Ah, The Good Old Days

  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    I have been recently working on a personal project, to bring back to the theatre a version of the wonderful BBC TV production of the ‘The Good Old Days' (1953 – 1983)

    Now before some of you ‘Whipper Snappers' and ‘Racing Snakes' out there ask “What the Billy Flip is the ‘The Good Old Days'” have a look at this youtube link (and for those of you old enough to know what I mean…have a look anyway, it's a great giggle)

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=ULr3r5KAHpE

    and this my dear friends is where I need your help.

    Would anyone know where I can obtain copies of the original BBC scripts? Would they be Copyrighted?

    Do you still think we as a profession have the vaudevillian talent or is it a dying art?

    Is this something audiences would still like to see?

    Do we still have the theatre's out there to put this type of show on?

    Am I wasting my time? As someone else has already done it!!!!! and if so Who? and When?

    and finally, What pitfalls can I expect?

    Friends, any help you can provide will be a big favour to me and in eager anticipation of the millions of responses (CCP standby for your server to crash...hehe) this will generate I would like to close with the help of that great vaudevillian Arthur Askey's closing catchphrase

    "Ay-Thang-Yew"

    • 6th Oct 2016
    • 7493
    • 37
  • Robert Pearce

    Actor

    I'd love to see this sort of show! I'm really interested in all this sort of thing. Don't they still do a 'Good Old Days' at one of the theatres in Leeds? Have you spoken to the British Music Hall Society? They might be able to help you start answering the copyright queries. Jan Hunt is quite heavily involved in this sort of stuff too, I think - might be worth searching her out, if you haven't already.

    This sounds exciting! Keep us updated!

    • 14th Jul 2009
    • 1
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Steve ... suggest you contact City Varieties in Leeds .. the home of the BBC series ... my wife appeared in the show .. said it was magic.

    • 14th Jul 2009
    • 2
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Forgot to mention .. as for scripts, you are dealing solely with the spiel of Leonard Sachs .. yes, the same family, ... and then a 'running order'.

    Obviously more than a few ad libs were thrown in as suited.

    • 14th Jul 2009
    • 3
  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    I'm too young to remember it, Steve, but I do have an extensive love of television from the 1960's and 1970's, so know exactly what you are talking about!

    I imagine what Allan has said re: scripts is exactly right: the 'master of ceremonies' material that Leonard Sachs used to introduce the acts would have either been written for that edition of the programme, or perhaps ad-libbed during the recording session. The acts were, however, deliberately impersonating/replicating the performances of music hall turns that had existed some sixty or seventy years before, and so, I'd assume, this material was actually not newly scripted but facsimile even at the time of the original recordings. That may well go in your favour, because it probably means that most of the actual 'bill of fare' (particularly pre WWI material) is not in copyright, and can be used without great difficulty.

    From what I hear within London, at least, the recent revival of interest in Wilton's Music Hall in the East End has begun attracting great reviews and growing audience numbers, and the beauty of the venue is that it still carries much of the ambience of the original era in which it was built. It strikes me that that would be a perfect venue for any shows of this type in the capital! However, from what I also hear, it's not cheap to work within (it's a Grade II listed building after all!).

    • 14th Jul 2009
    • 4
  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    Ah, I should have also mentioned that Wilton's, while incredible, is also in a state of genteel decay. According to their official website, the trustees fear it may collapse completely in the next three years, so you might have to be quick to use it!! On the other hand, if you could link show ideas to fundraising principles, they might support an endeavour like this in a big way, Steve! It's a thought!

    • 14th Jul 2009
    • 5
  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    As to what the audience lure might be...

    On the one hand, this is deliberately old fashioned, sentimental nostalgia (and I suppose was that even in the 60's and 70's)...you might well find an eager constituency for it amongst those who feel this type of performance has been eroded in recent years, and who mourn the loss of a certain 'innocence' in modern productions.

