edmond hayes

     Big Booty Babes of 1906: The Wise Guy poster            

This theatrical poster from 1906 for The Wise Guy is an amusing piece of cheesecake art which has been rather widely distributed recently thanks to its exposure on the Library of Congress website (and its public domain status).  Edmond Hayes was a comedian whose show The Wise Guy–“a three act farce comedy, with numerous high class vaudeville interruptions”–was popular for a number of years around the turn of the century.  However, this poster pays far more attention to “The Jolly Girls” than to nominal star Hayes.

            It’s a bit shocking to see a poster more than a century old quite blatantly emphasizing the legs and posteriors of women as a selling point, but this is clearly the case here.  “Women in tights” on stage originated in burlesque of the mid-19th century–when daily dress for women was extremely conservative and concealing–and while little or no “skin” was evident (other than bare arms and perhaps décolletage), the shape of the actresses’ legs (and, as in this poster, hips and buttocks) was clearly evident.  Quasi-military costumes such as seen here, or other designs featuring similar short jackets, tunics, and so forth, were designed to expose and draw attention to the lower limbs of actresses and dancers.

            The Jolly Girls, by current standards, may appear somewhat zaftig (although they’d probably receive the Six Mix-a-lot seal of approval), albeit with rather trim lower legs, a bit of artistic license. It’s interesting that rather than simply draw a line of relatively identical chorus girls, the artist chose to individualise their figures, with some displaying considerably larger…assets…than their companions. 

            The horizontal format of this poster was apparently rather common for theatrical posters of the era, although a vertical format (which was later widely adopted for film posters) was also used.   A horizontal rectangle more closely approximates the proscenium stage dimensions, and allows for compositions such as this one, showing a chorus line of 13 curvaceous young women (posters in the Library of Congress collection demonstrate the way other artists used this “widescreen aspect ratio” to depict scenes of spectacle–battles, disasters, musical numbers–on a grand scale). 

            The tag-line “We’re glad to see your [sic] back again…” is certainly an intentional pun on at least one level: we (the audience) sees only the “back” of the Jolly Girls (not to mention their backsides), while the poster, presumably in the voice of the show’s promoters, expresses gratitude that we are “back again” (= have returned) to watch the show, which is itself “back again” for a new season. 

            As a side note, the error in the tag-line is annoying, but perhaps the grammar police weren’t as stringent in 1906 as they are today.  That is, assuming the text was supposed to read “We’re glad to see you’re back again…” and that it’s not actually referring to seeing the physical “back” of the audience (which would mean people were leaving the theatre).  Posters, newspaper advertisements, signs, and other media containing typographical, orthographical, and grammatical errors are semi-permanent reminders of someone’s mistake.  In this case, once the posters were printed, there was little that could be done, outside of (a) scrapping them and starting over, (b) affixing a “snipe” (a piece of paper glued onto the poster) over the error, or © hoping no one would notice or care (obviously the choice in this instance).

            Many stage shows and plays of the era had multiple “paper” created, and it’s possible there were other The Wise Guy posters which focused on Edmond Hayes himself.  This particular poster primarily sells a parade of pulchritude, only incidentally reminding the audience of the presence of a familar star in a successful show.  Maybe it was assumed that everyone already knew Hayes and his role, so that he needed no introduction (from the image on the poster, he appears to be wearing a too-small set of dress clothes, carrying a cane and a bouquet of flowers, but otherwise no information is conveyed about the character or the nature of the play). 

            But this poster seems to say: hey baby, this show’s got back.

Edmond Hayes Lives!!!

Edmond Hayes (played by Callard Harris), the son of Irish gunrunner Cameron Hayes from the show Sons of Anarchy, is on The Originals. Spotted him tonight as one of Marcel’s inner circle. Only had one or two lines, but I’m pretty sure he still had the accent.

You may recognize him as Thierry, the vampire that Klaus bit during his power-trip with Marcel. Can’t wait to see more of him. Watching Sons of Anarchy for the first time and just saw the finale where Edmond was shot, so I was thrilled that he showed up on my screen again so quickly.