San Francisco Minstrels

Event Information

San Francisco Minstrels Hall

Event Type:

Record Information


Last Updated:
28 July 2016


Announcement: New York Clipper, 18 August 1866, 150.

“The San Francisco Minstrels will commence their season at their hall the first Monday in September. During their traveling tour they have had a number of workmen engaged altering and decorating the hall in a very handsome manner. The facing of the gallery has been cut down five inches, and the seats so arranged that the stage can be seen from every part of the gallery. Over two hundred extra seats have been added to this part of the house. The ceiling has been beautifully frescoed, and the general appearance of the house is greatly improved. All the parquet seats will be newly covered, and a new carpet placed in the orchestra.” Lists some of the performers.

Announcement: New York Clipper, 01 September 1866, 166.

“The Frisco Boys, acknowledged to be one of the best minstrel bands that has ever put on cork and appeared on Broadway, reopen their hall, beautifully decorated and considerably altered, on Sept. 3d, for another season. Birch, Wambold, Bernard and Backus are the four stars of the troupe, and of the profession. To equal them, in their line, is a difficult job to undertake, to excel them almost an impossibility.”

Announcement: New York Herald, 01 September 1866, 4.

“Messrs. Birch, Wambold and Backus have returned to new York from a very successful starring tour in the country and chief cities outside the metropolis. . . The house has been completely overhauled and made brilliant in every part.  The members of a very strong company will make their season bow.”

Advertisement: New York Herald, 03 September 1866, 7.
Review: New York Herald, 06 September 1866, 8.

“This favorite metropolitan troupe of negro minstrels opened for the season on Monday last, at their temple of music, mirth, and laughter, with a full company of first class cork talent, since which time the house has been literally packed with their patrons and old habitués.  Last evening many persons found it impossible to obtain even standing room, so crowded was the auditorium, and this state of affairs promises to continue throughout season.  Their programme for the present week offers a greater variety of enjoyable comicalities to the amusement loving public, in the way of songs, dances and roaring burlesques than can be found at almost any other minstrel hall in the country.”

Announcement: New York Clipper, 08 September 1866, 174.
Review: New York Clipper, 15 September 1866, 182.

“A very crowded house.  Before the curtain rose numbers of persons were compelled to leave, being unable, from the densely crowded audience to obtain a sight of the stage. The hall, which has been greatly improved, presents a very handsome appearance when the gas is turned on.  The lower part of the house has been fitted up in a neat and comfortable manner, and so has the gallery.  When the curtain rose and the company appeared, they were received by three hearty cheers by the audience, which cheering welcome was responded to by Mr. Bernard in his usual happy manner.  The first part went off smoothly, nothing arising to interfere with the way this company give a first part.  The overture was excellent, and the opening chorus good.  Ainsley Scott was heartily applauded for singing ‘Let’s all Obey;’ Charley Backus was the same old Backus, with his comic songs and witty sayings; D. S. Wambold fairly outshone all his former efforts at ballad singing, for his ‘Meet me in the Lane’ is the sweetest and prettiest ballad we have listened to for a long time.  The ballad itself is a beautiful one, but when sung by such an artist as Mr. Wambold it becomes doubly so.  Billy Birch came in for the next turn, and with his ‘Oh Were I a Fly’ made things lively.  Billy is a whole team in himself and brim full of fun.  The first part was enlivened by the brilliant flow of wit from that ‘wittiest’ and very clever middle man, W. Bernard, who understands his business in every respect.  He is not only one of the best that puts on burnt cork as Interlocutor, but his prima donna burlesque singing is excellent.  In the olio, J. B. Donniker performed a pleasing violin solo; C. Backus gave animated photographs of actors; Cooper and Fields executed a couple of dances; Henry Rice appeared in his burlesque act, supported by Wambold and Bernard.  The rest of the company also appeared in favorite acts.  The performance given by this band is the best witnessed in New York for many years.  The house was crowded every night during the past week.”