Setting legal precedence

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Setting legal precedence

Postby CvdC » 09 Dec 2007, 00:03

I was given the opportunity to do something legal for a change. So as I may never do one again I thought I'd show it off here.


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And yet another Polly.



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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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Postby johnstoate » 09 Dec 2007, 00:47

My,Chris you are prolific!, - Carry on like this you'll (Argueably) become a tradition!! :lol: - Wish I could afford a full set! - Definitely a style of carving, ( Even when in 'copy' mode!) Keep up the excellent work.

PS, When do we see the Real C.V.D.C..??? - I suspect that there's a full set of true originals in there somewhere! :wink:
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Postby CvdC » 09 Dec 2007, 01:49

ORIGINALS? originality is not important. If I were concerned with originality per se I wouldn't be interested in Punch and Judy. I would make up my own show. Deal with global warming or some contemporary theme. Make my puppets in foam or latex.
These puppets are about interpretation. Interpretation of what I consider to be a tradition. If you're looking for originality you are missing the point. Of course there is some inevitable originality in how I personally interpret tradition. That is the essence of the post-modernist approach. Creativity is in how one interprets oneself in a historical context without the necessity of having to reinvent a new individual reality. :P

But here is a set of puppets that is as original as they will ever get:

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Bulldog

Postby Sean Keohane » 09 Dec 2007, 04:37

Chris, your bulldog of the legal profession reminds me of Leo McKern as Rumpole of the Bailey, though Rumpole looked more disheveled and less grouchy! If I remember correctly, the late Mr McKern was originally from Australia, which is true of your globetrotting puppets as well.

Having a set of your figures myself, I can say they draw a strong reaction from the children who see them in action. I've been doing many French shows with Czech puppets for a while now (but with a Chris vdC gallows, barrel, one ghost, and two crocodiles)... this Christmas I expect to do at least one good old-Punch & Judy with my vigorous "van der Craats" set.

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Postby CvdC » 09 Dec 2007, 07:50

Actually Sean the judge is based on the British actor Peter Bull.

Oh and while I sit here I look down at my Mayhew photocopy and I read the lines

I'm a roarer on the fiddle
Down in ole Virginny
And I plays it scientific
Like master paganinni

Must be one of those Thomas Rice songs I guess.

Another is called Getting up Stairs

Some likes coffee, some like tea
Some likes a pretty girls, just like me
Such a getting up stairs and a playing the fiddle
Such a getting upstairs I never did see.

Obviously the songs of Jim Crow have a different connatation in the USA, where they were just plain racist, whereas in the London of 1850 they would have been somewhat more exotic. But there is humour and wit there nevertheless. I wonder if any of the tunes that Rice sung had any authentic negro origins? Or was it just complete fabrication?
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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Postby Sean Keohane » 10 Dec 2007, 17:59

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part3/3h489.html

Chris, that's a link to a US Public Television website with a little history about the Jim Crow character. I've just written a long, no doubt brilliant reply to your questions, and then, not so brilliantly, erased the reply without successfully posting it! Not so brilliant at all, eh?

Instead of attempting to recreate my posting, here is a quote from the website linked above that struck me:

"Ira Aldridge, one of the few black actors of the period to portray Shakespearean characters before white audiences, sometimes ended an evening's performance with a rendition of 'Opossum up a Gum Tree' or 'Jump Jim Crow,' which he delivered with pathos rather than humor before offering a plea for the abolition of slavery."

This suggests that while overall the Jim Crow character would now be considered plainly racist, as you say, it was not always and everywhere intended to be "racist," and could possibly be used to counteract racist thoughts, if the "stereotype" was presented as a sympathetic human being, as Ira Aldridge evidently presented his version of the character (rather than the "caricature"). I wonder if it's true, though, that Mr Aldridge actually performed his piece "with pathos rather than humor," meaning any trace of humor. We would need a time machine to find out, but my experience with one other modern, academic review of a historical set of performances is that the modern review is based on an misinterpretation of the source material.

Also, while I am not an expert in the subjects of Jim Crow or Blackface minstrels, I don't imagine Thomas Rice popularized the character and the song "Jump Jim Crow" to be hateful, but to be entertaining to people who might pay him to perform it, and that not all audiences who did enjoy it and kept it alive were bloodthirsty or benighted racists. Different versions of the song made references to, and jokes about, current politics and local characters, not surprisingly, and there were many stanzas that were pointed, even if humorous and in dialect, about race relations, being sympathetic to African Americans and their plight under slavery. I'll look for some of those stanzas, as they are not recorded in the Mayhew Punch & Judy script (in which context they wouldn't have made much sense in any case).


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blackface

Postby Trev » 17 Dec 2007, 09:59

There are some interesting interviews with blackface, or "Ethiopian" singers in Mayhew. One of the white singers actually comments on there being a real Black performer in one of the street bands.

