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  • Description

    Great footage of comedian Danny Kaye in his dressing room at the London Palladium - probably before the Royal Variety Performance of 1948 (some footage may be from NP 226 - rest seems to be cuts, out takes).

    Danny jokes with bespectacled man who gives him a kiss - probably Peter Glaze. Danny seems to be going over tempo of one of his songs with members of the band. Danny combs his hair - seems to be some comedians from the Crazy Gang sitting there watching him. A short man combs and pretends to cut Danny's hair, then combs the hairs in his ear!

    Shots of Danny in heavy stage makeup, putting on his tie. An elderly lady, Danny's housekeeper, sits in a chair and kisses Danny. Danny powders his face before going on stage. Danny and pianist leave the dressing room. Great C/Us of bare-chested Danny putting on stage make-up - eyebrow pencil, pancake and so on. He makes faces at himself in the mirror as he does so. Comedian Arthur Askey appears beside him and seems to be saying "You've missed a bit". Danny rubs the pancake in. Danny signs autograph books - wearing only shorts! Dresser (?) looks on while Danny puts tie on and sings.

    Shots of theatre lights being brought up. More of Danny applying make-up. Comedian Ted Ray comes in for a chat. Backstage workers in wings of theatre, moving handles to operate lights, talking on telephone and so on. Askey in wings, making hand gestures (not rude). Line of midgets wait in wings.

    Danny in wings wearing hat and coat. He shakes hands with several people in a hurry, then turns and makes face at camera. Danny chats to men in wings. Nice candid shots. Danny chats to members of the band. Band start playing, curtains are drawn back. Danny moves to the music, conducts the band, sings at microphone. Chorus girls and others, including Arthur Askey, watch from wings. Excellent backstage atmosphere in this footage. Others go on stage for finale. Performers file offstage. Could be rehearsal, although everyone is in costume - Danny doesn't seem to have stage makeup on.

    Amendment May 2012: According to jamied who left a comment on this clip, the "line of midgets" described were part of an act called Buster Shaver and his Trio of Lilliputians. A pair of twins seen are the Danish trapeze duo "Krista and Kristel".

  • Tags

  • Data

    British Pathé
    Issue Date:
    Media URN:
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Film ID:
    Black & White
    Time in/Out:
    01:52:58:00 / 02:01:05:00
    Sort Number:
  • Appears in...

    Historical Figures & Celebrities Entertainment & Humour
    Variety (BBC4) Danny Kaye Midgets The Story of Variety Palladium Royal Variety Performance daphne group Documentaries (1976) Documentary warning Long documentary A detailed look
  • Stills

    0:01 0:02 0:03 0:04

Comments (3)

  1. jamied says

    "bespectacled man who gives him a kiss - Billy Cotton?"- its actually comedian Peter Glaze.

    The "elderly lady" kissing Danny Kaye isn't his mother (she died when he was very young), its either music hall entertainer Gertie Gitana, or possibly Nellie Wallace.

    "The "line of midgets" described were part of an act called Buster Shaver and his Trio of Lilliputians (I'm not kidding!).

    A pair of twins are seen in the wings at 06:50 - this was the Danish trapeze duo "Krista and Kristel".

    At 06:58, The Tiller Girls go out on to the stage.

  2. pageboy says

    "The elderly lady" is actually my great grandmother who was the housekeeper at the Palladium for many many years and looked after lots of stars including Danny Kaye. One night, Danny hired a box for my great gran to sit and watch his show and then arranged for the spotlight to be put on the box and introduced the whole audience to "my mother". So the Pathe info is not far from the truth, but she was not his real mother obviously, its just that she took care of him, cooked for him etc while he was in London.

  3. British Pathé says

    That's fascinating pageboy. Thanks for sharing this. It's great to know that you have found a relative within the archive!

    If anyone else has inside information about the people in the clips, please do leave a comment. We really do want to hear about them.

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