a solution to a problem

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a solution to a problem

Postby CvdC » 01 May 2014, 23:34

Looking closely at this photo I noticed that the cloth in front seems to have wire in it to keep it from coming inside the booth along with the crocodile.
Does anyone know about this technique? It is one I need to employ.
Also do you recognise these windows? I thought they may be theatre windows or a church perhaps.
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It has been my experience that I am always true from my point of view, and am often wrong from the point of view of my honest critics. I know that we are both right from our respective points of view. - Gandhi (Having a bob each way.)
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Re: a solution to a problem

Postby Richard Coombs » 02 May 2014, 00:58

Hi CvdC
Are you sure the pelmet has not just blown forward in the breeze ?

It seems to be of a very lightweight cloth , and even the heavier looking fabric of the main booth cover is bowed out slightly in the same direction ( just a little , but enough so that the uprights of the frame don't show through the fabric )

Looks like a photo taken during a gust of wind to me.

Richard
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Re: a solution to a problem

Postby Chris » 02 May 2014, 11:31

Yes, I agree Richard. The main tilt is definitely ballooning, it is windy. And that is exactly what happens to the pelmet in wind. One of mine is quite heavy velvet cord, but still it tends to blow up during the show, and I have stitched on a tape on the underside, with a safety pin attached so that I can anchor it in the breeze.
It's good to squawk!
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Re: a solution to a problem

Postby CvdC » 05 May 2014, 00:21

Yes I can now see the cover is puffed up with wind. I have come to think that all the problems one confronts has somehow been dealt with secretly in the past.
It has been my experience that I am always true from my point of view, and am often wrong from the point of view of my honest critics. I know that we are both right from our respective points of view. - Gandhi (Having a bob each way.)
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Re: a solution to a problem

Postby Richard Coombs » 05 May 2014, 11:49

It seems that Pucnhmen and puppeteers generally have always been logically minded when it comes to problem solving , or extremely practical in inventing their general 'modus operandi'

I think it was Chris who told me why most 1950s /1960s Travelling marionette theatre set ups all used black for backcloth/wings / front proscenium screening etc .....whilst black is undeniably smart , serviceable and makes the black puppet strings less visible , the main reason for this trend was apparently the readily available amounts of then surplus "Black-Out" fabric left over from the second world war.

Necessity ( and finance) have always been the mother of our inventions.

The grid pattern on Booth Tilts in so many engravings and paintings of the past were , as we now know , because that particular fabric was a readily available heavy waxed bed ticking.
Mattresses often stuffed with straw would be a breading ground to a host of insect nasties ..and this wax impregnated cloth would go a long way to keeping them securely locked inside.

It also made a very good rainproof Booth cover .
Again necessity at work.
There is very little in in use today ( apart form perhaps computers ) that the Victorians did not have their own version of or answer to.

When performing at Blists Hill Victorian Town , they always put up posters telling guests about the Punch and Judy Show. This is good of them, they have a working Victorian print works on site, which runs every day , hand printing on "Cropper" presses in full view of the public ( it is ones of their living museum pieces )
So the printers will have spent a few days prior to each of my visits setting type and inking rollers and making the prints.
But the thing I find most fascinating is that the posters are then " Laminated" because they will be nailed up on the side of the Goods Shed wall for many days in all weathers.

But this is done the Victorian way - no heat treated plastic film and electric laminators here- the freshly printed posters are sent along to the Candlemakers shed where they are quick dipped in a big vat of hot wax.

Result - thinly waxed posters that the rain just runs right off.
Brilliant bit of 'how we used to do it' inventiveness.

But back to Punch:

Our now ubiquitous red and white canvas Booth cover began its style take over it seems when the coming of the Steam Trains took holiday makers and Punch performers to the seaside.

We can only speculate if one particular performer was responsible for using coverings for deck chairs and cleverly stitching them together to make a Tilt.
Was this an idea that fast caught on because of not only its weatherproofing potential but also its eye catching looks ?

Some Punchmen it seems , also ran their shows in tandem with hiring out their own Deck Chairs.
Here the idea of Show and Chairs in matching colours is a romantic idea ..but as always I tend to 'follow the money' for answers ...if buying canvas in bulk to replace / recover your chairs when they get worn ..it is again going to be at hand -cheaply- for making your Punch fit up.

Possible too that punch performers who did not have a Chair business on the side , could still have approached Deck chair / Windbreak traders for cheap canvass ( cheap because they had the contacts to buy it in bulk )

Like I say , all speculation ..be great if anyone here has anecdotal evidence.......

What ever the reasons , red and white seems here to stay.

Covers have been tied on to frames by tapes and stings , wooden supports threaded through hems and screwed on, marine canvas press stud fixings have in their time been press-ganged into action too. Some still use these, despite them being harder to find and also expensive .
I still maintain that had Velcro been around in Victorian Times , every Punchman the length and breadth of the Country would have been using it.

We should never be afraid of utilising any or all modern products that come along and can be used to make or lives easier / better when setting up out little shows ( who here now would dream of working without amplification ?? )

Throughout Mr Ps 352 years , our predecessors have always taken what is to hand , used it , adapted it , and solved old problems in the newest ways.

We should too , for me , that is all part of the Fun.

Best
Richard
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