Sally  (Kern )    (Dorothy Dickinson & George Grossmith)    (Palaeophonics 116)
Item# PE0228
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Product Description

Sally  (Kern )    (Dorothy Dickinson & George Grossmith)    (Palaeophonics 116)
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.

CRITIC REVIEWS:

"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 debut 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 debut 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



Grossmith's first role in a musical was at the age of 18 in a small comic rle in his father's collaboration with W. S. Gilbert, HASTE TO THE WEDDING. He next appeared in several small comic rles, including in THE BARONESS (1892). Grossmith's breakthrough came in MOROCCO BOUND (1893), where he made the most of the small rle of Sir Percy Pimpleton by adding ad-libbed sight and word gags, becoming an audience favourite and establishing his style of playing dude roles. This was followed by appearances in GO-BANG (1894 as Augustus Fitzpoop) and in George Edwardes's production of A GAIETY GIRL (1893 as Major Barclay). He also played in PICK-ME-UP at the Trafalgar Square Theatre in 1894 with Jessie Bond and Letty Lind. Edwardes then hired Grossmith to create the part of Bertie Boyd in the hit musical THE SHOP GIRL (1894). The 21-year-old actor wrote the lyrics to his character's hit song Beautiful, bountiful Bertie, which he popularised in both London and New York.

Grossmith left the musical stage for about three years, appearing in straight comedies, but he returned in 1898 to take over in the musical LITTLE MISS NOBODY and then as Mark Antony in the burlesque, GREAT CAESAR (1899), which Grossmith had written with Paul Rubens. The piece was not successful, but he wrote another (also unsuccessful piece), THE GAY PRETENDERS (1900), in which he included rles for both himself and his famous father, that played at the Globe Theatre with a cast also including John Coates, Frank Wyatt, Letty Lind and Richard Temple. Grossmith then returned to Edwardes' company as leading comedian, touring in Kitty Grey, and then starred in the Gaiety Theatre's hit THE TOREADOR (1901). Grossmith supplied some of his own lyrics but scored his biggest hit with Rubens' song Everybody's Awfully Good to Me. He then played in THE SCHOOL GIRL (1903) and subsequently toured America in the piece, but he mostly remained at the Gaiety for the next dozen years, starring in a number of hits and becoming one of the biggest stars of the Edwardian era. His rles in these hits included The Hon. Guy Scrymgeour in THE ORCHID (1903), Gustave Babori in THE SPRING CHICKEN (1905), Genie of The Lamp in THE NEW ALADDIN (1906), Otto, the prince, in THE GIRLS OF GOTTENBERG (1907), Hughie in OUR MISS GIBBS (1909), Auberon Blowand in PEGGY (1911) and Lord Bicester in THE SUNSHINE GIRL (1912). He often performed together with diminutive comic Edmund Payne.

Grossmith co-wrote the successful HAVANA (1908), while he moved to another Edwardes theatre to play Count Lothar in A WALTZ DREAM. Grossmith was given writing credits for some of the Gaiety pieces, usually adaptations from French comedies (like THE SPRING CHICKEN) or collaborations with other writers (such as THE GIRLS OF GOTTENBERG), but he wrote the libretto to PEGGY on his own. His contributions in collaborative pieces were primarily to add in jokes. He adapted THE DOLLAR PRINCESS (1909) for America (but not London) and also co-wrote some of London's earliest revues including the ROGUES AND VAGABONDS, VENUS, OH! INDEED, Empire Theatre's HULLO (LONDON! (1910), EVERYBODY'S DOING IT, KILL THAT FLY!, EIGHT-PENCE A MILE, and NOT LIKELY. In addition to his writing and performing, he sometimes directed these musicals and revues.

