Today, viewers are to have the opportunity of seeing the first concert party on the television screen - the famous White Coons, to be introduced by Harry S. Pepper, son of Will C. Pepper, who founded them away back in the 'nineties. When Harry joined his father, between eight and ten companies were showing at different seaside resorts. On August 31, 1932, the first White Coons show was broadcast, and it was little guessed that the originally planned series of four a year was to grow in popularity until the White Coons became a regular feature once a month.
The party is formed of Wynne Ajello, soprano; Jane Carr, who gives clever monologues which she writes herself; Paul England; Denier Warren, who writes the book and is 'the naughty boy'; that grand old man Joe Morley ('Lightning Joe Morley'), who appeared with the original company and composes a new banjo solo for every show; Tommy Handley, who succeeded Stanley Holloway, as the schoolmaster; and last but not least, Harry Pepper and Doris Arnold at two pianos.
William Primrose, only in his early thirties, ranks with Lionel Tertis as one of the finest viola players in the world. He first studied the violin under Cammillo Ritter in Glasgow and showed such extraordinary talent that when he was sixteen he gained a scholarship to the Guildhall School of Music, where he became a protege of Sir Landon Ronald. From 1925 Primrose studied under Ysaye who advised Primrose to change over to the viola-advice that Primrose took when Waldo Warner resigned from the London String Quartet.
Since then he has carried on the excellent work of Tertis to popularise the instrument that Berlioz called the Cinderella of the string family. The London String Quartet is no more, but Primrose has shown nearly every musical centre of the world that the viola deserves its place amongst other accepted solo instruments.
(by permission of Associated Talking Pictures, Ltd.)
February 6 was the date originally arranged for this programme, but Victoria Hopper and Basil Dean are able to appear before the television camera this evening, a fortnight earlier.
Victoria Hopper was born in Vancouver and originally studied operatic singing - she has a fine soprano voice, which listeners heard recently. Her first important stage success was in the name part of Jean Jacques Bernard's "Martine". She is now one of the most brilliant actresses on the West End stage.
Basil Dean, her husband, is a well-known theatrical figure. He has been actor, producing manager, stage director, dramatic critic, and author. His many successful West End stage productions include "The Skin Game", "A Bill of Divorcement", "Loyalties", "East of Suez", "R.U.R.", "Rain", "The Vortex", "Young Woodley", "Autumn Crocus", "Service", and "Call It a Day". As a film producer he has been responsible for "The Constant Nymph" and "Lorna Doone", in both of which his wife starred.
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