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Aladdin 1938 (clip)

Film of the Glasgow Alhambra pantomime starring famous pantomime dame Harry Gordon

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Footage of a performance of Aladdin at the Alhambra Theatre, Glasgow in 1938. Filmed by actor Harry Gordon, who takes on the role of pantomime dame Widow Twankey. Shots include general views of the stage from balcony and stalls; Harry Gordon as Widow Twankey, acrobatic acts, principal boy and others, including Alex Finlay. Shots of elaborate dance routines, comedy sketches and chorus line including the transformation scene and spectacular finale.

Questions & Activities


  • Is Aladdin an Arabian or Chinese folktale?
  • What is a pantomime?
  • What are the key elements of the dramatic form and comic techniques of a pantomime?
  • Who are the main characters of the Aladdin pantomime?
  • Is a pantomime dame always a man? What female roles are played by men and male roles played by women?


List the different theatrical techniques used in this production in terms of design, lighting, costume, song, dance, romance and comedy. Research the history of pantomimes and the classic stories. Try to organise a backstage visit to your local theatre during pantomime season. Use the film and what you discover there as a guide to writing and putting on and filming your own pantomime. This Glasgow University site is a useful research tool.

Use your own soundtrack or re-edit it as a trailer for the pantomime. Discuss how a play could be filmed to convey drama more effectively.

Research the Aladdin fairy tale's different incarnations and interpretations including the Disney film.

Research the history and meaning of cross-dressing on the British stage from Shakespearean times to the modern day.

Clip Details

Record Id 007-000-002-167-C
Resource Rights Holder National Library of Scotland
Project Ref 1138
Date 1938
Genre Amateur
School Subject English, Drama, Music, Media Studies, History
Who Harry Gordon (filmmaker, actor)
Where Alhambra Theatre, Glasgow
Event Pantomime, Theatrical Performance
Attributes Black and White, Silent
Clip Length 10:37
Film Length 13:00