Derby Castle

Source: ‘Derby Castle’, The Isle of Man Times and General Advertiser, 4 June 1895, p. 2

Text: One of the wonders of the age is on view at Derby Castle in the shape of the Kinetoscope, one of Edison’s latest inventions. Really, the capabilities of the thing are appalling. By its means the following, all working as if in life before the spectator, are shown: – Blacksmith’s shop, contortionist, cock fight, Highland dance, saloon (where a loafer raises a disturbance and is unceremoniously put out), Armand d’Ary (French chanteuse and danseuse, the latest Paris and New York “rage”), wrestling match, prize fight, tumbler, Carmencita, Sandow, reproduction of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West scenes, prize fights &c. Perhaps the simplest method of explanation will be to describe an actual scene. Among the many subjects thus far secured for the Kinetoscope is the interior of a barber’s shop. The beholder, who is looking down through the window of the Kinetoscope cabinet, sees the interior of a barber’s shop. A man is reclining upon a barber’s chair about to be shaved. The barber goes to his case, secures his cup, makes a lather with which he proceeds to lather the man’s face. Meanwhile, a coloured gentleman, who is probably acting in the capacity of a porter, boot-black, and Jack-of-all-trades, is moving about the room. He picks up a newspaper and sits down to read it. Another customer comes in; pulls off hat and coat; the smoke is plainly seen rising from his pipe; picks up a paper to read and await his turn. The coloured gentleman, aforesaid, finds something very funny in the newspaper he is reading, and thereupon he crosses the room and points out the amusing article to the waiting customer. They both laugh and show every sign of amusement. Meanwhile the barber has begun shaving his man, and both the “shaver” and the “shavee” have been going through many motions, the one plainly evincing his desire to hurry through the work of shaving and be ready for the “next”. Now, it should be understood that this is not an imaginary scene, emanating from the pencil or brush of some artist; but it is an accurate photograph of a scene which has actually taken place. Every movement, from the walking of the man across the floor, to the sweep of the razor, is recorded, and is witnessed by the beholder through the window of the Kinetoscope.

Comments: Derby Castle was a dance hall and entertainment venue in Douglas, Isle of Man. The Edison films mentioned include New Blacksmith Shop (1895), The Cock Fight (1894), Highland Dance (1894), A Bar Room Scene (1894), Armand D’Ary (1894), Wrestling Match (1894), Carmencita (1894), The Barber Shop (1893), Sandow (1894) and one of the series of Buffalo Bill films. My thanks to Deac Rossell for alerting me to this article.

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