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Dan Dabberton's Dream
a moving temperance story.
...... Before the applause had died away the curtain rose again and the spectators read an announcement wreathed about by bluebells and sparrows that there was to be an interval of five minutes. After that lapse of time all eyes were once more riveted to the screen by the title of the next tale, 'Dan Dabberton's Dream by Rev. Frederic Langbridge from Live Models', framed in a circle of ivy leaves and conventionalized roses.

Seen first carousing in the taproom of the Hen and Chickens, Dan Dabberton, a handsome but unkempt, already bald, and bleary-eyed fellow, is clearly a victim of the bottle. His conscience is awaked by a severe-looking stranger singing a new version of 'Home, Sweet Home' with the refrain 'Home, home, dark, dark home! Where father's a drunkard the house is not home', which was echoed softly on the harmonium throughout the reading of the tale.

The landlord and most of his patrons are not favourable impressed by this song, but Dan tears himself from their company. As he lurches homewards, he hears church bells ringing and children singing carols, for it is Christmas Eve. (The harmonium-player imitated the bells and three boys intoned 'While Shepherds watched'.) Dan's wife and his little daughter Nellie are not in the poor apartment when he arrives; they have gone to deliver the needlework, their sole means of livelihood, which they have finished just in time for the Festive Season. The humble room is clean and bright, though bare, and after swinging in a drunken stupor on the pendulum of the grandfather clock, the besotted man sinks down beside a cheerful fire. Instantly he falls asleep and the hearth, filling with clouds which gradually roll back to form a frame for the visionary scenes, becomes the theatre of Dan's dreams.

His past life flashes before him in a series of brilliant images.
Dan Dabbertons Dream. York and Sons, coloured version.
1. I call on Mr Dabberton for a Song 2 The Stranger sings a Song 3 Dan listening to the Bells
4 He entered the House 5 Dan opens the Case of the Clock 6 He sleeps! he sleeps!
7 Our Father! 8 Mother and Son 9 Waiting for the Prodigal Son
10 Her Son comes Home 11 The Young Man at his Mother's Grave 12 The Lovers
13 A Snug Little House 14 In comes the Young Woman's Husband 15 O Mother, I am so tired and hungry!
16 On one of the beds lies the body of a Middle-aged Woman 17 He was broad awake now


18 Mrs Dabberton and Nelly returned


With a start of terror, Dan awakes to find that the last scene (in which his wife dies) at least is not reality and that his wife and child are standing before him. He repents, we hope for the last time, clasps them to his bosom, and the picture ends.

In the Mission Hall at Kettering, as the curtain fell, the harmonium-player struck up a three-part glee, 'Merrily ring the bells', which was sung by the audience. The evening's display was round off with a portrait of the Queen in full colour, and a hand-lettered slide, patterned like a tile, reading 'Good Night'.

(Source: A History of Pre-Cinema, volume 3, Stephen Herbert.)

This wonderful set of Life-Model magic lantern slides made by York and Son, England, consists of minimum 18 and maximum 32 slides (18 story illustrations plus 14 slides illustrating songs). The slides measure 3.25 x 3.25 inches (8.2 cm x 8.2 cm).

Dan Dabbertons Dream. York and Sons, black and white version.

The same set as shown above, but now in a cheaper black and white version.

This life model set was also made by York and Son. Trade mark in de left upper corner.

Dan Dabbertons Dream. S.R. Gorvett.
lantern slide temperance dan dabberton
A lot of visions from the life behind him pass in his dreams.

This dramatic set consists of eighteen magic lantern slides with each slide measuring 3 inches x 3 inches. The slides were made by S.R. Gorvett of Bristol, England c. 1870.

Eight slides contain smaller pictures that are used to superimpose the visions over slide number 7 where our hero is dreaming in front of the fireplace.


Two newspaper reports announcing a Dan Dabberton's Dream Show at the Salvation Army Barracks.

Thames Star, Volume XXX, Issue 9209, 25 and 26 October 1898.

Now have a look at...... Father, dear father, come home with me now...


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