    Having said that, there is also a tremendous revival of enthusiasm for 'Edwardian' style performance flourishing at the moment on the 'alternative' theatre scene - via club nights, installation and site specific performance etc. Much of this tends towards the encouragement of 'burlesque' (which is experiencing a huge fad at this time) or the more 'Grand Guignol' trappings of the era - and abandons 'innocence' for a sort of 'knowing' awareness of the era's tendencies (and hypocrises!) - but there is also a groundswell of enthusiasm for reviving the risque songs of the period (a reaction against too much 'political correctness?'), the terrible jokes, and, generally, offering audience and performers both the chance to dress up in magnificent clothing, spout grandiloquent phrases and embrace a culture of conspicuous style that went out with the First World War. The recent success of Punchdrunk's 'Masque of the Red Death' accompanied by hedonistic dance till you drop aftershow parties is just one of the most notable recent shows to embrace this whole tendency.

    For this reason, if the show was pitched right, you might find yourself having more success even with the younger generation than you might expect, Steve - I think you would certainly be able to find interested performers, because there is now a whole host of young actors working in the industry whose stock in trade is burlesque dancing, risque song singing, piano playing, cabaret mime, MCing, and so on.

    Granted, you might be looking to produce something refreshingly 'old fashioned' without an 'edge' to it, but that in itself might prove a lure to those who have cut their teeth *emulating* this material, yet have never been offered the opportunity to perform original pieces. It might all depend on how big you want the show to be, but I am certain you could call up an eclectic mix of performers from old time panto comics to the edgiest burlesque types, and find they had more in common when producing this sort of piece than might at first be apparent!

    • 14th Jul 2009
    • 6
  • Jonathan Goodwin

    Actor

    Double huzzahs all round! I'll crack open me finest Cock-er-knee twang and pop the straw boater on ice in anticipatory readiness! Splendid idea, old chap.

    • 14th Jul 2009
    • 7
  • Christine Hounslow

    Actor

    Fabulous idea - I remember them well. I never went out that night - always stayed in to watch and thought - I wish I could be in something like that !! The atmosphere looked so good, and such a variety of acts - something for everyone. I always loved the gorgeous lady sitting on a low trapeze in beautiful dress singing with such a "big voice", and followed by the burlesque singer with the nipped in waist, laced bustier, and singing the saucy, risque song Aahhhh those were the days all right !! Think big - the London Palladium would be my first choice for venue. Best wishes my friend and keep us informed Christine x

    • 15th Jul 2009
    • 8
  • Fay Greenhalgh

    Actor

    Good Morning Sir,

    Please take a look at our website www.comeintomyparlour.co.uk, I am the one with the bird hat, I would be interested in talking to you further..

    Fay Greenhalgh

    • 15th Jul 2009
    • 9
  • Jonathan Goodwin

    Actor

    In fact, as and when audition dates are being mooted, can we be kept posted too, please? I would love to have a punt at this!

    Cheers!!

    Jonathan

    • 15th Jul 2009
    • 10
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    My Dear Friends, Firstly may I say, what a wonderful response to a thread I believed would be dead in the water from the off. The numbers of PM's I have been sent with kind offers of help and replies here with sound advice mean so very much to me...God, I love this profession

    Arty - some great points you have raised, funny you should mention the British Music Hall Society, a great friend of mine is also a great friend of the famous Roy Hudd (who is the society President) and I am hoping to arrange a meet in the near future. Jan Hunt is someone I didn't think of, so thanks for that.

    Allan - Thank you again for your wise words. I was in Leeds only a month or so ago, and visited the Leeds City Varities...but, as normal my timing was off as it is going thru a £9 Million pound refub and won't be open again they think till August 2010. I had a feeling that would be the case reference scripts as Leonard was the man in charge in so many ways. It must have been great fun for your wife taking part in such a show, what a buzz to be backstage with the top names of the day. Did you never think of having a go yourself, Allan, I could see you in a James Cagney type number, for example, and what a dancer he was..did you ever see him in Yankee Doodle Dandy?

    Lee - Thank you for your comments, I love reading your replies, you always bring such a depth of wisdom and cover such areas that I would never of thought of in a thousand years, and bless you for it. I completely forgot about the Wilton's Music Hall, Sadly, Lee it's the norm these days to see such stunning reminders of a time gone by turn to dust before our eyes or worse turned into a 'Bingo Hall' (where the only acting opportunity is to wear the fox costume in the tv advert…hehe) after all the character has been ripped out.

