FILMS and videos FEATURING WEBSTER BOOTH AND ANNE ZIEGLER.

“The Invader” was the first film in which Webster Booth appeared in 1934. Here is an excerpt from it.
“The World is Mine Tonight” on British Pathé (1936)
An excerpt from “Demobbed” where Anne and Webster were guest artistes – a rather silly film in my opinion.
Another excerpt from “Demobbed”.

Webster and Anne were guest stars in this charming film (1945)

Webster and Anne starred in “The Laughing Lady” (1946)
BBC Magazine show commemorating 35 years since VE Day.

The Webster Booth-Anne Ziegler Appreciation Group on Facebook has excerpts from films such as “Lord Oom Piet (1962) and others, not included here.

MISSING RECORDS FROM WEBSTER BOOTH/ANNE ZIEGLER DISCOGRAPHY.

If anyone has any of the recordings listed below, I would be very glad to have an MP3 of any one of them so that I can add it to the list of recordings in this group.

Missing Recordings

I read a post in The Golden Age of British Dance Bands by Javier Soria Laso about a data bass on the internet: (http://www.kellydatabase.org/Entry.aspx). I discovered a number of recordings by Webster Booth which I had not seen before – some of them had never been released. He featured in recordings by the HMV Light Opera Company and the Light Opera Male Chorus, sometimes in the chorus and sometimes as a soloist. I have included these recordings in my original list of missing recordings.

I wonder whether the unreleased recordings are still in circulation or whether they were discarded by HMV. I have a recording of Beauty’s Eyes (Tosti) which is marked as unreleased, also Anne Ziegler’s test recording of the Waltz Song from Merrie England. Possibly they were obtained from the Booths’ private record collection.

If anyone has any of the recordings listed below, I would be very glad to have an MP3 of any one of them so that I can add it to the list of recordings in this group.

WEBSTER BOOTH: Test recordings Serenata, Macushla Webster Booth, Reginald Paul, C Studio, Small Queens Hall, London, 20 November 1929.

Here Comes the Bride Selection (Schwartz) Light Opera Company with Alice Moxon, Stuart Robertson, Webster Booth, George Baker/Ray Noble/Studio C, Small Queens Hall, London/Cc18897-4, 25 March 1930.

C1890 Three Musketeers: Vocal Gems (Friml, Grey & Woodhouse),  Queen of my heart, Your eyes, March of the Musketeersparts 1 and 2, C Studio, Small Queen’s Hall, London, 7 April 1930. LIGHT OPERA COMPANY, ORCHESTRA: RAY NOBLE,  ALICE MOXON soprano, BESSIE JONES soprano, NELLIE WALKER contralto, ESSIE ACKLAND contralto, WALTER GLYNNE tenor, WEBSTER BOOTH tenor, GEORGE BAKER baritone, STUART ROBERTSON bass-baritone.

C1920 C B Cochrane’s 1930 Revue: Vocal Gems, parts 1 and 2 : Piccadilly, With a song in my heart,  Heaven, All the things you do,  Part 2: Bakerloo, Just as we used to do, The wind in the willows, What became of Mary? C Studio, Small Queen’s Hall London,  16 May 1930.  LIGHT OPERA COMPANY, ORCHESTRA: RAY NOBLE,  BESSIE JONES soprano, Alice MOXON soprano, NELLIE WALKER contralto, ESSIE ACKLAND contralto, WEBSTER BOOTH tenor, WALTER GLYNNE tenor, GEORGE BAKER baritone, STUART ROBERTSON bass-baritone.

Decca K630 HMS Pinafore Vocal Gems/Gilbert and Sullivan, Anne Welch, Victor Conway, Doris Owens, Webster Booth (1931)

I’m alone because I love you (Joe Young)/ When it’s sunset on the Nile (Ray Ellison & Ted RenardKensington Cinema, London, 6 March 1931. WEBSTER BOOTH tenor, W. BRUCE-JAMES organ Not released by HMV.

C2229 White Horse Inn: Vocal gems (Benatzky-Stolz), parts 1:   White Horse Inn, My song of love, Your eyes; Part 2 Ho-Dri-Ho, Goodbye, Sigesmund, It would be wonderful, Small Queen’s Hall London,  8 May 1931/14 May 1931, LIGHT OPERA COMPANY, Orchestra: RAY NOBLE,  BESSIE JONES soprano, NELLIE WALKER soprano, ESSIE ACKLAND contalto, GEORGE BAKER baritone,  STUART ROBERTSON bass-baritone,JOHN TURNER tenor,WEBSTER BOOTH tenor.

I have this recording. Webster must feature in the chorus for his solo voice cannot be heard.

C2501 Musical Comedy Marches, No 2 Studio, Abbey Road London,  7 November 1932,
LIGHT OPERA COMPANY Orchestra: RAY NOBLE, JOHN TURNER tenor, WEBSTER BOOTH tenor, WALTER GLYNNE tenor, LEONARD GOWINGS tenor,  GEORGE BAKER baritone, STUART ROBERTSON bass-baritone, EDWARD HALLAND bass.

