PROGRAMMES AND ADVERTS – 1940 – 1941.

10 May 1941 – Wikipedia. On the afternoon of 10 May 1941, there was a performance of Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius at Queen’s Hall (Muriel Brunskill singing the angel, Webster Booth the soul, Ronald Stear the Priest and angel of Agony) conducted by Malcolm Sargent, with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal Choral Society. That night there was a massive air raid in which the chamber of the House of Commons and many other buildings were also destroyed, and damage was inflicted on the British Museum and upon Westminster Abbey. A single incendiary bomb hit the Queen’s Hall, and the auditorium was completely gutted by fire beyond any hope of replacement.

The Booths were becoming very popular in the 1940s so I will limit the information to a few years at a time from here on.

9 January 1940 – BBC Broadcast. 8.30: The Sleeping Beauty, an excerpt from the pantomime – presented by Prince Littler, with Leonard Henry, Syd Walker, Anne Ziegler: orchestra directed by Ray Theobald, from Golders Green Hippodrome.

A star-studded Sunday concert at the London Palladium on 21 January 1940.

21 January 1940 – Webster’s 38th birthday.
4 February 1940 – Regal Cinema, Chester.

17 February 1940 – Stars for Bath Festival. Two famous radio stars, one of whom is equally well known to film patrons – Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth – have been engaged to appear at the forthcoming festival of the Bath Co-operative Society.

19 February 1940 – Yorkshire Post – Choral Society Concert. Audience of 1,000 at Horsforth. Places of worship in Horsforth held evening services earlier, yesterday, so that townspeople could attend the concert by the Horsforth New Choral Society in the Glenroyal Cinema.

Upwards of 1,000 attended. It seems that Horsforth New Choral Society, consisting of no more than 60 strong, is more enterprising than the large choral societies in Leeds. With limited resources it engages the leading principals of the day – last night they were Miss Edythe Reeve, Miss Edith Coates, Mr Francis Russell (deputising for Mr Webster Booth at short notice) and Mr Arnold Matters – and during recent years the standard of choral singing has beenfar above the average.

14 March 1940 – Music Hall Debut. Anne and Webster made their debut in Variety at Manchester Palace (MD Jesse Hewitt; M William Taylor; PM D Bush; MusD S Rogers) A short season of twice-nightly variety opens with a pleasant programme. Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler render romantic numbers to the general delight, and are accompanied at the piano by Haward Clarke. The Western Brothers entertain with their amusing topical skits, the outstanding one being on radio propaganda. Billy Russell keeps the fun going with his patter on behalf of the working classes. George Clarke is as cheery as ever in The New Car. Will Hay, Junior, presents The Fourth Form at St Michael’s and Arthur Prince is still one of our most popular ventriloquists. Red Fred, the Five Kenways, Iris Sadler, and the Florence Whiteley Girls complete the programme.

17 March 1940, Ritz Theatre, Nottingham



22 March 1940 – Good Friday
ROYAL CHORAL SOCIETY, Patron: HIS MAJESTY THE KING,
Good Friday March 22 at 7,
MESSIAH (Handel) ELSIE SUDDABY, MURIEL BRUNSKILL, WEBSTER BOOTH, ROBERT EASTON,
London Philharmonic Orchestra, Dr Malcolm Sargent.
Tickets (all reserved) 7/6, 5/-, 3/6. 2/4 Queen’s Hall (Tel Langham 2823) and Agents

18 April 1940 – The Variety Stage, Lewisham Hippodrome.

An interesting engagement in the current variety bill is that of Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler, whose artistic singing of ballads and excerpts from musical comedies is warmly welcomed. They score singly and in duets, especially in A Paradise for Two and Deep in my Heart.

20 April 1940 9.20 Variety, from the Lewisham Hippodrome: Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler, Al and Bob Harvey, Will Hay, Junion and Company, Issy Bonn, Billy Bissett’s Canadians.

4 May 1940 – Burnley Express

A grand variety gala performance at the London Palladium will be on the air for nearly two hours, with only a 20 minute interval (Forces programme) tomorrow. Among those who will be heard will be Gracie Fields, Jack Warner, Arthur Askey, Vic Oliver, Bebe Daniels, Ben Lyon, Florence Desmond, Frances Day, Max Miller, Flanagan and Allen, Teddy Brown, Webster Booth, Anne Ziegler and Rawicz and Landauer.

