The Truncheon Brothers

The Truncheon Brothers, Tad and Tod, were an unacclaimed act from the golden age of variety theatre. Both dressed as middle-ranking police officers, they would bound creakily on to the stage – they were of advancing years – Tad from the right and Tod from the left or, as it might be, Tod from the right and Tad from the left, and proceed to bludgeon each other about the head with their truncheons. These were lead-weighted heavy rubber truncheons as deployed by real coppers. One or other of them, Tad or Tod, would collapse unconscious to the floor first, at which point the still-conscious-but-decidedly-woozy one, Tod or Tad, would break into song, usually slurring the words due to the disorientation occasioned by the several blows to the head received. The song itself never varied. A third, non-performing brother, Gilliblat, wrote both the words and the music. The lyrics were as follows:

I bashed my brother on the head
But don’t you worry, he’s not dead
We will be back tomorrow night
For another truncheon fight
We’re the Truncheon Brothers, Tad and Tod
And we bathe in the blood of the Lamb of God
We take our baths offstage of course
Now please cheer us until you are hoarse
We’ll pass a cap round for your cash
Then I’ll give Tod [or it might be Tad] a final bash

The cap, passed around the audience by Gilliblat, rarely had any cash in it by the time it came back to him, though the Truncheon Brothers never wanted for buttons and corks and scrunched-up bits of paper.

Source : Some Truly Awful Acts Who Appeared At Bodger’s Spinney Variety Theatre, 1880-1910 by Dobson (out of print).

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