Niblo’s developed near Broadway and Houston streets in New York City from an outdoor suburban recreation park to a succession of theatres through the middle years of the 1800s. In later incarnations, a large stage allowed for extravaganzas, including The Black Crook, recognized as perhaps the first modern musical comedy. In the poster below, the finale is shown as an army of attractive Amazons win the day.
P. T. Barnum is said to have staged his first show there early on, and in 1873, dime novel author Ned Buntline staged his show, Scouts of the Prairie at Niblo’s. He was also a cast member, displaying some dubious acting talents. Buntline’s play was legendarily bad, but because it actually featured the real Buffalo Bill Cody and the real Texas Jack Omohundro, it was a huge success.
The Actress Detective, or, The Invisible Hand, as first released on September 25, 1889, in Beadles New York Dime Library. Pictured is a scene on the Niblo’s Garden stage when the Actress Detective, dressed in costume, has just knocked out an assailant.
And, The Actress Detective in the Brilliant New Edition from Dark Lantern Tales: