The Leslie Flint Educational Trust

Promoting the Legacy and Archive of the British Independent Direct Voice Medium Leslie Walter Flint

 
 

Impression of how Nellie Klute may have appeared.

From an oil painting by Horace Edward Quick (1890-1966)

Photo credit: Hastings Museum and Art Gallery

The Nellie Klute séance


Recorded: July 27th 1972



I think most theatres are haunted”



In this recording from Leslie's own private home circle,

Mickey is the first to communicate

and he speaks to each sitter in turn, referring to incidents in their lives.

Then he raises a laugh by encouraging them all to sing an old song.


Leslie wonders if he'll be allowed a few weeks off

and Mickey shares some theatrical advice with Robert.


Mickey then reminds Leslie and Bram

about the ghost they both met at the theatre,

with the appearance of a strange old lady,

wearing old-fashioned clothes,

who sold them a theatre programme and then disappeared.


Mickey describes this ghostly figure, who stands and watches,

but can sometimes be seen...



They discuss the details of the incident,

then the whispering voice of the ghost herself, Nellie Klute, makes her appearance,

and she remembers meeting Leslie and Bram that night...


Nellie's voice never gains full strength,

but she speaks clearly and shares stories of her life and the theatre in days gone by

- and sometimes she leaves the sitters in fits of laughter!


Dr Marshall comments at the end of the séance

and Mickey returns to say goodbye and he tries to sing another song.


I was never on the stage, but I never missed a performance.”

              

Note: the voice of the main communicator remains at low volume throughout this recording

 
 
 

Please read the complete transcript below as you listen...


Note: Two of the sitters at this séance were actor and theatre production manager Robert Selbie

and composer Richard Kayne, both from the Chichester Festival Theatre in Sussex, England.


The stage play they discuss with Mickey is The Lady's Not For Burning,

which was being performed at the time and starred American actor Richard Chamberlain.




Sitters present:
Robert Selbie, Richard Kayne, Jean Barrett, Ken Barrett, Jim Ellis,
Gwen Vaughan, Nigel Buckmaster, Doreen Montgomery, Marie White, 
Bram Rogers, Daphne Simpson, Leslie Flint.



Spirit communicators:
Mickey, Nellie Klute, Dr Charles Marshall.




Flint:
This séance was recorded on the 27th of July 1972. Leslie Flint medium.

Sitters: [Laughing]


Sitters:
Hello Mickey!

Mickey:

Dickie... Bobby and Dickie are here.

Richard:
Hello Mickey, how are you?

Mickey:
Well, I'll be blowed! How are you Bobby?

Robert:
I'm very well thank you Mickey. Are you?


Mickey:
Alright thank you. Nice to see you. And Dickie.

Robert:
And nice to talk to you.


Mickey:
How are you Dickie?

Richard:
Alright. Alright.

Mickey:
Well don't say it like that, as if you're... what's the matter with you?

Sitters: [Laughing]

Flint: [Laughing]
Oh dear!


Mickey:
Don't you like being called Dickie?


Richard:
I was asleep actually.


Sitters: [Laughing]

Richard:
I was dozing...


Jean:
Yes, I know you were.

Sitters: [Laughing]

Flint:
Huh!

Mickey:
I don't know, I'm sure. You don't come for weeks, then when you do come you go to sleep!

Sitters: [Laughing]


Mickey:
You are funny!


Richard:
I only stayed away because I've been working.

Mickey:
Oh, I know that. I don't have to be told the obvious.


Flint:
Oh, dear!

Mickey:
How are you getting on with that woman*?

*an actress
Richard: [Laughter]
She's alright. She's not too bad.

Flint:
Oh dear!


Richard:
She's a worry.

Sitters: [Laughing]

Richard:
Most women are!


Sitters: [Laughing]

Robert:
I like her.


Richard:
You don't have to work with her...


Mickey:
She came round then, didn't she?

Richard:
Came round to what? What... from...?


Mickey:
From off her... out of her stupor.


Richard:

Well...


Flint:
Out of her what?


Richard:
Well, she did, yes. But not for long Mickey.

Mickey:
She goes on a bender don't she?

Richard:
She does indeed yes.


Robert:
That's right.


Mickey:
Then she comes around-er!

Sitters: [Laughing]


Richard:
Nasty while it happens.


Mickey:
And if she's not careful, she'll come a cropper!

Sitters: [Laughing loudly]

Richard:
I think you're right.


Mickey:
Poor lady. She's very nice really.


Richard:
Well she is. Very nice. She's been very good to me.


Mickey:
Anyway, nice to see you.


Richard:
And it's very nice to talk to you.


Robert:
Thank you...


Mickey:
And how are the babysitters?


Jean:
Oh, we're alright thank you.


Sitters: [Laughter]

Ken:
Flat out Mickey!


Mickey:
Flat out? Did you have to change their nappies?


Jean:
Yes. I did.


Mickey:
Oh, gosh!

What's gone wrong with your washing-up machine?

Jean:
Ours?


Mickey:
Yes, yours Jean.


Jean:
I hope nothing! [Laughing]

Mickey:
Oh. You sure?

Jean:
Well it was alright this morning.


Mickey:
Was it?

Jean:
Mmm...


Robert:
Your mother's been at it again.


Ken:
I think she's been looking at it.


Jean:
I'll have another look when I go back, Mickey.


Mickey:
Oh, I shouldn't bother.


Jean:
It worked this morning alright.


Mickey:
No cracked plates?

Jean:
No. If it's mother, I don't suppose she approves.


Mickey:
Why shouldn't she?


Jean:
I don't think she approves of washing-up machines... probably.

Ken:
There are people for that sort of thing...


Mickey:
How are you James Ellis?

Ellis:
Very well Mickey and happy too.


Mickey:
And Gwendoline?


Gwen:
I'm very well too Mickey, thank you.


Mickey:
Oh.


Gwen:
What does that mean?

Mickey:
Nothing. [Laughing]

Gwen: [Laughing]

Mickey:
Oh, what's the matter with him tonight?


Flint:
I'm alright.


Mickey:
But you wasn't. You was in a funny mood.


Flint:
Huh.

Mickey:
Hello Nigel.


Nigel:
Hello Mickey.


Mickey:
Where's you're old black box gone, mate?


