'Professor' Philip Prentice Anderson


Anderson was the illegitimate son of an earlier 'Professor' Anderson, the world famous Scottish magician Professor (John Henry) Anderson ('The Wizard of the North') of the mid-Victorian era. He toured with his father's act during the 1860s before performing from 1867 onwards under the name 'Signor Rubini' in the USA and Europe. He then took over his father's act, retiring to Australia in 1900 where he became a dentist. His last known association with motion pictures took place in India. Following the debut of the Lumière Cinématographe in Bombay, as presented by Marius Sestier on 7 July 1896, several travelling showmen visited Indian cities having swiftly incorporated moving pictures into their act. Best known among them was the magician Carl Hertz, who arrived in 1898, but he was preceded by 'Stewart's Vitograph' which came to Bombay for a week in January 1897, an unnamed showman touring with a W.C. Hughes projector, and early in 1899 'Professor' Anderson, who with 'Mlle. Blanche' (his second wife Blanche de la Cour). By this time he had been touring India and South Asia for a decade. Anderson billed his machine, which is likely to have been a Robert Paul Theatrograph, as the gloriously excessive 'Andersonoscopograph'. Among the films he made were Poona Races and Train Arriving at the Churchgate station (both 1898).

Luke McKernan (revised January 2014)