Episode 27: Saturday Night Revue (1937)& Rob Baker on “Snakehips” Johnson & the Bombing of the Cafe de Paris
Dr Lawrence Napper of Kings College London met up with Dom to discuss 1937’s Saturday Night Revue. Starring Sally Gray and Billy Milton, it’s a role call of some long forgotten cabaret & variety acts of the day. That doesn’t sound promising but it’s great!
Short clip from Saturday Night Revue. Not sure why they chose this bit to promote the film...
The plot revolves around two night clubs, both called “Moons”. One is in Soho and the other is in Mayfair and is based on the Cafe de Paris. In the first half of the show, author Rob Baker returns to the show to tell us about the terrible night during World War 2 that the Cafe de Paris was bombed.
A very popular performer at the Cafe de Paris was Ken “Snakehips” Johnson and he has an uncredited cameo in Saturday Night Revue. Ken gave this interview to the BBC in 1940.
The unexpected star of Saturday Night Revue is not even an actor – he’s a BBC producer and presenter called John Watt who plays himself. His wife wrote a biography of him which was published in 1964 and it contains this picture.
One of the characters in Saturday Night Revue is a sound engineer at the BBC at “Radio House” (yes I know it’s called Broadcasting House – for some reason they call it Radio House in the film). There are references in the film to broadcasts of nightingales and this were a real thing. Read an article about them HERE.
If you’re not lucky enough to bag yourself a copy of Saturday Night Revue in our competition (listen to the episode for details) you can always spend money one it at Network.
Thank you for listening.