second world war years



Chapter 1 (1939)

1: Newsreel footage(War) : “Keep Smiling”/ENSA newsreel

2: “Pathetone Parade”: Rupert Hazell & Elsie Dean

3: “Viscount” (dog act)

Chapter 2

4: Sidney Burchall (Britone) (song): “The Lady Of Armentieres”

5: Stetson (juggler)

6: Arthur Prince & Jim (ventriloquist)

Chapter 3

7: Cyril Fletcher (comedy  patter)

8: Peter Sinclare (Scots song): “Frugal Dougal”

Chapter 4

9: Jimmy Rogers (comedian/magician)

10: Mantovani (violin)

 11: Monte (Monty) Morris (balancing act/stilts)

12: Lance Fairfax (Baritone) (song): “The Deathless Army”

Chapter 5

13: Robb Wilton (courtroom sketch)

Chapter 6

14: Gracie Fields (newsreel)”Sing As We Go”/”I’m Sending a Letter To Santa Claus”/”Wish Me Luck”

Chapter 7 (1940)

15: “Cheerio Crusade” (newsreel): (with Jack Warner/Will Fyffe)

16: Arthur Askey/Richard “Stinker” Murdoch (newsreel)(“Band Wagon” sketch)/Gracie Fields “Land Of Hope and Glory”

17: Robert Ashley (Baritone) (song): “We Drink To Those We Love”

Chapter 8

18: Max Wall (comedian/impressions)

19: Jack and Eddie Eden (song): “It’s Turned Out Nice Again”

20: The Three New Yorkers (juggling)

Chapter 9

21: Teddy Brown (xylophonist)

22: jack Warner & Jeff Darnell (piano & vocals) (song): “We’re Just a Pair of Foreign Legionnaires”

Chapter 10

23: Joe Loss & His Band (song): “Rhythm In the Alphabet”

24: George Formby (newsreel) (songs): “When I’m Cleaning Windows”/”Imagine Me In the Maginot Line”

Chapter 11

25: Ronald Frankau (song): “Don’t Let’s Sing About the War”

26: Sidney Burchall (Baritone) (song): “The Marching Song”

27: May Wong (contortionist)

Chapter 12

28: The Three Vriginians (song): “Roll Out the Barrel”

29:  Newsreel: into Richard Hassett (impersonations) “Street Cries”

30: Tommy Trevor & Partner (juggling)

Chapter 13

31: Afrique (impressions)

32: Bernard Clifton (Baritone) (song): “A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square”

33: Gracie Fields (newsreel) (song): “As We March Along Together”

34: Gracie Fields (newsreel) (song): “Sally” (Navy Concert)

Chapter 14 (1941)

35: George Formby (newsreel) fund-raising (song): “Working Down the Old Coal Hole”

36: George Formby (newsreel) Salvage Collection

Chapter 15

37: Reading & Grant (acrobatics/trampoline)

38: Gracie Fields (newsreel) Gracie In Britain

39: Malcolm McEachern (“Jetsam”) (Bass) (song): “Convoy Ahoy!”

Chapter 16

40: “Pathetone Parade Of 1941” (compere Ronald Frankau) intro : Ronald Frankau

41: Mantovani & His Orchestra

42: Norman Evans (comedy impersonations)

Chapter 17

43: Sidney Burchall (Baritone) (song): “Old Pete, the Postman”

44: Rollo, Earle & Carole (rollerskating)

Chapter 18

45: Teddy Brown (xylophonist)

46: Mah Foo (juggling)

Chapter 19

47: Sandy MacPherson (organist) “Any Broken Hearts To Mend”

48: Newman Mond (aka Norman Bond) (billiard tricks)

Chapter 20

49: Jack Jackson & His Band “Poet & Peasant Overture”

50: Robb Wilton (comedy song): “I’m One Of the Lads In Blue”

Chapter 21

51: Ronald Frankau signing off

40 – 51 “Pathetone Parade Of 1941”

