Shaun Glenville (1884-1968)

 

 

My Little Da-Monk
(Mander and Mitchenson
Theatre Collection, with permission)
 


Shaun Glenville, whom Music Hall historian Christopher Pulling calls one of the “grand comedians of the music-halls,”1 was born John Browne in Dublin; his mother was manager of Dublin’s famous Abbey Theatre. The hard-drinking Glenville was married to singer Dorothy Ward, and together they had successful careers in pantomime, that peculiarly British institution of Christmastime children’s entertainment featuring nursery tales, audience participation, and cross-dressing — she as one of the best “Principal Boys” and he as “a pantomime Dame without equal.”2 Their son Peter Glenville (1913–96) became an actor, film director, and producer of Broadway shows.

For more information on Shaun Glenville and Dorothy Ward, as well as a collection of interesting photographs, see the website: http://www.its-behind-you.com/wardglenville.html.

Both Shaun Glenville and Dorothy Ward were good friends of Fred Godfrey’s, and Glenville wrote several songs with him (see the entry under Glenville in the “Collaborators” section). He probably performed them as well, but is known to have recorded just two Godfrey songs, both in 1915: Where Did You Get The Name Of Hennessy? (Regal G-7607) and The Yiddisher Irish Baby (Levi, Carney, Jacob, Barney, Michael Isaacstein) (Regal G-7221). According to sheet music covers, Glenville performed, but did not record, at least three other Godfrey songs: When An Irishman Goes Fighting (1914); Calling Me Home (1922); and My Little-Da-Monk (1930).

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Notes

1  Christopher Pulling, They Were Singing (And What They Sang About) (London: George G. Harrap, 1952), p. 52..
2  W. MacQueen-Pope, The Melodies Linger On: The Story of Music Hall (London: W.H. Allen, 1950), p. 340.