Princess Charming (William H. Berry, Winnie Melville, John Clarke, Gerald Nodin, Alice Delysia)  (Palaeophonics 170)
Item# PE0359
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Princess Charming (William H. Berry, Winnie Melville, John Clarke, Gerald Nodin, Alice Delysia)  (Palaeophonics 170)
PE0359. PRINCESS CHARMING (Arthur Wimperis and Lauri Wylie; music by Albert Szirmai), w.William H. Berry, Winnie Melville, John Clarke, Gerald Nodin, Alice Delysia, etc. (England) Palaeophonics 170, w.Elaborate 'The Play' 23pp. Brochure. Excellently transferred from the legendary early electrical 78rpm English Columbia & HMV rarities. Dominic Combe's enchanting delight, produced via his enhanced equipment! Again, for this production he had access to fabulous archival material and superb original 78s with which to work!


"Performed at The Palace Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London [21 Oct 1926, closing performance [361st] 3 Aug 1927]; lyrics by Arthur Wimperis; music by Albert Szirmai; additional numbers and lyrics by Russell Bennett and Jack Waller; presented by Herbert Clayton and Jack Waller by arrangement with Charles B. Cochran; produced by William Mollison; dances and ensembles arranged by Espinosa and Kelland Espinosa."

- Cadbury Research Library

"William Henry Berry, always billed as W. H. Berry, was an English comic actor. After learning his craft in pierrot and concert entertainments, he was spotted by the actor-manager George Grossmith Jr., and appeared in a series of musical comedies in comic character roles. His greatest success was as Mr. Meebles, the hapless magistrate in THE BOY in 1917. Berry was a pioneer broadcaster, making radio appearances within months of the launch of the BBC. He was still broadcasting in the late 1930s. He also appeared in variety."

-Zillah Dorset Akron

"Winnie Melville was initially a concert singer who made her London Stage debut in the musical show SEE-SAW (Comedy, December 1916). After appearing at the same theatre in BUBBLY (May 1917-April 1918), she went to Paris for ZIG-ZAG at the Folies-Bergères. She returned to London where she appeared at the Hippodrome in JOY BELLS (March 1919) and JIG-SAW! (June 1920). After touring in SYBIL, she returned to London, appearing at His Majesty's in Cairo, and (in August 1922) at the Lyric in WHIRLED INTO HAPPINESS.

The cast at the Lyric included Derek Oldham, whom Miss Melville married in 1923. She left the stage for three years, returning to His Majesty's in 1926 as Kathie in THE STUDENT PRINCE. She next appeared in PRINCESS CHARMING (Palace, October 1926) and THE VAGABOND KING (Winter Garden, April 1927, again opposite Oldham). In September 1928 she was at the Coliseum performing a repertoire of songs, then in December toured in the title role in WINONA.

In August 1929 she joined the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company as principal soprano, appearing as Josephine in H.M.S. PINAFORE, Mabel in THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE, Yum-Yum in THE MIKADO, Rose Maybud in RUDDIGORE, Elsie Maynard in THE YEOMEN OF THE GUARD, and Gianetta in THE GONDOLIERS. She may have been out of her element, however, and she left the Company in January 1930, replaced by Sylvia Cecil.

She later toured in BLUE EYES and FOREVER AFTER, but played principally in vaudeville or variety houses. Although she made a number of recordings in her career, none were of Gilbert & Sullivan. Her marriage to Oldham ended in divorce, and she died in 1937 at the age of 42."

- The D'Oyly Carte Opera Company

"Alice Delysia, a singer and comedy actress during the 1920's and 30's was a glamorous, featured performer, Delysia, as she preferred being called, began her career in her native France under the tutelage of C.B. Cochran and Andre Charlot. She performed on the London stage before coming to the United States to appear in Morris Gest's production of AFGAR in 1920. In London, she was later seen with Noel Coward, Beatrice Lillie and Gertrude Lawrence. She was widely acclaimed for her role as the 'poor little rich girl' in Mr. Coward's 1935 production of ON WITH THE DANCE. She also won praise in 1939 for her performance in FRENCH FOR LOVE, by Marguerite Steen and Derek Patmore. Married twice, she divorced her first husband in 1938 after 10 years. During her second marriage, to Rene Colby Bernard, she gave up her acting career to accompany him on his assignments in the French diplomatic service."

- THE NEW YORK TIMES, 12 February, 1979

“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, ( 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.”