Nigel:
Well, it's around. It's not in operation tonight.


Mickey:
How's the scribe?


Flint:
The who?


Group: [Laughter]


Doreen:
Marie?


Flint:
The what?

Jean:
The scribe.


Mickey:
The scribe.


Marie:
Do you mean me?


Mickey:
No, you're not a scribe. Are you, love?


Rogers:
Doreen.


Doreen:
Yes she is. Do you mean me Mickey?


Mickey:
Yes.

Doreen:
Oh, sorry. I thought you meant Marie.


Mickey:
No, no.


Nigel:
You wouldn't describe Marie as a scribe, you would describe you as a scribe.


Doreen:
Well Marie has her writing, which is more 'scriby' than...


Mickey:
Oh I see. I wasn't thinking... I was thinking about you and your writing, your scribbling, you know?


Doreen:
I'm not as grand as a scribe, I'm just a... you know... I'm just a writer.


Mickey:

Well it's better than being called Pharisee ain't it?


Sitters: [Laughing]


Mickey:

No, jokes apart - how are you?


Doreen:

Alright sweetie. Fine, in fact.


Mickey:

Good. What have you done to your leg?


Doreen:

Oh, I scraped the skin off. It's nothing.


Mickey:

Oh. It certainly wasn't through praying was it!


Doreen:

No it wasn't...


Sitters: [Laughing]


Doreen:

Well, it was on Sunday too. But it wasn't praying.


Mickey:

How are you Rog?


Flint:

Huh!


Bram Rogers:

I'm very well thank you Mickey.


Mickey:

Good.


Rogers:

Working hard.


Mickey:

Yes you've been very busy haven't you? I've watched you.


Rogers:
Do you approve?


Mickey:

Of course. Why not? You're doing a good job aren't you?


Rogers:

I hope so. Mmm. I hope it'll benefit a lot of people.


Mickey:

Poor old Daphne...


Daphne:

Why?


Mickey:

Well, it's a shame isn't it Daphne?


Daphne:
What?


Mickey:
Well, a duff knee!

Sitters: [Laughing loudly]


Daphne: [Laughing]

It's not my knee...


Mickey:

Well, it affects your knee doesn't it?


Daphne:

Um...well, I suppose it does a bit.


Sitter: [Laughing]


Mickey:

And how are you to Teresa?


Flint:

Who's Teresa?


Marie:

Me?


Mickey:

Yes, Marie Theresa!


Marie:

I'm alright, thank you.


Mickey:

Are you going into your caravan?


Marie:

Yes.


Mickey:

What, at the weekend?


Marie:

Yes.


Mickey:

Are you going blackberrying*

*collecting blackberries

Marie:

Oh lord. No, I'm not going blackberrying. I'm going potato-ing!


Mickey:

Potato-ing?


Marie:

Get some potatoes. Mmm...


Mickey:

What for?


Marie:

To eat.


Mickey:

Spuds?


Marie:
Mmm... It's too early for blackberries.


Mickey:

When do the blackberries come?


Various sitters:
September...


Mickey:

Oh I can't remember. Of course, I remember donkeys years ago they used to... they use to go blackberrying and they used to have a stick and pull the old brambles, as you call them, down. Didn't they?


Marie:
Mmm...

Mickey:

I went once. Out into the country. It must have been that time of year, you know, because they were blackberrying.


Rogers:

But you're not supposed to pick them Mickey after about the 25th of September.


Mickey:

What for?


Marie:

Aren't you?


Rogers:

Because they say the Devil spits on them then.


Various sitters:

Never heard that one before.


Mickey:

That's a new one on me.


Rogers:
Well, that's what they say.

Mickey:
He must be kept very busy with spittle!


Sitters: [Laughing]


Flint: [Laughing]


Nigel:

That's a very good name for a musical Doreen. 'The Spittles'!


Richard:
The Spittles, yes...


Sitters: [Laughing]


Mickey:

Do what's he say?


Rogers:

It's a good name for a musical.


Mickey:

What?


Rogers:

The Spittles. Actually, it would make a marvellous title for a television series, wouldn't it?


How are things Mickey...


Mickey:

Oh, I'm alright.


Rogers:

...in general?


Mickey:

I'm alright. It's him!


Flint:

What do you mean 'him'?


Rogers:

I think he's got the conversion on his mind. Do you think?


Mickey:

Got what on his mind?


Rogers:

The conversion.


Mickey:

Conversion? Conversion of what?


Rogers:

Oh, Mickey, you must surely know?


Mickey:

Oh that! Is that what you call it, a conversion?


Rogers:

Well it is, isn't it? It's being converted from one thing to another.


Mickey:

Yes, I suppose your right.


Doreen:

Well, you want him to do it don't you?


Mickey: [speaking quickly]

Oh, yes of course. I don't deny anyone pleasure. No, no. Not like that. No, if that's what he wants, good luck to him, and we'll do what we can, if we can, you know. I didn't... I just didn't think. My brain didn't tick over, not when you said 'conversion'...


Rogers:

What's all the quickness for?


Gwen: [Laughing]


Mickey:

I can talk posh if I like, can't I?


Rogers:

Quickness...


Sitters: [Laughing]


Rogers:

You sound as if...


Mickey: [Singing]

# All the nice girls love a sailor, All the nice girls love a tar, [Laughing], Oh there's something about a sailor, Oh you know what sailors are...


[Sitters join in]


Mickey: [Singing]

# Bright and breezy, Free and easy, He's the ladies pride and joy...


[Sitters continue singing]


Mickey:

I can't remember that last bit.


Altogether: [Singing]

# Ship ahoy! Ship ahoy!


Mickey: [Singing]
# Ship ahoy!


Sitters/Flint: [Laughing]


Ellis:

Thanks Mickey.


Mickey:

Oh well. A bit more for the Mickey album!


Sitters: [Laughing]


Ellis:

It's coming on pretty good.


Mickey:

Oh well. We'll see what's what...


Rogers:

Has Sam been around any more Mickey?


Mickey:

I haven't seen him.


Rogers:
Mmm...


Mickey:
I think he did his stint.


Rogers:

Oh, but he promised that he would come to us again...


Mickey:

Oh did he?


Rogers:

…in a different guise.


Mickey:

Oh blimey. I suppose he's going turn his coat 'round?


