WILLIAM ROBERT GLENNEY
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Reminiscences of Mr WILLIAM ROBERT GLENNEY from The Star, 23rd Jan 1923.
“A modern actor’s life is a perfect picnic compared with an actor’s life in the old ‘stock’ days,’ said Mr W.R. Glenney, who is appearing with Mr Charles Clark, in their sketch “The Haunted House,” in the old time music hall part of the London Palladium program.
“In stock,” he told a Star reporter, “ we had to know all Shakespeare’s plays by heart as a matter of course and be ready to take up any part at any minute.
“I’ve done as many as five different Shakespeare plays in a week in my young days, and studied two more ‘modern’ ones for the following week in my spare time. They don’t have to work like that now.
Mr Glenney is the son of the famous T.H. Glenney and the brother of Charles Glenney.
“Though I was four years younger than Charles,” said Mr Glenney, “our appearance was practically identical, and often when he was ill I took up his part without the audience being any the wiser.
“I first came to London and appeared under Aubrey and Hernderson at the Elephant and Castle Theatre, for 27s. 6d a week.
“The late George Conquest saw me and offered me 35s a week to play juvenile lead at the Grecian Theatre, City Road.
“I thought my fortune was made and went at once, as I was only under agreement at the Elephant. The first play I played in under Conquest was called ‘Russia,’. That was in 1881.
“Later I was ever more successful under Sarah Lane at the Brittania Theatre, Hoxton.
“It was R.G. Knowles, starring at the Royal Holborn, who introduced me to my present partner Mr Clark who had just come over from America.
“He proposed that Clark and I should join forces and do what was then a new type of sketch. I agreed and the three of us sat down and composed the thing round an old story.
“Within 48 hours Clark and I opened at the Holborn and we plated the sketch right up to the war.
“The great success of Clark and myself was due largely to the contrast in our appearance. He was a regular black-faced comedian, and I had never done anything off the legitimate stage before.
“It is delightful to be at work again and to hear the Palladium audience laughing as heartily as all our old audience. “