Comical magic lantern slides

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Queen Victoria is purported to have said “We are not amused”. The ‘we’ was, of course, the ‘Royal we’ or in plain English ‘I’ and there is no evidence that she actually said it. What we do know is that in her younger days, in private, she enjoyed a good laugh but rarely did so in public. Whilst we’re on the subject of public and private persona, we also know that she and Albert were not averse to a bit of erotica, which is ironic given that her era is remembered for its straight-laced morals. Perhaps one of my future posts will be about titillating Victorian lantern slides. None of this is related to today’s pictures but I’m getting there.

Even if Queen Victoria wasn’t amused, her subjects certainly were. Lots of examples of humorous magic lantern slides for adults and children have survived but many are no longer funny, simply because they referenced people or situations that are long forgotten. Others are now politically incorrect as they involve attitudes to animals, race and disability that are just awful and one would have wished that our predecessors would have known better. Having said that, even the cruelest Victorian animal cartoons are pretty tame compared to Tom and Jerry and Itchy and Scratchy.

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So for every ten comical slide sets produced, there might be one that is useable in a modern magic lantern show. Today’s slides are from a set of twelve about Mr. and Mrs. Brown who find a mouse in their bedroom. They have fun and games trying to capture it and, eventually, the rather large mouse escapes unharmed. Had it not, I might have incurred the wrath of animal rights activists but fortunately all is well in mouseland.   

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