Although there have survived some very short silent film clips of music-hall stars from the turn of the last century, we sadly (though pretty obviously) have no audiovisual records of performances from the era. We do, thankfully, have on film some very fine performances from many stars in their later years–I’m thinking of Charles Coborn, Gus Elen, Florrie Forde, George Robey, for example, all still recording well into the 1930s … and well into old age. A sprightly Charles Coborn, for example, was still appearing on film at the age of 91 (in the 1943 film Variety Jubilee).
The 1930 film Elstree Calling, a sequence of nineteen ‘vaudeville’ sketches presented in the form of a live broadcast hosted by the wonderful Tommy Handley, was a showcase for some of the greatest musical and comedy talent of past and present. For this week’s ‘Song of the Week’ I’ve selected the clip from that film, below, featuring the brilliantly talented Lily Morris demonstrating how the song Why am I Always the Bridesmaid? really should be performed.