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Thursday, 5 May 2016

DUET by Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler

I have digitised Duet, the autobiography of Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler, published by Stanley Paul in 1951. It is available by direct link as an e-book and paperback. 

The introduction to the book reads as follows:

England's most popular duettists, who have sung in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and America, and are loved by millions of radio fans, have written their love-story together.

The provincial choirboy and the little Liverpool pianist have come a long way. Webster Booth ran away from an accountant's stool to tour England at £4 a week and sing on the piers. Anne Ziegler's father was ruined on the cotton market, so she sang in restaurant cabaret. They met playing the lovers in "Faust" - and fell in love. But he was married already.

Concert-party struggles, pantomime rivalries, fun and peril in early films, adventures at Savoy Hill and parts in stage "flops" were followed by great successes. She was hailed as "Radio's Nightingale", and as a leading lady in New York and London, a film star and BBC favourite. He sang at the Albert Hall and Covent Garden, starred in the West End and on films and radio. They went half round the world together, singing.

There are two-fisted criticisms and fascinating glimpses behind the scenes in film-land, stage-land and the mad and magic world of music. The authors laugh at themselves, each other and the world as they take you with them - this boy and girl who made good in one of real life's most moving romances.

The links are as follows:



DUET by Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler

John Marwood, a member of The Golden Age of WebsterBooth-Anne Ziegler and Friends group on Facebook wrote the following interesting review of the book:

I’ve just read ‘Duet’, Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth’s autobiography, published by Stanley Paul & Co. in 1951.
My plan was to read it over several days, but once I’d started, I could not put it down.
In the opening chapter Webster says that ‘Someone must begin even a duet. The die is cast and I am the victim - though, no doubt, the ladies will have the last word!’
The first chapter and all subsequent odd numbers are simply headed ’Webster’; and all the even ones are headed ‘Anne’.
The last chapter of the 25 is headed ‘Webster and Anne’; and so the autobiography ends neatly with a joint effort - a duet.
The remark by Webster about ladies sets the tone. It is light, witty and amusing. There is no chapter without entertaining anecdotes.
Apparently the book was ghost-written by the late Frank S. Stuart [Frank Stanley Stuart]. Frank was adept at presenting amusing tales that were based on factual events. Mention is made of precise events in diaries, so I imagine both characters lent their diaries to the writer and spent many hours relating tales, adventures and anecdotes about the past. The two personae sound entirely plausible.
I was surprised by the strong anti-war remarks in the book; and it seems the ghost-writer was a pacifist. Apparently Webster and Anne were not happy with these remarks, and it seems surprising that the publisher allowed them to remain. Only 6 years after the end of the terrible world conflagration many readers must have felt uncomfortable about some of these remarks.
The book was published 5 years before the couple left for South Africa. It is pity we never get to hear them speaking about their years there, but perhaps 1951 was when they were at the peak of their fame. We read of the couple's delight to be told that Queen Mary had herself picked out their act as a favourite one which she wished to hear at a Gala Variety to mark her eightieth birthday. We read of other encounters with the royal family.
It is a tale of fun and glamour, tails and crinolines, a most entertaining story - a must-read for everyone who remembers the couple, or for anyone who has just discovered them recently.
John Marwood

I may add that John Marwood proofread the digitised book most meticulously and I am extremely grateful to him for his help.

Jean Collen 5 May 2016.

DuetDuet by Anne Ziegler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler were my singing teachers in Johannesburg. While I was studying with them I acted as Webster's studio accompanist when Anne (who usually played the piano for students) had other engagements. We became good friends, a friendship which lasted until they died - Webster in 1984, and Anne in 2003.

I first read "Duet" when Webster brought it into the studio and gave it to me to read. I was fascinated by the lively story of their rise to fame, their romance which was fraught with difficulties because Webster was married to Paddy Prior already, and their popularity as duettists during the forties and early fifties.

This book was written when they were at the height of their fame, some years before they had income tax difficulties and eventually moved to South Africa in 1956. Perhaps it was as well that the book ended before they experienced any hardship.

