Posts Tagged ‘The Passing Show of 1915 (revue)’

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Anna Wheaton as she appeared for the song ‘My Snake-Charming Girl’ in the revue, Push and Go at the London Hippodrome 1915

January 20, 2014

Anna Wheaton (1896-1961), American musical comedy and revue actress, dancer and singer as she appeared in the revue Push and Go at the London Hippodrome (10 May 1915) in her costume for the song, ‘My Snake-Charming Girl.’
(photo: Wrather & Buys, 27 New Bond Street, London, 1915)

Anna Wheaton, accompanied by Jamieson Dodds, recorded ‘My Snake-Charming Girl’ for the Columbia label in London (Col 560) about June 1915. While this is unavailable at the moment, several of Miss Wheaton’s later recordings are featured on YouTube, including ‘Rolled Into One‘ from Oh! Boy!, recorded in New York City, 23 March 1917.

The principals in Push and Go were Violet Lorraine and Harry Tate. They were joined by a number of American artists including Shirley Kellogg, Arthur Swanston and Anna Wheaton. Among the sketches was a skit on Elsie Janis and her mother (played by Misses Kellogg and Wheaton), with Gerald Kirby appearing as Basil Hallam. It was well known at the time that in her private life Miss Janis (the American revue star then currently appearing at the Palace Theatre, London, in The Passing Show of 1915) was always accompanied by her mother and that she was also romantically attached to to her co-star, the English actor Basil Hallam.

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John Charles Thomas and chorus

April 13, 2013

John Charles Thomas, the new Broadway matinee idol, and a group of beauties in The Passing Show of 1915, at the Winter Garden.’
(photo: White, New York, 1915; New York Star, Wednesday, 16 June 1915, p.4)

‘John Charles Thomas, a baritone who also made a bit of a hit with a very good voice in The Peasant Girl, has also been moved over to the Winter Garden, where he is “Youth.” Frances Demarest and Juliette Lippe, both in the last Passing Show, again appear, the former as “Everywoman” and the latter as “Gay Life.” Miss Demarest, who ws the first to sing that excessively popular “Every Little Movement Has a Meaning All Its Own” from Mme. Sherry, sings the Hawaiian song, “My Hula Maid,” one of the pleasing hits of the score. Daphne Pollard, well known on the Pacific Coast as one of the juvenile Pollards, is another member of the cast, making a little success of her own as “Ruby, a modern working girl.”
‘As for the chorus – well, it is a typical Winter Garden chorus, whose figures are its fortune. In one scene its members are called upon to wear gowns which appear to be sufficiently conventional, though decollete, when sheen from the front. But when a right-about-fact is effected, the spectator finds himself looking at a skirt, a belt, and nothing more. Gone is even the suggestion of a waist. Of course, the popularity of The Passing Show is assured.’
(Oakland Tribune, Oakland, California, Sunday, 4 July 1915, p.3fc)

‘The first moving stairway in use in any theater has been installed in the New York Winter Garden, and is now in operation from the stage floor to the highest tier of dressing rooms. Transgressing all accepted bounds of discipline and regulations which have always called for a quick dash to the dressing rooms after every musical number, the chorus girls of The Passing Show of 1915 now nonchalantly depend on the moving stairway to transport them from the stage their quarters with little delay and no exertion on their part, particularly appreciated during the hot weather.’
(The Washington Post, Washington, D.C., Sunday, 8 August 1915, Magazine Section, p.3d)

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Elsie Janis and Basil Hallam in The Passing Show, Palace Theatre, London, 1914

January 13, 2013

song sheet cover for ‘You’re Here and I’m Here’
words by Harry B. Smith, music by Jerome D. Kern
sung by Elsie Janis and Basil Hallam
in Alfred Butt’s production of the revue
The Passing Show, Palace Theatre, London, 20 April 1914
(photo: Foulsham & Banfield, London, 1914;
published by Francis, Day & Hunter, London, and
T.B. Harms & Francis, Day & Hunter, New York, 1914)

The first revue entitled The Passing Show was staged at the Casino Theatre, New York, in May 1894. The name was revived on Broadway for a similar production, The Passing Show of 1912 (Winter Garden, 22 July 1912). Thereafter there was a Passing Show every year until 1919, and the last of the series was The Passing Show of 1921 (Winter Garden, 29 December 1920). Meanwhile in London the format was reproduced by Alfred Butt at the Palace Theatre, Cambridge Circus, where The Passing Show was produced on 20 April 1914 with Elsie Janis, a young Broadway star making her first appearance in London, Basil Hallam, Clara Beck, Gwendoline Brogden, Winifred Delavanti, Marjorie Cassidy, Jack Christy, Mildred Stokes, Florence Sweetman, Nelson Keys and Arthur Playfair.

Elsie Janis and her partner Basil Hallam were an immediate hit. They recorded their two duets from the show, ‘You’re Here and I’m Here’ (HMV 4-2401; 1.20mb Mp3 file) and ‘I’ve Got Everything I Want But You’ (HMV 04116) in London on 4 June 1914.

The Passing Show proved so popular that Butt repeated his success the following year with The Passing Show of 1915 (Palace, 9 March 1915, with a second edition on 12 July), again starring Elsie Janis and Basil Hallam.

‘Elsie Janis Manager
‘Makes Alfred Butt of the Palace Talk Terms for New Act.
‘London, April 4 [1914]. – Elsie Janis has become a “manager,” according to Alfred Butt, proprietor of the Palace theater, where Miss Janis is to open in the new Revue in a fortnight.
‘“When Miss Janis was in London last summer,” Mr. Butt explained today, “I signed her to appear at the Palace. When she arrived back here a few weeks ago she informed me she had brought two other artists and I must find places for them on the bill.
‘“I saw them to-day for the first time and asked them both to sign contracts. To my amazement they said they couldn’t sign, that they already were under contract to Miss Janis. I asked her what it all meant and she told me she had both these music hall artists tied up tight for twelve months. If I wanted their services I must negotiate with their manager – and I did.”’
(The Syracuse Herald, Syracuse, New York, Sunday, 5 April 1914, Section 1, p.1b)<br><br>

Listen to a cover version of ‘You’re Here and I’m Here’ sung by Olive Kline and Harry Macdonough, recorded for Victor, Camden, NJ, 17 February 1914.