Yes, that was Kent Baker. I often played for him doing the 'arms' number: 'South of the Mason Dixon Line' which I think he had written himself. He was a very versatile performer, being an excellent Music Hall chairman as well as a solo performer and in one of the Pindar pantomimes he was an hilarous dame, ('I work my fingers to the bone and what do I get? Bony fingers!') doing a parody version of 'Roxie' from 'Chicago' as: 'They're gonna stand outside in line to get to see...Twanky!' with bumps and grinds in places that would have surprised Kander and Ebb!
Mr Snow, I found a picture of Kent Baker taken in the bar at Theatre Royal, Stratford East, with Toni Palmer doing the bar entertainment in the days when Ken Hill and Caroline Eves were running the theatre after Joan Littlewood had left. The handsome devil playing the piano is of course yours truly. As I can't seem to get jpegs from my computer into my posts I will use the pic as my avatar for a while.
Love the photo and the story, thank you.
Here's another memory of Brick Lane. I remember Vincent Hayes the 'owner'/MC as a diminutive (slightly) camp Irishman who told some of the funniest and filthiest jokes I've ever heard.
You may have to set the following memory straight with a few facts but this is how I recall it. The first time went the comedy act were an ancient pair of identical twins and their female assistant. She too had been an identical twin but sadly her sister had died. The twins had married each pair! The performed a deliberately inept Sand dance and went down pretty well.
A few years later friends moved to Prebend St Islington where the surviving 3 were neighbours!
Great thread and when I get a chance I'll try and contribute.
I have mixed feelings re Benny Green but he did introduce me to a lot of good music. I'd listen again if only they'd broadcast them.
La Mer is a wistful song dreaming about the sea. It was released in early 1946 and lapped up by a nation who had been unable to travel to for the previous 5 years. A special song that meant something really special to a whole nation. One of my all time favourites.
Beyond the Sea is a love song that Rocks. They have little in common except the notes. One of my favourites.
Just because the Mail says something doesn't mean it's wrong. Their point is that internet publishers and content providers are held to much lower standards than conventional publishers. If I write an article on how to make explosives and detonators and timing devices and the Mail published it then they would be closed down the next day if not for legal reasons then because advertisers would drop them immediately. If I publish it via Facebook then nothing much happens to Facebook - if someone complains they take it down probably but there's no legal or financial impact.
Well said. I now believe that if we are to fight back against terrorists then we will have to sacrifice some things we take for granted. We need to debate what those things might be. Holding the internet to the same standards as printed media would be an acceptable compromise to me. As you say just because the D. Fail agrees, it doesn't mean the idea is wrong.
I remember watching TV as a child and into my teenage years, seeing people like Bruce Forsyth, Anita Harris, Brian Rix, David Nixon and the like, and at the end of the programme, while the credits were still rolling, and usually while the applause was still going on, the volume would be taken down while an announcer told us that Bruce Forsyth (or whoever) was now appearing at the Strand/Whitehall/Adelphi Theatre, London in Whatever the show was. The Victoria Palace also seemed to feature quite a lot, as did the Prince of Wales, I think. I used to be really impressed, thinking that being in something in a theatre up in the West End was really posh. Then those announcements got phased out for some reason.
Yes it seemed by announcing it that TV was giving itself Kudos for using actors/stars from and older and more respected medium of Theatre. For years those days Hollywood wanted Broadway performers, not the other way round. It made me want to see plays in "London's West End".
These days the TV companies know they have the power.
I too remember that (1980?) Pal Joey with great affection. A classy performance of a classy musical but, hey, it's yet another example of the brilliance of Rodgers, this time with the superb Hart rather than Hammerstein. Much as I love Gershwin, Porter, Berlin and (especially) Kern I think Rodgers is the one I admire the most for the sheer number of really great songs he (apparently effortlessly) composed. Right from 'Manhattan' onwards there's an embarrassment of riches.
Ah now tmesis, I can see where you are coming from but my advice is not to try to pick a favourite from among that galaxy of amazing composers of American musicals. You should rather think along the lines of the Burton Lane song from 'Finian's Rainbow': 'When I'm not near the girl I love, I love the girl I'm near' and just enjoy them all, especially the one you happen to be listening to at any particular time. And don't forget Loesser, De Silva, Brown and Henderson, Kander, Youmans, Loewe, Weill, Arlen, Willson and various others who all bequeathed us some wonderful songs.
