American Vaudeville Museum

All material © 1998-2010 American Museum of Vaudeville, Inc.† Page 31

Valantyne Napier

Valantyne Napierís parents, (Hector) Napier & Yvonne (Cartledge) had a famous variety act, The Spider and the Butterfly, that toured the world.† Although Ms. Napier started performing in her parentsí act as a very young child, by the end of her high school years, Valantyne was occupied with her studies, especially chemistry.† A serious student, she envisioned a career as a scientist.† The onset of the Second World War changed her course.

Her contribution to the war effort was not to be medical.† Learning of her show business background, her superiors assigned her to a touring concert party, The Gaiety Girls,† to tour armed forces camps and build morale.† In the all-female cast, Yvonne performed a male impersonation, choreographed and danced in several numbers and, of course, did her signature Black Spider act.

After the war, Valantyne toured Australia and Japan. In 1948 she left for England and didnít return for more than a decade.† Work in Britain was plentiful with opportunities in variety, revue and Christmastime pantos.† She teamed with Ted Weeks as Vyne & Valantyne, an act which combined her balletic and contortionist abilities with his head balancing skill and a healthy amount of comedy.† They became a very popular featured act.

After they split amicably, Valantyne revived her Human Spider act.† It was a natural for Little Miss Muffet pantos.† In 1961, Ms, Napier and her husband, Jeffrey Jones, returned to Australia. Her final performance as the Human Spider was in 1969 at the Heidelberg Town Hall.

Since then, Valantyne Napier has written several books which are reviewed elsewhere in this web site.† We especially recommend Act as known: Australian Specialty Acts (216 pp, 1986, Globe Press, Brunswick, Victoria, Australia: ISBN #0-9588543-1-9).