Here are some of the people who wrote, visited or sent best wishes to Hugh Wade during his illness. Some have already featured in this blog, the others will do so shortly.

Gwladys Stanley, Dorothy Ward, Francis Laidler, Elsie and Doris Waters, Elsie Randolph, Kenneth Carten, Kermit Goell, Geraldo, Collie Knox, Dolly Mayers, Muriel Belcher, Hero De Rance and  (possibly) Lady Rose McLaren.

Elsie and Doris Waters 1942

A few just used Christian names (Donald, Cara and Philipo)  and I haven’t identified them yet, one or two simply referred to a particular place or time to indicate who they are. The letters range from the reassuringly gossipy to the heartfelt and deeply-concerned.

The list is largely drawn from “Showbusiness” and includes people who at the time would have been household names (Elsie and Doris Waters) but also some who were then unknown but are now legendary (Muriel Belcher). The worlds of pantomime, theatre,variety, music publishing and club ownership are all represented. Lyricists, arrangers and musicians are also in there. Apart from the insight into the various circles Hugh moved in, the various communications provide a useful snapshot of a vanished world. It didn’t happen but the above names alone could have provided a singularly impressive Memorial Concert.

Geraldo Orchestra 1945

From Elvira’s time, the name that stands out is Kenneth Carten, whose career I may have undervalued and probably needs revisiting. He appears to have been working for the Myron Selznick talent agency at the time of writing. The letters written from the Romilly Club and the, then newly-opened, Colony Room have specific historical value (and are probably highly-collectible, William!) as do those from the “King of Pantomime”, Francis Laidler.

More soon, but if Francis Laidler and Gwladys Stanley mean nothing to you, and there is no reason why they would these days, you could do a lot worse than visit this remarkable site

It’s Behind You

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