Saturday, December 22, 2012

A SCATTERED GARLAND: GLEANINGS FROM THE LIVES OF WEBSTER BOOTH AND ANNE ZIEGLER


I first published A Scattered Garland: Gleanings from the lives of Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler in a single volume in 2008. Since then I have learnt a great deal more about Webster and Anne, so I have updated it into two volumes.

is a compilation of newspaper snippets, articles and criticisms, taken from a wide variety of sources, interspersed with my own comments expanding on particular events. It covers the first part of Anne and Webster’s careers from 1902 until 1956 when the couple moved to South Africa.

Webster and Anne reached the height of their fame during the war on the Variety Circuit and in several lavish musicals and films. The compilation covers Anne and Webster’s musical and theatrical ventures from Webster’s first professional engagement with D’Oyly Carte in the early nineteen-twenties to mid-1956.

Their later lives and careers are covered in Volume 2 of  The Scattered Garland... The book is 300 pages in length and is liberally illustrated. Both volumes are published as paper backs and ebooks.

Compiled and Edited by Jean Collen.

Compiled and Edited by Jean Collen.

Compiled and Edited by Jean Collen

Compiled and Edited by Jean Collen
A Scattered Garland: Gleanings from the Lives of Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler (Volume 2) is a compilation of newspaper snippets, articles and criticisms, taken from a wide variety of sources, interspersed with my own comments expanding on particular events.

This second volume covers the lives and careers of Webster and Anne from the time they moved to South Africa in July of 1956 until their deaths.

It also lists engagements of Webster's second wife, Paddy Prior, who went on the stage as a dancer, comedienne and soubrette while still in her teens. Webster and Anne went on to attain international fame, while Paddy’s career remained static. She was a competent and talented performer and was rarely out of work, but she did not progress beyond after-dinner engagements, musicals, pantomime, concert party and occasional radio and television broadcasts.  
The book is over 250 pages in length and is liberally illustrated.

         



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The books are compilations of newspaper snippets, articles and criticisms, taken from a wide variety of sources, interspersed with my own comments expanding on particular events.

Although the books are primarily informal reference works rather than a story or biography, it shows the progress of Anne and Webster’s careers. It gives an interesting picture of the early career of Webster Booth after he left the D’Oyly Carte Company before he was firmly established on the road to success.


Jean Collen - author and compiler.


Leslie Webster Booth was born on 21 January 1902, the youngest son of Edwin and Sarah Booth (née Webster) of 157 Soho Road, Handsworth, Staffordshire. His father was a ladies’ hairdresser and his mother, born in Chilvers Coton in the Nuneaton district, was the daughter of John and Hannah Webster, silk weavers,who later became school teachers when the silk trade collapsed.
157 Soho Roadaa

157 Soho Road, Handsworth as it is today. The family lived in the two upper storeys above the hairdressing shop.
Leslie Webster Booth as a young man
Leslie Webster Booth as a young man
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Leslie Webster Booth as a young man in the Buster Keaton film, The Invader.

43 Prospect Road, Moseley (Photo: Mike Collen) The home of Webster Booth in 1927.

The Opieros with Welsh baritone Tom Howell in the middle of the group. Anita Edwards (soprano) is top right. This photo was taken before Webster Booth joined the Opieros in 1927.


Irené Frances Eastwood (Anne Ziegler) was born on 22 June 1910, the youngest child of Ernest and Eliza Frances Eastwood (née Doyle) of 13 Marmion Road, Sefton Park, Liverpool. Her father was a cotton broker, and her mother, born in Bootle, was the daughter of James and Elizabeth Doyle. James was an architect, who designed the Grand Hotel, Llandudno.
Irené’s father lost most of his money during the cotton slump of the early thirties so Irené went to London to find theatrical work to support herself and help her struggling family. She took “Anne Ziegler” as a stage name when she signed a contract to appear in the musical play, By Appointment.

Marmion Road
Marmion Road, Sefton Park, Liverpool as it is today.


Anne Ziegler as a young woman.
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Volume 2 lists a variety of engagements of his second wife, Paddy Prior, who went on the stage as a dancer, comedienne and soubrette while still in her teens. When she and Webster married they undertook a number of joint engagements, but these ceased towards the end of 1936 when their marriage broke down because of his relationship with Anne Ziegler.



Paddy Prior and Webster Booth (1933) in Piccadilly Revellers, Scarborough. Paddy and Webster are seated to left of middle row.


Paddy Prior entertaining troops during the war in an ENSA presentation.


Webster and Anne went on to attain international fame, while Paddy’s career remained static. She was a competent and talented performer and was rarely out of work, but she did not progress beyond after-dinner engagements, musicals, pantomime, concert party and occasional radio and television broadcasts.

Webster was not eligible for military service during the war. He and Anne reached the height of their fame during the war on the Variety Circuit and in several lavish musicals and films, while Paddy worked for ENSA and entertained at home and in the Middle East. She and her friend, Bettie Bucknelle left for Australia in 1948. Paddy’s brother Hubert had settled in Sydney, so presumably she went to Australia to join him. Although Bettie Bucknelle sang on Australian radio and was a regular vocalist with Jay Wilbur’s band, I have been unable to find any details of Paddy Prior’s work in Australia.

The compilations cover Anne and Webster’s musical and theatrical ventures from Webster’s first professional engagement with D’Oyly Carte in the early nineteen-twenties to Anne’s final broadcast towards the end of the century.