PE0274. HULLO AMERICA! (Herman Finck; Cliford Grey, Elsie Janis & Dan Kildare), recorded 1918, w.Herman Finck Cond. Palace Theatre Ensemble; Elsie Janis, Maurice Chevalier, Stanley Lupino, Owen Nares, Irene Magley, Will West, Arthur Fields & Billy Merson; Additional material by The Savoy Quartet. H. M. Coldstream Guards Band & The Light Opera Company. (England) Palaeophonics 112, w.Elaborate ‘The Play’ 18pp. Brochure, replete with numerous photos of the Palace Theatre 1918 production & biographies. Excellently transferred from the legendary Acoustic 78rpm HMV rarities.
"HULLO AMERICA! was a revue devised by John Hastings Turner with music by Herman Finck. Lyrics were by Clifford Grey, and additional songs by Elsie Janis, Louis Bousquet, Lew Brown, Dan Kildare, Camille Robert, Jean Schwartz, Ray Sonin, Albert von Tilzer and Joe Young. It opened 25 Sept., 1919 at the Palace Theatre, London, and ran for 358 performances.
Herman Finck was a British composer and conductor [who] began his studies training at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and established a career as the musical director at the Palace Theatre in London (from 1900 until 1920), with whose orchestra he made many virtuoso recordings. During these decades, he was also a principal conductor at the Queen's Theatre, at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane and at Southport. Finck was a prolific composer throughout the 1910s and 1920s. He composed around thirty theatre shows of most types. Finck also conducted the first record album ever made (in 1909) of Tchaikovsky's ’Nutcracker’ Suite.
The Palace Theatre was famous not only for its orchestra, but also for the beautiful Palace Girls, who had many dances composed by Finck in their honour.
Finck also conducted the first London stage production of SHOW BOAT, in 1928. This was the first production of SHOW BOAT to include Paul Robeson in its cast.
Interpolating war songs into her vaudeville routine proved very popular with American audiences and, after the U.S. entered the Great War, Elsie Janis got the idea of performing for the soldiers in action on the western front. No one had ever attempted such a thing before, and there was no money available to underwrite the cost. So, at her own expense and peril, Elsie traveled to Europe and began putting on shows for the American Expeditionary Force, sometimes performing on tabletops in front of headquarters. She was a huge success, boosting morale and endearing herself forever to American and British troops as 'The Sweetheart of the A.E.F.'. Only days after the armistice, Elsie repaired once more to the recording studio and waxed 'I Love Them All a Little Bit', 'The Jazz Band', 'Après la Guerre' - joined by fellow HULLO, AMERICA! cast members Owen Nares, Stanley Lupino, and Will West -'The Picture I Want to See' (with Owen Nares), and Parts 1 and 2 of 'Give Me the Moonlight', which features Elsie doing her dialect imitations and reading a poem dedicated to the British soldiers."
- Archeophone Program Notes
“Maurice Chevalier was born in Paris and was among the most popular performers in France. In 1908 he secured a three-year contract with the Folies-Bergère where he often partnering with the infamous Minstinguett. In 1909, he became the partner of the biggest female star in France at the time, Fréhel. Although their relationship was brief, she secured him his first major engagement, as a mimic and a singer in l'Alcazar in Marseille, for which he received critical acclaim by French theatre critics. Upon making his film début in the 1908 silent comedy TROP CRÉDULE, a series of other film roles followed before Chevalier joined the French forces fighting in World War I; from 1914 to 1916, he was held as a POW by the Germans, learning English from his fellow prisoners. He was later awarded a Croix de Guerre for his wartime service. In 1917, Maurice Chevalier discovered jazz and ragtime and went to London where he found new success at the Palace Theatre, and where his ‘straw hat’ persona was introduced in HULLO AMERICA!, the 1918 Revue. In the 1920s Chevalier emerged as a major star on the Paris stage.”
- Jason Ankeny, allmusic.com
“Stanley Lupino was a member of the celebrated theatrical Lupino family which has been connected with the English stage since the 17th century. His father was the actor George Lupino. He was the brother of actor Barry Lupino who was the famous Music Hall act 'Little Nipper' Lupino Lane and the father of Ida Lupino. He made his début as an acrobat in 1913 and went on to work at Drury Lane in Pantomime and carve out a comic career. During the interwar years Lupino began writing his own shows to star in, first at the London Pavillion and then at the Gaiety Theatre, before beginning his film career with a film directed by his brother Lupino Lane. Thanks to the popularity of film Stanley became a well loved character and a crossover star.”
- Director's Guild, @headtheatre
“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