You Are Old Father William
Another anniversary:- Our declaration of war with Germany eighty years ago (30/09/1939).
Among the British stars who entertained our troops (The Desert Rats) in North Africa on makeshift stages in isolated hospitals and field units was Vivien Leigh, fresh from her OSCAR winning performance in Gone With The Wind.
Vivien chose to perform recitations of Newbolt’s “Drake’s Drum and Lewis Carroll’s “You are Old Father William” and wore one of the dresses from her film role as Scarlet O’Hara.
The tour attracted military audiences of up to 8,000 including Generals Eisenhower, Montgomery and Doolittle. In Tunis King George VI suggested she extend her repertoire to include his favourite poem, Alice Miller’s The White Cliffs OF Dover - She did as commanded!
Ken Adds - “I recall my mother taking me by bus to Warrington to see Gone With The Wind while a London cinema screened the film every night for the duration of the war! Many years later I visited the grave in Atlanta U.S.A. Of Margaret Mitchell the author of Gone With The Wind and joined a total audience of three for one of the daily screenings of the film at an Atlanta cinema and also met a local resident who had attended the film’s premiere in 1939 (the film and cinema both owned by millionaire Ted Turner).