Tag Archives: The Bulletin

Danny Kaye, Glasgow, 1949

18 Jan

Danny Kaye 1949No movie star enjoyed a welcome quite like the one accorded to Danny Kaye on his first visit to Glasgow, when he came to perform at the Empire Theatre June 1949. A record crowd of 10,000 people turned out to greet the flame-haired 36-year-old who was accompanied on his passage through Central Station by pipers while police stood shoulder-to-shoulder in front of crash barriers in an attempt to keep screaming teenage girls from rushing at the lanky star as he blew kisses to them and addressed them through a microphone.

No sooner was he safely inside the Central Hotel than Kaye climbed out on to a ledge on the second floor. He entertained the thousands packed into Hope Street with a little jig before sitting down, legs dangling over the side of the ledge, to thank them for their warm welcome. He then ran through to a back window, and repeated the performance for the benefit of the fans inside the station, telling them: “This is something I’ll never forget. If your golf courses are as easy as ours, I’ll move here for good.”

Kaye, it turned out, was golf-mad. Just hours before his sensational opening night at the Empire, he squeezed in a round at Douglas Park Golf Club in Bearsden, and the next day he visited John Letters where he was reported to have “come close to crooning a lullaby” to the driver of the new set of clubs he was buying. Three days later, he had the chance to give them a test run at Gleneagles.

Kaye interrupted that particular round, however, to read the now-historic report of the Californian State Un-American Activities Committee, quoted by Reuters, which named him as a communist sympathiser. “It sounds like a lot of hooey to me,” he commented.

But before going onstage that evening, he told a Bulletin reporter: “I’m very disturbed by the report. The whole thing is ridiculous. It’s getting so that everybody who voted for Roosevelt is a communist.”

Text (c) Alison Kerr

Photo (c) Herald and Times Group. To order a copy of this photo from The Herald’s photo sales website, click here.


Silent Stars in Scotland

12 Feb

Anna May Wong, Tivoli Theatre, Aberdeen in October 1933 (c) Herald and Times Group

Stars in Scotland is back with a new exhibition for the 2015 Hippodrome Festival of Silent Cinema, in Bo’ness, near Falkirk. Silent Stars in Scotland comprises photos – from The Herald’s photo archive – of some of the biggest stars of the silent era.

The advent of talkies hit Hollywood like an earthquake. So said sultry silent star Pola Negri in a Scottish newspaper in 1931 – and she certainly knew what she was talking about. One of the biggest screen stars of her day, she was now treading the boards on the British variety circuit – paving the way, it turned out, for her fellow “silent” players who would follow her to Scotland’s theatres.

During the 1930s, stars who had only existed on celluloid for movie fans here in Scotland materialised on their very door steps – with voices. In a five-year period, Lillian Gish, Pola Negri and Anna May Wong could all be seen in the flesh in Scotland’s theatres – and photographers from the Glasgow Herald’s sister newspapers, the Evening Times and The Bulletin, were there to record their visits.

Some stars tried to make a gradual transition into talkies but many had to rethink their careers – and in numerous cases this meant returning to the stage or taking to it for the first time, either to keep themselves in the public consciousness while they pondered their next move, or to try to make a living while their name and celebrity still had currency.

Silent Stars in Scotland features photographs of silent era legends mostly taken during the years and decades following the talkies “earthquake”. The visits in the 1930s – when these stars were still big news – were well-documented, but by the late 1940s and early 1950s, even a silent era giant like “The Great Stone Face”, Buster Keaton himself, couldn’t excite a picture editor…

The exhibition runs in the Forth Valley Royal Hospital from February 17 – March 15, at Bo’ness Library from March 19 – April 14, then tours community venues in the Falkirk area.

(c) Alison Kerr

%d bloggers like this: