PE0228. SALLY (Jerome Kern & Guy Bolton), w.John Ansell Cond. Orig. London Cast: Dorothy Dickinson, George Grossmith, Jr, Seymour Beard, Otis Hooper, Leslie Henson, Gregory Stroud, Rosalind Rafferty, Heather Thatcher, etc. (England) Palaeophonics 116, recorded 1921, Complete, as Recorded, w.Elaborate ‘The Play’ 20pp. Brochure replete w.photos from the London production & facsimile of original brochure.
“SALLY is a musical comedy with music by Jerome Kern, lyrics by Clifford Grey and book by Guy Bolton (inspired by the 19th century show, SALLY IN OUR ALLEY), with additional lyrics by Buddy De Sylva, Anne Caldwell and P. G. Wodehouse. The piece was first produced by Florenz Ziegfeld on Broadway in 1920 and ran for 570 performances, one of the longest runs on Broadway up to that time. It had a successful London run and was revived several times on Broadway and in the West End. By the time it closed in 1924 (including revivals), it would prove to be among the top five money makers of the 1920s.
The show was designed as the musical comedy début of Marilyn Miller, a 22-year old Ziegfeld Follies girl. The show's 'Look for the Silver Lining' became her theme song. Miller would continue to be a star on Broadway until her death in 1936.
The musical enjoyed a successful production in 1921 in London at the Winter Garden Theatre, starring British musical comedy veterans George Grossmith, Jr. and Leslie Henson, which ran for 387 performances.
The plot hinges on a mistaken-identity: Sally, a waif, is a dishwasher at the Greenwich Village Alley Inn. She poses as a famous foreign ballerina and rises to fame (and finds love) through joining the Ziegfeld Follies. There is a rags to riches story, a ballet as a centrepiece, and a wedding as a finale. ‘Look for the Silver Lining’ continues to be one of Kern's most familiar songs. The song is lampooned by another song, ‘Look for a Sky of Blue’, in Rick Besoyan's satirical 1959 musical LITTLE MARY SUNSHINE.
It was Charles B. Cochran who brought Dorothy Dickson and her husband Carl Hyson to Britain, introducing them late in the run of a revue, London, Paris and New York (1921), at his showcase, the London Pavilion. It was a memorable night for J.C. Trewin, who recalled ‘the drift of thistledown that was London's first sight of Dorothy Dickson’. A couple of months later, Trewin said, ‘it was clear that she could be equal to any musical- comedy heroine’: this was at the Winter Garden in Jerome Kern's SALLY, cast against Kern's will for the role - played in New York by Marilyn Miller - because he didn't know whether Dickson could carry the songs. She and Hyson had been in two of his Broadway shows, OH BOY! (1917) and ROCK-A-BYE BABY (1918), but only as dancers. Dickson and Hyson were slipped into the first of these because the craze for ballroom dancing was sweeping the US, notably making Broadway stars of Irene and Vernon Castle. The Hysons also appeared in two editions of the Ziegfeld Follies - the second in 1918. They had not long started their own school in New York - the Palais Royal Dance Club - when the Cochran offer was made.
Kern did not speak to Dickson during the rehearsals of SALLY, but on the first night he went to her dressing-room to point to a tear on his cheek. ‘She had accomplished’, said Kern's biographer, Gerald Bordman, ‘something Marilyn Miller never had: she had made Sally a truly believable, heart-breaking waif’. When SALLY closed, the same management and team put on two more Kern shows at the Winter Garden, THE CABARET GIRL (1922) and THE BEAUTY PRIZE (1923), created with Dickson in mind - and confirmation that she was now a star in her own right. She and Hyson were divorced in 1936 - by which time their daughter Dorothy was also winning audiences' hearts.
Dickson made her ‘straight’ acting debut under Gerald du Maurier's management in one of the longest-running plays of the period, THE RINGER. That was between two PETER PANS, in 1925 and 1926, and in 1931 she was Principal Boy in DICK WHITTINGTON at the Garrick. She replaced Gertrude Lawrence in the 1925 CHARLOT'S REVUE, when Lawrence left to conquer Broadway. Dickson continued to have London at her feet, in a series of revues and musicals, including two of Ivor Novello's, CARELESS RAPTURE (1936) and CREST OF THE WAVE (1937) and she appeared opposite him again, as Princess Katharine, when he played Henry V at Drury Lane (1938).
Her career took a different turn when she appeared in Herbert Farjeon's intimate revues DIVERSION (1940) and DIVERSION NO 2 (1941). Joyce Grenfell, who was also in the cast, was apprehensive about the No 1 dressing-room at Wyndham's (one of the first theatres to re-open during the Blitz), which Dickson shared with Edith Evans, and was surprised that it worked. ‘Dorothy advised Edith about make-up and clothes, Edith talked to Dorothy about books and poetry, and they complemented each other in a friendly way’.
The Second World War curtailed Dickson's London appearances, and in 1943 she toured Gibraltar and North Africa entertaining the troops, in a revue directed by John Gielgud and also featuring Beatrice Lillie, Vivien Leigh and Leslie Henson. Along with another American star dancer from the 1920s, Adele Astaire, she was active in the service of the Stage Door Canteen, in London. Dorothy Hyson was an enchanting Lady Windermere in the famous Gielgud production at the Haymarket in 1945, but as the wife of Anthony Quayle there was other work to be done in Stratford after he began to build the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre company into world class from 1948 onwards.
She is thought to have been the Queen Mother's oldest friend; they met in the early Twenties after a performance of Dickson's in THE CABARET GIRL. Her last stage appearance was a special matinee at the Duke of York's Theatre in 1980, to celebrate 75 years of PETER PAN.
Dorothy Dickson, actress: born Kansas City 26 July 1896; married Carl Hyson (one daughter; marriage dissolved 1936); died London 26 September 1995”
- David Shipman, THE INDEPENDENT, 27 Sept., 1995
"Grossmith and Laurillard built their own theatre, the Winter Garden, on the site of an old music-hall in Drury Lane. They opened the theatre in 1919 with Grossmith and Leslie Henson starring in KISSING TIME (1919, with a star-studded cast, a book by P. G. Wodehouse and Guy Bolton and music by Ivan Caryll), followed by A NIGHT OUT (1920). Grossmith and Laurillard also became managers of the Apollo Theatre in 1920 (they had produced THE ONLY GIRL there in 1916 and TILLY OF BLOOMSBURY there in 1919). But expanding their operation caused Grossmith and Laurillard to end their partnership, with Grossmith retaining control of the Winter Garden. Grossmith partnered with Edwardes' former associate, Pat Malone, to produce a series of mostly adaptations of imported shows at the Winter Garden between 1920 and 1926: SALLY (1921), THE CABARET GIRL (1922, with book by Wodehouse and music by Jerome Kern), THE BEAUTY PRIZE (1923, with Wodehouse and Kern), a revival of TONIGHT'S THE NIGHT (1923), PRIMROSE (1924, with music by George Gershwin), TELL ME MORE (1925, with words by Thompson and music by George Gershwin) and KID BOOTS (1926 with music by Harry Tierney), many of them featuring Leslie Henson. Grossmith co-wrote some of the Winter Garden pieces, directed many of his own productions and starred in several, notably as Otis in SALLY.
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.”
-Zillah Dorset 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