Elton Hayes on Tour

I recently posted about the release of a CD containing a compilation of songs by Elton Hayes (1915-2001). Elton was unforgettable as the minstrel Alan-a-Dale, in Walt Disney's classic movie The Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men (1952). The CD is now available here and receiving some great reviews.

Elton Hayes as Alan-a-Dale in Disney's Story of Robin Hood

Geoff Waite, a good friend of this web site, has written an interesting and detailed biography on the inner sleeve of the CD. And he has been in touch recently, to explain the reason why the new Elton Hayes CD does not contain tracks from Robin Hood.

Geoff says:

"Just to thank you for kindly letting your readers know of the Elton CD
release. I too like 'The Girl in the Wood'.

I agree that it would have been terrific if the songs from Disney's Robin
Hood had been included, but the record company were working from an archive
of radio performances made by Elton and as far as I am aware none of these
included 'Whistle my Love' which would have been an obvious choice. They had
already made their decision on the content of the CD based on the best of
those live performances, featuring just Elton and his guitar from his radio
show 'He Sings to a Small Guitar'. It should be borne in mind that the
actual studio recordings of 'Whistle my Love' and 'Riddle De Diddle De Day'
include an orchestra backing conducted by Philip Green. But it would still
have been nice to find a version of this song in the archives.

A small consolation perhaps is the photograph of Elton with Joan Rice on the
CD cover."

The success of Robin Hood, meant that Elton Hayes's popularity soared around the world. Below is an interesting American newspaper cutting of that period, describing his tour promoting the Disney movie.

Elton Hayes's newspaper article

Dated 8th June 1952, the newspaper article says:

"Dixieland music and the city's food received a salute from a visiting British movie actor and musician today.

He is Elton Hayes a Londoner, who is in New Orleans on a tour of Southern Cities to promote Walt Disney's newest Technicolor production, "Robin Hood", which was filmed in England with an all-British cast.

"My impression of the city where jazz was born was entirely different from what I imagined." Hayes said at the Roosevelt. "Instead of the 'city that care forgot,' we find a thriving, bustling, metropolis."

Last night Hayes dined at a famed French resteraunt in the Vieux Carre and went on a tour of the Quarter's spots which Dixieland music. "I had plenty of both," he smiled, "and enjoyed what I had."

Like Europe

Hayes was astonished to find so much at the Vieux Carre still in tact. "It's a lot like Europe," he found.

Turning to "Robin Hood", Hayes said he enacts the role of "Allan a Dale" a roving minstrel. He first plays the lute, which he describes as the first juke box. Coins were dropped into the instrument by Maid Marian, played by Joan Rice, as a reward for information sung to her of Robin Hood.

Others in the film's cast are Richard Todd, who plays the title role; James Robertson Justice, Little John; Martitia Hunt as Queen Eleanor, and James Hayter as Friar Tuck.

Hayes said "Robin Hood" was his second association with Disney. He was hired by Disney to prepare original sea chanties for "Treasure Island", due to the fact that Hayes collection of old English ballads were unrivalled in all of England.

He is Britain's counterpart to America's Burl Ives, ballad and folk singer. 

The actor-musician broadcasts regularly over the British Broadcasting Co. network on his own show, "He Sings To A Small Guitar." 

He visited a number of radio stations yesterday to appear with disc jockeys. Hayes said he was amazed at how much ad-libbing is permitted. "In England we have to stick pretty close to the scripts."

Hayes said he recorded three months of shows in advance to make the trip to America, his first. He returns in six weeks.

"Robin Hood", Hayes added, "will reach New Orleans at the end of July. I think it's one of Walt Disney's best."


I think you will agree, that this newspaper article gives a fascinating insight into not only the promotion of the film, but the popularity of Elton Hayes at this time.

1 comment:

Clement Glen said...

"Elton Hayes on Tour"