Practitioners [I-J]

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DOT IRELAND

Dancer, ball-puncher.

Dorothy Ireland trained as a dancer under Mrs E. M. Ireland, a Sydney-based teacher of juvenile performers, and appeared in concerts, charity and local community events with Ireland’s Australian Middies during the early 1900s. She began her professional career in 1906 as Little Dot Ireland, “Champion juvenile dancer,” but from 1907 on wards was best known for her ball-punching act. Over the next ten years Ireland toured throughout Australasia as a dancer, pantomime artist and ball puncher (for which she was billed as either Australia’s champion “juvenile” or “lady” ball puncher) for James Brennan, Harry Rickards, Brennan-Fuller, Harry Clay, Stanley McKay, Holland and St John and J. C. Williamson’s among others.

1: Dorothy does not appear to have been one of Mrs E. M. Ireland’s biological children. Indeed, of the Ireland girls identified as students of Evangeline May Ireland, only one, Edith, is confirmed as the name of one of her own children. The other students with the last name Ireland (identified to date) were Ida and Nellie. See the AVTA’s entry for Trixie Ireland for further details.

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NB: IRELAND FAMILIES: It is unclear if there was any family connection between E. M. Ireland’s family and other variety performers such as sisters Trixie and Harriet Ireland or Melbourne-based music director/musician Prof. Fred Ireland.

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TRIXIE IRELAND

Comic, singer, dancer.

Ireland, Trixie - close-upTrixie Ireland began her stage career at age five as a toe dancer and contortionist with William Anderson and later toured with Pollard’s Lilliputian Opera Company. While working for Harry Clay in the early 1920s she teamed up with Jack “Dinks” Paterson in a comedy, song and patter act. The pair spent a decade or more in the United Kingdom. After returning to Australia they continued to work in variety up until the late 1950s.

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JACKSON & PAGDEN

(1904) The burlesque musical comedy act billed as Jackson and Pagden appears to have been active only in 1904. Although George Pagden has been positively identified as one half of the duo, no details regarding his partner (including first name) have been located to date. The pair is recorded as appearing with Tom Perman’s Gaiety Novelty Entertainers (Gaiety Theatre, Melbourne) and Hardie’s Ideals (regional Victoria). One of their routines saw Pagden portray a magician and Jackson the assistant who inadvertently gives up the secrets of the acts through clumsiness.

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SYDNEY JAMES

(1879-1919) English ventriloquist, comedian, manager, theatrical agent.

Best known in Australia for his ventriloquial act with “Billy,” Sydney James started out in London in the 1890s as a singer, comedian and mimic. He toured Great Britain with his Strolling Players trio and internationally with the Royal Strollers troupe (it played the Australasian region between 1914 and 1919, albeit with a name change in 1918 to the Pierrot Pie Co.). James died in Karachi (Pakistan) of a burst appendix.

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ARNOLD JARVIS

(1881-1959 ) Juggler, equilibrist, lighting sketch artist.

Although best known today as a leading 20th century Australian landscape painter, Arnold Jarvis actually started out as variety performer, having taught himself acrobatics while growing up in Adelaide in the late 1890s. During his brief career on the stage Jarvis was routinely billed as “the Australian Cinquevalli,” performing an act which was acclaimed more for his talent than his originality.

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IDA JARVIS

Jarvis, Ida [AV 16 Sept 1914]A serio/soubrette who likely began her career in the early 1900s, Ida Jarvis found engagements with most of Australia’s second tier vaudeville organisations. It was with Harry Clay that she was perhaps best known, securing regular engagements on his Sydney and South-West New South Wales circuits between 1911 and 1920, and three Queensland tours.

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JARVIS & CAMPBELL

(ca. 1906-1910) Comedy jugglers.

