|March 1925, Gilbert and Sullivan
If you think the first two months of the year were pretty sketchy when it came to my knowledge of which cards were actually being removed from cigarette packets at the time, 'you ain't seen nothing yet' as the saying goes.
I do not have a record which can tie in any sets to this month but that is not to say they are not popping out of the packets and littering the gutters all over the world, for that is what so many ended up doing.
...almost zero tolerance to Gilbert & Sullivan.
So let me extend the hand of what might have been and claim the following sets were not only issued in 1925 but were to be found in packets in March 1925. Lets now move on from the spectacle of me twist in the wind and to the cards.
Lets start with the majors. In 1925 Players issued the A series of Gilbert & Sullivan. This set of 50 cards depicts all the characters you would expect to find from the duo's comic operas.
I have to confess to having almost zero tolerance to Gilbert & Sullivan material if only because I have lived to long in an area that has more than its fair share of faded starlets ready to reprise their one great moment on stage some 70 years previous.
It was my fault for going to the talent show. I thought it would contain a good deal of belly laughs and the first hour did. I nearly choked to death as a young magician died a thousand deaths as trick after trick failed.
Seldom had such magical incompetence been seen beyond Tommy Cooper. Perhaps I should have allowed the laughter out. He was failing as a magician but possibly he was a comic and the wall of silence which met his comical fumblings ended what would have been a promising career.
The fact was I was trying to keep a low profile after accidentally head butting the elderly woman in front of me while trying to regain my chair after the national anthem had struck up unexpectedly causing me to spring to my feet and drive the chair into the softer regions of the gentleman behind me.
Players Gilbert & Sullivan.
The final act though was an opera singer from a long lost era with a voice like a broken reed left out in the sun too long. It just went on and on. Three curtain calls did this woman get.
She was why the rather limited audience had turned up. An audience to small not to notice the young hooligan, who'd castrated one person and floored another during the National Anthem, sneak out to catch the last bus home.
This series of cards must have been a big hit for Players as they did a second series. This need hardly be surprising as Gilbert & Sullivan surely are the best exponents of the English comic opera (well name me another).
They created the 'patter song', you know the thing, a light tune over which a rapid succession of wordage is applied.
Why I ever agreed to go and see 'The Mikado' is a mystery. At least I think I was watching The Mikado, it was so difficult to tell. It had a cast with an age of thousands.
...these cards are a treat.
Players second series had a fair bit of repetition of characters from the first set which always strikes me as one of the great disappointments of card production. Perhaps they could have depicted the more famous actors and actresses which played the roll.
That at least would have extended the theme especially as they also produced a large series of cards and even an extra large series of cards on the same subject, basically covering the same ground. One of the larger series could have had the life and times of the two fellows behind the operas for example, as their life stories are well worth the telling. Certainly Players produced a set about Shakespeare's life story so not an impossible task.
For those that like Gilbert & Sullivan these cards are a treat and something of a rare one as no other major issuer really bothered with the theme which is a shame.