Shortly after Anne Ziegler’s death in October 2003, I started work on my first book, Sweethearts of Song: a Personal Memoir of Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth. I published this book in 2006 and resolved to try to keep their names and voices before the public. I started a Yahoo Group which did not attract many members so after a few years I closed it and started The Golden Age of Webster Booth-Anne Ziegler and Friends on Facebook in October of 2014. Some members from the original Yahoo group joined the present one and the group grew in size as Facebook users joined it. I have since changed the name of the group to The Webster Booth-Anne Ziegler Appreciation Group.
We were very lucky indeed when Mike Taylor joined the group. He has a vast collection of 78rpms and had recently developed an interest in Webster’s voice and began to collect his recordings. Not only did he share these recordings with us but he also restored them to pristine condition. He has found many rare recordings which he was kind enough to share with us over the years the group has been running. Here is an example of one of the recordings:
He also introduced us to other singers of the same period. My favourite singer from that period is Maurice Elwin (née Norman Blair). Under the pseudonym of Donald O’Keefe he also wrote some charming ballads – Webster recorded three of them.
Between Mike and me we have managed to find all the duet recordings by Webster and Anne and are just short of 20 solo recordings by Webster out of the many hundreds he recorded. Whether these missing recordings, made in the thirties, forties and fifties of the twentieth century, will ever be found remains to be seen but Mike assures me that he is still on the look-out for them.
The late John Henderson often shared recordings and information with us, and a few other members have played an active role in the group even if it is just by liking or commenting on the various posts. It certainly makes a difference to me to have some kind of reaction to what is posted to the group. I am grateful that John Marwood has become our third administrator and I hope he and Mike will carry on the group if I anything should happen to me.
I have been looking through the Radio Times from the 1920s and1930s. The complete magazines from those decades are available online on the BBC Genome site. Webster started broadcasting in 1927 and after he introduced Anne to the powers-that-be at the BBC at the beginning of 1935 she was in great demand on the radio too. In these early editions of the Radio Times, I have seen names of many artistes I recognise, but there are also many more artistes who must have been equally popular in their day but whose names are completely unknown to me.
Webster and Anne were extremely popular in those far-off days but not many people remember them today. In comparison to other groups on Facebook, our membership is small but I prefer to have a small group of enthusiasts rather than a large group of people who have no idea who Anne and Webster were.
If you would like to join the group, have a look at the following link:
Jean Collen – 27 December 2017