C2511 Robert Burns Medley, parts 1 and 2: My love is like a red red rose,Green grow the rashes-O, Afton Water, No 2 Studio, Abbey Road London, 5 December 1932, 
LIGHT OPERA COMPANY (orchestra: LAWRENCE COLLINGWOOD)  ALICE MOXON soprano, BESSIE JONES soprano, NELLIE WALKER soprano, ESSIE ACKLAND contralto, WEBSTER BOOTH tenor, WALTER GLYNNE tenor, GEORGE BAKER baritone, DENNIS ARUNDEL baritone.

C2716 Ballad Memories, Light Opera Company, including Peter Dawson, Webster Booth, Walter Glynne, George Baker, Gladys Peel, Essie Ackland. Date unknown.

Columbia DB 1658 ORCHESTRE RAYMONDE, with Webster Booth, tenor and Angela Parselles, soprano, Cond. George Walter (real name Walter Goehr) Date unknown.

B8078 A dream of paradise (Claude Littleton & Hamilton Gray)/The old rustic bridge by the mill (Joseph P Skelly) Kingsway Hall, London, 23 October 1933, WALTER GLYNNE tenor, CHORUS, organ HERBERT DAWSON (orchestra Lawrance COLLINGWOOD)  WEBSTER BOOTH tenor, JOHN TURNER tenor, EDWARD HALLAND baritone, PETER DAWSON bass-baritone, GEORGE BAKER baritone.

B8071 Sweet Genevieve (Tucker), solo STUART ROBERTSON;  At Trinity Church (Fred Gilbert), solo GEORGE BAKER; The honeysuckle and the bee (Fitz & Penn), solo STUART ROBERTSON; b) If you want to know the time (E W Rogers), solo GEORGE BAKER  Studio No 1, Abbey Road London England,  7 November 1933 LIGHT OPERA MALE CHORUS (orchestra: CLIFFORD GREENWOOD) WEBSTER BOOTH tenor, JOHN TURNER tenor, EDWARD HALLAND bass, LEONARD HUBBARD baritone.

This recording may be heard on Clypit: https://clyp.it/fjwbx5vs Thanks to Robert Godridge.

B8081 The saucy Arethusa (trad.), solo STUART ROBERTSON; The Bay of Biscay (Davy) Studio No 1, Abbey Road, London,  7 November 1933,
 LIGHT OPERA MALE CHORUS (orchestra CLIFFORD GREENWOOD)  WEBSTER BOOTH tenor, JOHN TURNER tenor, EDWARD HALLAND bass, LEONARD HUBBARD baritone

B8105 The glory of the Motherland (McCall); England (Besly); No 2 Studio, Abbey Road, London ,11 January 1934  PETER DAWSON bass-baritone (orchestra: CLIFFORD GREENWOOD), MALE QUARTET  JOHN TURNER, tenor, WEBSTER BOOTH tenor, GEORGE BAKER baritone, STUART ROBERTSON, bass.

C2814Neapolitan Nights, Selection sung in English: O sole mio; Torna; Funiculì Funiculà  Studio 1, London, 20 December 1935, LIGHT OPERA COMPANY, Orchestra: WALTER GOEHR,  INA SOUEZ (sop), WEBSTER BOOTH (ten) Chorus 8 men

C2827 Tosti Medley Part 1: Parted; Marechiare; Vorrei morire; Part 2: L’ultima canzone; Ideale; Mattinata; Goodbye, Studio 1. London 11 February 1936, LIGHT OPERA COMPANY Orchestra: WALTER GOEHR,  INA SOUEZ (sop), WEBSTER BOOTH (ten) Chorus 8 men (as La Scala Singers) Released1938?  

C2834 Spanish Medley, part 1 – Perjura; Lolita; La paloma; part 2 – La partida, El relicario; Ay ay ay, Studio 1, London, 10 February 1936 (as Sevillian Serenaders)
 LIGHT OPERA COMPANY (orchestra: WALTER GOEHR) INA SOUEZ (sop), WEBSTER BOOTH (ten) Chorus 8 men.

Waltz song (German)/Indian love call (Friml) Studio 3, London ,10 March 1936,
 ANNE ZIEGLER (sop)(p) Test recordings.

B8476I’m all alone/May; I’ll wait for you/ May, Webster Booth, Conductor: George Scott-Wood, Studio 2, London, 21 July 1936, released December 1936, deleted July 1939.

September 1936Gramophone. Webster Booth is a little off colour this month in two songs by May and Feiner, I’m All Alone and I’ll Wait for You, both with orchestra on HMV B8476 (2S. 6d.), but this does not detract from the fact that Mr Booth is probably the finest light tenor before the public to-day. 

CARELESS RAPTURE Selection (Ivor Novello) Side 1.   Why Is There Ever Goodbye?/Music In May,   Side 2.   The Manchuko/Finale – Music In May. 23 October 1936.

Released in December 1936 and deleted in April 1941.

