‘Walk This Way’

Gracie’s final revue for Archie Pitt was ‘Walk this Way‘ which opened at the Winter Garden Theatre, London, on 17th December 1931. Instead of a tour of the provinces prior to coming to London, (as was usual with the Pitt productions), this production only had one tryout at the Palace Theatre, Manchester.

With Harry Parr-Davies

With Harry Parr-Davies

 

 

 

 

It was during this production that a 17 year old, Harry Parr-Davies first met Gracie. Having bought a return ticket from Neath to London, he slipped past the keeper at the stage door and went to Gracie’s dressing room to play a song he had written especially for her; ‘I Hate You.’

 

'A serious moment for once'

‘A serious moment for once’

The production featured many of Pitt’s cast regulars, including Tommy Fields, Duggie Wakefield, Morris Harvey, Patrick Susands, Fred Louin, Chuck O’Neil, Billy Nelson, John Marks and also Archie daughter from his first marriage, Irene Pitt (later Bevan). For once Annie Lipman was not the musical director.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Clatter of the Clogs  The Clatter of the Clogs

In the opening scene, ‘The Town Hall‘, Gracie played herself as she clog-danced to ‘The Clatter of the Clogs,‘ then Gracie had her own solo spot in scene seven, where it is likely that that she premiered some of the songs which feature on sheet music covers of the time. During the show Gracie features as ‘The Queen of the Pearlie’s’ (in a scene called ‘Way Down East’ which featured Gracie and Tommy duetting on ‘Lights of Paris’), then the company joining in, in ‘Cockney Jazz‘ -seemingly a precursor to the Lambeth Walk. And for the first time in his career, in Act Two, Tommy had his own solo spot on the show following a cabaret scene set in the ‘Red Umbrella.’

‘Walk This Way’ – The Play Pictorial

The pinnacle of the show was a routine known as ‘The Doll and the Golly‘, in which Gracie played a Pierrot (taking tips from Fred Hutchins), to Irene Pitt’s doll. A quick change followed, with Gracie taking top billing at the end of the show in a second solo spot.

Gracie and Maurice Harvey in the final scene

Gracie and Maurice Harvey in the final scene

In David Bret’s biography, Irene Bevan says, that some of the cast suspected that Gracie and Morris Harvey were romantically linked, whether  or not it is true, nothing came of their suspected flirtations.

 

This was the last show Gracie starred in for Archie. When the run ended, Gracie left him and Pitt productions for good.

 

 

Duggie Wakefield,

Duggie Wakefield, Billy Nelson and Chuck O’Neil

 

 

One scene involving Duggie Wakefield, Billy Nelson and Chuck O’Neil – ‘The New Garage’ was later recreated by all three in Duggies film ‘The Penny Pool’ 1937.