Sitters: [Laughing]


Flint: [Coughing]


Mickey:

Oh shut up. Honestly!


Rogers:

Oh, Dr Nanji brought him some marvellous stuff for his chest, but it won't have it. He says it tastes awful.


Mickey: [Whispering]
It's alright.


Sitters:

Mmm...?


Rogers:
He says it's alright.


[Something hits the microphone]


Rogers:

It's ages since Marshall came and spoke to us isn't it?


Flint:

Perhaps he's on vacation having a rest.


Rogers:
Possibly, yes.


Flint:

I wonder if I dare ask Mickey if I can have a month off?


Rogers:

Ask him.


Flint: [Coughing]


Daphne:

Yes, ask him.

Jean:
He said no last week didn't he?


Rogers:

Mickey?


Flint: [Gurgling]


Mickey:

Oh shut up!


Sitters: [Laughing]


Mickey:
What went wrong with the fire scene?


Flint:

Wrong with the what scene?


Rogers:

He's talking to Robert.


Robert:

The fire scene? Mickey?


Mickey:

Yes.


Robert:

We didn't want it.


Mickey:
Well, I don't know, [there's] somebody here, who is nothing to do with me, he says that you did not do it faithfully. Something... it was something to do with the fire sequence and, uh, he can't understand why. Do you know what it's all about, because I don't?


Robert:

If it's the one I'm thinking of, somebody else wanted it...


Flint: [Coughing]


Robert:

...and we actually didn't want it, so we... you know. It wasn't a good idea in the first place.


Mickey:

It wasn't?


Robert:

No.


Mickey:

They said it was very... it would have been very effective, because it seems that, uh, it's been omitted for some reason.


Robert:

It's been omitted because A: it would have cost too much and B: we didn't want it.


Mickey:

Well...


Richard:
The scene was also in very bad taste.


Robert:
It was very bad taste.


Mickey:

Was it? Well that's a matter of opinion, of course. But, um... evidently someone here says that you lost a lot of the effect because you didn't have the appearance of the flames and the fire. Was it in the distance or something?


Robert:

No.


Mickey:
Well there's a man here, says his name is Lang*, and he says that when he did things, he did things. And when he was burned at the stake, he says he really had a big spectacular sequence and it bought the house down.


Robert:

Oh, it was indeed. It was indeed, yes. You're quite right.


Doreen:
Is it Mathieson Lang*?

*Lang: Canadian theatre manager


Mickey:

But you haven't been doing this thing The Wandering Jew have you?


Robert:
We've not being doing that play, no.


Mickey:

Well have you been doing a play that is supposed to have a burning or something?


Robert:
Been doing a play* about burning a witch, yes.

*The Lady's Not For Burning


Mickey:
And is she burned on the stage or what?


Robert:
No.


Mickey:

Is she burned off-stage?


Robert:
No.

Richard:
No. It's avoided.


Robert:
But they were going to have a scene with some flames at the beginning.


Mickey:

Well, they... he says that you lost a lot of effect or something, because when he did whatever this was, thing he did, something about Jew, he says we had a big spectacular scene and it brought the house down.


Robert:

He did. It was supposed to be wonderful.


Mickey:

Well, he's a stickler for tradition, this man.


Rogers:

Is it not possible for him to come and speak to us Mickey, himself?


Mickey:

Oh, well I don't know.


Rogers:
Oh I know...


Mickey:

I don't know why these people come. I suppose it's because the theatrical crowd are here again.


Flint: [Laughing]


Rogers:

Yes, but it would be very interesting if he could.


Mickey:

Because I suppose they can't afford to do things like they used to?


Rogers:

Of course they can, if they want to.


Mickey:

Well, I don't know, I wouldn't know, I'm only asking!


Rogers:
Oh, they think they're feathering their pockets*. They are not like Mathieson Lang, who was devoted to his art.


*making money

Richard:

Thank you Mr Rogers.


Mickey:

Oh now boys!


Sitters: [Laughing]


Mickey:

I suppose things were much cheaper in those days weren't they?


Rogers:

Of course they were, yes.


Sitter: [Blowing nose]


Mickey:
[Unintelligible] …for about five bob* a night.

*shillings


Rogers:

Yes.


Mickey:

When you go to the theatre again perhaps that girl... old lady, will put in her appearance with her dolly bag.


Flint:
Oh Mickey, you mean the one that we saw...


Rogers:

Oh, we'd love to!


Flint:

...that apparition that served as with a programme and disappeared? Oh I'd love to see her again. We searched the theatre for her during the interval. Oh, she was definitely left over.


Rogers:

What made you mentioned that? She's not here... is she here this evening Mickey?


Mickey:

All in good time.


Well, there's a lady here, says she's Miss Klute and she says that she used to, um... sell programmes and things in various theatres and she says that she was once at The Lyric [Theatre] and once at The Globe [Theatre]. 


And she was there for many years. And she says that she often goes there and sometimes she stands and watches. And she says sometimes she's able to be seen. And she says she saw you two there one night.


Rogers:

That's true.


Flint:

Well, she sold us a programme. What did she do with the money? [Laughing]


Sitters: [Laughing loudly]


Flint:

And she was dressed in a bombazine dress and she was definitely Edwardian and she had a funny old dolly bag.


Daphne:

Did you see her also Bram?


Rogers:
Yes, of course I did.


Daphne:

Did you?


Flint:
Yes.

Rogers:

Yes. We asked the other usherettes about her...


Flint:

And nobody knew who she was. We asked the usherettes and went up the circle...


Rogers:

There looked at us as if we were mad!


Flint:

We couldn't find this woman at all, but She sold us a programme and she was in Edwardian dress with a bombazine... black bombazine dress, everything. Very old-fashioned.


Ellis:

Was the programme a real one?


Flint:
Yes

Rogers:
Yes, for the current show.


Ellis:

And you gave her the money?


Rogers:

Yes.


Flint:

Well, we put something in her hand.


Sitters: [Laughing]


Ellis:

Oh, that's something.


Rogers:

How marvellous. I wish she could talk to us.


Flint:

What's he say, Mrs Klute?


Various sitters:

Mrs Klute.


Male sitter:

Wonderful name.


[Coughing]


[The sound of whispering]


Rogers:

[Unintelligible]


Klute: [Whispering]

Yes. Yes I was there.