52: Malcolm McEachern (“Jetsam”) (Bass) (song): “Spread Your Wings”

53: Max Wall (comedy/song): “Everything Was Champion After That”

54: Raymond Newall (Baritone) (song): “London Will Rise Again”


Chapter 22

55: Cyril Fletcher (comedian)

56: Mantovani & His Octette “When Our Dreams Grow Old”

57: Bud Flanagan joins the Home Guard (newsreel)

58: Gracie Fields In the USA (newsreel)

Chapter 23 (1942)

59: Sidney Burchall (baritone) (song): “This Is Worth Fighting For”

60: Tommy Trinder introduces The Quads Of Song: “The Pennsylvania Polka”

Chapter 24

61: The Pavians (balancing act)

62: Mario Lorenzi (harp) : “Hold That Tiger”

63: Marie Wilson (trick cyclist)

64: Peter Sinclare (song): “Mothers Of the Motherland”

65: Manette (contortionist)

Chapter 25 (1943)

66: Big Bill Campbell & His Rocky Mountaineers (song): “Mighty Tough In the West”

Chapter 26

67: Josie Torina (?) (female muscle act)

68: Cyril Fletcher (comedian)

Chapter 27

69: Flanagan & Allen (newsreel) (song) : ”Underneath the Arches”

70: Peter Mike Coates (impersonations)* see item 80 (same person: Peter Cavanagh)

Chapter 28

71: Sidney Burchall (Baritone) (song): “The Bells Of Malta”

72: Rasanna (?) (balancing act)

Chapter 29

73: The Moscow Singers  (song): “Comrades”

74: Gracie home in Rochdale (newsreel)

75: Jitterbug/Rhythm  item (newsreel)

Chapter 30

76: Ronald Frankau (comedy) “After the War”

Chapter 31

77: Florence Desmond with Flanagan & Allen (newsreel)

78: Peter Brough (ventriloquist)

Chapter 32

79: Margaret Eaves (song): “When Big ben Chimes”

80: Peter Cavanagh (impersonations* (see item 70: same person as Peter Mike Coates)

81: Mantovani: “The Moon In An Old Lagoon”

Chapter 33

82: Robb Wilton (courtroom sketch)

Chapter 34 (1944)

83: Tommy Trinder (newsreel)

84: Kenway & Young/Charles Coburn/Cyril Fletcher /Hitler (in the negative)

Chapter 35

85: Emile Koraschenko (muscleman)

86: Bennett & Williams (comedians)

Chapter 36

87: Frank’s Famous Terriers (dog act)

88: Malcolm McEachern (“Jetsam”) (song): “The Changing Of the Guard”

Chapter 37

89: Jack Simpson (xylophonist)”Pop Goes the Weasel”

90: Home Guard disbands (newsreel)/concert in Albert Hall : George Robey/Vi Loraine/Vera Lynn

Chapter 38 (1945)

91: Tommy Trinder “National Insurance” short

92: Kay Cavendish (song): “I’m Gonna Love That Guy”

Chapter 39

93: Petula Clark (newsreel) (song): “Mighty Lak a Rose”

Chapter 40

94: Gracie Fields in Brisbane (newsreel)

95: ITMA’s farewell party (newsreel)

Chapter 41

96: End Of War In Europe (newsreel) “Roll Out the Barrel”

97: Vera Lynn at Albert Hall (newsreel) (song): “Lili Marlen”

98: Gracie Fields Looks Back (newsreel excerpts) (bonus feature)



prewar years



Chapter 1(1938)

1: The Radio Revellers (song): “Tavern In the Town”

2: Kenway & Young (comedy)

3: Trefor Jones (tenor) (song): “Here’s To the Best Of Us”

4: “Paradise On Parade” (cabaret)

5: Elsa Stenning (The Australian Nightingale) (song):  “Ma Curly-Headed Babby”

6: Louise Maxim (juggler)

7: Oliver Wakefield (comedian)

