BOOTHS IN SOUTH AFRICA (1962 – 1963)

I have told about this wonderful period of my life in my book, Sweethearts of Song. Indeed, the whole pattern of my life changed from that time on. Webster has been dead for many years now but he will always remain one of the strongest influences of my life and I will always remember him with love.

Anne and Webster 29 January 1962 in Lower Houghton.
Gilbert and Sullivan programme 7 January 1962 SABC Bulletin
The Andersonville Trial February 1962.
February 1962. The Andersonville Trial. Webster played a very small part indeed!
9 March 1962
Hymn competition winners. March 1962
17 March 1962 Drawing Room on the English Service of the SABC.

17 March 1962 Drawing Room on the English Service of the SABC. Article by Webster in the SABC Bulletin.

17 March 1962 Drawing Room on the English Service of the SABC.
Gary Allighan, March 1962
Showing some antiques to the press. 1962.
Anne choosing wallpaper – 1962.
April 1962 Olivet to Calvary, St George’s Presbyterian Church, Noord Street.
4 May 1962 The Vagabond King
June 1962. Music for Romance.
Arriving in Bulawayo, July 1962. He was ill.
July 1962 Bulawayo Eisteddfod
21 July 1962 Bulawayo
July 1962 Bulawayo

July 1962 – Leslie Green broadcasts from the UK.

Leslie Green was in the UK on holiday and Anne and I listened to Tea with Mr Green (broadcast from the UK) when she was in the studio on her own and Webster was very ill. By this time Paddy O’Byrne was reading Webster’s scripts on the Gilbert and Sullivan programme as he was too ill and weak to record the programmes. He visited Anne’s great friend, Babs Wilson Hill and did a broadcast from her home. He said she had the most beautiful garden in England.

Webster was very ill indeed when he returned from Rhodesia and had to spend some time in the Fever Hospital in Johannesburg.

Fever Hospital.

August 1962 – Music for Romance. Anne presented a series of programmes of recordings and reminisces about her life and career in England. It received adverse criticism from various radio critics and only ran until December.

August 1962 – Anne Ziegler
28 August 1962 Round the Christian Year, St Mark’s, Yeoville.
28 August 1962 St Mark’s Yeoville, Round the Christian Year.
At the wedding of Margaret Inglis and Robert Langford in the garden of Petrina Fry (pictured) and her husband, Brian Brooke. October 1962

October 1962 –The Pirates of Penzance. Bloemfontein. Webster directed this production. As a gimmick, he had a chimpanzee to accompany the pirates on stage, but the chimpanzee was not without problems. She disgraced herself during Webster’s opening night speech. He quipped, “You naughty girl. I won’t take you out in a hurry again.”

August 1962 – Webster Booth
Lord Oom Piet. Guest artists, eventually furious to have their singing disrupted by the antics of Jamie Uys. I always thought that was a terrible film and couldn’t understand why Anne and Webster had any part of it.
November 1962 Lord Oom Piet.
November 1962. Elijah.

November 1962 – Port Elizabeth Oratorio Festival. Elijah and Messiah, Webster, Monica Hunter, Joyce Scotcher, and Graham Burns, conducted by Robert Selley. The complete oratorios were broadcast locally in the Eastern Cape as usual. Later, excerpts were broadcast nationally but, for some unexplained reason, none of Webster’s solos were used in the national broadcast. Two older members of the SABC choir (Gill and Iris) took delight in cattily telling Ruth and me that it was because Webster’s singing was not up to standard and that was why he was not included in the broadcast. That was the last year that Webster sang at the PE Oratorio Festival.

1963

Great Voices – January 1963.
15 January 1963 At Alexander Theatre, Braamfontein
Mr and Mrs Fordyce and their stage family 15 January 1963.
Mrs Puffin (Jane Fenn) and Mr Fordyce (Webster) January 1963
Anne holds a tea party in Goodnight Mrs Puffin.
Photo in the programme of Goodnight Mrs Puffin.
Lewis Sowden crit.
Oliver Walker crit.
Dora Sowden’s crit?
7 January 1963 Great Voices

Accompanying for Webster. Shortly after Goodnight Mrs Puffin ended its run at the Alexander Theatre my father heard a recording I had made of myself singing Father of Heav’n from Judas Maccabeus on my recently-acquired reel-to-reel tape recorder. He passed several disparaging remarks about the quality of my singing and I was feeling extremely despondent when I went for my lesson. Anne and Webster were kind and sympathetic when I told them what he had said.