Can I just add I agree with tonyloco and tmesis. What a time it was, so many talented composers and Dubin didn't make that list.
But then there's Rogers. With Hart he wrote the music and the words followed. With Hammerstein he set the Lyrics to music. And what music. No one Quite like him.
I also opened the Brick Lane Music Hall when it was in Brick Lane and its founder and regular chairman, Vincent Hayes, often did 'Meet Her at the Gate'.
Do you like my new user name? It's all true. I was Grammy nominated in 1997 for compiling a 10CD set of classical recordings celebrating EMI's centenary but I lost out to the Smithsonian Institute for their history of American Folk Music. The other contender in the historical reissue category was Gene Autry, or it might have been Roy Rogers, I don't remember which – really not much to choose between them!
I was hoping...and maybe I have seen you. I went twice to Brick Lane but have never been to the later Docklands place. I remember a good looking chap who sang a number with his hands in white gloves and with each successive verse his reach to the audience 'extended'. He had a smile as broad as yours.
Congratulations on your nomination, of course you should share it with us.
Regarding your old avatar. A couple of years ago my wife had a significant birthday and we celebrated in the old Bethnal Green Town Hall. Now an Hotel. We hired a ‘pearly king’ pianist and surprised everyone by organising a sing a long. The nieces and nephews could hardly sing as the mouths were dropped open!
Mr. Tonyloco I am heartened to hear that. I have often wondered if I was just overwhelmed at my first experience of a great Musical Comedy. Hytner (from memory) later talked about doing it at the National but thought there was a problem with the book? The film doesn’t really work. Sinatra is ideal but Hayworth is not old or worldly enough. And then there’s the famous lyric change which went with the general softening of tone. Yes it was important as the first Musical to have a heel as it’s ‘hero’ and I often wondered if Gene Kelly could get that element across. Must have done, as it was his breakthrough piece.
I’ve said it before but this would be my nomination for the one I’d love to see revived.
WE seem to have a great deal of likes in common. Opera, Musical Comedy (although to date I’ve only seen the new 42nd St twice!) and Music Hall.
So who here remembers visiting the Music Hall under the arches at Charing X. The Players Theatre. Existed for over 60 years and was as resolutely old school as the D’Oly Carte. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Players%27_Theatre I went both before the rebuild and after. One year in the late 90’s I had sole charge of the Company Christmas Party and just gave everyone the address and told them to expect a surprise. They never knew what hit them. A full Victorian ‘adult’ pantomime. Some songs were operatic arias’ with new words and others music hall standards. To everyone’s surprise one of our little ‘sparra’s’ staggered to her feet and joined in with
And she told me to meet her at the gate Meet her at the gate, but she didn't say what gate I've been to her gate, my gate, Highgate, and Reigate Aldgate, Moorgate and I'm in such a state
I've been to Margate, Ramsgate, Tollgate, and Billingsgate I can't find her anywhere And when I told a policeman, he said, "Pop round to Newgate, You might find the Lady there”.
The tea making in Burn This is all coming back to me now, thanks to you, Elanor. Was it Japanese style?
While still in the East, I also remember seeing Anthony Hopkins in M. Butterfly at the Shaftesbury... A long sweeping ramp for the set and lots of cymbals. Unfortunately I can't remember anything else about it.
I can, however, clearly remember seeing Equus at the Albery (now the Noel Coward) from the front row of the stalls. Student standby. A matinee. The scene in the stables. Some things you'll never forget.
Missed Burn but memories 2 out of 3 ain't bad.
First play i recall is seeing Alan Bates in a Simon Gray play. For some reason I think it was at the Young (Old?) Vic? More likely WE.
Musicals Pal Joey with Dennis Lawson and divine Sian Phillips. Saw it 5 times in one summer.
Tony, do you have any recollections of "What a Crazy World", done by Stratford East in the mid 60s and revived in the 70s. Saw the film version recently and wondered what the stage version was like. Indeed, perhaps you were in it!