Professor Osbourne

We have known many comedians to possess great skill as Sleiglit of Hand performers, but we have never known but the one professional swimmer to possess even a liking for the art (outdoor and indoor pursuits rarely ever clash) that one is the subject of our sketch, and he is possessed of rare abilities in the mystic art.

Professor Osbourne is a native of Walsall, and his High Diving and Swimming Entertainment is of a highly sensational character, and has been given during the past ten years at various piers on the Lancashire and North Wales coast, including that of Rhyl, diving from the same platform from which the late Professor Burns, known by the more familiar sobriquet of '' Tommy,'' made his fatal leap.

The entertainment consists of dives and leaps upwards (or downwards) of 100 ft., including a somersault-dive of 50 ft. When making the high dive, whether a gentle fall or a terrific spring, the result is the same, viz., that of a reappearance on the surface so quick that the eye still retains a vision of disappearing feet as head appears, and the greater the fall the quicker the rise. Professor Osbourne is able to catch the falling water caused by the splash, this being very effective in a performance at night by limelight; it is doubtful, however, whether this adds to the show, as the audience, it is said, seem disappointedly surprised that the diver does not go right to the bottom.

The Professor possesses a '' double'' in the person of his brother, and owing to a striking facial resemblance and general build (and other reasons, not excepting showmanship) managers and the public generally become confused and mystified, wondering how it is that the professor is able to appear at a couple of seaside resorts simultaneously. The winter feeding of the sea gulls is one of the sights at Southport, the following vivid description appeared in the '' Umpire '' recently:—

" Nowhere, perhaps, within the four corners of the kingdom can a gentler exercise of charity be found than the winter feeding of the sea gulls at Southport. The Christmas dinner given to the birds this year was of a beautifully unique character. Apart from itsbeuevoleutaspect,the sight, in bright, clear weather, such as was experienced when the birds got their extra fare on Friday, is quite remarkable and fascinating. The sun shone brilliantly when towards noon a considerable crowd of people gathered at the Pierhead to watch the gulls receive their Christmas dinner, and at the same time maybe acquire an appetite for their own. At twelve o'clock a shrill whistle from the feeder proclaimed to the winged guests that the supreme moment was at hand, when suddenly, as if generated in the air by the magic of a fairy wand, those graceful spirits of the ocean sailed in to the appointed place from all parts of the compass. Then commenced a struggle at once beautiful and exciting. A thousand wings comingled in a frantic fight to tear away "dainty morsels" from the large pieces of fish and other food thrown out

to them, the birds all the while filling the air with a weirdly plaintive cry which, inappropriate keeping with their natural abode, may be likened to nothing else than the scream of the storm. The poet's gibe at man's ingratitude cannot be applied to these hardy denizens of the tempestuous wave, for they show their thanks to their benefactor in a manner both curious and real. They are fed by the diver, who, even in the depth of winter, makes a daily plunge into the sea from the Pierhead, the dive taking place after the conclusion of the feeding. After their repast the thankful birds rest upon the water, and do not depart until their kindly host has made his descent, when they glide away into the nothingness from which they seemed to spring."

For many years Professor Osbourne has made a study of Conjuring. He is an excellent entertainer for a children's party, and also fully competent in a spectacular magic show, (with a superb stage setting) for the stage.

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