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FOOTLIGHT NOTES
no. 392

updated
Saturday, 19 March 2005

Charles A. Gardner's song 'The Lilac' in Fatherland, 1888,
composed by Gustave H. Kline

Charles A. Gardner

Charles A. Gardner's song, 'The Lilac' in Fatherland,
composed by Gustave H. Kline, published by Meyer & Brother, Chicago, 1888

Charles A. Gardner, 'the jolly German comedian', part wrote with Sidney R. Ellis and starred in Fatherland, a 'romantic picturesque comedy of Tyrolean life.' The production, under the management of S.R. Ellis with a company of twenty players, toured the United States successfully between 1888 and 1891. Special features included 'Genuine Spinstube Scene, with Real Old Fashioned Spinning Wheels, Imported especially for this production [and] Original Saengerfest, Double Tyrolean Quartette'. In the character of Karl, Gardner sang a number of songs including Kline's 'The Lilac' the music of which it was said sold 100,000 copies within a year.

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'Mr. Charles A. Gardner is meeting with great success in his new play Fatherland. The piece is the joint production of Mr. Sidney R. Ellis and Mr. Gardner. It affords an agreeable opportunity for the exercise of Mr. Gardner's undeniable talents as a German character actor. The scene is laid in the Tyrol, and there are pretty glimpses of home life among the Tyrolean Alps, merry yodels, and sweet songs by Mr. Gardner and the company. Mr. Gardner is one of the sweetest singers on the stage, and his many pretty melodies blend charmingly with the sentiment of the passing scenes in the play. The scenery is very beautiful and the costumes picturesque and pretty.'
(The New York Dramatic Mirror, Christmas Number, New York, Saturday, 29 December 1888, p.25b)

'Charles A. Gardner ("Karl"), the popular German dialect comedian and sweet singer, is reported to have done a phenomenally large business this season in his romantic comedy Fatherland. His receipts in the South are said to have averaged over $4,200 a week. Manager Henry Greenwall paid Mr. Gardner in Fatherland the compliment of being one of the bet attractions that he ever played in his houses. Mr. Gardner is one of the cleverest German dialect comedians now on the stage in America, and he is a graceful dancer as well as a pleasing singer. He possesses a rich, clear tenor voice which he uses with great expression in the numerous pretty ballads in the Fatherland, a play that faithfully presents the true home-life of Germany, with its joys, games and pastimes and fire-side pictures. During the season of 1891-92, Mr. Gardner will produce his new play Karl, the Volunteer.
(The New York Dramatic Mirror, Christmas Number, New York, Saturday, 27 December 1890, p.44a)

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