Tuesday, 6 September 2016

The Knuts in WW1

The Knuts came to fame in the review “The Passing Show” which starred Basil Hallam as “Gilbert the Filbert”.  Knuts were Edwardian men-about-town, usually the younger sons of wealthy families.   In his Jeeves and Wooster novel “Joy in the Morning”, P.G. Wodehouse described the typical Knut as “humble, kindly, and lovable”. 
"The Passing Show" introduced the American actress Elsie Janis to British audiences and opened in London at the Palace Theatre in April 1914.   At around that time, Elsie and Basil became secretly engaged and set up home in Liverpool.   When war broke out, Basil joined the army and was killed in the first months of WW1 on the Western Front when he jumped from his Observation Balloon and his parachute failed to open.   Elsie never got over his death.
Jack Buchanan the actor (1890 – 1957) was not passed as fit to join the armed forces during WW1 and continued with his acting, singing and dancing career.  He became known as ‘the last of the Knuts’.  
Elsie went on to entertain the troops on the Western Front during WW1 and then had a career as an actress and writer. 
Jack Buchanan made his name as a film actor as well as a musical comedy star.

Photo:  Basil Hallam as Gilbert the Filbert.
Here is a cartoon relevant to the Knuts drawn by Martin Anderson (1854 - 1932), better known by his alias Cynicus – Scottish artist, political cartoonist, postcard illustrator and publisher.

Postcard - The Kernel of the Knuts