8: Robert Wilson (song): “Take This Heart”

9: The Four Aces (comedy)

10: Talbot O’Farrell (tenor) (song): “There’s a Little Green Heaven”

11: The Hillbillies (song medley)

12: Suzette Tarri (comedienne)

13: John Stein & His Orchestra (musicians): “Santa Lucia”

14: The Four Aces (song): “You Got To Take Your Pick and Swing”

CHAPTER 2 (1939)

15: Joe Termini (comedian: banjo)

16: Maxwell Stewart & His Ballroom Melody Band (music): “If I Had You”/”Cherokee”

17: The Millfields (?) (juggling act)

18: Lance Fairfax (song): “On Away Awake Beloved”

19: Max & Harry Nesbitt (comedians)

20: Renee Dymott (dance)

21: Florence De Jong (organist)”Le Misere”/”Grand March from Tannhauser”

22: issy Bonn (comedian)

23: Nicholas Zeff (strongman)

24: Nicholas Toner (finger practice for pianists) “The Blue Danube”

25: Jimmy Rogers (magician)

26: Continental Circus excerpts

27: Sidney Burchall (song): “The Gay Highway”

28: Lorenzi (harp): medley

CHAPTER 3 (1939)

29: Robert Ashley (song):  “By the Lakes Of Killarney I Met Her”

30: Richard Goolden (“Mr Penny”) sketch

31: The Six Harmonists (song): “When You’re Smiling”

32: The Chickolas (acrobats)

33: George La Tour (juggling)

34: Gold & Cordell (dance) (knock-off of “The Continental”!)

35: Veronica (cabaret dancer ) 8000 kicks!

36: Elsa Stenning (song): “La Paloma”

37: The Peters Sisters (newsreel: flying to Paris)

38: Norman Long (comedy and song): “Working For the Mayor and Corporation”

39: Gordon Holden (baritone) (song): Here’s To the Ladies”

40: Robert Harbin (magician)

41: The St. David’s Singers (choir) (song): “Coming Along”

CHAPTER 4 (1939)

42: Wilfrid Briton (strongman)

43: The Exquisite Three (dance)

44: The Four Aces (hunting routine)

45: Jack Simpson & His Beachcombers (song): “On Paradise Isle”

46: The Yuk Ching troupe (acrobats)

47: Dan Donovan (song): “The Rocky Road To Dublin”

48: Finlay & Worth (dance)

49: Fred Latham (baritone) (song): “The Same Old Story”

50: Rollo, Earl & Carol (rollerskating t rio)

51: Ronald Frankau (comedy and song)

52: The Cotrillos (jugglers)

53: Bennett & Williams (comedy and music)

54: Danny Lipton (dance)

Chapter 5 (1939)

55: Eric Woodburn “La Marseillaise”

56: “London After Midnight” (Paradise Club, London/Cabaret excerpts)

57: Sidney Burchall (song): “The Lord Mayor’s Coachman”

58: The Four Lazanders (acrobats)

59: The Waldorf Brass Quintet “A Perfect Day”

60: The Royal Artillery Band “Coronation Bells”

61: Reginald Foort (organist)

62: Ma Fu (juggler)

63: Leslie Jefferys (violin)

Chapter 6 (1939)

64: Felix Mendelssohn’s Hawaiian Serenaders: “Song Of the Islands”

65: Tamiroff & Tamara (dance) “Dance of the Spirits”

66: Tarrant Bailey (banjo)

67: Jack Lawrence (talk)

68: The Modernaires (dance)

69: Raymond Newell (baritone)(song): “Slowcoach”

70: Gaston Palmer (juggler)

71: Gerald Nodin (song): “Well Known Round Here”

72: The Two Leslies (comedy)

73: Draper & Lindon (dancers)


Chapter 7

74: Eric Woodburn (song): “Texas Dan”

75: John McHugh (tenor) (song): “You’re Mine”

76: Toni Borello (trapeze)