C2878 Memories of Lehár, part 1: You are my heart’s delight, Love’s melody, Smokeland, Gipsy love; part 2: Foreign Legion, Count of Luxembourg, Love’s melody  Studio 2, London, 23 October 1936, LIGHT OPERA COMPANY, soloists ERIKA STORM, WEBSTER BOOTH (ten), BBC Male Voice Quartet (orchestra: WALTER GOEHR)

Gems from Glamorous Night (Novello) Webster Booth, Muriel Barron (number and date unknown)

My star/Little Son (Bassett Silver),  Studio 1 London  10 February 1937 
 WEBSTER BOOTH (ten) (orchestra: CLIFFORD GREENWOOD) Unissued.

I was sent these recordings by Bassett Silver’s son.

You’re mine (Sievier, de Rance) Studio 1, London, 10 February 1937
 WEBSTER BOOTH (ten)(orchestra WALTER GOEHR) Unissued.

Lakmé: O fair vision (Delibes, trans Claude Aveling) London,3 March 1939 
WEBSTER BOOTH (ten), LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA (WARWICK BRAITHWAITE) Unissued.

Soft and pure fraught with love (Flotow, trans Claude Aveling) London,  3 March 1939, 
WEBSTER BOOTH (ten), LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA:WARWICK BRAITHWAITE. Unissued.

Ave Maria/Schubert, Webster Booth (tenor) Ernest Lush (piano) 11 August 1939 Unpublished

DB 1877 MELODY OF THE WALTZ – Part 1: Waltzes by Gung’l; MELODY OF THE WALTZ; Part 2 : Waltzes by Gung’l, THE BOHEMIANS: light orchestra with Al Bollington at the Abbey Road studio Compton organ and Webster Booth, tenor. Released in October 1939 and deleted in February 1944.

B9030 Rosita (Kennedy/Carr)/When you wish upon a star (Harline & Washington)(Pinocchio)  Studio 1, London, 28 February 1940, WEBSTER BOOTH (ten) (orchestra CHARLES PRENTICE) Released April 1940. Deleted February 1944.

Rose of England: Crest of the Wave (Novello)/Beauty’s Eyes (F Paolo Tosti; F J Weatherley) Studio 3, London,27 March, 1941.
WEBSTER BOOTH (ten)(piano GERALD MOORE) Unissued.

I have Webster’s recording of Beauty’s Eyes by Tosti.

Merrie England: Come to Arcadie (German) Studio 3, London, 19 October 1941,

ANNE ZIEGLER (sop), WEBSTER BOOTH (ten) (orchestra: DEBROY SOMERS) Unissued.

July 1945 – War records Webster Booth, Sydney Burchall and Clarence Wright, sang in Songs Our Boys Sang and Marching Times.

These records were not for sale to the general public, but sets were available at most of the 5300 National Savings Centres throughout the Country. Further information was available from the National Savings Committee, Sanctuary Buildings, Great Smith Street, SW1.

Oft in the stilly night (trad; Tom Moore)/There is no death (O’Hara; Johnstone) St Mark’s Church, Hamilton Terrace, London , 11 January,1946 , WEBSTER BOOTH (ten) (organ HERBERT DAWSON) Unissued. Webster also made a recording of There is no Death for HMV which was issued.

B9502All Soul’s Day/ Richard Strauss; Memory Island/ Harrison/ Gerald Moore, 27 February 1946. Released October 1946. Deleted March 1952. OEA10882/3

October 1946 Gramophone Webster Booth (tenor), Gerald Moore (piano): All Soul’s Day, opus No 8 (Bernhoff/Richard Strauss); Memory Island (Askew/Harrison) HMV B9502 (10”)

Richard Strauss’s setting of All Soul’s Day calls for singing of considerable emotional stress, and when Webster Booth gets impassioned his voice loses the easy charm that is its chief characteristic. His words are a model of distinctness and the accompaniment of Gerald Moore is perfect, but the song is not a very happy choice.

The singer is more at home in Memory Island, in which a sailor home from the sea for good, casts his memory back, Masefield-wise, to the blue lagoons, coral islands and what not of the rover. It is a nice song with, for its type, an unusually good accompaniment.

Without a song (V Youmans; W Rose and E Eluscu)/ My song goes round the world (E Neubach; English version K J Kennedy, ?Hans May) London,8 January 1948, 
WEBSTER BOOTH (ten) Orchestra: ERIC ROBINSON Unissued.

If my songs were only winged (Reynaldo Hahn) London, 11 July 1950,  WEBSTER BOOTH (ten) Orchestra: MARK LUBBOCK Unissued.

Countess Maritza: Komm Zigeuner (Kalman; McConnell)  London,20 December 1950,
WEBSTER BOOTH (ten) Orchestra: MARK LUBBOCK Unissued.

Decca F9921 Sanctuary of the Heart (Ketelby)He Bought My Heart At Calvary (Hamblen) with choir of St Stephen’s Church Dulwich, Fela Sowande (organ) June 1952

Jean Collen Updated: 10 September, 2019

ANNE ZIEGLER ON HER OWN (1990 – 1995)

Before Anne left me to bathe and prepare for our evening ahead, she remarked that she could hardly believe I was there and that we were going to spend some time together at last.
“The years are drawing in so quickly now. We’ll probably never have a time together like this again,” she told me before she left me.

