Sarah's Chess Journal

         my journal, blog, web log, blog.....about

         The History and The Culture of Chess

Chess: the Ice Age
March  2006

According to an interview in the Daily Mail  June 20, 2000 with Slapstick comedian Norman Wisdom who had just recently been knighted:

   I'll be 86 next February 4, but I feel about 45. I have my own teeth and hair and wouldn't mind doing the ton. As you get older three things happen, though. The first is your memory goes, and I can't remember the other two. Offhand, I can't even recall the last time I was ill.
   Every day I take a multi-vitamin, Cod liver oil and Garlic capsules. But laughter is the medicine of life, although it can be tricky if you exceed the recommended dose.
   Touch wood, I have had only two operations. The first was for trapped nerves and a chipped bone sustained rehearsing a back somersault on a trampoline for the ice pantomime Sinbad The Sailor at London's Empress Hall in 1953

Norman Wisdom is featured on the playbill below

This was a peculiar show, yet seemingly popular. Claude Langdon was the Empress Hall impresario. He staged many such Ice Pantomimes during the 1950's. A letter from an attendee on Feb 19, 1954 expresses this opinion:

A party of members and friends of the local Labour Party Women's section, including a number of children, visited Sinbad the Sailor on Ice at the Empress Hall, Earl's Court, on Monday evening. Interest was divided between the entertaining antics of Norman Wisdom and the spectacular aspects of the show, such as the underwater ballet in the realms of King Neptune, and old and young seemed to be equally appreciative.

The show premiered on December 3, 1953. One of the most curious aspects was that it featured an interpretive ballet, on ice, of Paul Morphy's Opera Box game.

Reginald Charles Noel-Johnson, a well known chess player in Kent as well as a composer, worked with the producer, Eve Bradfield, in the translation of the chess game into a ballet. It's not mentioned whether Rossini's Barber of Seville played in the background nor who played the roles of Paul Morphy, the Duke of Brunswick and Count Isouard.

Archives by Title



Sarah's Serendipitous Chess Page
The Life and Chess of Paul Morphy

chess - general

Chesslinks Worldwide

chess - history

Mark Week's History on the Web
Chess Journalists of America
Chess History Newsgroup
Hebrew Chess
Chess Tourn. & Match History
Super Tournaments of the Past
La grande storia degli scacchi
Bobby Fischer
Bill Wall's Chess Pages

[back to archives]                                                                                                                                     [ comments ]