Thursday, 7 November 2013

The Gracie Fields Appreciation Society: Get Your Facts Right!


The thing that amuses me most about "appreciation societies" is that some of them--though not all--while appreciating the star in question, know very little about them while professing to know all. As such, many of them serve as little more than boasting platforms, like the class know-all back at school who swaggers around and says, "My brother's cock is bigger than yours!"
I see little purpose in having a Gracie Fields Appreciation Society when the focus of attention is not the great star, Gracie Fields, but in who has what, that someone else might not have--and in trying to prove that whatever one person says Our Gracie did, there's another who says she did not. It all gets very boring!
I have heard Gracie's French recordings--"Reviens", "Chantez pour moi violons", etc. They exist on acetate. But because the "experts" have not heard them, they do not exist. There was a similar argument some years ago about Edith Piaf singing In English on American television--until the clips showed up.

I find it particularly offensive that the GFAS states that Gracie Fields and Maurice Chevalier appeared together at the Paris Olympia, in 1940. 
Why is this? Well, this was merely days before the city was occupied by the Germans, and the Paris Olympia was NOT a theatre at this time, but a cinema showing pro-Nazi propaganda films, the very LAST place where patriots Gracie and Chevalier, Mistinguett and Lucienne Boyer would have been seen dead in! And the thought of Arthur Askey topping a French music-hall bill is quite frankly ludicrous!
The venue was the Opéra de Paris, which was entirely different, and was followed by repeat performances at the Bal Tabarin, where Mistinguett set up a "canteen" for fellow patriots.
Gracie Fields was a massive star in Britain, so if you really do appreciate her, please get your head out of the clouds, stop boasting of what you have that others might not have, and get your facts right. By stating that she appeared in an already German-controlled venue, you are making her the enemy!

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