Described as “scientific and burlesque jugglers” during their 1906 Australasian tour with Bostock and Wombwell’s Novel Circus and Menagerie, Jarvis and Campbell appear to have been associated with the Australasian stage between 1906 and 1908, and again in 1910. During that time they also appeared on the circuits operated by Harry Rickards (1907-08) the Fullers (1907), while also touring with Brandon Cremer (on loan from the Fullers), the Biograph and Trans-Atlantic Entertainers (1908) and for the Australian Vaudeville Artists Association (1910). Where the two performers came from and their movements before and after this period is currently unknown.

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THE JAZZ BAND

(aka Belle Sylvia and Her Jazz Band / Mabelle Morgan and Her Jazz Band / Fuller’s Jazz Band )

Jazz Band - 1918 [Aust Dance Band News 1 Dec. 1932, 40](1918) Jazz band (presented as a vaudeville act).

Australia’s first jazz band made its debut in mid-1918 at FullersNational Theatre, Sydney, presenting a combination of “Dixieland-style” tunes, ragtime songs, ragtime opera burlesque, farmyard selections and a finale (featuring the drummer). Led by American violinist Billy Romaine, the ensemble was initially fronted by British baritone singer Belle Sylvia and later by Australian musical comedy/revusical actress Mabelle Morgan. The group, which the Age describes as “eccentric combination of instruments [that] do their work in comedy style (29 July 1918, 7), went on to play engagements at the Fullers’ Adelaide and Brisbane vaudeville theatres but without a singer.

Image source: Australian Dance Band News 1 Dec. (1932), 40

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ESSIE JENNINGS

(1884-1969) Singer (soprano), actress, comedienne. [Born: Esther Patience Futcher in Ballarat, Victoria]

Jennings, Essie 2 [FVS]Having begun her career in the early 1900s as a soprano/balladist, Essie Jennings went on to established herself as a popular illustrated singer for Harry Rickards, James Brennan, Harry Clay and Ted Holland among others. Her career took a major change of direction in 1912, however, she married comedian Jim Gerald. As Jennings and Gerald they initially featured in pantomimes and musical comedies for Stanley McKay and after Gerald returned from the war they worked as a comedy sketch duo on the Fullers‘ circuit and later starred with Walter George’s Sunshine Players. From 1922 she became an integral member of the Jim Gerald Revue Company.

  • See also:  Jennings & Gerald [below] • Jim Gerald
Image source: Frank Van Straten. Tivoli (2003).

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JENNINGS AND GERALD

(1913-14, 1919-1921) Although Jim Gerald and Essie Jennings spent more than three decades working together as variety entertainers, their billing as Jennings and Gerald was limited to only a few years. The pair first met in Adelaide in 1912 while engaged independently for the Brennan-Fuller circuit and married soon afterwards. They worked their double act for the Fullers until leased to Stanley McKay’s pantomime company (1914-1916). When the act was revived in late-1919 following Gerald’s return and recuperation from active war duty, they scored a hit with Gerald’s sketch “The Raw Recruit.” Jennings and Gerald was again dismantled when the pair joined Walter George’s Sunshine Players.

See also:  Essie Jennings [above] • Jim Gerald

1: The Gerald and Jennings act comprised original sketches based around songs, comic routines and Gerald’s circus-inspired eccentricities. The double act was put on permanent hold following the founding of the Jim Gerald Miniature Musical Comedy Company in 1922.
2: “The Raw Recruit” saw Gerald portray the newly enlisted soldier. Jennings, in a reverse dame role, played the officer. The sketch was later expanded into the one act musical comedy (revusical), 1914-1918; Or, For the Duration (1922). It became one of the Jim Gerald Revue Company’s most popular shows.

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DAISY JEROME

Jerome, Daisy [headshot](ca. 1886-) Comedienne, singer.

During her two tours of Australia (1913-16 and 1922-23), American-born, but English-raised eccentric comedienne and singer Daisy Jerome (“the electric spark”) established an extraordinary connection with the country. Adept at generating her own publicity, and renowned for playing it “blue,” Jerome appeared in revue, vaudeville and pantomime, and scored many song successes. Her second tour became one of the Fuller circuit’s biggest successes of the early 1920s.

