Pictures

 


A RARE autographed photo of A. Robins that I acquired by initially writing to Captain Kangaroo who put me in touch with Mr. Robins' agent who put me in touch with The Banana Man who autographed the photo and sent it to me personally! He signed the photograph with a blue ball point pen (this was before the days of Sharpies). The inscription says "Best Wishes from A. Robins the Banana Man" (Sam Levine as The Banana Man)

 


Publicity photographs of the original Banana Man, A. Robins. The rear of the pictures have a rubber stamp (see picture below) identifying him as A. Robins and that the representation is George A. Hamid, Inc. Mr. Hamid, who eventually owned the Steel Pier in Atlantic City, was a noted agent for booking outdoor, circus and variety acts. The costume pieces are clearly "home sewn" and the yarn wig and moustache are quite unusual.


Rubber stamped on the back of promotional photographs of A. Robins.

 


A picture of a major banana production - from the brochure. (Sam Levine as The Banana Man)


From the brochure - Showing an unusual costume, a strange mask and the "banjo." Likely pictures a variation of his standard act. This MAY be the actual A. Robins.

A. Robins from “Once Upon A Stage - The Merry World of Vaudeville” by Charles & Louise Samuels. They call A. Robins a “... delightful, inventive clown...” The book offers some fascinating additional details about what most certainly was a part of the Viennese born Robins’ original act:

“Robins, carrying fiddle and bow, would walk on dressed in a Swiss Alpine outfit: green suit, coat with long tails, hat with feather, and red tie. As he started to play, he'd see a spot on his tie. When he tried to brush it off, the whole tie disappeared, it had been painted on his shirt. Next, the unbelievable happened. The violin Robins had been playing began to shrink. Though it got smaller and smaller until it almost vanished, its music continued.

Then Robins reached into his coattails and produced all sorts of other instruments, a cornet, trombone, bass violin, drums, everything but a piano, and played each in turn. He also pulled out a bouquet of flowers, a music stand, and a campstool. As he explained years later, the trick was one he had perfected himself. The instruments, stool, and stand had been collapsed to take up small space. As he pulled each from his coattails, he would touch a spring that released them. Meanwhile he hummed the music. "You might call me a ventriloquist of musical instruments," he observed. "I learned as a youngster of 14 how to imitate all these instruments I seem to play." The full set of props in his coattails weighed sixty pounds.“

This publicity photo of A. Robins shows him with the fall-apart mandolins that were hand painted on canvas covered cardboard.The rear of the photo (by Apeda of NYC) is stamped "A. Robins The Banana Man." It was glued to a piece of cardboard that was stamped "Acts furnished by George A. Hamid, Inc., 10 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY."

This splendid photograph of the ORIGINAL A. Robins comes from a Jan 10,1944 issue of Time magazine (with Bob Hope on the cover.) The photo illustrated article "Top Comedians" starts by saying "They make a nation at war forget its troubles." In a section called "Old-Timers", A. Robins is the first to be featured - along with the likes of Jack Benny, Bobby Clark, Frank Fey, Joe E. Lewis, Burt lahr and Edgar Bergen (pretty good company.) The caption under the picture says: "A. Robins, world-famous "creative clown," builds his own act and props. He produces bananas and mandolins from his 75-lb. coat. He also is part owner of a toy company. In the article they say of The banana Man: "By the same token, radio would fail utterly to convey the special talents of A. Robins, from whose out-sized apparel tumbles a cornucopia of incongruities...."

PreBananaMan
A curious likely pre-Banana Man picture. A clown guise?

Cropped head
A cropped head shot of A. Robins - approx 1919

Pile Of Bananas
A pile of bananas! Probably the same photo shoot in front of the same backdrop as a standing photo with the cascading mandolins. Approx 1945.

Triple Exposure
An remarkable triple exposure of A. Robins as a clown, himself and the Banana Man! About 1945.

 

Screen captures from a color television performance of The Banana Man on the Captain Kangaroo Show

 

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On TV
Sam Levine
in History of Clowns
The ORIGINAL Props!


Tip Top Toy Company
The "Pretenders"
Fans of the Banana Man

 

2001 Rhett Bryson
If you have ANY Banana Man stories, material or information,
Please eMail
Rhett Bryson (rhett.bryson@furman.edu)
Last Updated 03/31/2005