John Codman

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John Codman

Postby Nick Jackson » 16 Jun 2014, 18:56

I've been posting quite a few Codman pictures here recently but this is the first I've posted of Jack (John) Codman, the Punchman who helped me fall in love with Punch.

Here he is in his indoor show. Given the size of his promenade booth this must have felt rather cramped.
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Jack encouraged me as a child and when his bottler failed to appear one day, he said, "You'll have to do it for me, Nicky." I was about 10-years-old. After the show, we both went inside the booth and Jack – foot up on the tin trunk – counted up on the little corner shelf which usually held the props. I was given the traditional third of the take.

Around the same time, he invited me to set up for him. Can't tell you what it felt like to open the trunk and find all those wonderful dolls. Apparently I'd hung everything correctly including coffin, gallows, sausages – even getting the linky rings the right way round on their hook.

Jack's cast, in order of appearance, was:
Punch, Judy, Baby, Beadle, Joey, Boxer 1 (Jem who fights with Punch and knocks him downstairs), Boxer 2, Jim Crow (who was then left on stage with:) Spider, Fox, Monkey. Ghost, Devil, Crocodile, (Punch, Joey), Chinese Jugglers (ladder, plates, linky rings), Policeman, Toby (great routine with coffin), Hangman, ending with Joey carrying the coffin on his back led by Punch.

I'm proud to say I'm still a friend of Jack's family. And my surname on here, "Jackson" is a tribute to Jack.
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Re: John Codman

Postby Chris » 16 Jun 2014, 20:49

Jack was a very nice chap - and a good magician as well as Punch man. I remember his Ring routine which was very clever, as was the chair balancing.

The British Ring of the International Brotherhood of Magicians have twice held their annual Convention in Llandudno. The first, early 60s I think, was on the Pier which was where each morning Jack C., Percy Press (the father), Gentleman Jack (a Dutch magician with an incredible Pickpocket Act), Eric Bramall and myself would meet for morning coffee and would stay chatting for an hour or more. Percy and Jack C. had a great mutual respect for each other. Certainly they both had excellent shows. Eric and Gentlemen Jack had worked the same Variety Circuits. Each morning there was laughter and anecdotes galore. I just sat and soaked it all in, enjoying the company of four consumate pros.
It's good to squawk!
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Re: John Codman

Postby Nick Jackson » 16 Jun 2014, 20:51

I've never cracked the rings routine - always get the hands caught in them. Jack used dolls with leather hands, rather like tiny gloves.
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Re: John Codman

Postby Nick Jackson » 30 Jun 2014, 17:38

Have just come across this pic of a 9-year-old me (far left) watching Jack Codman on Llandudno promenade.
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