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HARRY JOB

aka Will Andrade [2]

(1909-1996) Magician, businessman. [Born Harry William Job in Parkes N.S.W.]

Job, Harry [Sun 19 Feb 1976]Harry Job developed a passion for magic after moving to Sydney with his parents in 1916. At age 14 he was employed by bookseller, publisher and theatrical supplier Will Andrade [1] as a spirit bottler/messenger boy. By the early 1930s he had become an accomplished magician, demonstrating his talents at work (as manager of Andrade’s Magic Department) and at concerts and variety shows. When Andrade died in 1939 his widow sold Job the business and the name, and he henceforth became known as Will Andrade. He continued to perform magic up until the early 1980s and closed the business in 1988.

  • For further details see Thelma Job. Melodies Magic Memories (2002).
  • See also: Will Andrade (“Associated Businesses”)
Job pronounced his name “Jobe.” During WWII, he entertained troops at camp concerts and in hospitals and was the magician in the Myles of Smiles concert party that toured Japan at war’s end. He also served with the British Commonwealth Occupation Forces Unit (BCOF) in Japan in 1948.
Image source: The Sun 19 Feb. (1976), n. pag.

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WALTER JOHNSON

Producer, director, troupe leader.

Walter Johnson initially established his reputation in the USA and Great Britain. He came to Australia in 1916 to produce/manage the FullersFollies of Pleasure, and later founded his own troupe. In 1919 he scored a big success with the Town Topics (Brisbane) before returning to the Fullers in as a director in the early 1920s. He was later associated with Dave Lee’s English Revue Company.

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GEORGE A. JONES

(1859-1917) Comedian, singer, dancer, entrepreneur, stage manager/manager.

George A Jones started out in the early 1880s as a minstrel comic, singer and dancer, appearing with his first wife Alice Davenport in companies run by F.M. Clark, the Cogill Bros, and Dan Tracey . After separating from Davenport in the early 1890s he worked for Percy St John, in Brisbane and formed a personal and professional relationship with entertainer Ettie Williams (later his wife). Jones went into management in Perth with George R. Lawrence (1896-1902) and with later with Leonard Davis and Williams. He was still performing on the East Coast in the early 1910s.

George A. Jones should not be confused with George H. Jones, another variety performer from the same era.

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JOHN JUAN

Juan, John [FVS Tivoli, 79](1901-1979) Dancer, acrobat, radio announcer and compere. [Born: John Kappen Fox]

Born in Hawker, South Australia, but raised in England and Perth (Western Australia), John Juan became a merchant seaman at age 17 but while stuck in New York during a strike became captivated by the Broadway stage. He initially worked in Australia as adagio dancer and later in partnership with Joy Rolls (as Egyptian dancers) before touring Australasia, Europe and the UK during the late-1920s with his first wife, Zelda. A failed business career left him insolvent in the 1930s but went on to carve out a 35 year career with the Australian Broadcasting Commission’s (ABC) Perth radio station 6WF.

  • For further details see: Wendy Birman. “Juan, John (1901-1978).” Australian Dictionary of Biography 14 (1996). [sighted 25/02/2014]

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JULES GARRISON & HIS TWO ROMAN MAIDS

Stories, songs, dances and living statues. (Antipodian tour; 1910-1914)

Jules Garrison [KM 1 June 1912, 10]American raconteur Jules Garrison and his “Two Roman Maids” (Lola Hunt and Annette Coleman) came to Australia for James Brennan in April 1910 with an act that involved the telling of classic literary stories (notably selections from Rudyard Kipling). After taking their “hotch potch of burlesque” around New Zealand for the Fullers (June 1910-Aug. 1911) the trio returned to Australia where they toured, invariably as the headline act, until mid-1914. Occasionally the companies they appeared with also featured Garrison’s name – as in Jules Garrison’s Anglo-American All-Star Specialty Co or Jules Garrison’s Vaudeville Co.

Image source: Kalgoorlie Miner 1 June (1912), 10.

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Published on April 8, 2011 at 9:48 pm  Comments Off on Practitioners [I-J]