After I met Webster and Anne again in 1973 we kept in touch
with each other. After Webster’s death, Anne began writing to
me regularly and when I told her that I planned to visit the UK
in 1990 she asked me to visit her for a few days in Penrhyn
Bay. We spent a very happy time together and we wrote to one another and spoke on the telephone until shortly before her death.

The fifty year copyright on some of Webster’s recordings had come to an end, so a CD was soon to be issued under the Flapper label, entitled Moonlight and You.

As Anne didn’t have a CD player – and I had only bought one when this CD came out, I made a tape of the recordings to take to Wales when I visited her.
Jean Buckley and Anne in Penrhyn Bay, about to set out to attend the RNCM award concert in Manchester.
April 1990 – the productions in which Peter and Jackie Firmani were featured, including Memories of Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth.

Anne turned 80 in June but did not want a party on that day as her birthday fell on the day after the first anniversary of Webster’s death. Instead, her friend Joan Tapper arranged for a late birthday picnic in the grounds of Erddig Hall.

Jean Buckley and Anne at Erdigg.
Anne’s birthday cake at Erddig Hall – 14 August 1990.
Cutting the cake.
Champagne at Erddig. A photo appeared in the local paper.
Anne with Joan Tapper (right) and a friend (left), not to mention Bonnie, Anne’s tiny Yorkie.
The picnic at Erddig for Anne’s late birthday.

After Webster’s death, Anne and I had written to one another regularly and with increasing frequency. The rift between us which had arisen during the nineteen-sixties had been gradually healed and we never ever discussed the reasons for it. When I told Anne of my plans to visit the UK she immediately suggested that I should visit her in Penrhyn Bay. Despite my sadness at the death of my father, I looked forward to the trip. It would be wonderful to see Anne once again.

On a day in mid-October I arrived at the bungalow at the appointed time to find Anne already in the driveway waiting for me. We greeted one another with pleasure. She was as beautiful as ever, but she appeared more delicate and fragile than I remembered her from seventeen years before.

The house was small but very comfortable with some of the lovely pieces of furniture and ornaments, remnants of the ”good old days”, together with the familiar pictures, and the cherished certificate from the Victory Royal Command Performance of 1945, signed by King George VI, in pride of place on the wall above the upright piano. The Chappell grand piano had been left behind in South Africa.

Anne said, “Sit yourself down”, the way Webster used to. Bonnie was a sweet little dog who insisted on sitting on my lap, despite her bad leg, to be fed titbits of scones, fruit cake and chocolate cake provided by Anne’s friends for our first tea together.

Anne was kind and friendly. I soon felt as though I had seen her last only the week before. After tea and a preliminary chat she took me round to the hotel to introduce me to Mrs Hall, the proprietor of the Orotava, and to see my pleasant room, which was decorated with a pretty floral bedspread and matching curtains, with a view over the grey Irish Sea.

The Orotava Hotel, round the corner from Anne’s bungalow.
My bedroom at the Orotava Hotel.

Before Anne left me to bathe and prepare for our evening ahead, she remarked that she could hardly believe I was there and that we were going to spend some time together at last.

“The years are drawing in so quickly now. We’ll probably never have a time together like this again,” she told me before she left me.

The bungalow, Penrhyn Bay.
We spent a wonderful few days together. While I was there I took a few photos of Anne and she took a few photos of me. Bonnie was in all the photos! I shall write a shortened version of my visit taken from my book and post it in the blog.

On Sunday we had lunch in the Queen’s Head.

Before I had gone to the UK I had been feeling rather depressed after my father’s death. My stay with Anne had built up my self-confidence as she had encouraged me to do more with my musical and academic gifts. I asked her whether she would update the testimonials she and Webster had given me when I went to the UK in the mid-sixties. She agreed at once, and not long after I returned to South Africa I received the testimonial she had written for me. I will always treasure it, just as I will always treasure the hundreds of letters she and Webster wrote to me over the years.

In fact, the photo was taken in 1981 at the Silver wedding party of Jean and Maurice Buckley.
3 January 1991.
The awards continued for some time. Unfortunately, Esso withdrew its sponsorship in the mid-nineties and the last award in Webster’s name was made in 2002. Anne’s award continued for some time although it was no longer the lavish presentation it had been. It too was discontinued a few years ago. Read more about the awards at: WEBSTER BOOTH/ANNE ZIEGLER AWARDS
1991 birthday party at Joan Tapper’s home in Mold. Anne with Allun Davies (centre) and Joan Tapper (right) 22 June 1991
Allun Davies and Anne – birthday lunch for Anne’s 81st birthday.
Babs Wilson-Hill and Anne at Jean Buckley’s house (circa early nineties)
16 October 1991. Anne on The Seven Ages (BBC Radio 2)
Bonnie aged ten and a half. Dece,ber 1993
Photo for the Evergreen article. December 1993.
Anne kindly sent me a copy of this cassette.
Anne, Joan, Jean and her husband Maurice.

