Today is the birthday of Harry Rickards (Henry Benjamin Leete, 1843-1911).
A native Londoner, Rickards apprenticed to be an engineer like his father, but took to comic singing in the halls and pantomime, much against his parents’ wishes. By 1871 he had established enough of a reputation that he risked a voyage to Australia, and this was the making of his career. Rickards was to be a giant of both the English and Australian music halls for the rest of his life, but he was especially important down under, for it was he who had founded and built up the famous Tivoli Circuit, headquartered in Sydney, after 1893. The Tivoli Circuit played not only Australian and British talent, but employed many an American vaudevillian as well, and was to continue to do so well after American vaudeville died, at least until the 1950s.
To find out more about show business past and present, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.