OP0627. KISSING TIME (Caryll & Redstone), recorded 1919, w.Willie Redstone Cond. Leslie Henson, Yvonne Arnaud, George Grossmith, Phyllis Dare & Tom Walls (featuring members of Original Cast, 20 May, 1919, London). (England) Palaeophonics 82. Excellently transferred from the legendary Acoustic 78rpm rarities, w.Elaborate ‘The Play’ 20pp Brochure replete w.photos from the London production.
“KISSING TIME, an earlier version of which was titled THE GIRL BEHIND THE GUN, is a musical comedy with music by Ivan Caryll, book and lyrics by Guy Bolton and P.G. Wodehouse, and additional lyrics by Clifford Grey. It is based on the 1910 play, MADAME ET SON FILLEUL (Madame and her Godson) by Maurice Hennequin, Pierre Véber and Henry de Gorsseis. The story is set in contemporary France, with a glamorous actress at the centre of a farcical plot of imposture, intrigue and mistaken identity. George Grossmith, newly discharged from naval service in 1919, saw the Broadway musical of 'The Girl Behind the Gun', liked it so much that he negotiated performance rights for use in Britain then and there, and opened with it in a newly rebuilt theatre in London that same year. He reasoned, not wrongly, that the British were tired of guns by this time, so he changed the title to 'Kissing Time'.
The piece ran for 160 performances on Broadway in 1918 with its former name, and, after substantial revision, for 430 performances in London in 1919–20 as KISSING TIME, to catch the post-war mood. This was followed by a touring production. The New York cast included Donald Brian. The star-studded London cast included Stanley Holloway, Yvonne Arnaud, Leslie Henson, George Grossmith, Jr. and Phyllis Dare.
Leslie Lincoln Henson was an English comedian, actor, producer for films and theatre, and film director. He initially worked in silent films and Edwardian musical comedy and became a popular music hall comedian who enjoyed a long stage career. He was famous for his bulging eyes, malleable face and raspy voice. Henson became interested in the theatre from an early age, writing and producing theatrical pieces while at school. He studied with the Cairns–James School of Musical and Dramatic Art as a child, making his professional stage début at the age of 19. His first West End role was in NICELY, THANKS! (1912) and he later starred in several hit West End Edwardian musical comedies, including TO-NIGHT'S THE NIGHT (1915) and YES, UNCLE! (1917). After briefly serving with the Royal Flying Corps, he was released from active service by the British government to help run a concert party called THE GAIETIES, which provided entertainment for the troops during World War I. After the war, he returned to the West End, playing in KISSING TIME (1919) and a series of musical comedies and farces throughout the 1920s and 1930s.”
- Ned Ludd
“In 1909, Dare created the role of Eileen Cavanagh in the hit musical THE ARCADIANS at the Original Shaftesbury Theatre. This was an extraordinarily long-running musical, playing for 809 performances, and Dare stayed for the entire run. The musical marked the beginning of Dare's association with producer George Edwardes, and she went on to star in several more of his productions in the next three years, including THE GIRL IN THE TRAIN at the Vaudeville Theatre (1910, as Gonda van der Loo), PEGGY at the Gaiety Theatre (1911, as Peggy), THE QUAKER GIRL IN PARIS (1911, as Prudence) and THE SUNSHINE GIRL at the Gaiety and then on tour (1912-13, as Delia Dale). She left THE SUNSHINE GIRL in 1913 to join the cast of THE DANCING MISTRESS, as Nancy Joyce, at the Adelphi Theatre.
Dare performed on stage rarely for the next few years, appearing in HANKY-PANKY at the Empire Theatre in 1917. She returned to the stage in 1919 as Lucienne Touquet in KISSING TIME at the Winter Garden and then played Princess Badr-al-budur in ALADDIN in 1920 at the Hippodrome, London. She continued to star in successful productions throughout the 1920s, including as Mariana in THE LADY OF THE ROSE at Daly's Theatre (1922), as Yvette in THE STREET SINGER (1924; 360 performances at the Lyric Theatre and on tour), and as Fay Blake in Rogers and Hart's LIDO LADY at the Gaiety Theatre (1926), in which she introduced the song ‘Atlantic Blues’. She then turned to straight plays. Some of these included AREN'T WE ALL (1929) WORDS AND MUSIC (1932), and THE FUGITIVES (1936). Dare also appeared in a few films including THE ARGENTINE TANGO AND OTHER DANCES (1913), DR. WAKE'S PATIENT (1916), THE COMMON LAW (1923), CRIME ON THE HILL (1933), DEBT OF HONOUR (1936), MARIGOLD (1938) and GILDERSLEEVE ON BROADWAY (1943).
In 1940, for the first time in over four decades, Zena and Phyllis Dare shared the stage, in a tour of FULL HOUSE, in which Dare played Lola Leadenhall. In 1941-42, she was Juliet Maddock in OTHER PEOPLE'S HOUSES, and in 1946 she played the Marchioness of Mereston in LADY FREDERICK at the Savoy Theatre. In 1949, Dare opened as Marta the mistress in Ivor Novello's musical, KING'S RHAPSODY, again with her sister Zena. The show ran for two years and was Dare's last theatrical endeavour.”
- Z. D. Akron
“A gentleman farmer with a love of Edwardian and early Twentieth Century music has created a home industry of preserving early Musical and Revue scores as recorded on 78 and cylinder, the latter of which he is certainly a specialist. It is an impressive list of shows that Dominic Combe has digitalised and issued on Compact Disc. Not only is it the recordings but the lovingly created books that attach.
Early theatre recordings abound in Great Britain, more so than in the United States where it took them some time to start recording original cast material. And so, many early scores are available to be heard. But what Dominic discovered when he started assembling these scores was that often latter day British 78 and cylinder record collectors turned their noses up on recordings of dance music or covers and ‘best of’ or ‘gems’ making them hard to find. And, it is those recordings which can often contain songs not otherwise recorded. He has built strong connections with other collectors willing to lend material to make each issue as complete as possible.
Modern equipment and an aptitude for perfection have helped Dominic ‘clean up’ old 78 and cylinder records to deliver a sound quality that can be stunning. The booklets are produced with as much care by using original theatre programmes or magazines such as PLAY PICTORIAL and MUSIC FOR ALL so that the listener can get a good idea of how the show looked as well as to see the unique art work used to advertise the show back then.
Dominic has issued over fifty of these gems and still has titles either being completed or awaiting to be started on. The label is called PALAEOPHONICS.”
- y phayward, OVERTURES: The Bunnet-Muir Musical Theatre Archive Trust, 10 July, 2017