Cat Playing a Banjo Cabinet Card **Other Cat Photographic Models!

**The Cat as Photographic Model! A friend sent me a link to other talented cat models.

Harry Pointer's Brighton Cats.


***I found this and could not resist posting a link: A 1978 TV commercial for Little Friskies!


*Attention Fans of the Banjo Cat

This talented kitty now has his own CafePress shop! The Banjo Cat Shop has shirts, buttons, and magnets and tote bags.


We have had this cabinet card of a cat playing a banjo for years. Although some photographers used stuffed animals for genre images we feel that this kitty is alive if obviously annoyed at being posed with a banjo, top hat, and gloves. I believe the photographer is Louis De Ribas, a Boston photographer who patented a drop shutter in 1887. The time, the place, and the name seem right.


I used a slide (*now replaced with a scan of the original) of it recently for a demonstration to a friend who is considering the purchase of a scanner. The scan was only going to be a demo and I didn't even plan to save it. When we looked at an enlargement of the scan we saw faint writing on the image. That became a demonstration of contrast enhancement.


The only part we could read was ".... to Me Quickly My Darling" and "copyright ....." Was this the title of the song the cat was "playing"? A Google search brought us to "Come to Me Quickly My Darling" from the 1874 comic operetta Evangeline. It was loosely (very loosely it seems) based on the Longfellow poem Evangeline. It toured and was revived periodically for over 30 years. Its popularity seemed partly explained by the liberal use of ladies in tights but texts also mention a two-person dancing heifer and an amorous whale. Isn't the internet amazing!


*Note #3 I found the graphic that I mention in one of my comments. It is the cover of an 1885 program for Evangeline. In the lower left you will see a man with an umbrella riding on the back of a whale. This is obviously the "amorous whale" mentioned in the quote below. It also shows a dancing cow although the picture is obviously of a real cow although the quote mentions a "two person heifer" which suggests it was two people in a cow costume. There is also a balloon ascension and an Indian with an upraised weapon. This show really had a LOT going on!


The music and words for the song the kitty is playing, "Come to Me Quickly My Darling", is now posted on Google Books! Go to the URL for the Evangeline Book and click in page 101 for the song.

  • Roger 6y

    Cool cat!!!!! all he needs is an agent..
    Moma You are the CAT'S MEAWWW!!!
    From The Cat's Meawww Award group.
  • lauralemur (life is upsidedown right now) 6y

    Found this on ebay - I'd like to know if the seller is the original "reprinter"...also, can't believe people are bidding knowing these are reprints:
  • Beverly 6y

    Laura, I guess it could be someone else's card that is copied, I am sure mine is not unique, but I suspect it is mine. If so, it will likely be from my flickr image which is not a resolution to give a very good print. That cat is my most popular image on flickr.

    *I don't even send a stern note anymore. It really does not do any good.

    *I could not resist. I send an eBay message asking why the seller said "I do not think the images are original" and "I believe them to be a reprint" since they are selling dozens of images with the same statement. It really does not seem credible that they could not be sure about that many images. I did say that I did not intend to interfere with the auctions.
  • lauralemur (life is upsidedown right now) 6y

    I'm guessing it's from yours too. The other image I remember seeing sold on ebay a while back - the scan was probably taken from the auction I would imagine. You're right, that IS a funny claim for the seller to make on multiple auctions! I just can't figure out who is bidding on these.
  • DubSnipe 6y

    Look, a kitty that plays drifting!
  • Bud Branch 5y

    very compelling pic!!!
  • Purpi 5y

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Extraordinary postcards of Cats, and we'd love to have this added to the group!
  • Joana Brandão 5y

    I beg your pardon?
  • hammerturtle 5y

    hello - are you able to email me about usage of this photo? we'd like to use it for something, but would need urgent clearance?

  • 5y

    so cool !
  • moggierocket 5y

    Recommended for the cat who turned on and off by
  • Da_Lightner 4y

    Are you allowed to take someone else's work, slap it on a t-shirt and profit?

    As an artist, I am very turned off by this weak attempt to make a buck off the (albeit probably short) stint of internet fame.

    it is a sad day when something fun and neat can't be shared with the world because there's some jerk who can only think about how to make money from someone else's effort.
  • Beverly 4y

    WHAT are you talking about? If this jerk, that is me, had not bought this cabinet card 30 years ago, kept it safe for all these years, then posted it on flickr two years ago so it could be "shared with the world" you never would have seen it. I think that Louis De Ribas, dead for more than 100 years, had a sense of humor and would be delighted that more than 46,000 (and counting) people have seen his work.
  • alvaro ferreira pinto 4y

    Cool photo!
  • plaisanter~ 3y

    Thank you for bringing this to my attention, it’s wonderful!!
  • Beverly 3y

    plaisanter~ Thanks. It has been viewed 56,578 times on flickr but when you count all the reposts (often with no attribution) on Pinterest and many, many blogs I am sure he has been enjoyed by millions! I think De Ribas would be proud.
  • Muffin Days 2y

    Awww! SO adorable!
  • Beverly 2y

    Muffin Days We do like him and he is by far our most popular image.
  • Proz@k! 2mo

    Vous êtes invité à envoyer cette image dans :
    You are invited to post this image in :
    Chats dans l’art / Cats in art / Gatos en el arte

    Chats dans l’art – Cats in art – Gatos en arte
  • Proz@k! 2mo

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Taken on December 4, 2008
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