[Dixielandjazz] Who was Mabel?

Adaywayne at aol.com Adaywayne at aol.com
Tue Dec 2 14:50:56 PST 2003

I vaguely remember it, certainly the "catchphrase" and "Eric Spear". Was it 
the following?

"The Old Town Hall
Extending you a greeting to
The Old Town Hall,
We hold our weekly meeting
It's so jolly and gay,
There's nothing to pay,
So come right in and let us drive
Your troubles away...."
The first series of The Old Town Hall ran for an unbelievable 64 weeks 
starting January 1941 on the BBC Forces Programme. The second series ran from June 
to September 1943. In 1944 there was a 3rd series, and a 4th in 1945.

The "weekly meetings" were organised by Gladys & Clay Keyes and presented by 
Eric Spear. Clay Keyes was the m.c. and Gladys Keyes played Martha daughter of 
Old Ebeneezer, the nightwatchman played by Richard Goolden. One of the 
features was The Court of Melody (where tunes are on trial and the ear is evidence) 
and Can You Beat The Band with Billy Ternent and The Town Hall Orchestra with 
its catchphrase "Penny on the Drum".

In a message dated 12/1/03 3:38:46 PM Eastern Standard Time, 
pj.ladd at btopenworld.com writes:
Hi John,what an interesting bit of useless knowledge. Perhaps you can also
remember a game played by the band, and the audience, during a radio
programme at that time, or a bit earlier.
It was called `Penny on the Drum` and involved someone, probably the
pianist, beginning to pick out a melody line.
The rest of the band would then join in as individuals  recognised the tune.
Anyone who thought they recognised it  but were wrong threw a penny on to a
bass drum. (Sound effect) If no one recognised the tune the whole band
contributed. The money went to some charity. I remember being amazed at the
rapidity at which members of the band picked up the tune, and the key.

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