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Posts Tagged ‘music hall’

During an impromptu online search of Google Books, I came across several incidental references to our distant cousins. Unfortunately, full texts are not quoted, so the snippets are enticing but are also infuriatingly incomplete. I suspect the actual printed sources are not available these days except in specialist hands.

However, here are some of the enigmatic comments retrieved:

“He loved music halls and would give imitations of the turns that he saw there. He called himself and Kot ‘Beattie (sic) and Babs’ after two famous music hall sisters who did a comic turn together…”
Mark Gertler: Biography of a Painter 1891 – 1939. p.166 (1972)

“He was a Viennese, and of course knew all the Strauss music well, but in any case the number was not properly rehearsed… I recalled having seen that delightful couple Beattie & Babs giving a music-hall turn in which Babs impersonated a…”
The Maid of the Mountains – Jose Collins, her story (1932)

“… in an endeavour to present an aspect of music hall in its palmiest days… who specialised in patriotism; Beattie & Babs, two youngsters who were immensely popular…”
The Memories Linger On: the story of the music hall. W. J. MacQueen-Pope. P. 365 (1950)

“There is nobody, because the spirit of the music-hall is changing, and women, who are more adaptable than men, are… even Beattie and Babs, though Babs does what she can with stockings that nothing will ever keep up, never seem to…”
A London Mosaic, W. L. George. P 27 (1921)

The spelling of Beatie as Beattie is a common error and stands as a reminder that perhaps when undertaking research we should also consider alternative spellings of names. However, yet again, these types of morsels serve to raise more questions than answers, especially that last quote. By the way, the spelling ‘Beattie’ is unfortunate because “Beattie & Babs” is an example of cockney rhyming slang at its most unsavoury. And as far as we know the duo never even set foot in Cromer; think about it.

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We’ve been contacted by Stephen Evans, a theatre music researcher in the process of collecting information on ensembles and group acts during the Music Hall era with a view to developing an online database and perhaps eventually publishing his findings. As part of this, he’s interested in learning more about Beatie & Babs and seeks biological facts, anecdotal gems from both on and off stage, and any material relating to how they delivered their acts and sketches. Photos, notes, diary entries, newspaper cuttings, movie film and personal reminiscences are all of interest.

Our own genealogical researches over the past 30 years have turned-up a modicum of stuff and we’ve given the author access to our records about the duo. But of course much more information remains to be uncovered – we know quite a lot of ‘what happened’ about the family but we’re a bit short on the ‘whys.’

Stephen would welcome your contributions to this project. If you can help, contact him direct at: s.evans16@ntlworld.co.uk or if you prefer send them to us as contactus@kahngene.org.uk and we’ll forward them to Stephen.

Needless to say, we have a vested interest in this. We’ll be sharing the stories about Beatie & Babs so the more Stephen finds out, the more we can fill in some of the many blanks in our family history. Please help if you can.

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We’ve just uploaded a page about two of Victor’s grand children, Bertha Tickler (nee Samuels) and Hilda Henley (nee Samuels) – otherwise known as the music hall act ‘Beatie and Babs.’

Please look under ‘biographies’ for more information.

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