I have always tried to keep Anne and Webster's singing and illustrious careers before the public. I am sure that anyone who reads their autobiography will get a good idea of their charming personalities from reading this fascinating book. Several people who have read it recently, have described it as "unputdownable". I hope whoever reads this review and is tempted to read the book will share that opinion of it!

View all my reviews

Saturday, 1 August 2015

"Only a Rose" TV clip 1980 and a short clip from a film featuring Webster Booth (1935).

The smallest part yet - Webster as the inn-keeper in "Kimberley Jim" (1963)


Excerpt featuring Webster Booth as British ambassador in "King Hendrik" (1965)

Phil, the Fluter's Ball (Webster Booth and Gerald Moore) Phil, the Fluter's Ball

Here is a short clip from a 1935 film featuring Webster Booth.

Join: The Golden Age of Webster Booth-Anne Ziegler and Friends on Facebook

Here is a video clip of Anne and Webster singing "Only a Rose" in 1980. Webster was 78 and Anne 70 at the time of this late performance.

Sunday, 29 March 2015


 Here is a podcast of a programme originally presented by Webster Booth at New Year 1962. It is shared to commemorate the 31st anniversary of his death on 21 June 1984.

Here is a podcast of a programme originally presented by Webster Booth in September of 1961.

Here is a podcast of a programme presented by Webster Booth in December of 1961.



Wednesday, 19 November 2014


Recently I closed the Booth-Ziegler Yahoo Group. I created a group on FACEBOOK to replace the defunct Yahoo group. If you belong to Facebook, click on the following link and request to join:


Here is some information about the group. I hope you will be tempted to join!

Welcome to this group for admirers of the singing and the careers of British duettists Webster Booth (1902 -1984) and Anne Ziegler (1910 - 2003) and related artists. We will add duets and solos by Anne and Webster and related artists, share photos, links to related sites, and information about them.
Please feel free to post, start discussions, add videos, recordings and ephemera featuring Anne and Webster and related artists, comment, ask questions - and answer them if you can.
I began my singing studies with Webster and Anne at their studio in Johannesburg at the end of 1960 when I was 17 years old. Early in 1963 they asked me if I would accompany for Webster in their studio when Anne was unavailable to do this. That was certainly one of the most fulfilling and life-changing experiences of my life. I did my associate and licentiate diplomas with them and we remained close friends until their deaths - Webster in 1984, and Anne in 2003. They played a very important part in my life and I will always remember them with love.
Anne and Webster were an unassuming couple who did not boast about their achievements. I found out much more about these when I began researching their careers after Anne's death in 2003 and published my book, Sweethearts of Song: A Personal Memoir of Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth. All my books about Anne and Webster may be seen at: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/duettists
I started this group hoping to keep the memory of their lives, voices and careers alive and have gladly shared recordings, photos and other ephemera here and I hope that the group will continue long after I am dead and gone. I have bequeathed my collection to the Museum of English Literature in Grahamstown, South Africa.
Mike Taylor, the other administrator of the group, has shared his restored collection of 78rpms. We are very lucky to have these restorations in our collection. You will be able to hear many rare recordings featuring Anne, Webster, and artists with whom they were friendly or with whom they worked. If you look at the group photos many have links to these recordings, which may be downloaded for your own pleasure (and NOT for commercial usage).
There are many recordings, photographs and articles here. You may download these for your own pleasure, but they may not be used for commercial purposes.
Do not post adverts unrelated to the group. If anyone posts an advert he/she will be given a warning and the advert will be removed. If the person posts a subsequent advert he/she will be removed and blocked from the group.
If you wish to publicise a concert or event in which you are taking part, please ask the administrators for permission first.
Please limit your posts about related artists to a maximum of two a day otherwise Anne and Webster's contribution will be swamped.
Please make sure that the recordings you post actually have some connection to Anne and Webster's work - either by the music with which they were associated, the artists they knew and admired, with whom they worked, or who were working in the same musical sphere at the same time.
Please treat fellow members with courtesy, and do not blaspheme.
If you wish to contact me off-line, my email is: booth-ziegler@outlook.com
Essie Ackland,  Arthur Askey, Isobel Baillie, Owen Brannigan,  George Baker, Basil Cameron,  Alfredo Campoli, Gwen Catley, Noel Coward,  Joan Cross, Harry Parr Davies, Bebe Daniels,  Peter Dawson, Mary Ellis, Nancy Evans, Kathleen Ferrier,  Flotsam and Jetsam/ Malcolm McEachern, Will Fyffe, Gert and Daisy,  Olive Gilbert,  Leon Goosens, Harry Gordon, Martyn Green, Frederick Grinke, Herbert Greenslade, Olive Groves, Garda Hall, Joan Hammond, Tommy Handley, Fred Hartley, Stanley Holloway, Tom Howell,  Winifred Lawson, Evelyn Laye, Janet Lind, David Lloyd, Mark Lubbock, Ernest Lush, Ben Lyon,  George Melachrino, Gerald Moore, Elsie Morrison, Alice Moxon, Heddle Nash, Oscar Natzke, Robert Naylor,  Dennis Noble, Ray Noble (pre USA), Ivor Novello, Derek Oldham, Geoffrey Parsons,  Rawicz and Landauer, Gladys Ripley, Stuart Robertson, Eric Robinson, Stanford Robinson, Albert Sandler, Malcolm Sargent, Elsie Suddaby, Richard Tauber, Inia te Wiata,  Tommy Trinder, Jack Warner, Harry Welchman, Harold Williams.
Other artists from the same period, but not necessarily related to Anne and Webster in any way: Jack Buchanan, Gracie Fields, Layton and Johnstone,  Melville Gideon, Jessie Matthews, Gladys Moncrieff,  Anna Neagle.
Webster and Anne on the Russell Harty TV show (1981)

