Letters

a LETTER TO DAVE AND JOE O'gorman from w.h. potter

January 9th, 1955

Gentlemen,

You do not know me, but I remember you almost from your debut and have enjoyed your act in London, Cardiff and in my own home town Bristol's halls.

But I have a sentimental reason in writing to you on the passing of the Empire, Bristol, as a music hall which I and many "Old Timers" very much regret. I last saw you some time ago, and on that occasion memories of the old Act Tennyson and O'Gorman came to my mind. And what a grand pair they were! They were in that galaxy of Stars which included Godfrey, Leno, Robey, Tich, Roberts, Walter ("That's Irish as she is spoke"), Munroe, Pat Rafferty and Michael ("Annie Rooney") Nolan, Eugene Stratton, Marie Lloyd, Bessie Bellwood, Bessie Bonehill, Vesta Tilley and Vesta Victoria. I have seen all these and more, mostly in the London Halls in the 1900's at Tivoli, Oxford and Pavilion, where there was usually a bill of 20 to 24 Stars and near Stars.

But it is Tennyson and O'Gorman that I wish to refer to now. You may not have seen them as it is many years ago since I saw them. I was a boy at the time and my father took me to see them at the Empire. And what an act. I have never forgotten them. "The Two Irish Gentlemen." Box Hats, Frock Coats, Spats, sticks, light boots with twinkling feet inside them. They had everything. I saw them whenever they came to Bristol. Their repartee was very humorous and your father Joe, led Tennyson in a dance. He teased and cajoled him. Joe found a small hole in the stage and after a lot of business got Tennyson to stand over it, when a stream of water shot up into his face. They must have been amongst the first with what became known as Simultaneous Dancing and could give points to many such acts today.

Their singing was of a high order with a gay lilt. I still remember the tunes of "Rafferty's Masquerade Ball" and "On the Continong." I did not hear the Empire Broadcast, with turns of the Old School. I hope that on some future occasion Tennyson and O'Gorman willbe remembered. 

So boys, it is up to you to get busy with some of the Old Acts and offer it to the BBC. Please do not think I have got a nerve in making this suggestion, but I am an old Time Music Hall enthusiast, and what a grand moment it would be to see the sons of one half of Tennyson and O'Gorman appearing in an up-to-date version of the Act. Trust you are in the best of health and enjoying a good season, with kindest regards to you both.

Yours respectfully,  

W.H. Potter

(To Messrs Dave and Joe O'Gorman - Ugly Sisters - Bristol Hippodrome)

W.H. Potter later set down his memories In A Bristolian Remembers. The Panto Cinderella had a long and successful run in this season (1954 /55) and included Jack Train, Adele Dixon, Jimmy Plant and Wilson Keppel and Betty in the cast.