... Paul Stanhope's .. Roley-Poley ... Ford & Perrin ... Clemo the Clever ... McKay & Graham ... Jolly Johnny Larkin the Clever Coloured Comedian ... Blake & Granby ...

Brisbane [ Australia ]: H. Pole & Co. Print. [1917]. Approximately 15 x 40 inches. Tears and creasing at extremities. Large ragged chip missing lower right (approx 3 x 6 inches at widest points) with some loss of content. Printed on thin paper, in bright red and blue. Given the fragility of the piece, we have left it in shrinkwrap, loose as purchased. Good. [27964]


The Australian Variety Theatre Archive has an extensive writeup on the Empire Theatre, which we draw on extensively in the following description. The Empire Theatre opened in early 1911, and was considered "one of the finest purpose-built vaudeville theatres in the southern hemisphere at the time of its opening. It was designed especially for its initial lessees Ted Holland and Percy St. John, both men were performers and entrepreneurs. "Mostly billed as Ted Holland's Vaudeville Entertainers, the Empire's popularity with the Brisbane public was such that no other management was able to compete with it during the three and four years that it was managed by Holland and St. John...By February 1914 the Empire was booking more than 200 acts a year from the south, with none playing more than two weeks in Brisbane." Holland and St. John died in Sept 1914 and Oct. 1915 respectively and the theater was managed by Benjamin and John Fuller shortly thereafter (the Fullers had a good relationship with the widows having been a supplier of talent for shows) with the transition hardly noticed. Gradually advertising transitioned to Fuller's Theatres, becoming Fullers' Empire Theatre around 1918.

This broadside notes performers are supplied by Special Arrangement with "Fuller's Theatres and Vaudeville Ltd" (last letter clipped), dating it in that 1915-1918 period. Historical calendars note that Saturday falls on July 7th in 1917 and 1923, dating this broadside to 1917.

One performer of note is "Jolly Johnny Larkin", a black comedian. "John Larkin (born John Larkin Smith, November 25, 1877 – March 18, 1936) was an American stage and screen performer, as well as songwriter, whose acting career extended nearly four decades — from the late 1890s through his last acting roles in the five films released the year of his death. A scrapbook preserved at Atlanta's Emory University indicates that "he was billed as "The Rajah of Mirth" and "The Funniest Colored Comedian in the World"." (wiki) Towards the end of his career, a "story in a 1933 issue of the Los Angeles-based African-American newspaper, California Eagle, stated that he "is reported to be the highest paid Negro actor in Hollywood"". "As America entered World War I in 1917, Larkin, at the age of 40, assumed the leadership of the long-established touring group Dandy Dixie Minstrels which had performed, on a number of earlier occasions, with the Black Patti players. In 1919, about a year after the Armistice of 11 November 1918 and, over the following ten years, Larkin took the group on a number of world tours which included performances in London and other European cities, China, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. While in Australia, he established a relationship with costume designer Rachel "Rae" Anderson and they became the parents of two daughters, Olga, born in 1921 and Joan, born in 1924. Since interracial marriage was, at the time, illegal in Australia, Larkin ultimately returned to America." [ wikipedia ]

Larkin was in Australia in 1917 as well. We found a report in the TROVE archive which contains the Townsville Daily Bulletin (a daily newspaper published in Townsville, Queensland, Australia) dated Wed 1 Aug 1917 on Page 6 noting Johnny Larkin was about to appear at The Olympia.

A rare object interesting from many perspectives.

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