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A Punchman's 4th of July

A newspaper clipping from the Providence Journal (R.I.)

See story below.
Punch & Judy at Tockwotton Park

THOUSANDS SEE SHOWS
_________________

Dazzling Pyrotechnic Exhibition Cul-
mination of Official Observance of
Nation Birth Anniversary. --- Throngs
of Spectators Applaud Punch and
Judy Show and Open Air Vaudeville
Pleases Crowds.

_________________

PUNCH AND JUDY SHOWS.

Several thousand youngsters were ready to give a unanimous vote of thanks to the officials in charge of the city’s celebration yesterday for putting in Punch and Judy shows this year. At least, they would have been ready to give a vote of thanks if they had not been too busy enjoying the shows and contributing their respective shares to the patriotic pandemonium. There were precious few things in the day’s civic programme that returned more substantial dividends of fun to the people for whom they were provided thatn the pantomimes that were displayed for the pleasure of the young folks at various parks and playgrounds about the city.

Punch and Judy had a busy day of it. In order to make their appearances at all the places designated by the City Fathers they had to multiply themselves by two at the beginning, but that, of course, was an easy trick for such remarkable and ubiquitous persons. They made their first bows to eager audiences, made up largely of small and very small persons at 10 o’clock in Tockwotton and Hayward Parks simultaneously. At 11 they appeared on the Richardson street playgrounds, South Providence, and the Benefit school yard. After lunch, at 2 o’clock, they popped up again, briskly as ever, at the Dexter Training Ground and Cypress street playgrounds. At 4 p.m. two more excited audiences saw then on the city lot at Academy avenue and Beaufort street and at Printery and Livingstone streets, and at half-past 5 these hard-working performers and their supporting company, not forgetting the real, live stage directors behind the curtains, who had to work harder than any of their puppets, wound up their record of continuous performances with shows on Regent avenue, near River, and at Hopkins Park.

FUN FOR CHILDREN

The scenes attending the performances were much alike everywhere the pantomimists set up their booths. They were something like this: Several score children of assorted ages and sizes and dressed in varying degrees of holiday finery, each one trying to make more and louder kinds of noise than the next, under the indulgent eyes of onlooking parents and guardians and a blue-coated representative of law and order. Appearance of Punch and Judy and their attendants. Grand rush of youngsters to get in the front line and a busy quarter-hour for half a dozen policemen in sorting out the crowd and hauling too eager spirits out of trees and off lamp posts. Sudden and almost breathless cessation of all 57 varieties of noise at Punch’s first squeak, continuing for half an hour while the play is on. Small voice, as Punch bobs out of sight for the last time, asking, “Is that all?” Assurance in grown-up voice that it is and crowd melts away. Noise-making resumed with redoubled energy, explosions and ear-splitting blasts of the tin horn punctuated by snatches of critical commont on the drama just enacted for the happy revellers.

Mostly they approved of it, especially the efficient and workmanlike way in which Punch wielded the big stick and the exciting and highly dramatic finale. Squeals and wriggles of delightful apprehension at these points revealed the fearful joy of the most juvenile auditors, and small girls stood on one foot for quite five minutes at a time. It was great fun. There were crowds of several hundred at each of the 10 performances, and they were not all children by any means. It was an unfortunate grown-up who didn’t have a youngster or two along. however, to give an excuse.

 

 

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