Yorkshire Post (12/Jan/1931) - Vicar Acts in Own "Thriller"

The following is a transcription of a historic newspaper article and may contain occasional errors. If the article was published prior to 1 June 1957, then the text is likely in the Public Domain.


Holmfirth's Clever Cast of Millworkers.

Holmfirth is by no means a spot where excitement normally runs high. Its people millworkers concerned with the hum-drum business of manufacturing cloth, for the most part lead uneventful lives under the shadow of the bleak Pennines. In the gloom of Saturday night, however, their nerves were set on edge by a cold-blooded "murder," the spectacle of a girl poisoned and a skeleton in a coffin. The culprit was none other than their own Vicar, the Rev. H. G. Wilks, who after weeks of plotting and scheming, presented the eagerly-awaited "thriller," "Karlstein," written and produced by himself. His initiative was appreciated by the bulk of bis flock, though it was perhaps inevitable that one or two should have frowned on the venture, written letters to the papers and resented the portrayal of crime in the midst of a law-abiding community.

Such evidently was the opinion of a minority, for the Drill Hall was crowded for the "first night."


The author is obviously a man of enterprise. He was moved to write "Karlstein" by an illusion which he saw years ago at a holiday resort. Weaving his plot around this trick, he has now created a really mystifying little “ thriller,” and with commendable thoroughness has engaged a Blackpool illusionist to manage the all-important coffin scene. As capable an actor as he is a playwright, he gives his own interpretation to the treacherous French Doctor Karlstein, poisoning his pretty young ward and inheriting a fortune. The body is enclosed in a coffin and secreted in a wall. Time elapses and Karlstein, haunted by the face of his deceased protegee, reopens the trap door. The sight of the skeleton drives him insane, and it is difficult to suppress shudder as the glimmering bones resolve themselves into a human body which walks from its coffin. The Vicar is well served by Mrs. Wilks, who plays the part of Doree, the murdered girl.

"Joy Flights," which comprises the remainder of the programme, is a rerue with a distinctly modern flavour. Undoubtedly the "star" turn of the piece is that indispensable and attractive band of dancers known as the "The Thong Birds." This chorus of twenty odd maidens from the Upperthong parish perform all the high kicks and contortions of the professionals with amazing vigour and precision. There is a parade of gaily-coloured bathing beauties and a comedian with a red wig and Eton collar, as well as several amusing sketches.