    I like your idea of 'link show ideas to fundraising principles' this is a concept that could be used at a number of venues nationwide.

    I'm very much an 'Old Fashion' type of guy, even down to still letting ladies first and standing for someone less able than myself on the bus/underground (you don't see that happen much these days…hehe).

    My wife told me the other week I had been born 100 years too late, she joked, that would have meant I'd have married someone else and made their life a misery instead of hers. (at least I think she was joking..!!) So, in answer to your question, I would probably want to bring a more tradition style to any performances but I can see the advantages of introducing a modern slant to certain aspects of any project.

    Jonathan - Felicitations Kind Sir for your gracious comments, start practising your Lambeth walk and we'll have a 'Ruby Murray' and a glass of 'Pigs Ear' down the 'Rubber Dub Dub'

    Christine - lovely to hear from you again…Wow the Palladium there's me thinking of starting small and working up, and here we are talking the 'Mecca' of all variety theatres and taking things to the capital right from the off. You are 100% right Christine, there was something about this type of entertainment that fed the imagination like no other, that allowed every actor/entertainer a chance to play outside their comfort zone and unlike a play there we are performing to an audience, here, we are perform with an audience…I just love the idea…always have. Thank you for your best wishes and I will of course let you know how it comes along

    Fay - I love your site, I would be delighted and indeed honoured to chat further with you, please PM me at your leisure. PS Fay, I resently did some filming as King Edward VII I have put a photo of it on my profile have a look if you wish.

    Regards to all and keep the comments coming

    Steve xx

    • 15th Jul 2009
    • 11
  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    I think you make an excellent Edward VII, Steve; you could make sure that any performance under your auspices was a 'Royal Command Performance' !

    • 15th Jul 2009
    • 12
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    You're just after that knighthood, Lee.

    • 15th Jul 2009
    • 13
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Honi soit qui mal y pense.

    • 15th Jul 2009
    • 14
  • Joe Shefer

    Actor

    This is something I remember watching as a youngling and encouraged me to seek to entertain as a career.

    Indeed, I played a Music Hall Chairman in a new musical (The Last Maharajah) which played at Hoxton Hall last year - it was most enjoyable and something which seemed natural to me.

    In fact, I have an older but close friend who used to write and direct bonafide music hall material in the 60s and 70s and just a few weeks ago we were chatting about resurrecting exactly this kind of show.

    Get in touch and I'll have a chat with my friend and see if you can liaise on this!

    • 15th Jul 2009
    • 15
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Never thought of that, Lee, now that would be something new to the theme

    Allan, I knew my French Studies would pay off one day - The Order of the Garter...I dont know about Lee, but I dont look good in garters as I suffer from the Ernie Wise Syndrome of short fat hairy legs...lol

    Joe, sounds great, I will be in touch that is a very kind offer...Snap, it was seeing this type of vaudeville entertainment that made me want to turn to entertainment...I saw Max Wall on stage when I was around 6-7 years of age whilst he was at Cromer Pier. I dont think I have ever laughed so much and I was the star of my class upon my return to school - my first audience.

    TTFN

    Steve

    • 15th Jul 2009
    • 16
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Did you know that Max retired to Jersey when he was about 70 .... after about 5 years in retirement, they dragged him back to do .......... Shakespeare !!!!

    • 15th Jul 2009
    • 17
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Allan, I didn't know that.

    You have just reminded me of something I saw Max in towards his later life...It was like an Alan Bennett Talking Heads play where he played an old man alone with his memories...I was in awe of his performance...only wish I could recall the play, he was stunning in it

    Thank you Allan, for just bring that memory back

    • 15th Jul 2009
    • 18
  • Jonathan Goodwin

    Actor

    Yes, I recall the Maxall Talking Head now. I was a mere whipper snapper when I saw it (of course!) and probably only picked up bits and pieces of what was taking place but even then, I was struck by the poignancy of his performance. Sterling work.

    • 16th Jul 2009
    • 19