Archive for August, 2014


Lily Elsie: a photograph by Rita Martin

August 16, 2014

Lily Elsie (1886-1962), English actress and singer and star of musical comedy
(photo: Rita Martin, London, circa 1915-1917)


Henry Ainley in The Great Conspiracy, Duke of York’s Theatre, London, 1907

August 15, 2014

Henry Ainley as he appeared as Captain Roger Crisenoy opposite Irene Vanbrugh‘s Jeanne de Briantes in Madeleine Lucette Ryley‘s drama, The Great Conspiracy, which was produced at the Duke of York’s Theatre, London, on 4 March 1907. The piece ran for 60 performances.
(photo: Alfred Ellis & Walery, London, 1907)

‘A play with an idea no fresher than that of a young girl’s outwitting of Napoleon – a play, in fact, with the plot and the sort of Bonaparte that have already served in musical comedy, yet a neat, well-planned if artificial piece that is as full of excitement as it is of improbabilities, and, for all its lack of true emotion, gives its three principal interpreters at the Duke of York’s fine opportunities for acting – as is The Great Conspiracy. Mrs. Ryley’s adaptation of M. Pierre Berton‘s Belle Marseillaise. The conspiracy in question, planned by the young heroine’s elderly husband, is one that fails, but the chief conspirator escapes, and Napoleon tries vainly to wrest from the wife the secret of her husband’s safety. Finally he hits on the device of marrying her afresh to a favourite young Captain of his who is infatuated with her, and with whom she, in turn, is in love. Her long colloquy with Napoleon, and the bridal scene, in which she explains to her lover the obstacle that stands in the way of their felicity, make the play. Yet it is the three chief players that make the success of the piece – Miss Irene Vanbrugh, who is alternately arch and tender, and has, in the bridal scene already mention, a moment of exquisite pathos; Mr. John Hare, a very slim and frigid Napoleon, yet authoritative, masterful, and grim; and Mr. Henry Ainley, surely the most attractive stage-lover we have on the London boards, because he is not afraid of emotion, and because to charming intonations of voice he adds perfect tact. With its thrilling story and its splendid representation, there should be a long run in store for The Great Conspiracy.’
(The Illustrated London News, London, Saturday, 9 March 1907, p. 362c)


Gabrielle Ray, an Edwardian musical comedy favourite

August 14, 2014

Gabrielle Ray (1883-1973), English musical comedy dancer and actress
(photo: W. & D. Downey, London, 1905/06)


Connie Gilchrist as The Slave of the Lamp in Aladdin, Gaiety Theatre, London, 24 December 1881

August 13, 2014

Connie Gilchrist (1865-1946), English artist’s model, dancer and actress, as she appeared as The Slave of the Lamp in Aladdin; or, the Sacred Lamp, a burlesque by Robert Reece, produced at the Gaiety Theatre, London, on 24 December 1881. Other members of the cast included Edward Terry, Nellie Farren, E.W. Royce, Kate Vaughan and J.J. Dallas.
(photo: W. & D. Downey, London, 1881/82)


Toots Pounds and chorus in The Flower Garden scene in Palladium Pleasures, London Palladium, 1926

August 11, 2014

Toots Pounds (1897-1976), Australian actress and singer, as she appeared with chorus in The Flower Garden scene singing ‘Mary Mary, Quite Contrary’ in Palladium Pleasures, a revue produced at the London Palladium on 24 February 1926. The cast also included Toots Pounds’s sister, Lorna, with whom she sang the popular song, ‘Valencia,’ Billy Merson and George Clarke. Also in the cast was Leslie Stuart, composer of a string of hits at the turn of the century, including ‘The Lily of Laguna,’ ‘Little Dolly Daydream,’ ‘The Soldiers of the Queen‘ and ‘Tell Me, Pretty Maiden.’
(photo: The Stage Photo Co, London, 1926)

Toots Pounds, whose real name was Dorice Sophie Mary Pounds, was born at Carlton, a suburb of Melbourne, NSW, Australia on 17 November 1897. She and her sister, Lorna first appeared in London at the Palace Theatre in the summer of 1912. Thereafter they made regular appearances in the United Kingdom in a number of revues and at variety theatres. At the height of their popularity in the late 1920s, Toots decided upon a professional change of name, to Maria Linda after which she appeared for a while as a concert singer, making her debut at the Aeolian Hall, Wigmore Street in 1935. She was married in 1945 as his second wife to William Buchanan-Taylor (d. 1958), an expert in advertising who for some 20 years had been head of publicity for J. Lyons & Co Ltd and was responsible for naming the firm’s waitresses ‘Nippies.’ During the 1950s Toots was seen in small parts in several films, and in 1953 was understudy to Cicely Courtneidge on a tour of the revue, Over the Moon. (The Barrier Miner, Broken Hill, NSW, Thursday, 3 December 1953, p. 8b)
Toots Pounds died in Brighton, Sussex, in January 1976.


Clyde Cook, Australian comic actor and acrobatic dancer and comedian in London, 1915, and California, 1924

August 9, 2014

Clyde Cook (1891-1984), Australian comic actor and acrobatic comedian and dancer, at about the time of his appearance in 5064 Gerrard!, an André Charlot revue which ran at the Alhambra, Leicester Square, London, from 19 March until the end of August 1915.
(photo: unknown, circa 1915)

Clyde Cook in The Misfit, USA, released 23 March 1924 (courtesy of Undercranck Productions


Gertrude Lawrence advertises Ciro Pearls, London, 1925

August 8, 2014

Gertrude Lawrence (1898-1952), English actress and singer, advertising Ciro Pearls, London, 1925
(photo: unknown, probably London, circa 1925; advertisement published in The Magazine-Programme, London, [circa mid September 1925], p. 12)

At the time of the publication of this advertisement, Gertrude Lawrence was playing in the successful Charlot’s Revue, which opened at the Prince of Wales’s Theatre, London, on 30 March 1925 and closed after 303 performances the following 19 December. Other members of the cast included Leonard Henry, Peter Haddon and Beatrice Lillie. The Misses Lawrence and Lillie, however, left the cast before the end of the run to appear in the New York version of Charlot’s Revue, which opened at the Selwyn Theatre on 10 November 1925. The cast included Jack Buchanan, with whom Gertrude Lawrence sang ‘A Cup of Coffee, a Sandwich and You,’ which they recorded for the Columbia label in New York on 17 November 1925.

Jack Buchanan and Gertrude Lawrence singing ‘A Cup of Coffee, a Sandwich and You,’ which they recorded for the Columbia label (Col 512-D) in New York on 17 November 1925.