“My family never praised me for my singing either,” Webster growled. “If it had been up to them I would never have become a singer. Bring the recording along next time and let’s see what it’s like.”

They listened in silence the following week – perhaps my father had been right and it was awful – but afterwards, Anne asked rather sharply as to who my accompanist had been. They were surprised when I admitted to accompanying myself.

Nothing more was said. In the fullness of time, I recovered from the hurt my father’s criticism had caused me and I plodded on regardless. A few weeks later Anne phoned my mother to ask whether I’d like to play for Webster in the studio for a few weeks in April as she was going on a tour round the country with Leslie Green, the broadcaster of Tea With Mr Green fame on Springbok Radio, a great friend of theirs.

I have told about this wonderful period of my life in my book, Sweethearts of Song. Indeed, the whole pattern of my life changed from that time on. Webster has been dead for many years now but he will always remain one of the strongest influences of my life and I will always remember him with love.

Accompanying for Webster (April 1963)
Anne sent me a postcard when I was playing for Webster and she was away on holiday with Leslie Green.
Anne advertising a facial cream for “mature” women! I’m sure most mature women would have been delighted to look as perfect as Anne did at the age of 53!
Colonel Fairfax in The Yeomen of the Guard. 6 June 1963.
The Yeomen of the Guard.
6 June 1963 various cuttings including crits for The Yeomen of the Guard at the Alexander.
Kimberley Jim. Webster plays a bit part – the Inn Keeper – in that silly film. 1963,
9 August 1963 for the opening night of The Sound of Music.
September 1963 Jon Sylvester, radio critic The Star
A nasty comment – probably from “Jon Sylvester” (the pseudonym for the Star’s radio critic, about Webster’s programme.
I was Pooh Bah in this instance. I met Webster in the street one day and he asked me if I had written this note to beastly “Jon Sylvester”. I asked him how he knew that, and he said I was the only person in Johannesburg who could have done so!
They presented a children’s programme on the SABC, produced by Kathleen Davydd. At the same time they made an LP called The Nursery School Sing-along with the children from Nazareth House, conducted by my piano teacher, Sylvia Sullivan, and Heinz Alexander accompanying them.
21 September 1963 at Pietermaritzburg City Hall.
Michaelhouse, Balgowan.
Pietermaritzburg City Hall.
October 1963 – Ballads Old and New.
November 1963. Fauré Requiem.
Saturday Night at the Palace on the radio in November 1963, Anne, Webster, Jeanette James and Bruce Anderson.

EXTRACTS FROM MY TEENAGE DIARIES: JULY 1963

20 July – Go into the studio and Webster is there, in a good mood, and making coffee. Anne is evidently worse this morning. We have the morning pupils and the last two don’t come so we go home in the Hillman with the roof down. As we pass the Kensington Sanitorium he says that it’s such a lovely day that he wishes we could carry on driving all the way to the coast! Unfortunately, we can’t do that!

I have made omissions and toned down some entries in this episode before publishing it!

1 July – Go to music library and see Leo Quayle there. Coming home I see Graham Burns waiting for a bus.

2 July – Go to singing. Anne is wearing her mink coat. We have tea and biscuits and she tells me she hates Britain at the moment – with the shock of the John Profumo/Christine Keeler affair. She says they used to belong to the Conservative Party in Hampstead but fell out with them over something or other.

I sing Open Thy Blue Eyes, the Landon Ronald song Cycle, and Love’s sickness. She is pleased. She tells me I can use the studio at any time and don’t owe them anything for this month. I see Dennis and his mum and have more tea with them. I meet Betty on the way home and Ruth phones in the evening.

3 July – Go to studio and work hard in the peaceful atmosphere. I have lunch in Ansteys with Mum then go to Mrs S for lesson. I’m going to listen to our broadcast now.