Rogers:

Were you, my dear?


Klute: [Whispering]

Yes, I was there.


Rogers:

It was very interesting. Do you remember seeing me and the other gentleman?


[Short silence]


Klute:

Yes.


Rogers:

You do? Well it was a very interesting experience for both of us.


Flint:

What was the play we saw, can you remember?


Rogers:

Leslie, Leslie.. keep quiet...


Are you still there? We'd very much like you to come and talk with us.


Flint: [Yawning]


Klute:

Yes. I was... I was...


Rogers:

You were at The Lyric were you?

Klute:
I was...

Rogers:
And The Globe?

Klute:
I was at The Lyric for a number of years and I was also at The Globe.


Rogers:

Yes.


Klute: [Whispering]

Yes. Of course I'm going back... many years...


[Sound of breathing]


Rogers:
You liked the theatre did you?


Klute:

Of course I did.


Rogers:

Who were some of the people you saw on stage, in your day?


Klute:
Oh, many artists: Connie Gilchrist...Marie Tempest...


Rogers:
Oh, yes...


Flint: [Sniffing]

Klute: [Sighing]

Rogers:

Did you have to travel into the centre of London or were you living in that area then?


Klute:
I lived... I lived in Drury Lane.


Rogers:
Oh yes?

Klute:
Or just 'round Drury Lane... in the buildings...


Rogers:
Mmm-hmm...

Klute:
That's going back. Oh, I was there at turn-of-the-century, in the early days and during the war years. Yes.


Rogers:
The First World War you mean – 1914?


Klute: [Sighing]
Yes, yes, yes.


Rogers:
Mmm... and when... How long have you been over - the side you are now?


Klute:
I came... I was killed in the raids during the war.

Rogers:
You were?


Klute:
Yes.

Male sitter:
The Boer War?


Rogers:
No, no, no...

Female sitter:
The First World War.

Rogers:
And how do you find things? Do you come back and see the theatre now? Or are you able to attend theatre over there?


[Short silence]


Klute:
Yes. I remember all those wonderful people. And they were wonderful too. Of course, it's before you were born.


Rogers:
Of course yes.


Klute:
I can remember all those lovely, lovely old plays. Of course, you wouldn't remember Forbes-Robertson* in The Passing of the Third Floor Back.

*Sir Johnston Forbes-Robertson: actor/manager


Rogers:
I heard about...

Klute:
That was one of the loveliest plays. And of course I saw... I saw all the great ones I saw [unintelligible]. I saw [unintelligible]...

Rogers:
Who?

Klute:
And I saw the one that was murdered you know. Such a nice looking fellow. William... You remember Terriss? At The Adelphi [Theatre] you know. He was stabbed* on the way... on the way into the theatre, in that alleyway, you know.


*William Terriss: killed in 1897

Rogers:
Was he?

Klute:
Oh that was a nasty thing. Such a nice man. Good actor too. I saw all of them in my time. Of course I used to go sometimes when... when we weren't having a matinee, I used to get a free pass, you see, into the other theatres.


I saw Oscar Asche and Lily Brayton in Chu Chin Chow*. Now that was a spectacle; if you want a spectacle. I don't think they'd ever dare do anything like that today.

*The longest running musical show at the time


Rogers:
[Laughing]


Klute:
And they filled the whole theatre with incense.


Rogers:
Yes.


Sitter: [Blows nose]

Klute:

... They were the great days. Of course, they'll never come back again, you know.

Rogers:
Don't you think so?

Klute:
Oh, no, no, no! They haven't got the people, my dear. They haven't got the people. I mean, in those days they were great actor-managers, you know. And they spent their entire fortune on one production and a gamble. You can't see them doing it now.


Rogers:
No.


Klute:
No. Different days altogether. They ain't dedicated like they was in the old days; investing every ha'penny - borrow it, beg it, steal it! And what shows, what productions, oh!


Of course you don't remember either when they used to have the gaslight. That was lovely lighting. So soft and pleasant. Then they had the electricity, that was harsh. Oh, that was harsh that was, after the lovely soft, you know, lighting with the gas.


Rogers:

You must remember the Hippodrome, when that was a marvellous theatre?


Klute:
Of course, I lived to a good age really, taking everything by and large. But I was killed, you know, yes. No regrets now. I did at the time. I used to haunt those places you know. I loved them so much.


Rogers:
Yes. Well, I can distinctly remember seeing you. And you...

Klute:
Of course, I saw all of them you see. And some of them, of course, only just started when I came - some of the others, you see. I mean, I remember Marie Tempest and she was just a girl - slip of a girl - and singing in musical plays. She had a nice little voice, did Marie.


Rogers:
Did she?

Klute:
Oh, very nice. I can't remember... then of course there was Edna May and of course Lily Elsie. I just saw her. She was a nice, dainty, sweet little thing. She hadn't got a big voice but, oh, she was so lovely, you know. Then there was old Joe Coyne; he was quite a character. Oh, I remember all of them. What wonderful people they were.


Rogers:
Have you met some of them... now?


Klute:
Oh, I go and see some of them, yes. But I don't like the stuff they dish up now. I mean they're not plays.


Rogers:

No dear. I meant have you met some of the people you saw, on your side of life now?


Klute:
Of course I have. I still go and see some of them.


Rogers:
Yes.

Klute:
Oh yes, they do their turns and things. I remember Little Titch. Of course, I was never much interested in variety acts, but he was quite a phenomenal, sort of, fellow you know. Then there was that Harry* … what was his name now?


Rogers:
Champion? No.

Klute:
No, no no. Before your time. Harry*, um...? Oh dear. They played a lot together in pantomimes in the old Lane, you know.

[possibly: Harry Nichols]


Rogers:
Do you know, Robert?

Robert:
[Unintelligible]

Gwen Vaughan:
Harry Tate was it?

Klute:
No, that's... No, I don't mean that man. Oh, I couldn't stick that sort of thing! No, this man was a real comic. Now, what was his name? Doesn't matter.


Still, I suppose I shouldn't be so hard... on the things today. I suppose people change. If they want rubbish, it's all their fault ain't it!

Rogers:
Well, conditions are different now.

Klute:
Eh?

Rogers:
Conditions are different now.