 Webster on Saturday Night Revue (1937)

 Webster and Anne in The Faust Fantasy (1935

Jean Collen - October 2015.


Friday, 14 November 2014


A musical entertainment, given by Webster Booth (tenor), Margaret Good (piano), Marie Wilson (violin), Jean Stewart (viola), William Pleeth (cello), Geoffrey Gilbert (flute), George Elliott (guitar).
Music by J. C. Bach, Schumann, Rossini, Chopin, Richard Strauss, and Schubert
8 June 1946

A musical feature with the BBC Theatre Orchestra and the BBC Theatre Chorus. This week - The Song of the Rivers with Ida Shepley (contralto) and Webster Booth (tenor).
Narrator, Preston Lockwood.
Conductor, Walter Goehr.
Produced by Harold Neden             Walter Goehr

A musical entertainment given by Phyllis Sellick (piano). Webster Booth (tenor). Pauline Juler (clarinet), Max Salpeter and Colin Sauer (violins), Watson Forbes (viola), John Moore (cello), and J. Edward Merrett (double bass).
Programme arranged by Basil Douglas.

BBC Theatre Orchestra (Leader, Alfred Barker )
Conductor, Walter Goehr
BBC Theatre Chorus
Irene Eisinger (soprano)
Webster Booth (tenor)

A musical feature with the BBC Theatre Orchestra and Theatre Chorus, conducted by Harold Lowe.
This week A Hundred Years Ago with Doris Gambell, Webster Booth, Winifred Davey. Jane Grahame, Doris Nichols. and Roy Plomley.
Written by Aubrey Danvers-Walker.
Produced by Harold Neden.

BBC Theatre Orchestra Conductor, Walter Goehr
BBC Theatre Chorus (Trained by John Clements )
Webster Booth (tenor)
Joan and Valerie Trimble - (two pianos)
Produced by Eric Fawcett

MUSIC IN MINIATURE - Light Programme, 7 August 1947 21.30 A musical entertainment given by Louis Kentner (piano), Webster Booth (tenor), Frederick Thurston and Stephen Waters (clarinets), Paul Draper (bassoon), David Martin (violin), Frederick Riddle (viola), and James Whitehead (cello).
Programme arranged by Basil Douglas

STARLIGHT - BBC Home Service Basic, 27 October 1947 19.15 This week Christopher Stone invites Webster Booth to talk with him and to sing for you. 

