The Man from Blankley's

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The Man from Blankley's is a comedy by F. Anstey (1856-1934)[1]

The original text

Apparently written as a sketch called The Man from Blankley's. A Story in Scenes, it was first published in Mr Punch, and then in the collection The Man from Blankley's and Other Sketches by Longmans, Green, and Company in 1893 and reprinted by them in 1901. Later, after having been widely performed and made into a film, the stage text was published as The Man from Blankley's: A Comedy of the Early Nineties by Hodder and Stoughton, 1927.

According to the Wikipedia entries on both Anstey[2], the sketch was adapted for the stage and first produced by Sir Charles Hawtrey at the Prince of Wales Theatre, in London, featuring Hawtrey, Arthur Playfair and Faith Stone. After London, it played in New York (at the Criterion Theatre, on 16 to November 1903), Washington DC, Detroit and Chicago. In 1906 it was revived at the Haymarket Theatre to much success.

Translations and adaptations

Twice adapted as film, in 1920 by Paramount Pictures as The Fourteenth Man, starring Robert Warwick, and in 1930 as The Man from Blankley's, directed by Alfred E. Green with John Barrymore and Loretta Young.[3] Both films are now considered lost.

Performance history in South Africa

1901: According to D.C. Boonzaier's reminiscences (1923), The Man from Blankley's was performed by the Sass and Nelson Company in the Opera House, Cape Town, as part of a season of plays that commenced on 11 May. How accurate Boonzaier's memory of the date is in this case, where he is actually discussing Edward Sass's marvellously daring direction of the mise en scene in this and various other plays, is a little unsure, since Sass actually spent quite a while in South Africa as a director/designer and producer between 1895 and 1905. On the other hand this may have been Sass and Nelson's own adaptation of the original sketch, which had been written in dramatic form, and actually performed before the more famous London production by Hawtrey.


"The Man from Blankley's", Wikipedia[4]

Facsimile version of the 1893 edition of The Man from Blankley's and Other Sketches, Google E-book[5]

D.C. Boonzaier, 1923. "My playgoing days – 30 years in the history of the Cape Town stage", in SA Review, 9 March and 24 August 1932. (Reprinted in Bosman 1980: pp. 374-439.)

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1912. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: p.409

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