Because of the war, this Gala Performance took the place of the usual Royal Variety Performance.

George Black’s Variety Gala
– Much success attended last Sunday’s Gala Variety performance at the Palladium in aid of the Variety Artistes Benevolent Fund. George Black, who is president of the fund, arranged the entertainment in order to minimise the loss suffered by the cancellation of the usual Royal Variety Performance last year. A considerable sum should accrue though, of course, it will not approach the figure of £6,000 which was on the booking plan for the Royal Performance at the time of its cancellation…Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler sang solos and duets in pleasant style…



Autographs – 13 May 1940

June to October 1940 – On With the Show (Lawrence Wright) North Pier, Blackpool. Anne and Webster appeared in variety and sang Lilac of Louvain by Bruce Sievier and Horatio Nicholls. The words were inspired by an incident where Belgium girls handed sprays of flowers to British soldiers as they marched through the country.

During their stay in Blackpool they rented a “big Georgian house at Singleton, seven miles from Blackpool”, with twenty-seven acres of ground.

8 November 1940 – Western Daily Press.

BBC THEATRE ORCHESTRA’S VISIT TO BATH

Residents in Bath will have an opportunity of hearing a Sunday concert by the BBC Theatre Orchestra, with some favourite soloists on Sunday, November 17. Olga Haley and Webster Booth will sing solos and duets, and there will be items by the BBC Theatre Chorus and Jack Mackintosh solo cornet. The conductor will be Stanford Robinson.

The concert, which begins in the Pavilion at 6 pm is priced at 5s and 3s 6d for the reserved numbered seats, and 3s 6d for the reserved numbered seats, and 3s 6d for the unnumbered reserved seats. A limited number of unreserved tickets can be had in advance, price 1s 3d, from the Pump Room office telephone number 4227. Members of the Forces in uniform will be admitted for half price at the doors.

The vocal items will include the favourite song from Hiawatha, Onaway, awake Beloved; the aria from Samson and Delilah, Softly Awakes my Heart, and the duet from Act II, Carmen including the Flower Song.



Merrie England – Captivating Singing in Oldham.
So great was the demand for seats to hear the concert performance of Merrie England by the Oldham Musical Society and well-known soloists at the Odeon Theatre on Sunday that it was necessary to repeat it in the evening. Originally the intention had been to have only an afternoon performance. Both houses were full, and the audiences were enthusiastic.

22 December 1940 – MessiahHallé Concert Society, Manchester, Webster Booth (tenor), conducted by Malcolm Sargent.

Later that night there was a big bombing raid on Manchester which destroyed the Free Trade Hall. The hall had not been used for the Messiah performance because the large glass windows could not be blacked out properly, and it was feared that in the event of an air raid the members of the audience would be badly injured by flying glass.

17 April 1941 – Empire, Glasgow. A strong bill is offered here. Vic Oliver’s droll humour is always appreciated; Douglas Byng gives clever impersonations, and Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler offer delightful singing. Others are Wheeler and Wilson, Erikson, Worthy and Jarrett, Two Valors, and the Marion Palo Trio.

Webster and Anne were proud that although English comedians died the death in Glasgow, Glasgow audiences “loved us”! This reminds me of the book I am reading at the moment – Lost Empires by J.B. Priestley.

Richard Herncastle’s account of his life on the music hall, alongside his Uncle Nick, in the period immediately before the outbreak of the first World War in 1914.
This account of life in the Empire Theatres of English Variety. 

10 May 1941 – Wikipedia. On the afternoon of 10 May 1941, there was a performance of Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius at Queen’s Hall (Muriel Brunskill singing the angel, Webster Booth the soul, Ronald Stear the Priest and angel of Agony) conducted by Malcolm Sargent, with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal Choral Society. That night there was a massive air raid in which the chamber of the House of Commons and many other buildings were also destroyed, and damage was inflicted on the British Museum and upon Westminster Abbey. A single incendiary bomb hit the Queen’s Hall, and the auditorium was completely gutted by fire beyond any hope of replacement. The building was a smouldering ruin in heaps of rubble and all that remained intact was the bronze bust of Sir Henry Wood in its alcove, looking out over the chaos. It is not known what became of the portrait bust of Gervase Elwes. In addition, the London Philharmonic Orchestra lost thousands of pounds’ worth of instruments.

