[Tom Arnold, ‘Napoleon of Show Business’.] Eleven items, including six Signed and Typed communications to W. Macqueen-Pope; biography of Arnold by MP; ‘Memorandum of Agreement’ with MP; poster for Arnold’s ‘Cinderella’ at Glasgow Alhambra.

Tom Arnold [Thomas Charles Arnold] (1897-1969), international impressario of everything from opera to rodeos, circus and seaside piers [W. Macqueen-Pope (1888-1960), theatre historian and press agent]
Publication details: 
Arnold’s six communications between 1942 and 1959; two on his Shaftesbury Avenue letterhead, two others from the same address, and two from 112 Jermyn Street, London. Agreement: 15 April 1943. Poster: 1950 / 1951, Glasgow Alhambra.
SKU: 24586

From the Macqueen-Pope papers. See his entry in the Oxford DNB. Eleven items, in fair overall condition, on lightly aged and creased paper. All six of Arnold’s communications are signed ‘Tom Arnold’. Arnold’s two TLsS are dated 2 October 1942 and 23 July 1959. In the second of these (1p, landscape 8vo) he thanks MP for a producing a piece of writing which ‘suits the mood’: ‘I appreciate your doing this, and the speed with which you tackled it for me. [...] And I am sending you my cheque, as you say “on friendship terms”, which I also appreciate.’ He hopes they will have lunch one day, ‘and have a nice chat about this and that - to which I shall look forward.’ The letter is accompanied by unsigned carbons of MP’s receipt for payment (five guineas) for the work, and its covering letter, both typed and dated 24 July 1959. In the letter MP suggests a meeting, writing that he will be ‘writing a book a[b]out the Palace [Theatre] and would like to do you justice therein and I have an idea which I think would be of interest to you, in another direction. Indeed, it might be just what you are looking for.’ A note by Arnold of 4 January 1957 thanks MP ‘for the material you sent me for the Lecture’, and is accompanied by a carbon of a typed short biography (clearly by MP) of ‘Tom Arnold’, 1p, 4to. In it MP refers to Arnold as ‘the very epitome of Show Business. Never before, in theatrical history, has one manager had so many or so varied interests. He is King of Pantomime, presenter of great circuses, theatre proprietor, revue, musical comedy and straight play producer. He runs an ice rink, he is the man whose amazingly beautiful and expert shows on ice dazzle - not only people in this [c]ountry - but all over the Continent, indeed, all over the world. He finds time to have a share in running piers at seaside resorts and also pleasure cruises. In other words he is a Napoleon of Show Business. And in his spare time he writes excellent short stories. And he has made Films as well.’ In two of the other Arnold TNsS he thanks MP for telegrams wishing him good luck over his productions of ‘The Glorious Days’ (1952) and ‘Over the Moon’ (1953). The tenth item is a Memorandum of Agreement for MP to work as a press agent, between ‘TOM ARNOLD LIMITED / and / W. J. MACQUEEN-POPE Esq.’, dated 15 April 1943. 3pp, foolscap 8vo, typed and folded into the customary packet. Signed by ‘Tom Arnold’ (over a stamp) and ‘Walter James Macqueen Pope’. The final item is a small poster for a Tom Arnold production of ‘Cinderella’, produced by Robert Nesbitt, at the Glasgow Alhambra. Text on one side in red and blue, with illustrations of the stars Harry Gordon, Alec Finlay, Robert Wilson and Duncan Macrae. Most of the other side is taken up with an attractive illustration of Cinderella and an old crone, printed in black, red and grey, with text at top left.