Monday, July 22, 2013
Mysteries solving themselves
Back in March, I found these at a local Value Village. $1.99 each. I tried without success to find out who the artist was, and friends who searched on my behalf came up with nothing either. (The limitations of internet search have become frustratingly apparent to me as I've progressed on my project.)
But last week, I acquired a book (Peter Pan on Stage and Screen, 1904-2010, by Bruce K. Hanson) in hopes of determining which songs entered the stage production when, for possible reference in chapter titles, and inadvertently got the answer to my mystery as well.
The book is filled with illustrations, many of them in color. Including this one:
These are undoubtedly, to my mind, from the same family. Both this poster, from the book, and mine are for Charles Frohman productions, and as far as I can tell, they're by the same artist, Charles Buchel, for Strobridge Litho Co.I'm guessing these were all from the same 1906-07 production. I call success! This is why I am continually searching for pieces to fit together, because they don't always come from expected places.
The chances of my stumbling across those posters in a Value Village? I can't say. They're in far too good condition to be anything other than reproductions, but they certainly aren't any of the more commonly seen artistic promotions of the play. I'm quite pleased with my find, especially now that I have this new information.
Charles Frohman himself is an interesting footnote. A renowned Broadway producer, he discovered a number of American theater stars and had one of his greatest successes with his 1905 Peter Pan. One of the friends I mentioned earlier pointed me towards the story of Frohman's death: He was aboard the RMS Lusitania in 1915, within sight of the coast of Ireland, when the ship was hit by a German torpedo. With an injured leg, he couldn't manage the jump into a lifeboat, so instead he stood on deck talking to friends and smoking a cigar. Reportedly he paraphrased a line from Peter Pan as they waited for the ship to go down: "Why fear death? It is the most beautiful adventure that life gives us."