“The colored favorites Williams and Walker in their new show entitled, ‘Bandanna Land,’ will appear at the Hyperion Tuesday, April 28. Southern scenes and atmosphere. The colored man from overalls to tuxedo. Ragtime talk and music. Music that’s classical yet with the colored flavor. The colored gentleman of high degree elegant and humorous. The old fashioned colored who makes you laugh with his unctious comedy and weep with his pathetic songs. Williams and Walker’s ‘Bandanna Land’ embraces all of the qualities that makes the colored man our most original entertainer.”
-Excerpt courtesy of the Library of Congress, Chronicling America, New Haven Morning Journal-Courier, April 24, 1908. *The word “colored,” is being substituted for all other epithets referring to African Americans in the original text. (top) Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Chronicling America, New Haven Morning Journal-Courier, October 3, 1908
Williams and Walker in their new play, Bandanna Land
“In the realm of black histronia, the coming visit of Williams and Walker, who appear at the Hyperion next Tuesday, is considered an event, not an incident.
Booth, the peerless, and Wallack, the romantic, always drew a following wherever they went. Bernhardt, Neilson, Lotta, Anderson and Patti charmed their own sex, but they have gone like all perishable things do go. Who laughs now at the brain endeavor of Charles Hoyt? Where is the dainty Flora Walsh and Caroline Miskell, his two wives, who had their day? Where is McLaughlin, Keene and John McCollough? All gone into the unknown, which makes us sad if we stop to think very deeply.
Then the eternal Williams and Walker come along and take us out of the mood. They are as standard, in their own line, as Macauley was in his. They probably don’t know their Shakespeare thoroughly, but could that immortal bard do a clog dance? True knowledge is a versatility – that is the knowledge to do all things well.
We have had Gibsons as a standard of measurement in pen art; Angelo working in stone; Lincolns and Blaines, in state craft; Edison, Teslas and De Lessops in inventions; Nelsons and Deweys in naval matters; Websters in knowledge; Dickens, the peer of novelists; Poes in poems; Columbus and Red Erics in discoveries; et cetera, ad finitum. They were all great in their own class; but a man does not become truly great until he is gone, and ordinary ‘politician’ becomes a ‘statesman.’
Common book writers become wonderful ‘journalists.’ The artist who peddled his magnificent ‘Angelus’ through the streets of Paris, to sell it for room rent, passes calmly away and the same old ‘Angelus’ sells for one hundred thousand dollars, and the man who went hungry for want of a frame, sees none of it. Bobby Burns solved it when he said, ‘A man is a man for aye that,’ but Bobby, probably owed Grocer Muggins while writing the line.”
-Excerpt courtesy of the Library of Congress, Chronicling America, New Haven Morning Journal-Courier, April 25, 1908
Williams and Walker in Bandanna Land and The Vision of Salome
“On Monday night, August 31, at the Hyperion theater, Williams and Walker will appear for one night only in their latest and greatest success entitled, ‘Bandanna Land,’ and the sensation of their appearance here should be the presentation of Aida Overton Walker’s version of ‘The Vision of Salome,’ that dance which has taken New York city by storm. Miss Walker is the first woman of her race to attempt a portrayal of the emotions of biblical adventuress, and she makes her appeal solely on her merit as a dancer. Miss Walker will be provided expensive oriental draperies for the scenic investiture and she will use the head of John in her dance, but her costume will consist of a full covering of the body and limbs, except bare feet and shoulders.
‘Bandanna Land’ is enlivened for full three acts with the songs, melodies and dancing in which Williams and Walker always excel, so it is said, Bert Williams will be seen as ‘Skunkton Bowser’ of the piece, and George Walker as ‘Bud Jenkins,’ who insists on appointing himself Skunkton’s guardian. The plot of the comedy turns on the adventures of Skunkton, who unexpectedly falls heir to a fortune, and who goes back to his old home in Georgia to enjoy it in company with his old pal of boyhood days – Bud Jenkins.
Particular among the songs are ‘Any Old Place in Yankee Land is Good Enough For Me,’ sung by Williams and Walker and company; ‘At Peace Wid de World,’ and ‘Right Church But the Wrong Pew,’ by Bert Williams; ‘Bon-Bon Buddie,’ by George Walker; ‘The Sheath Gown in Darktown,’ by Aida Overton Walker and ‘In My Old Home,’ by Henry Troy.
Williams and Walker are always sure of a hearty greeting here and they should be especially welcome in this their new source of merriment, ‘Bandanna Land.'”
-Excerpt courtesy of the Library of Congress, Chronicling America, New Haven Morning Journal-Courier, August 29, 1908
Williams and Walker To-night at the Hyperion in Bandanna Land
“Tonight F. Ray Comstock will present Williams and Walker in their latest musical creation, ‘Bandanna Land,’ at the Hyperion. They will be supported by the same good cast and chorus as presented at the Majestic theatre, New York city, where they pleased and entertained the best and most critical of New York’s theatre-going public for over four months.