4 July – Go to the studio and the lunch hour concert. Webster comes in a bit late – Anne phones to let me know that he’ll be late. We have Heather and Yvonne Marais and then he puts his hands on my shoulder and says, “Put on your coat, love, and put some money in my meter!” I do so. He is a honey. We have Graham and Reeka and then come home in the Anglia. He tells me about the near accident he had coming down the Great Orme in his Talbot in Llandudno, and the Springs Operatic Society. He says, “Imagine that I’ll not be seeing you until next Friday!” I say, “How can I bear it?” half in fun, but whole in earnest!

5 July – I work in the studio in the morning and lunch with Mum. In the afternoon Anne comes in and I have an hour lesson and I enjoy it enormously. We have tea and biscuits and she says I must eat them up when I’m in the studio by myself. She says Webster told her all about my account of Jossie B’s singing lesson and she enjoyed it. She lends me Doris Bolton’s Joan Sutherland biography to read over the weekend and says that of course I can come in on Monday although it’s a public holiday. She’s a sweety.

8 July – Family day. Go to studio to return the Joan S autobiography.

9 July – Go to singing in afternoon. Anne is there teaching Jimmy Elkin, the son of the optician! She tells me that I’ll be in on Monday to play for Webster for he really can’t manage without me. Last Monday was too much for him! We do Love’s Sickness and when we are having tea Anne shows me the Ravel song cycle she sang at the Wigmore Hall as Irené Eastwood – Scheherezade. We do the unaccompanied folk song and she imitates my serious face during my singing of it. We both end up in the giggles. Webster phones and she gives me a whole hour. We finish with Love, From thy Power and then Winnie arrives. I wash the dishes before I leave.

10 July – Go into the studio and read the script for Mrs Puffin. Lunch in Ansteys with Mum then go to Mrs S for lesson. Listen to Webster’s super new programme Ballads Old and New. He plays the Evening Song by Blumenthal – beautiful.

Ballads Old and New – July – not October!

12 July Go to studio and Webster arrives at 3.00 but Lucille doesn’t arrive!! He tells me of the difficulty they are having to find an accompanist for their concert in Ficksburg. He says he would ask me to play for them but they have always preferred a male accompanist as a woman takes the audience’s attention away from Anne. Mayor of Brakpan’s son comes and sings pleasantly. I have a lesson and we go over all the Messiah arias. Gertie and “Clara Butt” come later. Come home in the car from the garage and we have a discussion about Gert P and Jossie B!

13 July – Webster’s programme is excellent. He plays one of his own records. Go to Mrs S and work with Margaret and company. We see Sammy Going South.

15 July – Go to the studio to play. Webster makes me tea the moment I arrive. Myrtle is our first pupil. We talk about his programme on Saturday and have a number of pupils. He talks about making the Afrikaans record on the way home.

16 July – Go to Mrs S and work with Margaret. Lunch with Mummy and go to studio where Anne makes me tea. Tells me the lights fused completely last night and they didn’t eat until 10.00! I sing well and she is pleased. Jimmy doesn’t come so she gives me an hour because she says she enjoys working with me. There is a lovely picture of them in the paper at night. I listen to the recording of the SABC choir and think it is very good indeed.

18 July -Anne phones to say Webster will be a bit late. Yvonne, her Mum and little sister arrive early. Yvonne wants him to hear her sister sing. He tells them that she can’t start having lessons as she is far too young – wait until she is in her teens. We have Heather, Yvonne and Colleen. He tells me that Anne has caught a cold from Leslie Green – she went to a film with him last night. On the way home we go up to Wallie Petersen’s theatrical agency where he is offered a directorship of a film company. He introduces me as, “This is Miss Campbell – she plays for me.” We are pleased about the offer. I hope something comes of it. He says he’ll phone tomorrow if he wants me to go in and work for him at the studio.

19 July -Anne is too sick to come to studio and my father has ‘flu too so Webster and I “do” again. Lucille comes first and tells us about a funeral she attended. She sings well for an hour and I play well. I have my lesson – oratorio as before. Selwyn arrives in a weepy mood. Gertie comes next and he says to me, “Jean, darling, make me a cup of tea.” Gertie and Brian Morris come afterwards. Webster brings me home and I tell him to give Anne my love and I hope she will feel better.

