This issue has 48 pages and includes tributes to our Vice President Wyn Calvin plus Barrie Stacey and Barry Cryer.
The magazine also contains articles on Valerie Walsh, Hinge & Bracket, Pat Coombs, Edna Squire Brown, Music Hall Singles Which Did Not Chart, The Great Cingalee with Laurel and Hardy, plus book and CD reviews.
Spirit Of The Blitz is back on the road, finally fulfilling the tour dates that were planned to mark the 75th Anniversary of VE Day in 2020. After multiple postponements due to the pandemic, the wartime revue is now at last able to go ahead.
The show celebrates some of the greatest entertainers of the 1940s, including Vera Lynn, George Formby and Max Miller, and stars Andy Eastwood, Maggie O’Hara and Pete Lindup, backed up by a live band. The tour will visit Torquay, Swindon, Market Drayton, Coventry, Leeds, Aldershot, Clacton and Lincoln. For more details, see AndyEastwood.com
Screening of Thark (1932) and Oh, Calamity! book launch
Lost Aldwych Farce Films Sought
Film historian Geoff Brown will interview Mark Newell at a belated launch of the latter’s book Oh, Calamity! (Cinema Museum, Kennington, 3rd April 2022 at 2.30pm. Doors open 1.30pm). The aim of the book is to make the work of the Aldwych farceurs better known and to find at least some of their lost films. A screening of a 16mm print of the rarely shown Thark (1932) will follow the presentation which will include clips from other Aldwych films and related stage and screen memorabilia.
On 13th April 1922 Tons of Money opened at the Shaftesbury Theatre and the brilliant comedy trio of Ralph Lynn, Tom Walls and Robertson Hare was born. The play transferred to the Aldwych on 30th October and its success spawned 12 more farces at the same theatre until 1933. Author Ben Travers and Winifred Shotter joined the team in 1925 and 1926 respectively. The fifth play, Thark (1927), which featured scenes in a haunted house, had one of longest runs of the series and produced some of the loudest laughs.
Rookery Nook, filmed in autumn 1929, was the first of the farces to appear as a talkie in 1930. Thark was another hit in 1932, the year that Tom Walls won the Derby with April the Fifth. The last of the Walls/Lynn features was made in 1937. Hare had by then found a new farce partner in Alfred Drayton. Walls, who directed many of the Aldwych films, later became a screen character actor. He lived extravagantly and died in debt. Lynn returned to the stage and continued entertaining audiences to the end of his long life. Hare had a late burst of fame becoming a television star as the Archdeacon in the BBC’s clerical sitcom All Gas and Gaiters.
The Cinema Museum, 2 Dugard Way, Renfrew Road, London SE11 4TH
Oh, Calamity! by Mark Newell, foreword by John Fisher, is published by The Book Guild Ltd, Unit E2, Airfield Business Park, Harrison Road, Market Harborough, Leicestershire, LE16 7UL | 0116 466 0042 | ISBN 9781913551186
On Tuesday 5th April at the Water Rats pub. 328, Grays Inn Road, London, WC1X 8BZ at 7.30pm the BMHS will be presenting Gottle O’Geer – an evening celebrating the art of ventriloquism with Steve Hewlett, Max Fulham and Peter Pullon.
Tickets are £11 (BMHS Members) and £15 (Non-Members) and should be booked in advance from
The Lissenden Players return to the Highgate Literary & Scientific Institution, 11 South Grove, Pond Square, Highgate, London, N6 6BS on Wednesday, March 23rd with an Old Time Music Hall show. Doors open 7.30 for 8.00 pm start. Admission at the door £8.
Performing for you this month:
Roz Nelson, Sheila Miller, Sue Yager, and introducing Vyvyan Almond.
With Paul Kenealy in the Chair and Derek Marcus at the piano.
Derby and Notts Music Hall Association has organised a talk, via Zoom, on Thursday 24th March at 7.30pm about Blackpool’s new Museum of Entertainment, Showtown. It will be given by Rachel Sykes.
Open to all – free of charge. The codes required to access the talk are given below.
Topic: ‘SHOWTOWN’ Blackpool – presented by Rachel Sykes.
Showtown will be the first permanent display in a UK public museum relating to circus, magic, variety and ballroom dance. Filled with over 800 objects from Blackpool’s internationally significant and extensive collections. Plus those on loan from the Victoria and Albert Museum and other private partners including the British Music Hall Society. Opening in 2023.
Time: Thursday Mar 24, 2022 07:30pm. Waiting room from 7.15pm
On the 30th June – 2nd July, Heswall Musical Society is staging a production called The Argyle Remembered, about the Argyle Theatre in Birkenhead. The Argyle opened in 1868 and lasted until 1940 when it was bombed and never reopened. The show pays tribute to artistes such as Vesta Tilley, Robb Wilton, Arthur (‘Old Mother Riley’) Lucan, Harry Lauder and Flanagan and Allen, plus many more stars of the music hall era. A master of ceremonies will tell the story of the theatre from the very beginning to its sad end and will feature songs such as Shine On Harvest Moon, You Made Me Love You and Underneath The Arches. The Argyle Remembered is written by Joan Clement and directed by Phil Lyne.