LOpen Your Heart And Let The Sunshine In
Fred Godfrey & Bennett Scott — London: Bert Feldman, 1920.
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This big hit was sung by innumerable artistes — on disc by none bigger than Peter Dawson, and on stage by none bigger than Florrie Forde, who performed it in a number of pantomimes, including Robinson Crusoe, [unknown theatre], Blackpool (December 1920). She was later reported as saying the song “is the biggest hit she has had since ‘Down at the Old Bull and Bush’” (The Stage, 24 February 1921, p. 20). A review of her act at the Metropolitan, London (April 1921) noted: “Florrie Forde is exercising her wonderful knack of getting a chorus over the footlights, and letting it rest there, as the Americans say....[W]e lost count of the number of times the audience sang the refrain of ‘Open your heart and let the sunshine in’ on Monday evening. This very enjoyable number...has real philosophy in it, and Miss Forde gives it full expression” (The Stage, 7 April 1921, p. 11).
Among the many others who sang the song were Maisie Ayling, Kilburn Empire, London (January 1921); Ruth Beaumont (March 1921), who reported that “encores follow her every rendering” (The Stage, 3 March 1921, p. 16); Black & Brown (October 1920); Josie Bradley (November 1920); Connie Browning in pantomime Peter Piper, Royal Princess’s, Glasgow (December 1920); Miss Tommie Butler in pantomime Aladdin, Grand, Derby (December 1920) — “a bright and vivacious young lady who knows how to make herself popular, and she works very hard from rise to fall of the curtain. Her style and chaming manner delight her audience, and she is also gifted vocally” (Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal, 31 December 1920, p. 4); Ida Conroy in pantomime Robin Hood [place unknown] (January 1921); Eve Corner, Royal, Huddersfield (January 1921); Kitty Curtis in pantomime Cinderella, Grand, Hull (February 1921); Elsie & Nora Dale (November 1920); Elsie Doree & Jack Vincent in revue What A Night [unknown theatre] (January 1921); Kitty Evelyn in Fred Collins’ pantomime Mother Goose [unknown theatre] (January 1921); Mimi & Max Gerrard (November 1920); The Haig Bros. & Ryan (October 1920); Halliday & Staves (September 1920); Hayes & Jayes (October 1920); Robert Kent’s Uniques (February 1921); Knuts & Peaches (October 1920), who find it “a good opening number” (The Stage, 7 October 1920, p. 9); Ethel Leslie (November 1920); Harry Matto & Madge Furnival, “The Fool And The Flapper” (October 1920); Billy Quantrill (March 1921); Peggy Rose (April 1921); Belle Sylvia (May 1920); Anna Thayer in pantomime Jack And The Beanstalk, Palace, Chelsea (January 1921); The Three Star Dandies (December 1920); Emmelyn Walker in pantomime Cinderella, Theatre Royal, Edinburgh (December 1920); Dorothy Ward in Douglas, Isle of Man, in Preston, and other locales [unknown theatres] (summer 1920); Isa Wise (February 1921); and Zoe & Zona (February 1921). Interpolated in pantomime Tom, The Piper’s Son, Prince’s Theatre, Bristol (December 1920) and in pantomime Puss In Boots, Rugby (December 1920).
Oddly, the song appears to have been revived for the 1952–53 pantomime season, appearing in several shows in January 1953, just weeks befor Fred Godfrey’s death.
Peter Dawson as “Will Strong” (HMV B-1166, 1921)