Oh, Maggie! What Have You Been Up To?



HMV B3202 Edison Bell Radio 1253

Listen to a
1929 recording
by Gracie Fields.


Broadcast 453


Fred Godfrey as “Edward E. Elton” — London: Bert Feldman, 1929.

* * * * * * * * * * * *


“‘Oh! Maggie, What Have You Been Up To’ is now the biggest comedy chorus hit in the British Isles! At all the holiday resorts it is the favourite with the crowds—all Blackpool, Douglas and Margate are singing its infectious refrain, and it is the outstanding hit in Florrie Forde’s season repertoire” (The Era, 7 August 1929, p. 12).

This popular up-tempo comedy song was performed by numerous artistes on stage and disc,and evidently came to the relief of at least one hearer in a Brixton cinema who had not yet accommodated himself to the new era of sound:

[T]he reasons why I intend to be outrageously and unfairly favourable to this picture-palace are, first, that it has not wholly gone over to the talkies, and second, that it has retained a first-class orchestra, the excellence of which has been made possible by the poltroonery and short-sightedness of those West End houses which have disbanded their orchestras. It is true that there was a talkie on that afternoon, but I took advantage of this to inspect the lighting plant, the drains, and the strictly business side of the venture. The talkie being over, I saw an admirable silent film about a New York journalist. “Get your street scenery on,” said that journalist to a chorus girl. “You’re going up town with God’s gift to literature!” But he had the sense to say it in a sub-title. While Mr. Haines was delivering himself of this amiable nonsense the first-class orchestra played Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld Overture, Dowling’s Sleepy Valley, Montague Phillips’ Arabseque, a piece I didn‘t know, “Oh Maggie, What Have You Been Up To?” and if I mistake not, “The Lost Chord.” (James Agate, “The Cinema: Babylon at Brixton,” Tatler, 23 September 1929, p. 8)

Among the many besides the fine Brixton cinema orchestra who performed the song were Jeanette Adie in pantomime The Forty Thieves, Hippodrome, Hulme (December 1929); Barry Brian in revue Twice Brightly, Royal, Guildford (September 1929); Morny Cash, Liverpool Pavilion (July–August 1929); Billy Danvers in Julian Wylie’s Show Of Shows, Winter Gardens, Blackpool (August 1929), Empire, Leeds (October 1929), and Pavilion, Bournemouth (December 1929); Florrie Forde, Douglas, Isle of Man (July 1929) and Palace, Blackpool (August 1929); Hazel Glenn in Will A. Jackson’s revue Glad Rags, Waltham Green, London (September 1929), and Queen’s, Poplar, London (October 1929); Bruce Green, Metropole, Bootle (August 1929); Jennie Hartley, Mile End Empire, London (August 1929); Mamie Holland, of Leslie Fuller’s Margate Pedlars (July 1929); Jack Kerr & His Continental Band, Douglas Palais de Danse, Isle of Man (July 1929); Audrey Knight (August 1929); Fred Miller in pantomime Mother Goose, Hippodrome, Salford (December 1929); Gertie Moody in pantomime Bo-Peep And Boy Blue, Empire, Belfast (December 1929); Beth O’Dare in Will A. Jackson’s revue Pleasure Show, Villa Marina, Douglas, Isle of Man (August 1929); Joe Poynter (November 1929); Vesta Ray of the Blue Domino Company, Margate (July 1929); the St. Hilda Band, London Theatre, Shoreditch, London (November 1929); Elsie Steadman, Kursaal, Whitley Bay (August 1929); Emlyn Thomas & His London Band, Royal Victoria Pavilion, Ramsgate (August 1929); Reg Wentworth, Hippodrome, Exeter (July 1929), and Grand, Brighton, (August 1929); and Shirley Whyte, Palace, Luton (August 1929). Also interpolated in Worland S. Wheeler’s revue Speed Show, Palace, Watford (December 1929).



George Crowther (Piccadilly 337, 1929)

Gracie Fields (HMV B-3202, 1929)

Florida Club Dance Band; Fred Douglas, vocal (Sterno 205, 1929)

Jack Morrison (Broadcast 453, 1929)

Parlophone Variety Company; dir. by Ronnie Munro; Tommy Handley, vocal, in “Talkieland Selection” (Parlophone E-6220, 1929)

Clarkson Rose (Zonophone 5430, 1929)

Eugene Brockman’s Dance Orch.; dir. by Charles “Nat” Star (Homochord D-1415, 1929)

The Deauville Dance Orch.; dir. by Jay Wilbur; Tom Barratt, vocal (Dominion A-177, 1929)

Leslie Sarony (Imperial 2121, 1929)

Randolph Sutton (Edison Bell Radio 1253, 1929)

The London Orch., dir. by John Firman; with Charles W. Saxby at the Kingsway Hall Organ, in “Galaland” (Zonophone 5504, 1929)