Klute:
Well, I suppose. Some of the plays are alright, but...


Rogers:
I think circumstances were hard when you were alive and people were not... now they... it's changed. Circumstances are not hard, but people are...


Klute:
But, my dear, we used to have such lovely scenery. Oh! Beautiful scenery it was. It really was. Lovely. I remember seeing... I remember seeing Henry Irving in The Bells. What a wonderful thing that was.

Rogers:
Which theatre was that at?


Klute:
That was the old Lyceum. And the wonderful scene they had when he heard the bells, you know. And they had this, sort of, um... I suppose you'd call it a kind of transformation, you know.


Rogers:
Mmm...


Klute:

All the scenery at the back, you know, the inn... the inn, you know... the inn disappeared. Then all of a sudden you saw this... all the snow and you saw the old Jew, you know, with his sleigh and all that. Oh, it was marvellous. Oh, what a wonderful thing that was.

And then there was Tree* of course. He spent thousands and thousands on his productions. I remember seeing him as King John. What a wonderful man he was. Gosh!

*Sir Henry Beerbohm-Tree


Oh, they were great days. They'll never come back again, of course. And we had a real orchestra too you know – none of this tinned stuff!


All sitters: [Laughter]


Rogers:
Were you surprised when you discovered that you were still alive, although not...


Klute:
Oh no, well, I mean I... I was and I wasn't. I mean, I was surprised in a way, but the funny thing was, when I came 'round... I was getting all ready, you know, to go out, you know, to... to do the show, you know. And, uh... collect my tray and my change and all that and I don't remember.


All I know was that I was somehow still there and nobody took any notice of me. And I was just doing as I'd always done. Nobody took a programme. No nothing. And afterwards of course it came... and realised... I realised that, you know, it wasn't, um... well, I mean, that something had happened, obviously.


I thought I was slipping or something. Nobody, sort of, wanted to buy my programmes. Other girls walked past me as if I wasn't there and I just couldn't 'get it' at all, you know.


Then gradually I began to realise that something had happened. [It] took me quite a while and then I saw my sister. And she came... she came right down the staircase, she did, you know. And I thought, well, this is funny because she... well, she'd been dead for thirty-odd years, she had. She died young, you see.

Rogers:
Yes?

Klute:
And she says, 'Come on love, come on love,' she says. I says, 'Come on where?' you know. She says, 'Out of here,' she says. 'You're not staying there no more, you've done your bit,' you know. 'You've had it!' as you say now, like, you know.


Of course, you know, it's funny the way people talk different today and all, don't they? I mean they don't half look different. They act different, they talk different. I can't tell these girls from boys!

All sitters: [Laughter]


Klute:
Boys from girls! It looks as if they're all on the stage. And yet they don't look as if they've had a wash, some of them! Oh shocking, the way things have changed. I wouldn't want to come back of course.


Rogers:
You wouldn't?

Klute:
I liked the old days. Dignity. People used to ride in the carriages, you know - used to have the carriages waiting for them outside - all lined up in the side streets, you know. Oh, it was nice, very nice. And the women looked so elegant and the men were always nicely dressed, you know, in the circle. You wouldn't dare go in the circle unless you were dressed up, you know.


No. I go to The Globe sometimes or The Lyric and some of the other places - and the way they dress! Of course, they'd have never got inside the theatre in my day. Not looking like that. I don't know what's happening, but the world's changed.


Rogers:
But it wasn't so very easy for the lower class...


Klute:
Of course, you wouldn't remember The Gaiety [Theatre] would you? Old George Edwardes and The Gaiety.

Rogers:
I just remember seeing it.

Klute:
Of course, I just... because I was getting on a bit by then, you see. But I remember some of his shows. And then there was the... what was it... The Girl in the Train, was it?

Rogers:
Mmm-hmm. The Girl in the Taxi.

Klute:
Was it the Girl in the Taxi?


Rogers:
I think so.

Klute:
I can't remember. How would you know?


Rogers:
Was it Robert?

Robert:
Girl in the Train as well.


Rogers:
Was it? I didn't...


Klute:
And then there was The Lilac Domino*, wasn't there?


*The Empire Theatre: February 1918
Rogers:
Mmm...

Klute:
Of course, then I was about... oh, must have been getting on for 80 then. But they still kept me on at the theatre because I was sprightly you see.


Rogers:
Yes.

Klute:
And I never looked my age. And of course I used to dot up, you know... daub myself up a bit, you know. I used to get a few of the sticks of the greasepaint when they'd, you know... getting worn down.


Rogers: [Laughing]
Yes...

Flint: [Laughing loudly]
Oh dear!


Klute:
They used to let me go 'round there some of them. Because I was very fond of them. I remember... what was her name now? She was always very nice to me... oh, now I should remember her name, she was such a nice girl. Dear, oh dear. Oh, it'll come to me.


Rogers:
One of the actresses, was it?


Klute:
Oh, she was one of my favourites she was. She was such a nice person and, um... oh, isn't that silly of me? Sometimes I... of course, you know at the old Lyric you know and, um... we had a lot of the early musicals, as you say, you know. Plays. And they used to do them so pretty.


Of course, you wouldn't remember a thing called Véronique would you?


Rogers:
Oh, I know of it.


Klute:
And the lovely Swing Song.


Rogers:
Yes.


Robert:
Swing Song, yes.


Klute:
Oh that was a lovely piece.


Rogers:
And Little Donkey*. Isn't the Little Donkey in Véronique?

*The Donkey Duet


Klute:
Lovely piece that was. Of course I mustn't be hard on the people today. That's not being kind.

Rogers:
They do their best!

Klute:
And I'm sure there's some very good actors. I think some of them are very good, but it's the rubbish they have to be in, you know. That's the shame. I mean, when they do the great classic plays, then that's alright.


Of course, they do them very well - excepting they don't spend much on scenery, which is a pity. I mean, after all's said and done, if you're supposed to me in the Court of King John, you don't want to look like a forest - a bit of wood stuck up, do you?


Flint: [Laughing]

Oh, dear!


Klute:
Oh I do remember those happy times. I loved the theatre. Of course when I was very young I... I, um.. I was, um... in one the, um... oh now, what was that touring production we did now? I was one of the girls, but I was never too good at it. I always had ambitions, but I always got stuck to the back row, you know.