In 1994 Anne had some pleasure when a BBC team came to the bungalow to record her part of The Webster Booth Story, a radio tribute to Webster on the tenth anniversary of his death. She told me that the bookof cuttings I had presented to her in 1990 had been a great help in jogging her memory for the interview. She became friendly with the script writer, Stephen Pattinson and his father, as well as Robin Gregory, the narrator, and Tony Wills, the producer. The programme was broadcast on 26 June 1994 on Radio Two, and not long afterwards Anne sent me a recording of the programme.

This programme was presented 10 years after Webster’s death. It is an excellent programme. I was pleased to get to know the presenter, Robin Gregory and the writer, Stephen Pattinson some years later.
Circa 1995. Anne accompanied Jean when she sang at a concert in Llandudno. Anne is on the right, Jean extreme left.
Maurice, Jean and Anne – on holiday together (mid-nineties).

ANNE ZIEGLER ON HER OWN (1985 – 1989)

After her bad experience in Bromley, Anne remarked, “Theatre as I knew it doesn’t exist any longer and now that I’ve had the award, I don’t need to work.”

Anne lived on alone in the bungalow in Penrhyn Bay, North Wales for another 19 years until her own death in October of 2003. Obituary notices appeared in the Star and Rand Daily Mail, Johannesburg shortly after Webster’s death – I had not included these previously, so will do so now. The Rand Daily Mail’s obituary contained a few errors, like We’ll Gather VIOLETS, and several wrong dates!

25 June 1984 Rand Daily Mail.

Anne was still teaching a few pupils and had been booked to play the Fairy Godmother in Jack and the Beanstalk in Bromley at the end of the year. She decided to have a break in South Africa before she was due to go into the pantomime. It would do her good to get away from Penrhyn Bay, which was full of reminders of Webster’s illness and death. (Extract from my book: Sweethearts of Song: A Personal Memoir of Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth (2006) (All additional information from the same book.)

Going to South Africa – September 1985.
Visiting Doris Boulton in South Africa.

Jean Buckley, their fan and friend of forty-two years, who had been very kind and supportive during Webster’s last illness, was working to raise money for the Webster Booth Memorial Fund in order to award a scholarship to a tenor at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester.

Webster, Jean Buckley and Anne visiting the Buckleys shortly after the Booths had returned to the UK in 1978.
Anne and Bonnie 1985 (Photo by fan and friend: Pamela Davies)
This message from Jean Buckley appeared in The Stage and Opera in September 1985.

Anne went to Bromley in November to play the Fairy Godmother in Jack and the Beanstalk. Contrary to what had been agreed with her agent, she discovered that she was to play a minimal part in the show. She had been promised a solo of her own choice, but when she arrived all that was required of her was thirty-six lines of dialogue and four bars of Only a Rose with “another character”. She was hurt and annoyed. (Extract from my book)

Bromley Pantomime. December 1985.

That was Anne’s last venture on to the stage. Although she was offered a decent part in panto at Plymouth the following year to make up for the poor one in Bromley, and was asked to take the part of an elderly actress who had once been a star of Operetta in Stephen Sondheim’s West End production of Follies, she turned both offers down. ( I believe Adele Leigh took the part Anne had been offered. I wonder if Adele Leigh knew that she had not been the first choice for the role!)

In April 1986 she received an Award from the Queen for services to music. This award took the form of a pension from the Civil List. It was made in both their names and Anne was saddened that Webster had not lived long enough to enjoy the honour and see the monetary benefit of it.

After her bad experience in Bromley, Anne remarked, “Theatre as I knew it doesn’t exist any longer and now that I’ve had the award, I don’t need to work.”

On 9 June 1986 Jean Buckley was able to take a cheque for £3250.00 to the RNCM, and on 10 December Anne presented an interim award of £500 for that year. The Duchess of Kent, the President of the College, presented the Diplomas to graduating students at the same ceremony.

Alan Keith had attended Webster’s memorial service in 1984 and was a great admirer of Anne and Webster.
New Year’s party (circa 1986) with Penrhyn Bay neighbours – Les and Peggy Williams, Anne, ?, Jean and Maurice Buckley at the Buckley home.
Anne with her friend and fan, Joan Tapper (from Mold) and Jean and Maurice Buckley.

Anne with tenor, Allun Davies (1987) after one of his concerts.
Jean, Anne and Babs with their pets outside Jean’s house in Rhos on Sea. (late 1980s)
14 October 1987 It’s a Funny Business.
January 1989 – Peter Firmani doing a tour of Memories of Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth.
Anne, Jean and Joan Tapper at Joan Tapper’s home to celebrate Anne’s birthday (circa 1989).

Jean Collen 28 May 2019.

PROGRAMMES AND ADVERTS – 1953 – AUGUST 1956

Unlike the accepted view that Anne and Webster were losing popularity because of the rise of American entertainers and rock ‘n roll, they still had plenty of work from 1953 to 1956. Through no fault of their own they were struggling with the Inland Revenue so decided to move to South Africa in July of 1956.