77: Tollefsen & His Music (accordionist)

78: Eddi Pola (singer): “Twisted Tunes”

79: Fred Latham (baritone)(song): “They Say”

80: Bille Hale and cast rehearsing at Drury Lane for NAAFI show



 mid 30slate 30sprewar yearssecond world war years

Similar in style to Warner Bros.  American Vitaphone short subjects, and to those from other studios like Paramount, Pathé here in the UK produced many shorts as support featurettes for the cinema circuits. Filmed basically with a couple of camera set-ups, and minimal sets and props, these quaint vignettes of music-hall and variety acts of the 1920’s, 1930’s and 1940’s amuse rather than entertain us today.

From jugglers, acrobats. novelty acts (whistling canaries anyone?), tap and ballet dancers, child accordionists, beefy baritones and weedy tenors, the Pathé archives do sometimes contain major performers, however. Peter Dawson sings on a few of them, Sir Henry Wood conducts the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Arthur Askey makes us smile.

Strike Force Entertainment have collected many of these acts on DVD sets. Five volumes, as far as I am aware: Variety Acts and Turns Of the Mid-30’s, Variety Acts and Turns Of the Late-30’s,Variety Acts and Turns Of the Pre-War Years, Variety Acts and Turns Of the Second World War and Variety Acts and Turns Of the Post-War Years.

There aren’t many details as to what is on each of these sets, and chapters contain many acts bundled together, so I have scanned through the DVDs and propose to list the acts on them. At least there will be somewhere on the Internet with full details of these fascinating, archaic, creaky – and fun – Pathé shorts.

for starters:

mid 30s


SNA6718 (198 minutes)

RELEASED 29 Oct 2012

Chapter 1

1: “BEAUTIES Of 1937” Cabaret act

2: Arthur Askey song: “The Moth”

3: Anita Martell : juggler

4: Anita, Charles and Jack (Art In the Rough) acrobats

5: Billy Merson (“Caesar” sketch) comedian

6: Bernardi song: “The Sun Shines Brighter”

7: Philip Thorburn & His Music

8: Harry Baker Brown (Blindfolded man) novelty act

9: Clempson & Valerie: Rumba (dance team)

10: Bird Circus act


Chapter 2

11: Bryn Gywnne (baritone) song:  “Leaning On the Gate”

12: Leslie Henson “Interview”

13: Albert Sandler trio

14: Clifford Stanton (impressions)

15: The 3 Blue Notes (male trio) song: “Dinah”/”Japanese Sandman”

16: Nellie Bowman  and cast: scene from “Busman’s Honeymoon” (play excerpt)

17: Little Irene Price “The Fleet’s In Port Again” song (very nearly)

18: Cecil Johnston (broadcaster) “Banquet” sketch

19: Danny Lipton & His 4 Girlfriends (dance routine)

20: Bob and Alf Pearson song: “Does Your Mother Come from Ireland?”

21: Carroll & Howe (comedy act) (poor man’s Burns and Allen)

Chapter 3

22: Bennett & Williams (comedy duo)

23: Collinson & Dean (comedy duo)

24: Billy Gerhardi & His Band

25: Bert Weston (comedian)

26: Billy Merson & His Band

Chapter 4

27: Mantovani & His Trio “Kashmiri Love Song”

28: Lance Fairfax (baritone) song: “Walk Down the Road”

29: Matte (balancing act)

30: Mauricette (female Australian singer/whistler) song: “Flight Of Swallow” (No threat to Jeanette MacDonald)

31: Norman Alan song: “Sergeant of the Line”

32: The 4 Astaires (dancers)

33: Al & Bob Harvey: singing duo song:  “The Girl With the Dimples”

34: Gypsy Nina: playing “The Waltz of the Gypsies”

35: Joe Daniels & His Hot-Shots “Some Of These Days”

36: Man with X-ray Eyes (novelty)

37: The 3 Bulvonas (balancing act)

