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Book Now or Regret

May 9, 2011

Following the post about master showman Edgar Benyon (1901-1978), Walnut the Clown – the generous Variety Artists Club stalwart Michael Colonna – wrote to tell me about a film clip of “Benny” on YouTube.  As Benyon’s Dictionary of New Zealand Biography entry points out, most of his talents – magic, fire eating, juggling, balancing and mimicry – he taught himself. In the Hamilton flyer I posted earlier he was billed as “The Great Benyon and His Happy Family of Family Entertainers”, which puts a “show must go on” face after a family tragedy that occurred in 1935 when his second daughter Mavis, aged nine, died of burns after her dress caught fire.

Also at Walnut the Clown’s collection on YouTube is a fascinating series of home movies  of New Zealand entertainer Russell Middlebrook. They were shot in the 1950s during his time in Australia. Middlebrook was proud of his work as a plasterer inside Auckland’s Civic picture theatre.

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