THE BRITISH LIBRARY

American Collections blog

22 December 2009

The Shark's Behind You!

You may detect a certain Christmas theme in the blog this week.  Team America couldn't help noticing this story on the cover of the NY Times online:  'Topsy-Turvy Christmas Foolery', Sarah Lyall's charming report on no less a personage than the Fonz appearing in Puss in Boots in Liverpool.  A panto appearance whose only equivalent might be 'say, Leonard Nimoy’s appearing in a production of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” in Buffalo.'

The British custom of pantomimes needs some translation for U.S. audiences: 'Pantomimes reflect a strange paradox of the British national character: that people can be at once so uptight and so gleefully, childishly uninhibited. Amid all the mayhem, “Peter Pan” is full of topical references to things like the recession and the television talent show “The X Factor.”'  This may also explain something about the current Christmas No. 1.

This said, I think we can find evidence of stateside, pantomime (and there's probably a research paper if not): Fortyeighters, at least, enjoyed a bit of dame action: see for example, Kurutz, Gary F. "POPULAR CULTURE ON THE GOLDEN SHORE." California History 79.2 (2000): 280-315. America: History & Life. EBSCO. Web. 22 Dec. 2009


[M.S.]

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