In this edition of Music Hall Studies you will find these great performers. Click on their names for a short taster.

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Frank Lynne

When Clive Dunn died two years ago, not even his greatest followers can have foreseen the outpouring of public love for a comedy actor who had specialised in dotty old ditherers on television for many years. In their obituaries, the serious newspapers chronicled his theatrical lineage, noting that he was the grandson of the music hall comedian, Frank Lynne. We tell Lynne’s story as well of those of some other relatives of Clive.


by George Charles Beresford,photograph,1911

Walter Sickert

Walter Sickert painted twelve pictures of music hall entertainers. His work is made all the more interesting in that he favoured the less celebrated artistes and the smaller halls. The greatest of the stars Sickert enjoyed was Vesta Victoria and the only West End hall in which he made his sketches was the Oxford. We spotlight one of his favourite minor singers, Minnie Cunningham.


Pipifax and Panlo

The first performers on the bill for the first Royal Command Performance in 1912 were Pipifax and Panlo, a pair of knockabout acrobats. It seemed an odd choice. Hardly anyone had heard of them. But, as favourites of George V, they were the subjects of a true Royal command. They first appeared in England at the Palace Theatre, London, in 1908. The following year, under the bill matter, “a melange of eccentricity,” they performed for Edward VII at Buckingham Palace.


Daddy Wouldn’t Buy Me a Bow-Wow

Francis, Day and Hunter allowed an extraordinary error to appear on the sheet music of Daddy Wouldn’t Buy Me a Bow-Wow. Time and again, they had printed the usual barring clause on covers: “this song may be sung in public without fee or licence, except at music halls and theatres.” On this occasion, however, the clause omitted the words “and theatres.” The slip-up allowed Arthur Roberts to sing the song with countless new choruses at the Gaiety Theatre. Vesta Victoria declared herself “excessively annoyed.”