Saturday, November 24, 2012

Sousa and the Sloperphone?!

The March 4, 1905 edition of Ally Sloper's Half Holiday (a British comic paper, first published in 1884) decided to poke a little fun at Sousa and his newfangled Sousaphone while the band was touring England at that time:

Image courtesy of Paul Bierley, John Philip Sousa: American Phenomenon, p. 137
Since it's very hard to read, here's the written humor at the bottom of the page:

Pa won't be beat! He's not going to play second fiddle to any Yankee living. If he'd been brought up to it he'd have been a great musician I'm sure - pity he never learnt. Since Sousa's splendid band has been over Pa has evolved an instrument of  tort- ahem, music, which makes the vaunted Sousaphone sing very small. Assisted by a few talented amateurs he gave a concert the other day. Mr. Sousa, F.O.S., kindly conducted and complimented poor Pa on an excellent performance. The wind was, perhaps, if anything a leetle too strong for perfect balance, still he had no doubt the Sloperphone had a great stare [?] before it - off the Newfoundland banks, as a fog-horn! -Tootsie.

I'm guessing that Sloper wasn't the first to consider the Sousaphone an instrument of torture!

UPDATE - November 27, 2015:

In searching for references to the word "Sousaphone" in old newspapers recently, I came across this paragraph in the March 25, 1905 edition of the Deseret Evening News (Salt Lake City, UT):

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