18 February 1953 Ash Wednesday.
Elected Joint presidents of Concert Artistes’ Association.

Webster Booth was the guest of Roy Plomley on Desert Island Discs on the BBC Home Service on 3 April 1953.

.

Opening of Desert Island Discs script. Sadly the recording is not available on the BBC webpage.
11 April 1953 – hardly something to commend him!

Anne as Mistress Knight and Webster as King Charles II in And So to Bed.

24 April 1953 – a poor crit for And so to Bed
in Coventry.
Diamond Wedding anniversary of Anne’s parents April 1953.
Anne and Webster went on an extensive tour of And So to Bed in the midst of many other commitments, particularly Merrie England in the Coronation Year.
Booths sing in concert version of Merrie England in Calgary on May 9 1953.
Merrie England at Luton Hoo with Douglas Fairbanks Junior

Merrie England at Luton Hoo.
CAA dinner 1953 Anne and Webster as presidents.
Advert – 1954

8 April 1954
15 April 1954

30 April 1954
16 May 1954

May 1954
Hiawatha concert had been cancelled for lack of interest. It was replaced by an extract from Aida.

21 September 1954 – Attack of Shingles. Far from “staying indoors for four or five days,” the pain troubled him periodically for many years to come.

28 October 1954
24 November 1954 – Victoria Congregational Church, Derby from Webster’s score.
15 December 1954

Webster’s score 10 December 1954
31 December 1954
I do not know whether Webster and Anne had any singing pupils in the UK.

27 May 1955 Gilbert and Sullivan concert.
29 April 1955 – Sir Malcolm Sargent’s birthday concert.
24 June 1955 – St Andrew’s Hall, Glasgow.
27 July 1955. Anne and Webster were presented to Princess Alexandra.

13 August 1955 Promenade Concert.
13 October 1955 Lady Audley’s Secret.
25 October 1955
November 1955 0n the way to South Africa for tour of Cape Province.

12 December 1955 – Arriving back in the UK again.

15 December 1955 Messiah, Huddersfield.

Huddersfield Town Hall

Return to South Africa for a further tour.

2 February 1956 Crit by Dora L. Sowden in Rand Daily Mail.

On “platteland tour”. Having tea in Bethal with accompanist, Arthur Tatler.
27 June 1956

Passenger List, Pretoria Castle – 12 July 1956.

On board the Pretoria Castle, 12 July 1956.

Signing the menu on board ship.
15 August 1956

THE ANNE ZIEGLER AND WEBSTER BOOTH STORY – PART ONE.

They fell in love, although at the time he was married to his second wife, Paddy Prior and had a son, Keith, by his first marriage. Four years later, after his divorce from Paddy in times when divorce was not as common or acceptable as it is today, Anne and Webster were married on Bonfire Night in 1938.

Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth first met during the filming of The Faust Fantasy in 1934/35

Anne Ziegler, the widow and singing partner of Webster Booth, died in Llandudno, North Wales, on 13 October 2003, at the age of 93. Her death brought an end to an era in British entertainment before and after the Second World War. Her death brings an end to an era for me also.

I was seventeen when I first met them at the end of 1960. They were already middle-aged, in the same age group as my parents, their top-flight stage career in Britain behind them. I was too young to have seen them at the height of their fame, but even then I thought them a shining couple, as I still do over fifty-nine years later.

Although I was too young to have seen them on stage in the days of their great success in the forties and early fifties, I believe their success was due to the wonderful blend of the voices, creating a special, instantly recognisable sound, and their contrasting good looks, she beautifully gowned, he in full evening dress. Above all, they were instantly likeable with charming personalities, and possessed an elusive ability to make people adore them.

In their day, in the thirties, forties and fifties, Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth were stars of stage, screen, radio, concert halls and variety theatres, and made over a thousand 78 rpms, either as duets or solos. Webster was also in demand as tenor soloist in oratorio: Handel’s Messiah, Jephtha, Samson, Acis and Galatea, Judas Maccabbeus, and  Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius, to mention but a few. Before the Second World War, he had sung Coleridge Taylor’s Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast in full Native American costume, and in 1955 on the occasion of Sir Malcolm Sargent’s birthday concert, Sir Malcolm requested particularly that he should be the tenor soloist in the same work.

Webster became a Mason, and was a proud member of the Savage Club, where he often sang at their legendary Saturday night entertainments. These entertainments were arranged by Joe Batten, the eminent sound recordist and producer at Columbia Records. When Webster had something important to do he always wore his distinctive striped Savage Club tie to bring him luck. While still in his early thirties, Webster was made a Life Governor of the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead.

Webster was also in demand as tenor soloist in oratorio: Handel’s Messiah, Jephtha, Samson, Acis and Galatea, Judas Maccabbeus, and  Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius, to mention but a few. Before the Second World War, he had sung Coleridge Taylor’s Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast in full Native American costume, and in 1955 on the occasion of Sir Malcolm Sargent’s birthday concert, Sir Malcolm requested particularly that he should be the tenor soloist in the same work.

