Music hall and variety Page 15

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Born Ella Maria Lingham on this date (10 April) in 1854, Nelly Power was a child star, comedienne, mimic, principle boy in pantomime and male impersonator. She was one of the biggest stars of the music halls. Vesta Tilley was her understudy. Marie Lloyd, Jenny Hill and others went on to cover her song The Boy in the Gallery. She died from pleurisy on 19 January 1887, aged only 32, and was buried at Abney Park cemetery in Stoke Newington, near the grave of George Leybourne. Her funeral attracted over 3,000 mourners and a further great crowd at the start of the procession from her home, 97 Southgate Road, where a blue plaque was erected in 2017 by the Music Hall Guild of Great Britain and America.

A Blue Fire Theatre Production about Nelly Power, titled "Marie Lloyd Stole My Life", was first performed at the Edinburgh Festival in 2019. Here is brief excerpt:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXA4m7I8DgE

And here, from the Islington Guided Walks website is a brief synopsis of her life and her connection with that area:

www.islingtonguidedwalks.com/the-stolen-life-of-nelly-power/

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A traditional cockney sing-song and knees-up at the old Joanna:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAfknFpWbng

www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbh0Eqz0bU8

Born on yesterday's date (14 April) in 1933, and died aged 87 on 7 September 2020, Doreen Hermitage was a performer, choreographer, stalwart of the Players' Theatre, regular presence on the BBC's The Good Old Days and past chairman of the British Music Hall Society. Here she is doing a turn as Vesta Victoria in the Good Old Days of 6 August 1980:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwLHC4sA1n8

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Just a reminder that...

Quote: Billy Bunter @ 12th March 2024, 7:47 PM

If anyone is in the vicinity of Elizabeth Street, Blackpool on Friday 19 April, the British Music Hall Society will be unveiling a Blue Plaque to Music Hall performer Victoria Monks.

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Victoria Annie Monks, born in Blackpool on 1 November 1884, was a music hall singer of the Edwardian and First World War eras... ...

Also, the Friends of Layton Cemetery www.laytonfriends.org are offering their 'The Greatest Showmen' Tour at 2pm on Sunday 21st April. Layton is Blackpool's Victorian Cemetery which opened in 1873 and is the resting place of many performers including Walter Munro (1856-1914), Dave Morris (1896-1960), Alphonsine, the spiral ascensionist (1856-1947), Ohmy King (c1852-1931) and more recently Joe Longthorne (1955-2019). Victoria Monks is commemorated on the Monks family grave there.

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Cicely Courtneidge (later to become Dame Cicely Courtneidge and "Mum" in the first series of On The Buses - see my post on page 3 of this thread)

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and her husband, Jack Hulbert with If I had Napoleon's Hat:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=FuUEhb-lskI

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Born on 19 April 1865, Harry Castling was one of the great lyricists of the Music Hall although he "could not play a note on the piano", according to his obituary in the Gloucester Citizen of 28 December 1933. He nevertheless had many hits, including What Ho (collaborating with Charles Bignall), She Bumps (with A.J. Mills), Just Like The Ivy (again with A.J. Mills), Are We To Part Like This, Bill? (with Charles Collins), Lily Morris's Don't Have Any More, Mrs. Moore (with James Walsh) - introduced here by Jimmy Parry:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMBkTVrPZwU&t=71s

and probably his most famous, and most enduring, of all, Let's All go Down the Strand (with C W Murphy). Note no bananas involved in this early recording by Harry Fay:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=YyERlpn5UGE

Like many of the songwriters of those days, Castling was destitute in his later years. British song writer Fred Godfrey's youngest daughter Peggie (1912-2001) remembered that she and her mother ran into him in 1933, much the worse for wear, in a Lyons Corner House in London and bought him something to eat. He died in Camberwell on Boxing Day 1933, leaving three daughters.

Quote: Billy Bunter @ 12th March 2024, 7:47 PM

If anyone is in the vicinity of Elizabeth Street, Blackpool on Friday 19 April, the British Music Hall Society will be unveiling a Blue Plaque to Music Hall performer Victoria Monks.

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And this is BBC Radio Lancashire's interview with the British Music Hall Society's Alison Young prior to the unveiling: www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p0hscq93

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A collection of photos, costumes and documents from Jeanne Mackinnon, Wilson and Keppel's last ever Betty, is to be auctioned in a single lot at Richard Winterton Auctioneers, Lichfield Auction Centre on Monday 20 May.

www.expressandstar.com/news/local-hubs/staffordshire/lichfield/2024/04/23/unique-archive-of-sand-dance-legends-goes-to-auction-in-lichfield/?fbclid=IwZXh0bgNhZW0CMTEAAR3FiZDpvsvZDcaTBcArl3CyDnL-w5HoZ2vHKt0LPVARcq-21I8p_JldQA_aem_AbLw663kjFy6hDclSBqZOJew3w6wOBIzj9iTztEXy5J1u3o6KGbfFq3iOW3PfT49bTBVYrfmxoS3YCitx91U9qMj

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The auction catalogue can be viewed online via www.richardwinterton.co.uk/auction-dates a week before the sale.