26 June 1941

24 December 1941 – Gangway at the Palladium. On Wednesday afternoon, December 17th 1941, George Black produced here his “musical smile” in seventeen scenes, entitled Gangway. It belongs to the category of produced variety – established variety turns interspersed with spectacular scenes and comic episodes – that Mr Black has made very largely his own special province and with which he has found so much success on other occasions. Gangway (with Bebe Daniels and Ben Lyon, Tommy Trinder, Teddy Brown, and Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler heading a strong company) promises to enjoy a long and prosperous run at the Palladium, and it will fully deserve its success, for its constituent parts are of admirable quality and good fun is its keynote…

There is some fine vocal work to be enjoyed from Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler (who have Charles Forwood at the piano in their own scene), and it almost goes without saying that the xylophone playing by Teddy Brown has all its usual high appeal. Mr Brown’s lesson to the audience in hand bell and xylophone playing is also an enjoyable event…In addition to scenes already mentioned, others which have been staged in a highly effective way (especially when one considers the difficulties of the times) are the striking Gangway opening number with its use of revolving stage; the colourful Shangri-La Eastern episode with Webster Booth, Anne Ziegler, and ensemble; the finale to the first half in which old and familiar numbers are given new treatments, both vocal and scenic, A Place in the Sun (with Rona Ricardo, Rosita and Lamar, and ensemble), for which Arthur Bliss’ Shape of Things to Come march is used; and the All in White finale. Robert Nesbitt has produced Gangway and George Black has supervised the presentation. Debroy Somers is in charge of the orchestra and the musical side of things.

December 1941 – Times. London Palladium: Gangway supervised by Mr George Black. “This show is distinctly not what you call West End,” declared Mr. Tommy Trinder at the outset. “It is provincial, don’t you know, and you, are going to like it.” The quip, rounding off a run of engagingly impudent sallies at the expense of latecomers, betokened confidence and promised well. It seems in retrospect to have been a little rash. There is nothing to dislike in the show; yet it certainly falls below the level of entertainment we expect from Mr. George Black. It depends a good deal upon spectacle, and its chief weaknesses are here. It would be unreasonable to expect beauty in shows of this order, but so little meaning has Shangri-La or A Place in the Sun that it quite fails to be either gay or even cheerful. It is merely a parade of women in odd costumes and dances that signify nothing.

Mr. Trinder succeeds in being immensely cheerful, and his ready impudence has the good humour which may not endear the bounder of the seaside promenade but prevents us from disliking him. Mr. Ben Lyon and he make good fun of Chinese theatrical conventions, which, queer as they are in their child-like reliance on the imaginative, are not, after all, barbarous, like the convention of our own music-hall stage, which insists that the voice of Miss Bebe Daniels singing a softly sentimental song shall be turned by a microphone into a voice of brass. Mr. Teddy Brown plays the xylophone with a delightful air of absent-mindedness, and Mr. Webster Booth sings almost as Mr. Harry Welchman used to sing.

Anne and Webster in Gangway.

28 December 1941 – CONCERT FOR KING GEORGE’S FUND FOR SAILORS

A choir of naval ratings will sing sea shanties at the Albert Hall on Sunday, December 28, as part of a concert in aid of King George’s Fund for Sailors (for dependents of officers and men in the Royal Navy, Merchant Navy, and fishing fleets).

There will be the massed bands of the Royal Marines, 110 strong, under the direction of Major J. Ricketts, Geraldo’s concert orchestra, and Mr Reginald Foort at the organ. Miss Evelyn Laye will sing a song for sailors composed for the occasion by Mr Vivian Ellis, who is a lieutenant in the RNVR, and will himself appear. Miss Eileen Joyce will play the Grieg Concerto, and Mr Webster Booth, Miss Anne Ziegler, and Miss Vera Lynn will sing. Rawicz and Landauer will play two pianos, Mr John Gielgud will recite a poem specially written by Mr John Masefield, and the comedy side of the afternoon will be in the hands of Mr George Formby. Mr Ivor Newton is the accompanist.

One of a number of report cards by various managements, kindly donated to me by a member of this group who wishes to remain anonymous. All reports on Anne and Webster’s performances were very favourable.

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