In 1913, Grossmith starred in THE GIRL ON THE FILM first in London and then in New York, where he joined with Edward Laurillard, who had earlier produced his musical THE LOVE BIRDS, to produce plays and musicals. Grossmith established himself as a major producer with Laurillard, bringing POTASH AND PERLMUTTER, by Montague Glass, to London in 1914 for a long run at the Queen's Theatre. They then produced the successful TONIGHT'S THE NIGHT, based on the farce PINK DOMINOES, first at the Shubert Theatre in New York in 1914 and then moved it to the Gaiety Theatre, London in 1915. Back at the Gaiety Theatre, Grossmith wrote, produced and starred in the hit in THEODORE & CO (1916), based on a French comedy. Edwardes had died in 1915, however, and Grossmith was dissatisfied with the offer of the new management under Alfred Butt and Robert Evett, the executor of Edwardes' estate, and so he left the Gaiety and produced three successes, MR MANHATTAN, ARLETTE (1917), and YES, UNCLE! (1917) elsewhere. His OH! JOY (the British adaptation of OH, BOY!, 1917) was also successful. He also wrote the tremendously successful revue series, THE BING BOYS ARE HERE (1916), THE BING BOYS ARE THERE (1917) and THE BING BOYS ON BROADWAY (1918). Grossmith fitted his work on all these productions around his naval service in World War I.

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. Several of the later productions lost money, and Grossmith and Malone ended the partnership.

Grossmith also co-produced Oscar Asche's conception of EASTWARD HO! (1919), BABY BUNTING (both in 1919) and FAUST ON TOAST (1921) at other theatres during this period. At the same time, in the early 1920s, while appearing less frequently in his own Winter Garden shows, he continued to appear in other producers' shows, including THE NAUGHTY PRINCESS (1920) and as Billy Early in Joe Waller and Herbert Clayton's original hit British production of NO, NO, NANETTE (1925). Around this time, Grossmith also worked as a programme advisor to the BBC, particular involved in comedy programming. He also negotiated on behalf of the BBC with theatre managers over their boycott on songs from plays, when provincial theatre managers had threatened to cancel tour contracts if excerpts from the new plays had already been broadcast by the BBC.

After 1926, Grossmith stopped producing, but he continued to perform, playing King Christian in Albert Szirmai's PRINCESS CHARMING (1926) for producer Robert Courtneidge in New York, and Britain in THE FIVE O'CLOCK GIRL and LADY MARY (1928). In New York in 1930, and later in London (where it flopped), he starred in Ralph Benatzky's MY SISTER AND I (aka MEET MY SISTER). He also appeared in at least ten films for London Film Productions Ltd. in the 1930s. In 1930, he appeared in a 20th Century Fox film, ARE YOU THERE?

In 1931-1932, Grossmith was appointed managing director of the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, producing THE LAND OF SMILES and CAVALCADE, but he resigned in 1932 to devote himself to cinema. In the 1930s, Grossmith appeared in (and wrote the screenplay, in two cases, for) a number of films. In 1933, he played Touchstone in a production of AS YOU LIKE IT in the Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park. Also in 1933, he wrote a memoir called G. G.

- Z. D. Akron



If you are interested in what original audiences of early 20th century English operetta and musical comedy heard, there is a great source for such recordings the record label Paleophonics. Dominic Combe prepares CDs for them from his huge collection of shellacs and a few cylinders.

I came across these somewhat hard-to-find CDs on the website of the mail-order company NORBECK, PETERS AND FORD, (norpete.com) which is specialized in historical performances from the beginning of recorded sound all the way through to the 1960s.

There are now over fifty Paleophonics CDs, and more are being prepared or scheduled for future release. Each CD comes with a lavishly illustrated program booklet with reviews, information about the shows and fantastic publicity photographs, and artwork from the original London productions, in the form of reproductions of the magazine PLAY PICTORIAL.

- Thomas Krebs, OPERETTA RESEARCH CENTER - PALEOPHONICS - A JOURNEY TO THE DAWN OF RECORDED SOUND IN MUSICAL COMEDY, 1 July, 2020