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She Had to Go and Lose It at the Astor is a 1939 comic song written by Don Raye and Hughie Prince (also responsible for Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy) and was recorded on 3 April 1940 by Harry Roy and his Mayfair Hotel Orchestra. It was banned by the BBC in the same year:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ns5Xx914r_k

The song was also recorded by American performers, Dick Robertson and Pearl Bailey and, accordingly, was similarly censured by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers in 1940.

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No, not Fathers Ted & Dougal's Eurovision entry but a 1924 song from Jack Charman:

Horsey, Keep your Tail Up

www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQfyg9i3Q1w

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Unfortunately Jack Charman is largely forgotten today and there is little information to be found about him. He also recorded songs under various different names. However, here are two more songs of his from the First World War:

Mademoiselle from Armentières www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2dn7T4wpMA

Sister Susie's Sewing Shirts for Soldiers www.youtube.com/watch?v=EATVIMX7zts

and three earlier ones: :

The Wibbly Wobbly Walk (1912) www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rxd5J16_e50

Come Boys and Follow the Crowd (1912) www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7Wfd2K_fbw

All the Girls are Lovely by the Seaside 1913 www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNPX1WiKbR4

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Born on yesterday's date (13 May) in 1864: Vesta Tilley (born Matilda Alice Powles), male impersonator extraordinaire who became known as "England's greatest recruiting sergeant" during the first World War. She subsequently married Sir Walter de Frece, MP and retired to Monte Carlo - see my post on page 4 of this thread.

Meanwhile, a very short clip of Vesta out canvasing with her husband in 1920 with some additional photos and, in the background, Vesta singing her popular song The Piccadilly Johnny: www.youtube.com/watch?v=pf3LsGQPxSU

And here is the song in full: www.youtube.com/watch?v=FujB38od_mI

And finally, Jolly Good Luck to the Girl who Loves a Soldier (1906). With lyrics: www.youtube.com/watch?v=CveDiYTlRws

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Tomorrow, Thursday 16 May (which, incidentally is designated Music Hall & Variety Day 2024) at 2pm a Blue Plaque is being unveiled on the site of the world-famous Batley Variety Club, in commemoration of James Corrigan, its founder. So, if you're in the area...

The club was designed and built by James and Betty Corrigan in early 1967 on top of a disused sewage site on Bradford Road in Batley. It was, of course, the venue at which Morecambe & Wise were appearing when Eric suffered his first heart attack after the show as related to Michael Parkinson here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jm9fi7-T5_U At the peak of its success, the club had 300,000 members. It closed in the late 1970s.

Batley was the last place in the world you would have expected to see the likes of Louis Armstrong, Roy Orbison, Tina Turner, Eartha Kitt, Gene Pitney, Tom Jones & Dusty Springfield - but in Batley they were, Picking their way through the scampi-in-a-basket diners and a hundred Formica-topped tables.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batley_Variety_Club

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Born on this day (16 May) in 1884: Shaun Glenville (born John Browne), an Irish actor who specialised in pantomime performances - he would play the dame while his wife Dorothy Ward would play the principal boy. The music hall historian Christopher Pulling called him "one of the 'grand comedians of the music-halls". He had a successful 62 year career and played in over 40 pantomimes.

Away from the pantomimes, he pursued a career in Music Hall and Variety, appeared in many musical productions in the West End and on tour, often with Dorothy. and was a song writer of some note, writing, probably most famously, the song If You're Irish Come Into the Parlour:

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Much more can be found about his, and his wife's, career on the "It's Behind You" website here: http://its-behind-you.com/wardglenville.html

He died in London on 28 December 1968.

Quote: Billy Bunter @ 15th May 2024, 9:32 PM
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Tomorrow, Thursday 16 May (which, incidentally is designated Music Hall & Variety Day 2024) at 2pm a Blue Plaque is being unveiled on the site of the world-famous Batley Variety Club, in commemoration of James Corrigan, its founder. So, if you're in the area...

The club was designed and built by James and Betty Corrigan in early 1967 on top of a disused sewage site on Bradford Road in Batley. It was, of course, the venue at which Morecambe & Wise were appearing when Eric suffered his first heart attack after the show as related to Michael Parkinson here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jm9fi7-T5_U At the peak of its success, the club had 300,000 members. It closed in the late 1970s.

Batley was the last place in the world you would have expected to see the likes of Louis Armstrong, Roy Orbison, Tina Turner, Eartha Kitt, Gene Pitney, Tom Jones & Dusty Springfield - but in Batley they were, Picking their way through the scampi-in-a-basket diners and a hundred Formica-topped tables.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batley_Variety_Club

I have a half-written screenplay about this place, knocking around somewhere.

It was in my neck of the woods and it was hardly believable when driving past seeing the biggest show-biz stars of the world on the billboard.

Some used to stay in a pub about a mile away from my house. The Black Horse.
It is an upmarket pub, restaurant and hotel. I stood next to Tommy Cooper at the bar but I was too shy to speak to him.