Lancaster University

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Exhibition - "Jack Hylton Presents..."1st Oct-1st Nov

09/24/2002 10:13:42

An exhibition of memorabilia from the Library's Archive illustrating the career of Jack Hylton as a band leader and theatrical impresario. This also includes some memorabilia from the Jack Hylton collection on Morecambe and Wise, and Arthur Askey.

Jack Hylton was born in 1892 in Bolton. His father worked in a cotton mill and his mother in a school. His father later became a publican and it was here that Jack started singing and playing the piano.

In the 1920s he arranged music and when as relief pianist for the Queen's Dance Orchestra he was refused extra payment for his arrangements he added the words "Directed by Jack Hylton" to each recording - a masterstroke in publicity. He went on to form his own band, which expanded into Jack Hylton and his Orchestra, and was in great demand. So much so that he had to provide other bands under his name.

At the outbreak of war many band members were called up and in 1940 Jack Hylton eventually had to disband the orchestra. He then moved into being a theatrical impresario both as a producer and as an entrepreneur. He was able to search out many new talents and discovered many famous people.

Morecambe and Wise were two such stars discovered by Jack Hylton. Eric Bartholomew won a talent contest which eventually meant a performance in front of Jack Hylton. Ernie Wise was discovered through a review that he was in and an agent presenting him to Jack Hylton. The next day Ernie Wise was appearing in the radio programme "Band Waggon" with Arthur Askey.

Arthur Askey started in music-hall but found his break into radio through Jack Hylton. They needed a comedian for their new radio programme and were unsure whether to choose Tommy Trinder or Arthur Askey. Arthur Askey eventually headed the team of "Band Waggon".

These stars as well as many band members are featured in the exhibition taking place at Lancaster University Library from 1st October 2002 until 1st November 2002.