By the time he met Anne Ziegler during the filming of the colour film Faust in 1934, he was married to his second wife, Paddy Prior. He had divorced his first wife, Winifred Keey in 1931 after she had deserted him and their small son, and married Paddy Prior, a talented dancer, comedienne and soubrette in October 1932. The couple’s marriage was  happy in the beginning and they appeared together in several concert parties, the Piccadilly Revels, Scarboroough in 1933 and Sunshine at Shanklin in 1934.

Shortly after he met Anne Ziegler he took the lead in an ill-fated production of Kurt Weill’s A Kingdom for a Cow at the Savoy Theatre. His leading lady was the well-known French singer Jacqueline Francel. In Anne and Webster’s joint autobiography, Duet, he said that the play was probably ahead of its time in its handling of complex social issues, which made it too heavy for audiences of the day, who expected lighter fare in musicals. Apart from the unusual subject matter, rehearsals were stormy and the direction contradictory, so despite Weill’s pleasing music and a strong cast, the play closed after just three weeks. The London Dramatic Critic from The Scotsman gave the piece a good review, and mentioned that “Mr Webster Booth as the hero also deserves praise for his fine singing”.

Webster and Paddy Prior, his second wife.

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Sadly, his marriage did not last after he met Anne. Paddy divorced him, naming Anne as co-respondent. He and Anne were married on Bonfire Night in 1938. Webster Booth soon formed a duet partnership with his wife in addition to his extensive recording, film, oratorio and concert work.

 

Webster was contracted to HMV for over twenty years and recorded more than a thousand solos, duets, trios and quartets. His lighter recordings include selections from Ivor Novello musicals with Helen Hill, Olive Gilbert and Stuart Robertson; Theatreland at Coronation Time with South African soprano Garda Hall, and Sam Costa; excerpts from Snow White with Nora Savage, conducted by George Scott-Wood, the composer of Shy Serenade. He made many anonymous recordings as a member of the HMV Light Opera Company. He was the “with vocal refrain” on a series of records made with Carlos Santana and his Accordion Band on the Brunswick label, and on a record of Chappell Ballads with Jack Hylton’s band. Carlos Santana was one of the many aliases used by Harry Bidgood. His better known alias was Primo Scala, the leader of another accordion band, but he did many other things like conducting film music and arranging music and while he was still at school he had written the music for his school song.

His recordings of the late nineteen-thirties and nineteen-forties encompassed oratorio, opera and ballads, as well as duets with Anne. Webster’s more serious recordings were often under the baton of Malcolm Sargent, Lawrance Collingwood, Basil Cameron or rwick Braithwaite with the Hallé, the Liverpool Philharmonic or the Royal Philharmonic Orchestras. His recordings with piano accompaniment were nearly always with the eminent accompanist Gerald Moore.

Webster enjoyed telling the story of a particular recording session with Gerald Moore. They had one more song to record before the session ended. The song was Phil, the Fluter’s Ball, and Gerald Moore suggested that they should see how fast he could play it and how fast Webster could sing it with clear diction. This was no problem for the finest accompanist in the world and for a singer who had spent four years performing Gilbert and Sullivan with the D’Oyly Carte Company. His oratorio recordings are particularly fine. The solos in Samson from the moving recitative O loss of sight and the following aria,Total Eclipse, to the fiery Why does the God of Israel sleep?, with its unrelenting Handelian runs, demonstrate how easily he moved from one mood to another, always singing with flawless technique and clear diction.

He made recordings with other distinguished singers of the day in operatic ensembles, such as the quartet from Rigoletto, with Noel Edie, Arnold Matters and Edith Coates, to the trio from Faust with Joan Cross and Norman Walker. He sang duets with soprano Joan Cross and baritone Dennis Noble from La Bohème and the Miserere from Il Trovatore with Joan Cross. He recorded duets with the baritone Dennis Noble from the Victorian and Edwardian Excelsior and Watchman, what of the night? to the brilliant extended scene in Rossini’s The Barber of Seville. He recorded the duet in Madame Butterfly with Australian soprano Joan Hammond.

When Joan Hammond first arrived in England from Australia, she had a sweet lyrical soprano voice. She sang her first Messiah in England with Webster as tenor soloist under the baton of Sir Thomas Beecham. But by the time they recorded the Madame Butterfly duet, several years later, Joan Hammond had become a dramatic soprano and her voice was very much bigger than it had been when she first arrived in England. Joan had to stand much further away from the microphone than Webster in order for the sound engineer to get the balance for the duet right. Webster also sang excerpts from Carmen with the Sadler’s Wells chorus and orchestra, with Dennis Noble, and with Nancy Evans, Anne’s old friend from Liverpool, as Carmen.

At the beginning of the Second World War, he recorded The Lost Chord at the Kingsway Hall in London, accompanied by the organist Herbert Dawson. As they were reaching the end of the song, the All Clear siren sounded, which meant they had to redo the recording to cut out the sound of the siren. There had been no air raids at that early stage of the war so presumably the sirens were being given a trial run. The blitz was yet to come and would destroy Webster’s beloved Queen’s Hall.

