Theatrical Panto-animals, Part 2: Feedback, history and sources roundup.
by Patch O'Furr
Update to Part 1: “If there was a Museum of Furry, theatrical “Panto-Animals” would be a major exhibit.“
My first Panto-animal history article shared a discovery of amazing proto-Furry happenings, in an overlooked era of Pantomime theater in Victorian Britain. Stunning photos show why the topic is worth uncovering. From these scarce records, a handful of actor names stood out with wide publication in their time for “animal impersonation”. Charles Lauri was covered in Part 1 – and here is Fred Conquest:
Pantomime plays were popular entertainment, considered beneath the “high arts” realm of British theater. They were not treated as equally worthy to record or remember, so these photos are all the more special because of it. These pre-movie live happenings seem forgotten today, compared to the era of cinema that came shortly afterwards – where popular artists like Charlie Chaplin (the first international movie star) gained high respect as subjects to study and remember.
In our time, popular culture has gained respect it never had. What used to be “nerd culture” is now the biggest Hollywood industry. The tiny niche of Furries is one of few areas still looked down on, but that seems to be changing as it grows. I think it’s a great time to rediscover and connect old, forgotten traditions such as Panto-Animal performance – what esteemed Furry fan author Phil Geusz calls “paleo-furry.”