I recall reading a comment by Steven Foster about his 'negro' songs. While he himself didn't consider them his greatest works he did say he felt happy that they had made people more interested in genuine black songs and singing.
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Jumping lyrics

Postby Sean Keohane » 29 Dec 2007, 22:22

Chris vdC,

What a great voice Peter Bull had! My family watches him (and the rest of the cast!) in A Christmas Carol every year.

Now, as to the somewhat surprising Jump Jim Crow lyrics, here are a few which are not negative, though they are written in what passed for "dialect" in the 19th century. I have changed a word, and the stanzas aren't really in any kind of order. A few, at least, may be of interest.
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Chorus: So I wheel about.
I turn about,
And I do just so,
And ebery time I wheel about,
I jump Jim Crow.

I nebber like New Orleans,
Nor I think I nebber shall,
Until de white man luff um be,
De pretty creole gal.

Den dere is Charleston,
De bragging Nullifiers,
He said he'd lick uncle Sam,
But uncle made them liars.

But bress dat Baltimore,
Wid a monument of stun,
Erected to de memory,
Ob great massa Washington.

I want to go to Canada,
For de only song dey sing.
Is dat damn Brittany,
An God shave de king.

But we laugh at de Canada,
And de British turned our back on,
For de tune ob Yankee Doodle,
An hurrah for Jackson.

De New York doctor,
Sure to go to hell,
Where dey send dare patients,
Wid dare debelish Calomel.

I listed in de army,
An sarve uncle Sam,
Any other sarvice,
Aint worth a damn.

At New Orleans town,
De British went to (s)teal,
But when dey see ole Hickory,
Dey took to dere heel.

Lord how dey cut dirt,
And did'nt stop to trifle,
For dey did'nt like de site,
Ob de dam Yankee rifle.

I'm a touch of de snapping turtle,
Nine tenths of a bull dog,
I've turned the Mississippi,
All for a pint of grog.

Now my verses are de best kind,
And dis I'm sure's no bore,
For ebery time I dance and sing,
De people cry encore.

For poets are a poor set,
As you must all know,
For the more they try to write,
De poorer dey do grow.

Election coming on,
An I'll try if I can,
Just to be elected,
For a Sembly man.

I tink if I get in,
I should suit em to a hair,
And de next ting dey would do,
Would be to make me mayor.

For de duties ob de Sembly men,
I tink is bery funny.
For dey only hab to eat dinners,
And spend de peoples money,

Dey dont mind what folks say,
Tho it comes from ebery quarter,
And all de people wants
Is a little wholesome water.

But dat dont concarn dem,
For what do you tink!
Why water is the only ting,
Dat dey do not drink!

I was at a ball de odder night,
A lady tried to faint,
We poured water on her face
Nor tinking dere was paint.

And sich a nasty figgur,
I'm sure was nebber seen,
A face with streaks of red and white,
Dat before looked bery clean.

De great Nullification,
And de fuss in de south,
Is now before Congress,
To be tried by de word ob mouth.

Dey hab had no blows yet,
An I hope dey nebber will,
For its berry cruel in bredren,
One anoders blood to spill.

Wid Jackson at de head
Dey soon de ting may settle
For ole Hickory is a man,
Dat's tarnal full ob mettle.

Should dey get to fighting,
Perhaps de bracks will rise,
For deir wish for freedom
Is shining in deir eyes...

I am for freedom,
An for union altogeder,
Although I am a brack man,
De white is called my broder.

What stuff it is in dem
To make de debil brack,
I'll prove dat he is white,
In de twinkling of a crack.

For you see lobed brodders,
As true as he hab a tail,
It he berry wickedness,
What make he turn pale.

I went to da Hobok,
To had a promenade,
And dare I saw de pretty girls,
Drinking de lemonade.

Dat sour and dat sweet,
Is berry good by gum,
But de best lemonade is
Made by adding rum.

I seen a pretty gal,
Wid a tippet and a muff,
I dont know what her trade is,
But I guess she's up to snuff.

She went in de dry goods store,
And winked at de clark,
She ax'd him to come to her house,
A little arter dark.

He went to de tree balls,
He watch went up de spout,
Kase de master inde store.
An he no chance for sourkrout.

Dis wicked boy do dat,
All for a painted face,
Which bery soon I see,
Will bring him to disgrace.

I'm for union to a gal,
And dis is a stubborn fact
But if I marry and dont like it,
I'll nullify the act.

I'm tired of being a single man,
And I'm tarmined to git a wife,
For what I tink the happiest,
Is de sweet married life.

It's berry common among de whites,
To marry an get divorced.
But dat I'll neber do,
Unless I'm really forced.

Now my brodder [brack men],
I do not tink it right,
Dat you should laff at dem,
Who happen to be white.

Kase it dare misfortune,
And dey'd spend ebery dollar,
If dey could only be
Gentlemen ob color.

It almost break my heart,
To see dem envy me,
And from my soul I wish dem,
Full as brack as we.

White folks, white folks,
I bid you all good bye,
Soon as eber hay time come,
Jim Crow will to de country fly.

But may peace and plenty,
Eber be Merican people's fate.
So hurra for industrious Philadelfia.
And N. Y. de great commercial State.
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