[PADDEN, T. Vincent?]
Empire Theatre, Easington … A great film : The life story of NED KELLY, the Australian Bushranger, who terrorised Australia for 7 wild years …
The complete story told by T. Vincent Padden, the Famous Lecturer (in Person). Manchester, U.K. : Frank Boor [for Thomas Vincent Padden?], [probably between 1908 and 1915]. Picture theatre handbill. Lithograph printed in black on yellow paper, 185 x 130 mm, bottom margin with imprint of ‘Frank Boor, Handbill Specialist, 23 Albemarle Road, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester’; a little darkening and faint creasing at corners, else fine; [together with] photographically illustrated promotional card for Thomas Vincent Padden, 180 x 130 mm, showing Padden standing in front of a poster advertising one of his lectures at a screening of The Spendthrift (1915).
Unrecorded handbill for an early English screening of The Story of the Kelly Gang.
The Story of the Kelly Gang, directed by Charles Tait and shot in and around Melbourne, was first screened in Melbourne in August 1906. With a running time of over one hour it was, at the time of its release, the longest narrative film yet made. The film was first screened in the U.K. late in 1907.
This handbill, advertising a three-night season of The Story of the Kelly Gang at the Empire Theatre in the township of Easington, in County Durham, was presumably written by the lecturer, Thomas Vincent Padden. Padden must have been something of a charlatan, as he brazenly and shamelessly makes the false claims that ‘The Kellys were transported from Usworth in the County of Durham’; that ‘Another point of local interest is [that] Sergt. Steele, who finally shot down Kelly – after the murder of his pal Sergt. Kennedy – was born in New Durham.’ Padden might well have had different versions of this handbill printed in Manchester, which he could have distributed in advance to the picture theatres in various locations on his travelling itinerary in the north of England – perhaps each handbill making a different set of claims that would appeal to a particular local audience.
A full account by Sally Jackson and Graham Shirley of the making and history of this landmark film may be read on the website of the Australian National Film & Sound Archive