Rogers: [Laughing]

Klute:
I suppose... well I wasn't pretty, really. My face was too long and my nose a bit too big.


Rogers: [Laughing]

Klute:
Of course, you see, I was Jewish woman, you see. And my Mum had ambitions, she did. My father was quite a good actor, but not a professional, but then he'd have got away with murder he would. He was a sod you know!


All sitters: [Laughter]

Rogers:
Were you a Londoner... were you born in London?


Klute:
Oh, born and bred, we was. Oh I... I think my family... my family went right back, oh, right back to the days of Nell Gwyn and Charles.


Rogers:
Oh yes?

Klute:
Yes, my family can be traced right back to them there days. And they lived up in that area for years and years. Of course at one time, um... they'd been comfortably off, you see.

Rogers:
Yes.

Klute:
But they lost the lot you see, one way and another. And I always had these ambitions. My father was an ambitious man really – always wanted to be something of an actor. I think, if you ask me, because he used to talk about the old days of Macklin* you know and people like that, going back a few years, you know... and he used to tell me about the great ones, you know, of his day.

*Charles Macklin: 18th century Irish actor


Oh, he was a character my father you know and his father before him. I remember my grandfather. Old man he was when I was a girl. He must have been getting for 80 then, with his white hair. He used to talk about the old days at the theatre, about people like Macklin, I think they said the name was.


And he said...and I remember he used to talk about, um... oh, um... what's his name now? That'll come to me if I give myself a minute. Wonderful! Of course, I suppose in a kind of way, we've always been on the fringe of the theatre, you know.

Rogers:
Mmm...

Klute:
We always had something. My mother used to do a lot of ... you know, dresses and that.


Rogers:
Yes.

Klute:
And she used to do a lot of the spangles* and things for some of the clowns. I remember old Grimaldi once – of course he was getting on – and, um... well, he looked a wreck anyway, I don't know how old he was.

*sequins

Sitters: [Laughing]

Klute:

But, um... then there was that Austin, he was another clown. My mother used to do a lot of the spangles for them you know. Of course, it was rather a specialised job you know, the spangles. 


And of course I remember old Sarah Lane, you know. Of course, you wouldn't know her. Of course, I mean – and the old Brittania [Theatre] at Hoxton and all out there, you see.


Rogers:
Oh, yes.


Klute:
I mean, we was always caught up with the theatre. Our family was always, I suppose, part of the theatre in a kind of way and I then drifted in to selling programmes. But I always remember when I was on tour, because... I mean, I had a few lessons when I was a child you see, and I remember once I was in a pantomime. 


Oh dear! It was a pantomime, I tell you, me being in it! I had to be one of the fairies. Fairy Thistledown I was.


Rogers: [Laughing]

Flint: [Laughing]
Oh, dear!

Rogers:
Do you think it suited you?


Klute:
Well, I know it makes you laugh when you think about it. But they had two clouds that they used to let down in the transformation scene; one on one side and one on the other. And, uh, we were perched on a sort of platform, you know. They'd got the cloud effect arranged so you couldn't see us squatting down, you see.

Rogers:
Yes.

Klute:
And you had to hold your wand up high, you know. Of course, I laugh when I think about it. I don't know what happened, but they let this cloud down on pulleys, you know, on a sort of thin wire. You could hardly see it, you see.


And, uh, once they made a bloomer, the thing went down sideways... [Laughing] and I slipped off!

Sitters: [Laughing loudly]


Klute:
They was happy days though.

Doreen:
What's your other name Miss Klute.

Klute:
Eh?

Doreen:
What's your first name?


Klute:
Nellie, dear.

Doreen:
Nellie. Well, can we call you Nellie? It's more friendly.


Klute:
Well, if you like. Call me Nellie Klute.


Doreen:
Yes.

Klute:
Yes. But, uh...

Richard:
Nellie, what play was... was running when you were killed? When you were... when you were selling the programmes. What was the name of the play at the theatre?

Klute:
Oh dear, now you've asked me. I've got to stop and think about that.

Richard:
Because that's interesting to us.


Klute:
Is it? Well, I must try hard. Now I can't... now let me see. It was the night of the air-raids and they dropped some bombs...um...


Rogers:
If you just talk on, perhaps it will come to you?

Klute:
I can't think what that play was, you know. It was a play, but I'm sure it had... there was music as well, but I can't think... Now, what was that play?


Richard:
Which theatre – was it The Lyric or The Globe?


Klute:
I was at The Lyric. I had been at The Globe for a time...


Richard:
Yes.

Klute:
...and then I migrated, as you might say, to The Lyric.


Sitters: [Laughter]


Klute:
They paid a bit better at The Lyric.

Rogers:
Did they?

Klute:
And then there was that man... what's his name now? Harcourt. That's right. Harcourt.


Robert:
Harcourt Williams*?

*actor and director


Klute:
He might have been Williams. But I remember... he had a son who was in the theatre, but he wasn't, um... well, he was very young then. And then there was that man... what the deuce was his name, now? That had that leg that was deformed? Oh, dear. I'm trying to think about that play, since that nice young man asked me.


Doreen:
Don't worry Nellie. It'll come to you.

Rogers:
It'll come to you.


Klute:
But they were good days, you know and, of course, I saw all the best. And, of course, I saw the West End productions, because they used to send them out on the road, you know. They'd have five or six companies of the same show, if it's a success, you see.

Oh, they were marvellous days when you look back on them. And they were marvellous people. Of course, we had a few that weren't so good, in one way or another, but...


Rogers:
You have to take the rough with the smooth.


Klute:
Eh?

Rogers:
You have to take the rough with the smooth.


Klute:
Now what was that play? Now isn't that funny? Now I can't think what it was.


Rogers:
Were they still using gaslight at that time Nellie?

Klute:
I remember there was The Dollar Princess. That was a nice thing. And of course, um, we had The Merry Widow, but that was at Daly's [Theatre] wasn't it? Yes.

Richard:
Yes.


Klute:
And, um... and I remember Chu Chin Chow. That was one of the last things I remember seeing.


Rogers:
That was at Her Majesty's [Theatre] wasn't it?


Klute:
And, um... then there was that thing with [unintelligible]. He was quite a character, he was. Now what was that? And then there was, um... the [unintelligible]. And then we had, um...


