Frank ‘Tex’ Glanville had a group of very interesting and talented friends, and he made sure their unique skills and tricks were immortalised on film.
A collection of 8mm home movies made by Glanville, an Australian vaudeville performer, was donated to the NFSA by his daughter Marion Glanville Hearst in May 2011. Glanville’s vaudeville career spanned from c1928-1965 – he was a renowned rope spinner though he also performed slack wire walking, juggling and hypnotism. In examining his collection of well-crafted and thoughtfully edited home movies (most complete with homemade inter-titles), I found that he was also dedicated to capturing a range of unique variety acts and his vaudeville friends on celluloid film.
Unfortunately some of the footage – including Glanville’s own performances – had deteriorated too badly to be salvageable, but what the NFSA was able to revive is an interesting visual history of variety performers whose work previously did not widely exist in the form of moving image. Glanville’s films are now part of the home movie collection and were recently digitised using a MWA Flash Scan machine in order to preserve them for future generations.
After viewing the films many times I became intrigued by the various performers Glanville filmed, and have recently curated a collection of six segments from his collection for the NFSA Films YouTube channel. The selection includes (click for more information about each title):