A black-faced minstrel show - Jimmy Rich, Fred Yule, John Duncan, and C. Denier Warren and Ike Hatch (Ivory and Ebony)
Guest Star, Webster Booth
Kentucky Banjo Team
Augmented BBC Revue Orchestra and Male Voice Chorus, conducted by Leslie Woodgate
At the organ. Charles Smart
Book written and remembered by C. Denier Warren
Choral arrangements by Doris Arnold
Show devised and produced by Harry S. Pepper

      THE PLAIN MAN'S GUIDE TO MUSIC-10 - Light Programme, 9 December 1949 21.00 Sir Malcolm Sargent talks about the Oratorio and conducts illustrations from
Messiah (Handel), The Creation (Haydn), Elijah (Mendelssohn), Dream of Gerontius (Elgar)
Elsie Morison (soprano)
Mary Jarred (contralto)
Webster Booth (tenor)
Norman Walker (bass)
Royal Choral Society, BBC Opera Orchestra
Produced by Roger Fiske            Sir Malcolm Sargent.

HUGH THE DROVER - Third Programme, 13 March 1950 20.40 or Love in the Stocks, A romantic ballad opera in two acts.
Words by Harold Child, Music by Vaughan Williams.
BBC Opera Chorus
BBC Opera Orchestra Led by John Sharpe.
Conductor. Stanford Robinson
Presented by Mark Lubbock.  Narrator, Patrick Troughton.
Repetiteur, Leo Wurmser.
The constable: Owen Brannigan
Mary, the constable's daughter: Joyce Gartside
Aunt Jane. the constable's sister: Mary Jarred
John, the butcher: Frederick Sharp
The turnkey: Powell Lloyd
A showman: Fabian Smith
A sergeant: Denis Dowling
Hugh, the drover: Webster Booth
A cheap-jack: George Steam Scott
A shell-fish seller: Fisher Morgan
A primrose seller: Ethel Gedge
A ballad seller: David Holman

MUSIC IN MINIATURE - Light Programme, 28 July 1950 21.30 A musical entertainment given by Webster Booth (tenor), Leon Goossens (oboe), Julius Isserlis (piano), Alan Loveday (violin), Reginald Morley (violin), Max Gilbert (viola),Harvey Phillips (cello).
 Ernest Lush (accompanist).
Arranged by Basil Douglas.

MUSIC IN MINIATURE - BBC Home Service Basic, 29 August 1950 15.45 A musical entertainment - Webster Booth (tenor), Leon Goossens (oboe), Julius Isserlis (piano),  Alan Loveday (violin), Reginald Morley (violin), Max Gilbert (viola), Harvey Phillips (cello).
Ernest Lush (accompanist)
Programme arranged by Basil Douglas                 Leon Goosens

RING UP THE CURTAIN! - BBC Home Service Basic, 1 July 1951 16.00 Joyce Gartside (soprano), Webster Booth (tenor), Denis Dowling (baritone)
BBC Opera Chorus - Trained by Alan G. Melville
BBC Opera Orchestra - Leader, John Sharpe
Conductor, Stanford Robinson.
British Opera - The programme includes items from: The Siege of Rochelle, The Bohemian Girl, Maritana, The Lily of Killarney, Esmeralda, Ivanhoe, Shamus O'Brien,Koanga, The Immortal Hour, Fete Galante, Hugh the Drover, Sir John in Love.
Programme devised by Harold Neden

