Morecambe & Wise

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Audition Mystery
Going against all previous evidence, a recently obtained article throws doubt over an important date in the life of Eric Bartholomew.

Chuse Ow
Still only twelve Ernie Wise, then known as Ernest Wiseman, was entering local talent contests and slowly getting noticed. Here are newpaper articles that cover one of his last ones.


Lancs Talent On Parade In Big M.M Search

1940 Article
The finalists
The finalists
March 2, 1940 Vol. XVL No. 345

The Lancashire and Cheshire auditions of “The Melody Maker” talent search , in connection with Jack Hylton’s radio and stage feature, “Youth Takes A Bow” came to a thrilling climax at the Kingsway Cinema, Hoylake, last Saturday evening.

Ten youthful entrants, who had succeeded in reaching the finals appeared on the stage. From them, four have been selected to travel to London for their special auditions before compere Brian Michie and Jack Hylton.

ENTHUSIASM

“A galaxy of talent” – is the only phrase that can describe the finalists. Every form of modern stage entertainment was represented – vocalism, instrumentalism, comedy and dancing. They all showed the typical enthusiasm of the young amateur, combined with the proficiency of the professional.

In defiance of doctor’s orders, Mr Jack Fallon – former member of the Hylton Office and now manager of the Kingsway and Tudor cinemas Cheshire – insisted upon carrying on and worked like a Trojan.

During the week well over one hundred young people from all quarters of Lancashire, Cheshire and North Wales appeared before Jack Fallon and “showed him what they could do.” The enthusiasm displayed on both sides of the footlights - during Saturday evening was without precedent in Cheshire.

The four to travel to London are Eric Bartholomew, of Morecambe; Anne Reynolds, Patricia Davey and Marion Perry …. The three girls are all from Liverpool!

Interviewed by a MELODY MAKER representative, 13 – years – old Eric Bartholomew, who put over a brilliant comedian act, which caused the audience to roar with laughter- said:-“My ambition is to become a comedian. My hero is George Formby, another native of Lancashire. I would certainly like to follow in his footsteps.”

INTERVIEWS

As the last train to Liverpool departs from Hoylake Station at 10:26pm entrants homeward bound via Liverpool had to make a desperate race for this train. Still attired in their stage costumes, they ran through the streets of Hoylake. They caught the train, literally “by the skin of their teeth”

Attractive brunette 23 –year-old Anne Reynolds, of Kirkdale, Liverpool said: “I am very grateful to the MELODY MAKER and Mr. Fallon for this great chance.”

Anne spent the previous evening gargling and drinking hot milk as she was suffering from a slight cold, which may have had an adverse effect upon her singing. Fortunately, her luck held good …

Anne admits that during the day, while she is working as a pools-clerk, that often she falls to dreaming of fame on the stage. She has a delightful soprano voice and sings regularly with the Orrell Mandoliers, a local combination.

Her talents are not limited to vocalism, for she is a proficient mandolier. Incidentally, Anne was Roy Fox’s “personality girl” for Liverpool, and appeared with his band during its stay in Liverpool.

Marion Perry, aged 25 of Canning Street, Liverpool, - vocalist and comedienne – has a Gracie Fields touch about her humour. She is employed as a filling-clerk by a Liverpool firm, but an office career is but secondary to her ambition to follow the theatrical profession.

Interviewed, she said: “ I was highly delighted to notice that auditions would be held at Hoylake. I shall be waiting impatiently for the postman now.”

Versatility is the keynote of 15-year-old Patricia Davey’s act. She is equally entertaining when singing, dancing or playing the electric-guitar or the accordion.

FINALISTS

The other entrants who succeeded in reaching the final were: Tom Dodd of Bidston, Cheshire (guitarist and vocalist); 11-year-old Desmond Gill or Moreton (vocalist), and also from Moreton came male impersonator Dorothy Gledhill, aged 11; Marjorie Hale, aged 14, of Rock Ferry (acrobatic dancer); Harry Scott, aged 12, who hails from Maes-y-dre (Wrexham), and was Wales only representative in the final. It was his first stage appearance and gave his interpretation of the “Big Apple” assisted by a life-size doll, and pretty blonde 15-year-old Elaine Terry, who travelled alone from Old Trafford, Manchester. Elaine appeared this season in pantomime.

The first to congratulate the successful competitors were the less fortunate ones. A word of praise is certainly due to Mr. Bill Edwards, the accompanist, whose helpful suggestions, kindliness and consideration towards the youthful artists was greatly appreciated.

The complete arrangements for the auditions were carried out by Mr Jack Fallon. The success of the venture was due to his enterprise, as he dedicated man hours of his time to perfecting the various acts. The staff of the Kingsway Cinema also did their full share of work connected with the project.

Youth certainly took its bow: The average age of the finalists was sixteen years!
© Meldoy Maker 1940