The chief attraction of the performance lies in the fact that these two capable entertainers, Williams and Walker, represent the typical colored with a fidelity that disguises the fact that their performance is the result of a close study and artistic instinct. There is a convulsing series of situations which furnishes opportunities for the introduction of a wide variety of colored humor and comedy, and not the least important parts of the performance are the melodies characteristic of the colored race.”
-Excerpt courtesy of the Library of Congress, Chronicling America, New Haven Morning Journal-Courier, August 31, 1908. *The word “colored,” is being substituted for all other epithets referring to African Americans in the original text.
Bandanna Land Is Brimming Over With Side-Splitting Fun and Laughter
“A laugh, a laugh and still another laugh. That was the story of ‘Bandanna Land,’ with which the inimitable Williams and Walker opened the theatrical season of 1908-1909 at the Hyperion last evening. The aggregation was irresistibly funny, especially when the headliners were on the stage. The singing was excellent and the dancing was good. What more can be said of a show of this class?
Williams and Walker are by no means unknown in New Haven, but they certainly have never appeared to better purpose here than last evening. George W. Walker as the ‘becorsetted’ colored Beau Brummel, with trousers pressed till they looked as sharp as razors, and Bert A. Williams, as the big-footed, none-too-brilliant colored, who has fallen into a mint of money, makes as great a team as ever and the whole play centers for its plot, if it may be taken to have any plot at all, around the efforts of the former as Bud Jenkins, who is locally known in Georgia, where the play takes place, as Bon Bon Buddie, to act as guardian (accent on the ‘I’) for his side-partner, who has so unexpectedly acquired so much money.
One thing seems to be regretted in the production. What a splendid opportunity there would be with such a company of colored people for singing in harmony without any orchestral accompaniment did not seem to be realized by the producers. Nowhere could be gather together a musical company so naturally gifted in this sort of singing than one of colored people. yet last evening there were few, if any, examples of unaccompanied singing and, where singing in harmony was tried, its best effect often lost by too much noise from the orchestral pit, especially from the ‘miscellaneous noise man’s’ corner.
The first scene of the third and last act was a presentation of the now famous Salome dance as interpreted by Miss Aida Overton Walker. Miss Walker had evidently made a very careful study of this dance as presented by many other artists in New York. The sinuous movements of the seductive little favorite of Herod were realistic and weird but always artistic, and it can be said to Miss Walker’s credit that her costume could give no offense to the most fastidious. Her presentation was not accorded all the applause it right deserved.
Although the songs were not of the catchy order, they were pleasing in the extreme, especially, ‘Red, Red Rose,’ ‘Bon-Bon Buddie,’ ‘Southland,’ and ‘The Right Church But the Wrong Pew.’ The production was brimming over with fun. There were few who were not doubled up with laughter time and again. It may be regretted by those who did not attend that only one performance in New Haven was arranged for.”
-Excerpt courtesy of the Library of Congress, Chronicling America, New Haven Morning Journal-Courier, September 1, 1908
Williams & Walker
“Williams & Walker, the real king pins of song and laughter, who return to the Hyperion for one night, Oct. 9, in their latest success entitled, ‘Bandanna Land,’ write all their own songs practically and originate all the ‘business’ of their specialties; but though they are universally copied, Williams and Walker are so inimitably funny in their performance, that in spite of the many clever imitations, the popularity of these original entertainers continues to grow, for there is that elusive something about their work no one can take from them.”
-Excerpt courtesy of the Library of Congress, Chronicling America, New Haven Morning Journal-Courier, Saturday, September 26, 1908
“Williams and Walker are too well known to need any advance notices to proclaim their special talents and merit, for they are looked for and expected in all the cities of the east and middle west every season, and that they will always bring a good company and give a high-grade performance is taken for granted, for their shows and company have always proved to be among the most popular of attractions.
Williams and Walker’s latest effort, entitled ‘Bandanna Land,’ in which they come to the Hyperion for a limited engagement of one night, Friday, October 9, draws directly on the colored man for all its comedy, situations, music and songs, and its scenes and environment are all southern in tone and atmosphere.”
-Excerpt courtesy of the Library of Congress, Chronicling America, New Haven Morning Journal-Courier, October 3, 1908
“Williams and Walker, conceded to be the most talented of their race in their new vehicle, ‘Bandanna Land,’ will return tonight. There is no abatement in the extraordinary popularity of this colored team and their latest triumph, ‘Bandanna Land.’ In it Bert Williams portrays the slow, calculating and always comical colored. His grotesque style and dancing never failing to bring encore after encore, George Walker entertains as the dapper, happy-go-lucky colored, who accepts life as he finds it and still manages to enjoy every minute of his existence. Messrs. Shipp, Rogers and Cook, who composed all Williams and Walker’s former successes, are the authors.
-Excerpt courtesy of the Library of Congress, Chronicling America, New Haven Morning Journal-Courier, October 9, 1908. *The word “colored,” is being substituted for all other epithets referring to African Americans in the original text.