THESE RADIO TIMES - Light Programme, 27 October 1951 21.15 A happy history of Everyman's entertainment. With Henry Hall, Naunton Wayne, Edwin Styles, Howard Marshall, Webster Booth, Claude Dampier, Kenneth Leslie-Smith, Harry S. Pepper
 and the recorded voices of Davy Burnaby, Stewart MacPherson, John. Snagge, Richard Tauber, Gracie Fields. Nellie Wallace.
Everyman, with the wireless set: Anthony Armstrong.
Written by Gale Pednick.
Producer: Thuretan Holland

 SONG OF TWO CITIES - Light Programme, 18 November 1952 21.00 Paris and Vienna - Part 8 This story of a musical rivalry that spanned a century ends with music from two masterpieces Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss II, the idol of Vienna, and The Tales of Hoffmann with which Offenbach triumphed in Paris even after his death.
Gwen Catley, Ruth Packer, Anna Pollak, Webster Booth, Trefor Jones, Roderick Jones
BBC Chorus - Chorus-Master, Leslie Woodgate
BBC Concert Orchestra - Leader, John Sharpe
Conductor, Gilbert Vinter
with Keith Pyott as the Voice of Paris and Rudolph Offenbach as the Voice of Vienna.
Devised by Kenneth Pakeman and written by Maurice Gorham.
Produced by Malcolm Baker-Smith and Kenneth Pakeman.
(Anna Pollak broadcasts by permission of the Governors of Sadler's Wells)

Ena Mitchell (soprano), Webster Booth (tenor), Norman Walker (bass)
BBC Chorus - Chorus-Master, Leslie Woodgate
BBC Symphony Orchestra - Leader, Paul Beard
Conductor, Sir Malcolm Sargent
Parts 1 and 2

MUSIC OF COLERIDGE-TAYLOR - BBC Home Service Basic, 7 December 1952 16.00 
Webster Booth (tenor)
BBC Concert Orchestra - (Leader, John Sharpe )
Conductor, Gilbert Vinter
Suite: Othello
Song: Eleanore
Three Dream Dances
Song: Onaway!, awake, beloved (Hiawatha)

The story of GILBERT AND SULLIVAN - Light Programme, 25 December 1952 16.30 An adaptation from the sound-track of the forthcoming Frank Launder-Sidney Gilliat production based on some episodes in the lives of Arthur Sullivan and W. S. Gilbert .Written for the screen by Sidney Gilliat and Leslie Baily (by permission of Bridget D'Oyly Carte )
Webster Booth, Martyn Green, Elsie Morison, Margery Thomas, John Cameron, Gordon Clinton, Owen Brannigan, Harold Williams, Tom Round, Muriel Brunskill, Jennifer Vyvyan, Joan Gillingham
London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Malcolm Sargent.
Programme produced by Thurstan Holland
W S Gilbert: Robert Morley
Mrs Gilbert:: Isabel Dean
Arthur Sullivan: Maurice Evans
Richard D'Oyly Carte: Peter Finch
Helen D'Oyly Carte: Eileen Herlie
Mr Marston: Wilfred: Hyde White
Grace Marston: Dinah Sheridan


by Liza Lehmann
Elsie Morison (soprano), Audrey Brice (contralto), Webster Booth (tenor), Frederick Harvey (baritone)
BBC Chorus - Chorus-Master, Leslie Woodgate
BBC Concert Orchestra - Leader, John Sharpe
Conductor, Gilbert Vinter

Webster Booth - (in a recorded programme) discusses with Roy Plomley the gramophone records he would choose to have with him if he were condemned to spend the rest of his life on a desert island.

29 April 1953 The Creation Royal Choral Society, Webster Booth (tenor) Conducted by Sir Malcolm Sargent. Malcolm Sargent’s birthday concert.(from Webster’s score).

NIGHTS OF GLADNESS - Light Programme, 22 December 1953 20.00 Tribute to composers whose melodies have enriched the world of operetta, musical comedy, and revue.
Written by Gale Pedrick.
Introduced by The Man with the Opera Cloak and illustrated by scenes and music Chapter 9 - The music of: Nat D. Ayer, Harry Parr Davies, Emmerich Kalman
Singers: Victoria Elliott, Webster Booth, Joan Young, Dudley Rolph, Billie Baker, Dick James
BBC Chorus - Chorus-Master, Leslie Woodgate.
BBC Concert Orchestra Conducted by Guy Daines.
Musical adviser, Harold Neden.
Produced by Douglas Moodie.

