Postcard of the week ending
Saturday, 4 July 2009

Walter Dowling's The Fantastics (1909-1914),
English concert party entertainers

The Fantastics

Walter Dowling's The Fantastics

(photo: H. Mortimer Allen, Tenby, south Wales, circa 1910)

This real photograph postcard is one of a small series featuring The Fantastics, issued in England about 1910.

The Fantastics concert party was the brainchild of Walter Dowling, an actor and comedian who was born about 1882. A native of Liverpool, he was originally employed in the retail goldsmiths' trade by Elkington & Co Ltd in that city before drifting into concert party work. Dowling moved to London where he became the jester in the Scarlet Mr. E's concert party before establishing his own group, The Fantastics, whose original members were himself, Jose (otherwise Josey) Leyton (Mrs Walter Dowling), comedienne and siffleuse, Jessie Crone, contralto, Roland Green, baritone, Alfred Daniels, banjo-humorist, and Bert Darant, pianist. Their first appearance was at the London Coliseum in 1909. Although Dowling died in 1914 at the early age of 32, The Fantastics appear not to have been disbanded until the early 1920s.

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© John Culme, 2009