Jean-Claude SEGUIN




Les Animated Photographs de Lever Bros. et Nestlé (juin 1898)

Les sociétés Lever Brothers et Nestlé se sont associées afin d'utiliser le cinématographe Lumière à des fins publicitaires. H. Spencer Clarke est le responsable des séances, même si, en l'occurrence, son nom n'apparaît pas. C'est à l'occasion d'une Garden Party, dans le Royal Botanical Gardens, le 11 juin 1898, que des vues sont proposées : " THE CINEMATOGRAPH, as appeared at "The Alhambra," will (by the kind persmission of the proprietors of "Nestles'Milk" and "Sunlight Soap") be Exhibited, including the most recent animated photographs." (Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 10 juin 1898, p. 1). Aucune information cependant sur le contenu du répertoire.

Le cinématographe de William Clark (juillet 1898)

C'est à l'occasion d'une réunion de l'association Van-Dwellers, fondée en 1889 pour protéger les voyageurs, que William Clark présente son "Cinematograph Theatre" :

A joint meeting of the executive council and members of the Van-Dwellers' Association was held on Sunday last at Longsight Wakes, as duly convened and advertised in last week's Era. The "Hall of Assembly" was Clark's Cinematograph Theatre. The President of the association presided, supported by the following members of the executive-John Whiting, R. Dixon, F. Bibby, Wm. Clark, R. Newall, and H. Hewitt, general secretary. There was a strong muster of the profession, and great unanimity of feeling marked the meeting. The minutes of previous meetings were read and confirmed.

The Era - Saturday 30 July 1898, p. 16. 

Aucun information ne permet de savoir la programmation qui est proposée aux membres de l'association.

Les cinématographes de la Foire (août 1898)

La foire de Manchester réunit, en août, de nombreux forains et artistes en tout genre. Parmi les ménageries, les cirques et les femmes à barbe, on trouve deux cinématographes. Celui du Prof. Balls et celui de Clarke - il pourrait s'agir d'H. Spencer Clarke qui a été le responsable, pendant un an, des appareils des sociétés Lever Bros. et Nestlé - :

The Manchester suburban round of fairs is continued this week by the well-known fair at the Jewish end of the city. In this busy neighbourhood is centred not only the Jewish Colony but also the Italian, Greek, and a portion of the German Colonies of this commercial centre. As usual the happy blending of these cosmopolitan elements lend a special charm to this open-air carnival, but, unfortunately, bad weather ruined the opening days of the Cheetham Hill wakes, on the Manchester round. On this ground we noticed Hodson's varieties, Clarke's Cinématographe, Sedgwick's menagerie, G. Proctor's circus, H. Hughes's assalt-at-arms, Prof. Ball's Cinematograph, Madame Aama’s wrestling bear, Prince Samouda's mysteries, and Hughes's fine art show. The machines were headed by Whiting s splendid gondolas, Walker's horses, and Hurat's ostriches, W. Edward’s horses, H. Whiting's flying eagle and overboats, and R. Dixon's juvenile ponies were also there, as were Massey's, J. Black's and Edwards's swings, and the shooting galleries, whoa emmas, and novelties of Messrs J. Williams, T. Taylor, Butterworth, G. Burton, G. White, and Buchanan. There were also several small peep-shows and several hundred feet of cocoa-shies, &c.

Aucune autre information ne permet de savoir les films qui ont été présentés pendant la durée de la foire.


Les Animated Photos d'Ernest Wighton (janvier-février 1899)

L'équipe de David Devant, manager par son propre frère, Ernest Whighton arrive à Manchester à la fin du mois de janvier. Il s'agit de s'installer dans la ville anglaise pendant trois semaines au Free Trade Hall. La premièr a lieu le 30 janvier 1899.

manchester free trade hall 1899 01 devant
Manchester, Free Trade Hall & Theatre Royal (c. 1910) Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 20 janvier 1899, p.1

Ernest Wighton travaille depuis plusieurs saisons avec son frère David et a la responsabilité de l'une des équipes qui parcourent le pays pour présenter les spectacles. Compte tenu de l'importance de la ville de Manchester, le spectacle est très étoffé et comprend la plupart des numéros à succès du moment, comme The Rainbow Sylph ou The Identical Box. Dès la première annonce, nous connaissons les titres de quelques films: Soudan SceneOff to the cafeThe Reception of the SirdarThe Return of the GuardsThe Camelous Leaving Wady Halfa et March Past of Macdonald's Brigade. Si au cours des semaines qui suivent nous trouvons plusieurs annnonces ainsi que quelques articles, ces deniers s'intéressent davantage aux tours de magie des artistes qu'aux films.


Les Animated Photographs de la Maskelyne and Cooke's Provincial Company (décembre 1900-février 1901)

La Maskelyne and Cooke's Company, dont le responsable est David Devant, parcourt l'Angleterre depuis le mois de juillet 1899, afin d'y présenter son spectacle fait de numéros de magie et prestidigitation. L'équipe vient de donner, pendant quelques jours, des soirées à Wakefield. À Manchester, compte tenu de l'importance de la ville, c'est pendant un mois entier que des séances vont être organisées au Free-Trade Hall, à partir du 22 décembre.

1900 01 devant

Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 18 décembre 1900, p. 1.