38: Three In Harmony (female trio):  songs: “Dinah”/”I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, Baby”

Chapter 5

39: Sutherland Felce (comedian/magic act)

40: Navarre (Impressions)

41: Dorothy Holbrook & Her Hussars (female orchestra)

42: Doreen (xylophonist)

43: Estelle & Leroy (dancers)

44: Frank Wignall (baritone) song: “Ben the Bosun”

45: Musaire (theremin): “Birdsongs at Eventide”

46: Patrick Colbert (Bass) song: “Deep Waters”

47: Romany Mandolin Band

48: Wheeler & Wilson (comedy duo)

49: Ellen Cower & Partner (acrobatics)

Chapter 6

50: The Tin Pan Alley trio songs: “MacDonald, MacNab and Mackay”/”Horsey, Horsey”

51: The Van Strattens (rope tricks)

52: The 3 Admirals “Riding Academy”

53: Hal Yates (piano) “The World Is Waiting For the Sunrise”/”When the Mighty Organ Played O Promise Me”

54: Ronald Frankau (comedian) songs: “Don’t Tell My Mother I’m Half Of a Horse In a Panto”/”One Of a Crowd, At a Guinea a Day”

55: Vesta (xylophonist)

56: Ted Andrews & The Girlfriend “Stardust”/”You Can’t Stop Me From Dreaming”

57: Robert Wilson song: “I Met An Angel” (“There Is a Lady Sweet and Fair”)

58: Charles Ancaster (juggler)

59: Chester Tuniz (bottle playing)

60: Don Galvan” song:  “Little Lady Make-Believe”


61: Bird Tricks/Howard De Courcey (magician)

62: Earl Carroll & His Radio Band “Swing & Sway”

63: “Ridgeways Joys” (from The Players Theatre) traditional revue acts

64: Tod Slaughter (excerpts from his greatest roles)

65: Viennese Singing Sisters “Memories of Chopin”

66: Wilson Hallett (child impersonator)

67: Rene Pougnet & Clive Richardson (piano duo)

68: Bert Weston (comedy sketch)

69: Betty & Freddy Roberts (dancers)

70: Billy Milton song:  “Time To Go”

71: “Frivolities De France” (from the Prince Of Wales Theatre) revue excerpts: compere Naunton Wayne

late 30sV


SNA6719 (198 minutes)

RELEASED 29 Oct 2012

Chapter 1 (1938)

1:  (1 – 8: Pathe Radio Music Hall: Jack Watson: compere) Harry Parry Sextet “You Are My Lucky Star”

2: Stanelli (comedian/violin)

3: Carroll Gibbons (piano) “It’s Only You”/”The Way That”

4: Dennis Noble (baritone) “London River”

5: Robb Wilton (comedian)

6: Teddy Brown (xylophonist)

7: Mr & Mrs Robinson Cleaver (organists)

8: Cyril Fletcher (comedian)

9: Al & Bob Harvey (comedy and song) “Whoops, We Go Again”

10: Anna May (Max?) (bells) “Annie Laurie”/”Auld Lang Syne”

11: Daphne De Witt (dancer)

12: Rebla (juggler)

Chapter 2

13: Male Quartet “The Bells Of Saint Marys”

14: Dare & Yates (balancing act)

15: Classics On Glass (glass musical instruments)

16: Port Talbot (Cyril Jenkins: “Shylock” excerpt)

17: Sir Henry Wood/BBC Symphony Orchestra: “Serenade To Music” (Vaughan Williams)

18: The Danny Lipton Trio (dancers) “Running Wild”

19: The Radio Revellers: “Tavern In the Town” (updated)

20: Moreton & Kaye (piano duo)

21: The Dancettes (dancers)

22: Billy Mayerl & His Claviers (piano orchestra)

23: Billy Rey (comedy juggler/impersonations)

24: Bloom & Bloom (balancing act)

25: Bernard Clifton (baritone) song: “So Little and So Much To Do”

