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Glenroy Brothers (Comic Boxing) (1894)

The Glenroy Brothers perform a portion of their vaudeville act, "The Comic View of Boxing: The Tramp & the Athlete", which depicts a boxer with a classic style trying to contend with an opponent who uses a very unorthodox approach.
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The Glenroy Brothers perform a portion of their vaudeville act, "The Comic View of Boxing: The Tramp & the Athlete", which depicts a boxer with a classic style trying to contend with an opponent who uses a very unorthodox approach.

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Remade as Glenroy Bros., No. 2 (1894) See more »

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The Actual Glenroy Brothers Movies Have Pretty Good Comedy
29 November 2005 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

The Glenroy Brothers were one of the popular vaudeville acts that appeared in some of the Edison Company's numerous movies, and their act works quite a bit better on the silent screen than most of the others did. It's good comedy and is still worth seeing, even though only brief footage of it survives.

Unfortunately, because the Edison Company also made many other films of serious boxing matches at about the same time, a number of films that are now labeled as Glenroy Brothers movies are actually footage of other, serious boxers. The rough, unfinished boxing styles of the era and the sometimes staged spectators in the background can make it possible to think that a genuine boxing match is a comic vignette.

But a genuine Glenroy Brothers is actually fairly easy to identify. Their stage act was called, 'The Tramp & the Athlete', and their routines were based on that theme. One brother would dress in all-white clothing, as 'the Athlete', and would try to fight in a classic boxing style. The other brother would dress in shabby dark clothing as 'The Tramp', and would perform cartwheels and other such antics, to throw off his opponent.

In one of Kino's otherwise excellent compilations of early films, they included some footage of a match between two real boxers (Hornbacker and Murphy), and erroneously titled it as "Glenroy Brothers (Comic Boxing)". For this reason, the other review that is posted to this title (as of the time of this writing) actually describes this other movie, "The Hornbacker-Murphy Fight" (1894). (It is a detailed, well-written, and interesting review, but it does not refer to any Glenroy Brothers movie.) Many other sources also have this same misidentification, undoubtedly based on the original mistake in the video collection.

There were at least two actual Glenroy Brothers features filmed. The second one is included in a newer Kino DVD collection of Edison movies, which was compiled with the assistance of film historian Charles Musser, an expert on the subject. (Interestingly, this newer collection also includes the Hornbacker-Murphy footage, now under its correct title.) This first Glenroy Brothers feature may be lost, since the only genuine Glenroy Brothers feature that appears to be readily available today is the second one. It's very possible that, as happened with many of the very earliest movies, the negatives wore out quickly and were replaced by a remake.


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