Personalities of the radio and entertainment world introduce music of their own choice. 19-James Dyrenforth with Lorely Dyer (soprano), Webster Booth (tenor).
BBC Concert Orchestra - Leader, John Sharpe.
Conducted by Rae Jenkins.
Produced by Harold Neden.

Tom Jenkins and the Palm Court Orchestra.
Webster Booth (tenor)

HENRY WOOD PROMENADE CONCERTS - BBC Home Service Basic, 1 September 1954 19.30 Webster Booth (tenor), Iris Loveridge (piano),
Royal Choral Society
BBC Symphony Orchestra  - Leader, Paul Beard
Conductor, Sir Malcolm Sargent
From the Royal Albert Hall, London

The old songs we still love sung by Marion Lowe (soprano), Webster Booth (tenor), Raymond Newell (baritone)
with David McCallum and the Spa Orchestra
At the organ, Felton Rapley
At the piano, Clifton Helliwell
The programme includes: Thora, Where my caravan has rested, I hear you calling me, The Company Sergeant Major, A Summer Night
Produced by Harold Neden

BALLAD CONCERT - BBC Home Service Basic, 21 December 1954 18.35 The old songs we still love, sung by:Gwen Catley (soprano), Audrey Brice (contralto), Webster Booth (tenor), Owen Brannigan (bass-baritone)
David McCallum and the Spa Orchestra.
At the organ. Felton Rapley.
At the piano, Josephine Lee.
The programme includes Twickenham Ferry,  An Old Garden,The Star of Bethlehem, Until, Japanese Love Song, A Sergeant of the Line, April Morn, Nazareth.
Introduced by Lionel Marson.
Produced by Harold Neden. NAZARETH

BBC Concert Orchestra -Leader, John Sharpe
Conductor, Charles Mackerras
Webster Booth (tenor)
Programme presented by John Tylee.

Sir Malcolm Sargent introduces and conducts a GILBERT AND SULLIVAN CONCERT - BBC Television, 30 May 1955 21.15
with Jacqueline Delman (soprano) Marjorie Thomas (contralto)
Webster Booth (tenor), John Cameron (bass) and Chorus
The St. Cecilia Orchestra (Leader, Lionel Bentley ) Presented by Philip Bate

HENRY WOOD PROMENADE CONCERTS - Light Programme, 13 August 1955 19.30  Webster Booth (tenor), Peter Katin (piano)
BBC Choral Society - Chorus Master. Leslie Woodgate Royal Choral Society,
BBC Symphony Orchestra - Leader, Paul Beard
Conductor, Sir Malcolm Sargent
From the Royal Albert Hall , London
Part 1

GRAND HOTEL - Light Programme, 16 October 1955 21.00 Jean Pougnet and the Palm Court Orchestra. Visiting artist: Webster Booth

Hugh Burden, Clive Morton and Richard Humdall
The story of a great partnership in six episodes by Leslie Baily  - 4— The First Quarrel
Other parts played by: Eric Phillips, Olwen Brookes, George Skillan, Ysanne Churchman; and Betty Fleetwood. Narrator, Hugh Burden
The songs from the operas sung by: Webster Booth, Gwen Catley, Victoria Elliott, Arnold Matters, George James, Janet Howe, Denis Bowen , Gilbert Wright.
Pianist. Alan Richardson,
BBC Chorus - Chorus-Master, Leslie Woodgate.
BBC Concert Orchestra - Leader, John Sharpe
Conductor, Charles Mackerras.
Production by Vernon Harris
(The BBC acknowledges the assistance of Miss Bridget D'Oyly Carte and of Sir Newman Flower , the biographer of Sir Arthur Sullivan)

Compiled by Jean Collen 2014