Panto song sheets

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Description: Song sheet in folio newspaper format, published by R. March & Co., illustrated with a woodcut of Victorian stage machinery - a principal boy on a star trap below stage, c.1890.. Museum Number S.621-1982.

This newspaper-style double-fold was published in London by R. March & Company giving the words of thirty-six songs sung in pantomimes, originally music-hall hits. They include songs by well-known music hall stars of the day such as George Robey, Marie Lloyd, Eugene Stratton, Gus Elen and Tom Leamore, all of whom regularly appeared in pantomime at the turn of the 19th century. It was sold for 1/6d, or was available 'post free' for twenty stamps (presumably penny stamps since there were eighteen pennies in 1/6d, and the two extra stamps would have covered the 'post free' postage!) The back page includes advertisements for other items printed by March & Co. such as a guide to dreams and fortune-telling, a book of beauty product recipes, and a guide to 'True Politeness'.

The front page features a wood engraving of a pantomime Principal Boy below stage, waiting to make her entrance through the star trap which can be seen above her head. Stage hands on either side are shown ready to release the weights which would have sent her upwards at speed, while the prompter reminds her of her words. Star trap entrances were popular with audiences because of the elements of surprise and theatricality, but extremely arduous for the performers whose heads opened the hinged segments of the circular stage trap as the counterweighted platform propelled them on stage.

Newspaper printed as a folio song sheet, entitled PANTOMIME SONGS, the cover featuring a woodcut of a Pantomime principal boy on star trap mechanism below the stage, about to ascend. To her right and left are the stage hands, holding the ropes to operate the mechanism, and in front of her is the prompter. The front cover features the names of all the songs whose words are published inside - At Trinity Church I Met My Doom; The Ship I Love; Love's Golden Dream Up to Date; Baby; Molly Riley O!; Saturday; That is My One; Pinky Ponky Poo; The Barmaid; Dandy Coloured Coon; The Coster's Muvver; Merry and Wise; On De Injine; The Racketty Club; A Dream of Glory; Perhaps, Perhaps Not; A Bird in the Hand; La-Diddly-Umpty-Ay; They Are the Best Friends of All; Down the Road; A Regular Rosy Red; An Old Fisher's Story; Down in Carolina; I Can't Change It; The Wedding Day; Our Johnny; How I Mesmerise 'Em; 'E Dunno Where 'E Are; Out for a Fair Old Beano; Tommy Atkins; Skipper's Daughter; Fairly Knocked the Yankees; Two Little Girls in Blue; We Were All Micks; Do Buy Me That, Mamma Dear; I'm One of the Jays; The Insurance Man.

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