Patrons Ticket Information Behind The Scenes Of The Gang Show Warrington Gang Show History Of The Gang Show History Of The Gang Show Contact Gang Show Latest News Download booking form Warrington Gang Show Home

       The History Of Gang Show


The first ever Gang Show, titled "The Gang's All Here!" was staged in London at the Scala Theatre, off Tottenham Court Road, from 30 October - 1 November 1932. To quote the programme, the book, music, lyrics and production were by "a Holborn Rover".

..............................

The show produced a lot of goodwill and a profit of £150. So The Gang had to return in 1933 and, such was the confidence of the organising committee, the Scala was booked for a week. The 1933 show was titled, not surprisingly, "The Gang Comes Back!" and played to full houses. The Gang had come to stay and it was decided in 11934 that future productions be titled "The Gang Show."

..............................

The 1934 show was notable in two respects; "We're Riding Along on the Crest of a Wave" was sung for the first time, and every seat was sold before the opening performance. As a result, the theatre was booked for a fortnight in 1935 and the same thing happened; not a ticket was left when the show began.

..............................

The run was always limited to a two week run because, of course, all the members of The Gang were either at work or school during the day and also had to be active in the Scout Movement in order to qualify to be in the show. It was in 1935, too, that the drama critics of the national newspapers prevailed upon Ralph Reader to drop his anonymity and so "A Holborn Rover" disappeared from the scene.

..............................

In 1937 The Gang featured in a full length film, The Gang Show, produced by Herbert Wilcox and directed by Alfred Goulding. 1937 also saw The Gang appearing in a Royal Command Performance, the first amateurs ever to do so. This great honour was also theirs in 1957 and 1964. In fact, the Royal family have supported The Gang Show since 1933 when their Royal Highnesses, the Duke and Duchess of York (later to become King George VI and Queen Elizabeth) attended a performance. Our present Queen honoured the London Gang Show by attending performances in 1954, 1962 and 1972, its 40th Anniversary year.

back to the top

   
continued...

When World War II began in 1939 The Gang exchanged their Scout uniforms for Service uniforms, many continuing the good work in the Royal Air Force. By 1944 there were 24 RAF Gang Shows entertaining the Services in different parts of the world. For his leadership in this splendid war service, Ralph Reader received the MBE.

..............................

The Gang Show, Scout version, returned to London in 1950 at the King's Theatre, Hammersmith; the demand for tickets made it necessary to use a larger theatre than the pre-war Scala. For the same reason, the production was transferred to Golders Green Hippodrome in 11952. When that theatre ceased to be available in 1968, The Gang were welcomed to the Odeon Theatre, Golders Green. During the two week run of the show in 1972, The Gang played to more than twice the number of people it had before the war.

..............................

In the Queen's Birthday Honours List of 1957, Ralph Reader received the CBE for his services to Scouting. During the Jubilee Jamboree of 1957, The Gang Show was staged for a week in Birmingham and played twice nightly to the Scouts of the World. The box office set up a record for the theatre.

..............................

Until 1967 The Gang Show was an all-male show. In the following year they were joined by girls and the change was warmly welcomed by most of the audience members and, especially, by the cast.

..............................

Thanks to Ralph Reader's generosity, Scouts throughout the world are allowed to use his songs and sketches in their own Gang Shows which, it is estimated, have raised something in the region of £2-3 million for local funds. In 1974, largely due to his ill-health, Ralph Reader decided that this was to be the last of the London Gang Shows and so the 1974 show became "The Farewell Gang Show". There can't have been many dry eyes in the theatre when the cast sang, "We've Been Making Memories…".

..............................

All of The Gang Show achievements are due to one man - Ralph. He was the creator and inspirer-in-chief of Gang Shows throughout the world. At first he was also largely the author and composer.

..............................

His contribution to Scouting was inimitable. He gave lavishly of his time, energy and talent and the Scout Movement is eternally grateful for the benefits he gave to the Movement as a whole. What better memorial to any person than, "These are the time we shall dream about, and we'll call them 'the good old days'."


back to the top

 
 


Maintained By ITQ | Contact ITQ
s f0