Chapter 3

26: Leslie Holmes & Leslie Sarony (comedy duo) song: “I’m a Little Prairie Flower”

27: Di Vito & His Ladies Band: Hungarian song

28: London – Joe Loss Wedding (newsreel)

29: Gracie Fields opens disabled mens’ handicrafts fair: Smethwick- (newsreel)

30: George Formby as a jockey at Northolt (newsreel)

31: Gracie Fields at Chorley (newsreel) song: “Sing As We Go” (‘live’)

32: Roland Peachy & His Quartette (music) “La Rosita”

33: The Three Admirals (song): “Don’t Send My Daddy To Dartmoor”

34: George Sander Ford (song): “Why Have You Stolen My Heart?”

35: Edmund Norton  (taxi driver) (tenor)(song): “I Have So Little To Give” (how true!)

36: Skyrobatics (acrobatics)

37: Lillian Southcote (muscles)

38: Rudy Starita (vibraphone)

39: Ronald Frankau (comedy and song): “Shakespeare Had a Naughty Mind”

Chapter 4

40: Leslie Jeffries (violin) medley: the Miserere Duet from Il Trovatore, The Waltz from Faust, Star of Eve from Tannhauser and La Donna e Mobile from Rigoletto

41: The Marlow (?) Trio (acrobatic dancers)

42: The Larson Brothers (accordionists)

43: Leslie Weston (comedy patter)

44: Les Silvers (juggling/acrobatics)

45: Martin Taubman (theremin)

46: Felix Mendelssohn & His Band (with Paula Green) “I Double Dare You”

47: Rex Eaton (impersonations)

48: Raymond Newell (song): “With My Head Upon the Heather”

49: “Queen Mary” (Cunard liner) Dance Orchestra “The Fleet’s In Port Again”/”It Looks Like Rain In Cherry Blossom Lane”

50: Al & Bob Harvey (comedy and song)

51: London: The Boy Players (boys choir) “It Was a Lover & His Lass”

Chapter 5

52: Bob & Alf Pearson (song): “The Pride Of Tipperary”

53: Frank Slater/Arthur Riscoe (artist paints comedian)

54: Burton Brown (piano) “Wedding of the Painted Doll”

55: Alfredo Thomassini (sp?) (baritone): (song): “The Old Black Mare”

56: Anna Marita (ballet )

57: Norman Evans (imersonations)

58: Pablo (magician)

59: Paddy Drew (artist)

60: Robert Ashley (baritone) (song): “Deep Dream River”

61: Myra  & Eileen (rollerskaters)

62: Noni (musical clown)

Chapter 6

63: Peter Dawson (baritone) (song): “Who’s Riding Old Kettledrum Now?”

64: Harold, Percy & Elsie Davis (acrobatice) (newsreel)

65: Barbara Wood (cabaret dancer) “I’ve Got a Feelin’ You’re Foolin’”

66: Baby Catherine (?) (accordionist) some baby – ouch! Painful and overlong

67: Dennis Noble (baritone) (song): “When the Guards Go Marching By”

68: Elsa Stenning (song): “Love’s Just a Duet”

69: Ernest Dillon (trampoline)

70: Gerald Nodin (baritone) (song): My Road Calls Me”

71: Howard de Courcy (magician)

72: Jimmy Kelly (boy singer) songs): “Vienna Mine”/”When My Dreamboat Comes Home”

73: Jack Warman (comedian)

74: Ike Hatch (from Kentucky Minstrels):  (song medley): “Lawd You Made the Night Too Long”/”Rhythm’s OK In Harlem”

Chapter 7

75: The Juggling Pearsons (juggling)

76: Harry Cahn (mental marvel – blackboard writing)

77: Eddie Peabody (musical impressions)

78: The Donna Sisters (tap dance/acrobatics)

79: The Canary Choir (bird act)

80: Australian Budgie Act (newsreel)

81: Arthur Askey (song): “I Wish I Were a Tiny Bird”