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CHEERIO
with
Billy Merrin
& his
Commanders


"CHEERIO" GB 1935

GB Oct 1935 Fidelity Films Ltd ... Dir: Frank Dormand ... Photographed: D.P. Cooper
... Musical Dir: Billy Merrin ... Recorded: L.B. Buckley ... New Fidelity Noiseless Recording
... with Billy Merrin & his Commanders; vocalist Ken Crossley; Jimmy and Alice Dey

Released by Pathéscope on 9.5mm optical sound as T.9300 (2 reels) - June 1938
9.5mm running time is approx 16 minutes - virtually uncut from the 35mm cinema original

Also released by Pathéscope on 17.5mm optical sound as T.7300 (2 reels) - October 1936

Billy Merrin and his Commanders (dance band) (voc. Ken Crossley):-
        "Troubles are like Bubbles" (Billy Merrin, Keyes & Edgar Leslie)
Billy Merrin and his Commanders (dance band)
        "March Winds and April Showers"(m&w Walter G.Samuels Leonard Whitcup & Teddy Powell)
Introducing 'The Commanders' - medley (spoken by Billy Merrin)
	"Tiger Rag   - Tommy Littlewood (vibrophone solo)
		              - Nigel 'Cod' Hill (bass solo)
		              - Teddy Taylor (trombone solo)
	"Shine"	      -  Ken Crossley (vocal)
	(a piano accordian solo by George Wallace ("Shine") missing from the 9.5mm print)
Alice Dey (vocal) with band 
        "Nobody's Sweetheart" (Gus Kahn, Ernie Erdman, B.Myers & Elmer Schoebel)
Jimmy Dey & Alice Dey (tap dance) with band
        "Somebody Stole my Girl" (Leo Wood)
Trumpet duet & band 
        "Two Trumpet Toot" (Roscoc Kern)
Alice & Jimmy Dey (song & dance) with band
        "Stylish Steps" routine
Ken Crossley (vocal) & band 
        "With my Heart In My Hand" (Merrin & Hurley)
Billy Merrin and his Commanders (dance band)
        "Cheerio!" (Merrin) with vocal by Billy Merrin and the boys
  
Billy Merrin & his Commanders at Ramsgate 1936  

1. Billy Merrin was born at Nottingham, UK on 22 February 1900. In his early
   years he studied the banjo, mandolin, piano and much later alto saxophone.
   After demob from the Royal Naval Air Service after the first world war he
   formed a novelty dance group with bookings around Nottingham & Birmingham.

   After writing a musical play and formed a long association with the Alan
   Green Band, providing musical arrangements and doubling on banjo, piano,
   alto saxophone and vocals.  Billy formed his own band the Commanders in
   Nottingham in 1931.  Because of various broadcasts he became very popular.
2. The Commanders recorded for various record labels in the early 1930s -
   recording over 80 sides for Sterno and Plaza during 1934 alone!
   Crystalate's nine-inch Crown records first went on sale in Woolworths in
   September 1935.  One of the main dance bands featured was Billy Merrin
   and his Commanders.
3. He discovered singer Ken Crossley at a Nottingham crooning contest.
   Ken had previously worked as a bricklayer on building sites.
4. The BBC paid tribute to Billy Merrin in 1939 with a life story -
   "From Banjo To Baton".  
5. A fairly successful songwriter, Billy ran a music publishing business,
   appeared as a solo artist and later in the war years played summer
   seasons at Herne Bay, Kent, UK.
6. From 1951 he teamed up with his singing protegé Penny Nichols and
   toured variety theatres for nine years.
7. In 1960 he was musical director of the hit revival of "No No Nanette".
   In 1962 he took the touring version of the Black and White Minstrel
   Show to Australia and New Zealand.  Three years later back in England
   he wrote the entire score and conducted the orchestra for the Harry
   Worth Show.  Once the season ended he retired to Brighton.  He died
   24 July 1980 at the age of eighty.
(Extra info. with grateful thanks to Maurice Trace, Alex Gleason & Bob Francis)
 
    

Watch most of my 9.5mm sound print of "Cheerio" on You Tube: http://youtu.be/2bjX_9V7Ix0 (25Mar2013)
There are two excellent CDs of Billy Merrin & His Commanders, released on the Vocalion label.

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Created Oct2000 ...... Updated 09 February 2015 ...... 95flmdancechee ....... © Grahame L. Newnham MM
29Nov2014 - 17.5mm reference added