15 Dec 2014
Today’s excerpts from “The Early Punch Parodies of Sherlock Holmes” looks at several Sherlock Punch cartoons. Actually, the first one has more to do with Conan Doyle, as the introduction will tell you, but they give you an idea of how Punch used the culture figures of its day to make its satirical points.
A Wellington (Street) Memorial (1895)
One of ACD’s successes on the stage was “A Story of Waterloo.” The 54-year-old Henry Irving, the dominant actor of his time, played Corporal Gregory Brewster, the last survivor of his regiment, recalling his role in the battle to a visitor. The one-act play at the Lyceum Theater on Wellington Street was an extended death scene, and by the time Brewster shouted “The Guards need powder! The Guards need powder, and, by God, they shall have it!” before expiring, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
Except, that is, for George Bernard Shaw. The critic for The Saturday Review called Irving’s acting “cheap and simple mimicry” and “the entire effect is contrived by the author, and is due to him alone.” Punch’s praise below would be followed weeks later by a knighthood for Irving.
Mr. Punch’s Animal Land, the Coneydoil or Shurlacombs (1898)
E.T. Reed’s subjects in “Mr. Punch’s Animal Land” poked fun at individuals as well as familiar figures in society.
“This big friendly creature is very shrood and saggacious. If he finds a footprint, he can tell you what colored hair it has and whether it is a libbral or a conservetive — which is very clever I think. He plays all games and always makes a hun-dred. He likes to run through the ‘Strand’ with his tail in parts — all of them strong and healthy — then he collects it all together and it runs for a long time by itself.”
How Scotland Yard Detectives Are Trained (1913)
Arthur Watt (1883-1935) was a prolific illustrator whose life was cut short in a plane crash in the Alps.