This may be of interest...


https://youtu.be/1xBZGSe4xy0

the sound starts about 2:15 and cuts out before the end.  It looks to be the raw footage used to make this...

https://youtu.be/tPgUyGScg80

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Wow, what a collection of interesting instruments and people able to play in cold weather. The audience has elected to keep wearing their outdoor coats. It must have been freezing in that building. Even colder than outside (there was sun outdoors).

Brett,

Very many thanks for posting these two clips.  For such a short fragment, there is so much to see - I had to keep winding it back to check for some of the details that were emerging. 

March 1949 - not four years after the end of the war.  It was interesting to see that the next story in the full Pathé version covered the impending phasing out of rationing and ration books, though rationing was not lifted completely until 1954.  A few months after this rally, clothes rationing was lifted, so we can suppose that the good clothes we are seeing were the remains of their Sunday best. 

As to them sitting in a freezing theatre, I am sure they were doing just that.  March can be cold in London, and most sources of heat were still heavily rationed.  Jody thought he saw sun outside; what I saw was the March smog - the camera wasn't being focused, that was the smog being briefly cleared.  Not to worry, though, as they could all avoid the foul air outside by going inside and lighting up. 

One of the small touches that I loved was the clip of the chap parking his bike on the kerb while he joined the queue to enter the theatre.  It's unlikely he would have left it there for the rest of the day as you normally parked your bike against the kerb while you went off briefly for things like shopping.  For longer periods you could just lean it against a wall somewhere.  You could still do that in London the early seventies, in the confident expectation that your bike would still be there when you came back.  Bike thieves were akin to horse thieves in the Old West. 

These days it's hard to believe just how fringe the guitar was as an instrument in those days.  I can't see more than a handful in the members of the orchestra.  It took another ten years - and amplification - before guitar playing became popular in the UK, and only then, it seems, via the popularity of Hawaiian music.    Unfortunately, the rise of the guitar forced out the mandolin and banjos that were still so obviously popular in 1949. 

Anyone recognise any of the faces?  Surely the judges must be well-known! If you can get a clear reading of the number plate on the bus you might be able to pinpoint where it came from, as it was most likely to have been registered in the county it operated in.  That might help with identifying some of the people we see getting off. 

Anyway, thanks again Brett.  I'm off to have another look.

Regards. 

Did anyone check the BMG magazine for any info on this?

I have not watched the new footage yet (will check it out at lunch time) but I would like to add one point about the guitar's popularity... Segovia.

While pick playing guitar had been steady on the rise from Nick Manaloff's influence, It was Segovia's new narrative of "classical guitar" that caused an explosion for the people who would be part of the BMG culture.  Segovia's version of the Spanish guitar was like Earl Scruggs to the banjo only ten fold. 

You can see this shift to the Segovia school of Spanish guitar by following the BMG magazines post WW2.

 I added the videos to our player and ..... I love it. 

Hey Tony, 1970s...  No bike thefts in the 1970s? By that time I had a 1965 Mini van love mobile, and nobody would have wanted to steal that either !

Thanks Brett.

Ian,

I worked in an office in London during the first half of the seventies and rode about the place every lunchtime on a bike we kept at the office - without a padlock.  The bike was basic, sure, but in 4 years of being an easy target, it was never touched.  Meanwhile, back at home, I was the proud owner of a second-hand Volvo 122S - with overdrive.  One of the best-built cars I ever owned.  Twenty years later they became a cult symbol and you couldn't buy one for love or money.  But back to the rally.

The April 1949 edition of BMG gives some details of the rally and the filming of it.  The banjoist playing Freckles was 74-year-old H. J. Brisby from Croydon, the duettists were Mssrs Middleton Snr and Jnr (A. V. and P. A.) playing Reverie. 

But it would be really useful if someone could identify some of the close-up shots of players and the audience. 

Regards.

thereallyniceman said:

 I added the videos to our player and ..... I love it. 

Hey Tony, 1970s...  No bike thefts in the 1970s? By that time I had a 1965 Mini van love mobile, and nobody would have wanted to steal that either !

Thanks Brett.

FANTASTIQUE 

I've sent the film clip to Alan Middleton who was there at the time. He's 94 years old now but his mind is a sharp as a wire first string. I can remember a few of the faces but he will be able to name them all. He lives in Norfolk so we may have to wait some time for a response.

TONY BRYAN said:

Brett,

Very many thanks for posting these two clips.  For such a short fragment, there is so much to see - I had to keep winding it back to check for some of the details that were emerging. 

March 1949 - not four years after the end of the war.  It was interesting to see that the next story in the full Pathé version covered the impending phasing out of rationing and ration books, though rationing was not lifted completely until 1954.  A few months after this rally, clothes rationing was lifted, so we can suppose that the good clothes we are seeing were the remains of their Sunday best. 

As to them sitting in a freezing theatre, I am sure they were doing just that.  March can be cold in London, and most sources of heat were still heavily rationed.  Jody thought he saw sun outside; what I saw was the March smog - the camera wasn't being focused, that was the smog being briefly cleared.  Not to worry, though, as they could all avoid the foul air outside by going inside and lighting up. 

One of the small touches that I loved was the clip of the chap parking his bike on the kerb while he joined the queue to enter the theatre.  It's unlikely he would have left it there for the rest of the day as you normally parked your bike against the kerb while you went off briefly for things like shopping.  For longer periods you could just lean it against a wall somewhere.  You could still do that in London the early seventies, in the confident expectation that your bike would still be there when you came back.  Bike thieves were akin to horse thieves in the Old West. 

These days it's hard to believe just how fringe the guitar was as an instrument in those days.  I can't see more than a handful in the members of the orchestra.  It took another ten years - and amplification - before guitar playing became popular in the UK, and only then, it seems, via the popularity of Hawaiian music.    Unfortunately, the rise of the guitar forced out the mandolin and banjos that were still so obviously popular in 1949. 

Anyone recognise any of the faces?  Surely the judges must be well-known! If you can get a clear reading of the number plate on the bus you might be able to pinpoint where it came from, as it was most likely to have been registered in the county it operated in.  That might help with identifying some of the people we see getting off. 

Anyway, thanks again Brett.  I'm off to have another look.

Regards. 

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