ANNE ZIEGLER (1910 – 2003)


Anne was born Irené Frances Eastwood in Liverpool on 22 June 1910. 
From over two hundred other hopefuls she was chosen for the part of Marguerite for the film, the Faust Fantasy: no doubt her blonde good looks and charming personality counted for nearly as much as her attractive lyric soprano voice. It was in the making of this film, which commenced shooting in December 1934, that she met Webster Booth, playing opposite her as Faust.

During the making of the film they fell in love , although at the time he was married to his second wife, Paddy Prior, and had a son, Keith, by his first marriage to Winifred Keey. Four years later, after his divorce from Paddy in times when divorce was not as common or acceptable as it is today, Anne and Webster were married on Bonfire Night in 1938.

During those intervening four years, Anne was an overnight success on radio in The Chocolate Soldier, sang in a concert party in 1935 called  Summer Smiles during the summer season at Ryde, an engagement she did not really enjoy much. There she acquired her first devoted fan, a girl aged 15, who kept in close touch with her for the rest of her life. 

 She played principal boy in her first pantomime, Mother Goose, at the Empire Theatre, Liverpool, which starred George Formby. In this pantomime she met Babs Wilson-Hill, the principal dancer in the show, who was to remain her closest friend for most of her life. During the 1936 pantomime season she and Babs appeared in another highly successful pantomime, Cinderella, in Edinburgh, this time with the Scottish comedian Will Fyffe as the star attraction.

Anne and Webster were both extremely popular and prolific broadcasters on the BBC, as well as the various European commercial broadcasting stations geared to the British market, such as Radio Lyons, Radio Luxembourg, Radio Normandy and Radio Eireann. Glancing through copies of The Radio Pictorial, commercial radio’s equivalent of The Radio Times, one sees frequent articles about them. Radio stars in the thirties obviously held the equivalent status of pop stars today.

Despite Anne’s success on stage and radio, recording companies had not shown any interest in putting her voice on record. She made a test recording of the Waltz Song from Merrie England in 1935, a recording which Webster managed to obtain from HMV. Eventually she did make a few solo recordings and sang in a Noel Coward medley with Joyce Grenfell and Graham Payn, but the bulk of her recordings were duets with Webster. My favourite solo recording of Anne’s is Raymond Loughborough’s A Song in the Night, which she sang on a Pathé film short in 1936.

Webster went to New York with her, hoping to find some stage work of his own, but, despite his great voice, he did not make any impact on the cut-throat American musical world. He attended various auditions in New York as an unknown, while in England he was already an established performer in oratorio, recording, films, and the West End stage. He returned to England, crestfallen at his lack of success, and resumed his numerous engagements. Anne, in the meantime, was hailed as a Broadway star and offered a film contract in Hollywood, with the idea that she would be the successor to Jeanette McDonald. The offer was tempting, but she turned it down to return to England and marry Webster Booth when his divorce from Paddy Prior was made final.

For most of her life Anne maintained that marriage to Webster meant more to her than any Hollywood contract, although in later years she sometimes reflected on what her life would have been like had she accepted the contract and become a Hollywood star.

Even before Webster’s divorce was made final they formed a duet partnership on stage, in addition to their solo work. From April 1938 they were singing together for Clarkson Rose. This is an advert from September of 1938, the month before Webster’s divorce was finalised.This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 7-september-1938-with-twinkle.jpgThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 7-september-1938-azwb-pier-music-pavilion..png

Their first duet recording was made in the year after their marriage in 1939 –  If You were the Only Girl in the World, with A Paradise for Two on the flip side. Before this official recording she had sung with him as an anonymous soprano voice in a radio series in 1937 called The Voice of Romance. In this series he too was anonymous, but by this time, most people would have recognised his distinctive voice.

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In 1940 they accepted an offer from agent Julius Darewski to join the variety circuit. The money was good and they were well received on the variety halls, always doing their act without the aid of a microphone. If Webster Booth’s voice filled the Albert Hall when he sang the tenor part in Coleridge-Taylor’s Hiawatha in Native American dress under the baton of Malcolm Sargent, the same voice, in harmony with his wife’s, filled the variety theatres from the London Palladium to all points of the United Kingdom.

They were the epitomé of glamour and romance. He was tall, dark and handsome. He was always in immaculate evening attire, she in a range of crinoline gowns, some designed by Norman Hartnell. Their act was interspersed with what seemed like off-the-cuff banter, but every word and move was meticulously planned, and the lighting plot carefully worked out for the most telling impact.

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Apart from the usual operatic arias and musical comedy duets, Anne and Webster sang and recorded a number of ballads, arranged as duets, and an interesting and difficult arrangement of Chopin’s famous Nocturne in C sharp minor, arranged by Maurice Besley. As often as not Webster would arrange the duet part himself if none had been written.

 

Jean Collen  COPYRIGHT 2005

Updated April 2019.
 

 
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Paddy Prior and Webster
Anne and Webster (1957)