The crazy life story of James Finlayson
The Private Secretary (1904)
Played the part of the Rev Robert Spalding in Cornwall1.
Source: Boston Sunday Post, 23 Jan 1916.
1 Perhaps the American journalist misunderstood James’ Scottish accent and he actually said ‘Dobbie Hall’ rather than ‘Cornwall’?
Current Cash (1907)
Played the part of Private Ned Bootles in a production by the Stenhousemuir Amateur Dramatic and Musical Association at the Dobbie Hall.
A very large share of the work and responsibility as to the success of the piece rested with “Private Ned Bootles” (Mr James Finlayson) and “Rev. Lincoln Green” (Mr G. Anderson), and right well did they sustain their parts. Mr Anderson, as the quiet, simple vicar, was particularly effective, while the part of “Bootles” could not have been in more capable hands than those of Mr Finlayson.
Source: Falkirk Herald, 25 Dec 1907.
The Shaughruan (1909)
Played the part of Captain Molineux in a production by the Larbert and Stenhousemuir Musical Dramatic Club.
Mr James Finlayson, who has scored previous successes, added considerably to his laurels as “Captain Molineux”.
Source: Falkirk Herald, 10 Mar 1909.
Jeanie Deans (1910)
Played the part of Jamie Ratcliffe at the Theatre Royal, Edinburgh and at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow in a production by the John Clyde company.
The part of Jamie Ratcliffe is well played by Mr James Finlayson
Source: JEANIE DEANS AT THE THEATRE-ROYAL, The Scotsman, 3 May 1910, p. 5.
Mr. James Finlayson is well suited as Jamie Ratcliffe
Source: GLASGOW – THEATRE ROYAL, The Era, 28 May 1910, p. 7.
East Lynne (1910)
Played the part of John Dill at the King’s Theatre, Edinburgh in a production by the John Clyde company.
Among other good impersonations may be singled out Mr. J. Finlayson’s John Dill
Source: KING’S, The Stage, 23 Jun 1910, p. 2.
The Great Game (1912)
Played the part of I. Marsh (a detective disguised as a teuchtar) at Daly’s Theatre, New York.
James Finlayson had an excellent opportunity, which he did not miss, for developing two characters in his one role – the simple, naive Scotsman and the artful, determined detective. The remarkable thing is that he managed to do them both at the same time.
Sources: New York Tribune, 12 May 1912; New York Herald, 17 May 1912; New York Dramatic Mirror, 22 May 1912; Who’s Who in Music and Drama, 23 Apr – 16 May 1912, no. 319, The Great Game.
The Minister’s Wife (1912)
Appeared with Fred A. Le Duke and Jessie Parker in a vaudeville farce at Proctor’s 125th Street, New York.
James Finlayson aroused a few laughs as Deacon Blubwell.
Source: The New York Clipper, 30 May 1912, p. 17.
Bunty Pulls the Strings (1912-14)
Played the part of Rab Biggar on Broadway and touring locations across USA including the Majestic theatre, Fort Wayne, IN; Bucyrus, OH; the Grand Opera House, Uniontown, PA; the Van Curler Opera House, Schenectady, NY; and the Boston Theatre, MA. James was neither a member of the original London cast nor the first New York company.
Sources: Long Branch Daily Record, 29 Aug 1912; Fort Wayne Sentinel, 2 Jan 1913; New York Herald, 29 Mar 1913; Uniontown Morning Herald, 1 Apr 1913; Schenectady Gazette, 30 Oct 1913; Boston Post, 10 Mar 1914; Boston Sunday Post, 23 Jan 1916.
The quiet humor of the Scotch play ‘Bunty Pulls the Strings’ kept the audience at the Van Curler last night amused for over two hours and sent the audience home after the last curtain refreshed, and in a mood to chuckle over the clever, charming scenes. It was well played, the quaint characters being brought out by a Scotch company of competent actors. Molly Pearson was delightful as Bunty and others were admirable. The only member of the cast who was seen here last year was James Finlayson who played ‘Rab’ with great success. He makes this Scotch boy a character that may become a stage tradition.
Source: Schenectady Gazette, 30 Oct 1913, p. 2.
Kitty McKay (1914)
Played the part of Sandy McNab in 400 consecutive appearances at the Comedy Theatre on Broadway and touring locations across USA, including the White Theatre in Fresno, CA, Macdonough’s theatre in Oakland, CA and the opera house in Bakersfield, CA.
Sources: Fresno Morning Republican, 18 Oct 1914; Fresno Morning Republican, 25 Oct 1914; Oakland Tribune, 25 Oct 1914; Bakersfield Californian, 28 Oct 1914; Boston Sunday Post, 23 Jan 1916.
The Night Before (1916)
Played the part of Auld Rab MacBeth in a production of the musical comedy written by Harry Lauder. The cast included Andy Clyde and other players from ‘Bunty Pulls the Strings’ and ‘Kitty McKay’. Premiered at the Copley Theatre, Boston, touring locations included Toronto, the Princess Theatre, Montreal, the Grand Opera House, Hamilton and the Wieting [Opera House], Syracuse.
Sources: Boston Sunday Post, 23 Jan 1916, p. 29; ‘HARRY LAUDER WRITES A PLAY’, The Arbroath Herald, 28 Jan 1916, p. 7; ‘Music and Drama: THE NIGHT BEFORE’, Hamilton Daily Times, 14 Feb 1916, p. 5; ‘THE NIGHT BEFORE’, Hamilton Daily Times, 19 Feb 1916, p. 14; ‘THEATER NOTES’, Syracuse Journal, 6 Mar 1916, p. 14; ‘THE NIGHT BEFORE’, Syracuse Journal, 11 Mar 1916, p. 5.
James Finlayson and Marie Stuart made an admirable parental couple.
Source: The Boston Sunday Globe, 9 Jan 1916, p. 10.
Played the part of Mammon at the Burbank Theatre (transferred from the Trinity Auditorium) in a production by Richard Ordynski and Aline Barnsdall based on the writings of George Sterling.
Source: “Everyman Opens at Burbank for Week; Public Clamor Demands Continuance”, Los Angeles Evening Express, 15 Jan 1917, p. 9.
Percival Vivian makes an excellent Devil and the Mammon of James H. Finlayson is also a fine piece of work.
Source: St. George, George, “Everyman at Trinity Proves Extremely Impressive Allegory”, Los Angeles Evening Express, 10 Jan 1917, p. 6.
Nicely done thank you