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Histories of Three-Fingered Jack: A Bibliography
Obi, or Three-Fingered Jack, the Melodrama


This page lists publications relating to the melodrama of Obi. The melodrama was adapted by William Murray from John Fawcett and Samuel Arnold’s pantomime, and opened at the Bristol Theatre Royal in 1830, with Ira Aldridge playing Jack. Unlike the pantomime, the melodrama includes extensive spoken dialogue.

Obi; or, Three fingered Jack. A melodrama in two acts. 1854. London: Thomas Hailes Lacy. The New British Theatre (late Duncombe’s), No. 469.
24 pages. Price sixpence. 12°. Black and white frontispiece labeled “Obi, or Three Fingered Jack. The Combat. Jack endeavouring to strangle Quashee”, identical to the frontispiece to the Duncombe’s British Theatre edition of the pantomime. Includes cast and costume list from the original pantomime, as in Duncombe’s British Theatre edition, followed by dialogue (including songs) from the melodrama.
Date from British Library catalogue
Available at: British Library, National Library of Jamaica.

Murrey (sic), W. H. 1883. Obi: or, Three-fingered Jack. A drama, in two acts. The plot and principal incidents taken from the pantomime of Mr. Fawcett. London: John Dicks. Dick’s Standard Plays., no 478.
Price one penny, 9 pages. Date from British Library catalogue. External cover and title page are illustrated with the line drawing from the Thomas Hailes Lacy of the melodrama and Duncombe’s British Theatre edition of the pantomime, and includes the text “Original complete edition. This play can be performed without risk of infringing any rights.” Title page also notes the first performance date (“Theatre Royal Haymarket, July 2nd, 1800”) and gives the Dramatis Personae of that performance. Text is the same as the Hailes Lacy edition, immediately above.
Available at: British Library.

Murray, William Henry Wood. 2002. 'Obi; or, Three-Finger'd Jack. A Melo-drama in Two Acts'.
Available at: http://www.rc.umd.edu/praxis/obi/. Accessed 9 May 2007. Electronic edition edited by Charles Rzepka as part of a Romantic Circles Praxis Series edition of Obi.
According to Charles Rzepka’s introduction http://www.rc.umd.edu/praxis/obi/rzepka/intro.html, this is based on an edition published in London by Thomas Hailes Lacy, probably c. 1850—that is, the “New British Theatre” edition listed first on this page.

Obi or, Three Fingered Jack. a Popular Melo-drama in two acts (as performed at Drury Lane Theatre). nd. London: Penny Pictorial Plays.
8 pages of small print. No 11 in a series of ‘Penny Pictorial Plays’ which also includes Jack Sheppard, Blackbeard, and Oliver Twist. Includes dramatis personae list followed by the script. Title page includes an illustration captioned “Jack enters from opening at the top of rock. Robbers prostrate themselves before him. Obi Woman shows signs of joy at seeing him. He presents her with the spoil—she ties the sash round, having first ornamented in with Obi. Obi Woman then fills his Obi horn. Jack then crosses all the Robbers’ foreheads to prevent their betraying him, when Obi Woman gives horn and scarf.” This edition omits some of the songs that appear in the Hailes Lacy edition, and changes some of the order of the action.
Available at: National Library of Jamaica.

'A scene from Obi, or Three-Fingered Jack'. Image reproduced courtesy of The Trustees of the National Library of Scotland

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