Richard:
Maid of the Mountains at that time too...


Klute:
Oh, that was José Collins wasn't it?


Richard:
Yes.

Klute:
She was a bit fat, but she had a marvellous voice!


Sitters: [Laughing]

Klute:
She looked very Jewish, of course. But, um, she was striking, in a way.

Rogers:
Yes.

Klute:
I liked her, yes. She was very nice. Now there's a case, of course. Well, of course, I know I wasn't exactly a beauty and neither was she really...


Sitters: [Laughing]


Klute:
But she looked rather striking, of course.

Richard:
And she had a good voice too.


Klute:
She had a marvellous voice, dear. There's no doubt about it, she had the best voice on the stage at that time - in that kind of thing, you see.


Richard:
Did you see her in Southern Maid as well?


Klute:

I don't remember that one. I think that must have come after I … I died. Because I should imagine I'd have seen it if I could have done.


Doreen:
Did you see The Chocolate Soldier?


Klute:
Oh that. I was never mad keen on that. Of course, it was clever. But it was that Shaw* man wasn't it? And they put music to it.

*George Bernard Shaw

Doreen:
No, I don't...


Rogers:
Yes.

Doreen:
Was it?

Klute:
Yes. Yes, of course. There was some lovely things in it. My Hero wasn't it?

Richard:
That's right.


Klute:
Yes, that's right. Lovely old days aren't they, when I think about it. You know, the theatre was a wonderful place then. You got the real feeling of it, you know. It's a dead thing now, there's no atmosphere. There it was; the gold and the plush and the smell of oranges up in the gallery. Oh, it was lovely. Really lovely.

Robert:
Nellie?

Klute:
What?


Robert:
Do you ever come and visit us in Chichester?

Klute:
I have been down there because, um... I... I've heard about you lads, you know. And, um... yes, but it's not my cup of tea.


Sitters: [Laughing]

Klute:
But all due respect...


Robert:

Yes, yes.

Klute:
I mean, I must be honest. I... I love the old days. I love the feeling of the theatre, it was so marvellous. It was still magical to me. I used to stand there after the curtain had gone up, at the side, night after night, night after night; see the same show.


A lot of the other girls would just clear off – not me. I never missed a performance. I was never on the stage, but I never missed a performance. Loved every minute of it. And I used to watch them you know and I used to think, well, they was good tonight or she wasn't so bad tonight or she'd had one over the eight* because...

*drunk


Sitters: [Laughing]

Klute:
I could always tell. Because, I mean, some of them... sometimes they did, you know. They used to have that Stout 'round at the back, you know...


Rogers:
Yes.

Klute:
...have it delivered, you know, at the man at the door, old Will. He used to get them their rounds of Stout, and all the rest of it, and their Gin. And of course they'd have a proper old beano* sometimes. Sometimes they'd give me a drink.

*a party


Oh, of course, I forgot to tell you... there was a time when I was a dresser.


Rogers:
Oh yes?

Klute:
Oh, just for a short time. Because the dresser of one the, um... now, who was that I was dressing? Because I did more than one. Let me see... There was a time they was hard-up for a dresser. I don't know what had happened to her, but, um, they was absent, you know. And they asked me if I would, um... instead of the serving, you know, and all that... if I'd help to dress her.


Oh, that was lovely that was. She had some lovely gowns in that... now what was it? She was just my build. Oh, she was very nice.

Rogers:
Did you try the dresses on?


Sitter: [Blowing nose]


Klute:
And I know... I know that woman was away about two or three weeks and at the end of it she gave me ten quid. [£10]


Rogers:
Mmm... marvellous.

Klute:
Yes, she was very kind, she was. And she used to have these... very nice men used to come up there to see her sometimes, but she was very discreet, very discreet.

Rogers:
Yes.

Klute:
She never did anything in the dressing room.

Rogers: [Laughing]
Did you try any of the... gowns on?

Klute:
Well, tell the honest truth, I did! Once or twice. Well I say 'tried them on' - that's not really true. I just sort of pulled them 'round me and had look at myself in the mirror. And I fancied myself a bit and did a few steps, you know.


Rogers: [Laughing]


Klute:
But, um... I wouldn't have been much good really I suppose, looking back on it. And yet I had the spirit, but I hadn't got the talent.


Doreen:
Are you happy now Nellie?

Klute:

Oh, very happy, dear. Lovely. I've got no regrets now. I'm perfectly well, perfectly happy and I get... get 'round to see various people that I used to know. And I sometimes go to what you'd call the theatres over here.


Of course, they have what you'd call, I suppose, 'morality plays', but that doesn't mean to say they're boring - or they're filthy and dirty like your plays are today. I mean, these are plays about human beings, it's true, and all their weaknesses, but there's no nastiness about it.


Rogers:
Yes.


Klute:
It's... it's marvellous what they do here you know. Marvellous. Oh, I'd have loved to have been an actress, of course.


Rogers:
Nellie, wasn't the gaslight dangerous at times...

Klute:
Well...


Rogers:
...on the stage?


Klute:
...I don't know. They used to have wire net over it, you know. And, um... no, well, there have been, of course. There was one or two nasty things when someone's dress caught light, but, um... it's... well, it wasn't that dangerous. I don't think so. There might have been odd occasions. Of course, there must have been.


But it was nicer you know. I don't think anyone realises how much nicer the old gas was. It had a wonderful quality you know. And electricity's very hard, harsh, you know.


Of course, they've probably made a lot of, you know... advances. Of course, I remember when The Lyceum turned over to electricity and, um... I believe Sir Henry [Irving] had it taken out and kept the old gas on, you know.

Rogers:
Really?

Klute:
Because he thought it was terrible the way the scenery was spoilt, you see. Oh, well they used to have rabbits running on the stage and... and, uh, I've seen a whole number of sheep when they...


Rogers:
That was Tree wasn't it, used to do that?


Klute:
I'm trying to think what that play was and... I know it was some sort of scene in the countryside and I know there was a shepherd came on and they had about six or seven sheep. And there was horses and there was all sorts of things; carriages and...


Rogers:
You didn't, Nellie, by any chance, go to Drury Lane [Theatre] the first night [of] the thing they've got on now, did you, where there's a horse on stage?


Klute:
Well you never know what they're going to do, that's the trouble.