La presse de Manchester va consacrer plusieurs articles au spectacle proposé par la Maskelyne and Cooke's Provincial Company, même si les lignes concernant les vues animées restent assez rares, les journalistes préférant s'attarder sur les numéros de magie ou de prestidigitation. L'un des plus complets est publié par le Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser :

" People mutht be amuthed; they can't be alwayth a-learning, nor yet they can't be a-working: they ain't made for it." There is much truth in this pantomimic expression, and at this time of the year more than any other the amusement of the populace is the first consideration, and public entertainers are by no means regardless of the demand for a pure, wholesome, merry-making entertainment. Indeed, so varied is the Christmas "bill of fare" that it is no easy task to make a selection. With these proemial remarks we propose to erect a finger-post pointing directly to one house of entertainment which is worthy of extensive patronage—go to Maskelyne and Cooke's magical entertainment at the Lesser Free-trade Hall. For a good and continuous two and a half hours' entertainment of varied description the programme presented by this enterprising management can hardly be surpassed. Many of the items of which the programme is composed have to be seen to be believed. It is said that Mahomet's coffin, in the Hadjira of Medina, is suspended in mid-air without any support. Many explanations have been given of this phenomenon, the one most generally received being that the coffin is of iron, placed mid-way between two magnets. A gentleman in the audience on Monday evening expressed it as his opinion that such phenomenon was made the more credible after mysterious disappearances that night on a public platform. They were, indeed, to say the least, altogether remarkable. The programme almost entirely composed of thaumaturgy, and does not fail to hold the audience in breathless suspense at very frequent intervals. Perhaps the most sensational mystery is in the case of a young man being bound hands and feet to a specially constructed chair, which, by the way, was, on the occasion of our visit, minutely inspected by two independent gentlemen of the audience. The binding process is conducted in their presence. The cord to which the left wrist is tied was held by one of these gentlemen whilst the other clasped the right hand. A curtain is dropped, and in the twinkling of an eye the occupant of the seat disappears in the most miraculous fashion, leaving the cords with which he was, apparently, securely fastened, behind him. When the rise of the curtain disclosed the vacant chair surprise was writ large the faces of all, and it became the more pronounced when the man who had so wonderfully disappeared strolled leisurely from the back of the hall on to the platform with the most indifferent air imaginable. A fairy fantasy bearing the designation of “The Gnome's Grot" is full of illusions arising out the inventive genius of Messrs. J. N. Maskelyne and D. Devant. During the progress of this item several remarkable achievements are witnessed. A small box built on a table in the centre of the stage. Several minutes are taken to complete its erection, when the unexpected happens. The lid is forced upwards, and a gnome stands upright, attired in Mephistophelian costume. The hermit, pourtrayed by Mr. A. Bert, hangs a curtain before him, and lowering it again immediately discloses a fairy-like young lady, and a little later the head of a young lady is seen hanging in mid-air, depicting the oracle of destiny. is, indeed, a remarkably clever and altogether novel performance, and did not fail to provoke the unstinted applause of the large audience assembled. The exhibition, for which Mr. David Devant is responsible, is alone almost worth the price charged for admission. The presentation of his original magical problems declares him past-master in the art of prestigiation. His hand shadowgraphy, too, secured him the applause he so richly deserved. Following a spiritualistic sketch, in which other remarkable illusions, similar to those described above, appear, the entertainment concludes with an excellent display of animated photographs. They include a most realistic representation of the Paris Exposition and the celebrated travelling platform; London's welcome to the C.I.V.’s—an excellent reproduction—; the falls of Niagara, and several thrilling South African war scenes. There is not a dull moment from start to finish. This is the first and only provincial company ever organised from the Egyptian Hall, London, and, if Monday night’s performance can be taken as a criterion, its stay in Manchester will prove most successful one.

Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser - Wednesday 26 December 1900, p. 6. 

Les films peuvent provenir de plusieurs éditeurs différents, car il en existe parfois de nombreuses versions comme dans le cas des vues de l'Exposition Universelle de Paris que l'on peut trouver dans plusieurs catalogues de l'époque. Le succès aidant, la troupe prolonge son séjour à Manchester jusque vers le 15 ou 16 février 1901. L'équipe se dirige ensuite vers Belfast.

Répertoire (autres vues) : The Funeral Cortege of her Late Majesty (Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 6 février 1901, p. 1).


Les Animated Photographs de la Maskelyne and Cooke's Provincial Company (décembre 1901-mars 1902)

David Devant, un an plus tard, revient à nouveau à Manchester, en décembre 1901. Il présente toujours son spectacle, avec de nouveaux numéros, et les vues animées semblent toujours clore les soirées. The Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser propose un long article où le journaliste détaille l'art des membres de la troupe. Il indique aussi que les séances ont commencé le samedi 21 décembre, au Free Trade Hall, et se termine en précisant que des films sont présentés :

Elixir Vitae, in which a man's head is apparently removed from his body, and a display of animated photographs, including a series of tableaux illustrating Dicken's "Christmas Carol," are the remaining items in a lenghty programme. The entertainment was received on Saturday night with every mark of approval.

The Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, Monday, December 23, 1901, p. 6.

Malgré les nombrex articles que l'on trouve dans la presse de Manchester, les vues animées ne sont qu'évoquées et aucun autre titre n'est cité. Et pourtant, les séances vont se prolonger au moins jusqu'au 18 mars, date où l'on trouve la dernière annonce dans le même journal.