20 July – Go into the studio and Webster is there, in a good mood, and making coffee. Anne is evidently worse this morning. We have the morning pupils and the last two don’t come so we go home in the Hillman with the roof down. As we pass the Kensington Sanitorium he says that it’s such a lovely day that he wishes we could carry on driving all the way to the coast! Unfortunately, we can’t do that!

21 July – I wash my clothes and hair in the morning. I phone Ruth in the afternoon and she is full of her recent holiday to Victoria Falls. We decide to go out together sometime next week. She’ll phone me on Tuesday. I phone to see how Anne is keeping. Webster answers and is pleased to hear from me. He tells me she is improving and crawling around the house. When we part, he says, “Goodbye, darling.”

22 July – Lunch in Ansteys with Mum. Go to studio and Webster tells me that Anne is a lot worse today. Myrtle comes for her lesson and he tells us about the loss of vision he experienced last night. When he went to lie down the room spun around him and he felt awful. He makes a tape of the pupils today for his cousin in England, Jean Webster. Janet and Lucille come. Webster is always far too nice to the latter for my liking! Reeka is the last pupil and then we come home and discuss the possible reasons for his bad turn yesterday. I hope there is nothing seriously wrong with him.

23 July – Work. Lunch in the Capeniro with Mum. I feel in rather a remote frame of mind after the obsequious way he behaved with Lucille yesterday. I must be jealous! When I get back to the studio Anne is there looking terribly ill. We spend a long time discussing Webster but I don’t say anything to her about Lucille. She says he used to be such a good husband but these days he’s always in a bad mood and drinks and smokes too much. She wants him to see the doctor but he refuses to go. We do some Elijah and have tea. She says he hates teaching in the studio (apart from a few pets), and he is too indulgent with Lemon so he is too spoilt for words. I wish her well and depart feeling somewhat restored but sorry for Anne.


24 July – Go to the studio. After lunch I go to Mrs S and work with Elaine and Edith and have my piano lesson. Ruth phones. She’s coming to fetch me tomorrow at the studio for lunch. She tells me about all her activities, including Yoga lessons which she is enjoying. Listen to Webster’s Ballads Old and New and it is terrific as usual. Why is he always so good?

25 July – Leslie Green phones the studio wanting to speak to Anne and Webster. He talks to me for quite a while – he is just as pleasant as he is to his listeners on the radio. Ruth comes up and we have lunch in the Chesa – she tells me all about her holiday while I spend time imitating my two current bones of contention – “Ag, Uncle Boooo!”

26 July – Lucille arrives early so we go out for an hour and return together. He calls out a casual greeting to me, then when he sees that Lucille is there he makes a great fuss of her. I am upset and spend a dismal hour playing for her during her lesson. He tells me that Anne is just as ill as ever and has been physically sick today too. In the car we discuss Leslie Green, Brian M and Show Boat. He promises to phone me tomorrow if he needs me.

27 July – Anne is still sick so I go into the studio to play for him. Webster makes me coffee and this time it is he who tells me he’s had a disagreement with Anne over Leslie Green and the doctor! Anne insisted on them going to dinner in Leslie Green’s draughty house despite the fact that she is not at all well. Ruth has a lesson and she is full of the joys of spring over the results of her aptitude test. Coming home in the car he talks about Gary A. I listen to him on the radio at night.

29 July – Go to town with Mum and lunch in Ansteys. Go to studio a little early and have tea with Webster. He is tired but in a lovely mood. Ruth phones. She has passed her driving licence and asks me to dinner. Webster says he will drop me off at her house which means a much shorter trip home for him. We pass Zoo Lake on the way to the Ormonds and he says the bowling club is in one of the loveliest settings in the world. I have a pleasant dinner with the Ormonds and they drive us in their huge Rover to the SABC where we have a meeting and then refreshments a la Anton H. Mr O drives me home – lovely day.

30 July Go to singing in the afternoon. Anne tells me she is going to see the doctor on Thursday about her laryngitis. She would have preferred to go on Wednesday but Webster is going to play bowls then come hell or high water! We have tea together and discuss Ruth and the effects of the lottery on her life – all favourable. We work at Father of Heav’n and concentrate on breathing. I see Lucille’s invitation to her twenty-first birthday – they can’t go. Good!