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Lily Elsie, Gabrielle Ray, Zena Dare and Grace Pinder, 1906

August 9, 2013

Lily Elsie (1886-1962), Gabrielle Ray (1883-1973), Zena Dare (1887-1975), English musical comedy actresses, and Grace Pinder (1884-1932), Canadian-born English musical comedy actress, in an episode from their song, ‘I Should So Love to be a Boy,’ written by C.H. Bovill, with music by Frank E. Tours, from the The Little Cherub, produced at the Prince of Wales’s Theatre, London, on 13 January 1906.
(photo: Bassano, London, 1906)

Girls have a rotten time! –
There’s not the slightest doubt of it!
Boys have sport
Of every sort,
But we are always out of it!

I should so love to be a boy!
I’d wear check suits
And big brown boots,
Then I could ride
A horse astride;
If only I were built that way!

No girl who has to wear
A corset to support her back
Can hope to play
At ‘footer,’ eh?
And be a great three-quarter back!
(published by Chappell & Co Ltd, 1906)

‘FOOTBALL ON THE STAGE.
‘The national love of football is the subject of a song incident in The Little Cherub at the Prince of Wale’s Theatre, where a quartette of pretty girls sing ”I Should Love to be a Boy.”
‘When the piece was first produced a few weeks ago the four girls threw a football to and fro on the stage, but now they go in for tackling and Miss Gabrielle Ray brings the incident to a close by kicking the football into the auditorium.
‘Miss Ray usually aims at getting the ball into one of the private boxes on the ”prompt” side of the house, and generally brings off a goal. Frequently, however, it rebounds into the stalls, and is tossed back to the stage, occasionally shaking up the musical director by catching him on the head. Some nights the light-footed kicker sends the ball into the pit. She is afterwards met at the stage-door by the lucky finder of the ball, and she writes her name on it. The finder retains the ball as a souvenir.’
(Daily Mail, London, Tuesday, 20 March 1906, p. 5f)

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