Rogers:
Well...


Sitters: [Loud laughter]


Richard:
Nellie, did you know Willy Clarkson*?

*wig and costume maker


Klute:
Yes, I remember old Willy Clarkson. Yes, because he used to be the man who used to do a lot of the costumes.


Richard:
Yes.

Klute:
Yes, and he was marvellous with wigs and beards and all that lark, you know. Yes, but there again you see, um... of course, there was no... I tell you what there was now, there was a marvellous... now, what was his name? Oh dear, I wish I'd got a better memory. What was that man, now?


Rogers:
It's more difficult to remember names than it is incidents, isn't it?


Klute:
I find names go and sometimes they come back quick and other times they don't. Of course, I remember Willy Clarkson – and there was someone 'Slade' if I remember now. I think that's the correct name. He was stage manager now wasn't he?


Richard:
That's right, yes.


Klute:
Yes, Slade.

Richard:
Yes.


Klute:
Yes, he was quite a clever man.

Richard:
He was at the St. James [Theatre]... painted a lot of scenery... did a lot of scenery at the St. James's.

Klute:
Was it St. James's?

Richard:
Slade yes.


Klute:
Of course, I remember that you see, and I remember Oscar Wilde. Of course, I've met him over here.


Rogers:
Oh yes?

Klute:
And he's such a nice person you know. Oh, we all remember that 'do' you know, about him and that scandal. Of course, we... I mean, in the theatre we knew what went on, we never took any notice of it.


Rogers:
No.


Klute:
Only... but, of course, it got in the 'papers... and that... and that horrible Queensbury* and all that, you see.


*The Marquis of Queensbury

Doreen:
Yes, he was horrid wasn't he?


Klute:
Oh, he was a nasty bit of work, dear. Nasty.


Doreen:
Yes, he sounded absolutely horrid.


Klute:

But I must apologise in a way, because I think perhaps I'm being a little unkind about plays today. But they're not my idea of course.


Doreen:
Oh, no Nellie. I agree with you so much.

Klute:
I think some of them are awful, dear. I do really.


Doreen:
I so agree with you.

Klute:
And when I... when I think of people like Marie Tempest and people like that, and how talented that was. I mean, they could sit on the stage and they could, well, they could just hold you rigid... you know, riveted. They didn't have to do anything or say anything sometimes. It was magnetic. That's what it was, magnetic, you know.


Doreen:
We've got one or two that can do that now.

Klute:
Have you?

Doreen:
Well, Joan Miller.


Klute:
Who's she?

Sitters: [Laughing]

Doreen:
Well, you may not have heard of her, but she was in a play recently... where she did hold the entire theatre without speaking a word, for about four minutes.


Klute:
Did she now?

Doreen:
Yes.


Klute:
I have seen some of your modern ones I like very much. Of course, I like that Flora... what's her name now?

Rogers:
Robson.

Doreen:
Robson.


Klute:
Rather an ugly woman, but a good actress.


Doreen:
She was in the play I'm talking about.


Klute:
Was she? Oh. Oh, well. Of course, everyone to their taste.


Rogers:
[Unintelligible]


Klute:
Of course, I remember now... what was that name, oh dear. Now, what was that play about? Dear, oh dear, oh dear. [Sighing]


Oh, I had... I had a lovely album, you know, that was full of them, full of them. Lovely signed photos I had from everyone in the theatre, practically. And not only the stars, but some of the lesser ones, you know. They all... I got on so well with them all, you see. But, of course, as I got older, I mean, it became a little bit more difficult for me.

Rogers:
Yes.

Klute:
But I still got to the theatre. I was always one of the first there and the last to leave, almost. Because I could never be happy unless I was in the theatre. And I used to... sometimes, on a Sunday... used to sit in my little room, you know, and I used to think, 'Oh Christ, it's Sunday', you know, 'what a shame. Why can't they open the theatre's on Sunday?'


I used to sometimes go to church, but... I don't know. I used to go to the Catholic church. Of course, it's more like theatre, you see.

Sitters: [Loud laughter]


Klute:
Well at least it did have some good music... and they were dolled up in those beautiful clothes, you know. And I used to think, 'well that's nice. At least they've some idea.' Oh, I used to enjoy myself one way and another, I tell you. I didn't... I don't know. I never earned much, looking back on it. But I had a good life.


Rogers:
How did you find out about, um... being able to communicate, Nellie?


Klute:
Oh I knew. Of course, I knew all about that really, in a way, before I passed.


Rogers:
Did you?

Klute:
Although, I must say, that after what happened to me, it took me a little time to 'cotton-on'* until my sister fetched me.


*realise


But, you know, I'd heard about it and I'd heard about these 'spirit rappings' and, as a matter of fact, we had a... I think it was The Lyric... now was it or was it The Globe? But there was one of them that was definitely haunted, because everyone in the theatre had seen it, you know.


Rogers:
Yes.


Klute:
And, um... he evidently... now what was his name? Oh, it'll come to me, it'll come to me...


Rogers:
But they say this about Drury Lane [Theatre] don't they?


Klute:
Well, I think most theatres are haunted, because people love them so much. And they have such a wonderful atmosphere and so much has happened there. I think it's wicked when they pull them down you know. I think it was shocking they pulled St. James's down you know.


Rogers:
Mmm...yes.


Klute:
Because that... that was a lovely theatre. Wonderful memories that place had you know. Of course, mind you, it had several bad sight-lines and those bloody pillars. God help you if you got behind one of them!

Sitters: [Laughing]


Flint: [Laughing]
Oh, dear!


Klute:
Oh yes, I remember them all. I was, as I say, I was practically brought up in it.


Rogers:
Mmm...


Klute:
Oh, but I shall never forget that time I was in that pantomime. I never got asked back again! Wasn't my fault...


Sitters: [Laughing]


Klute:
I couldn't help it because the bloody cloud slipped!


Sitters: [Laughing]


Doreen:
Nellie, you are sweet!


Rogers:
Which pantomime was it? What was the name of it, can you remember?

Klute:
There was me holding on to that bloody wire and in my other hand I'd got my star. I was waving it back and forth... Honestly, it was more like being in Dick Whittington on board ship, you know.


Sitters: [Loud laughing]


Klute:
Oh, I could tell you some laughs we had, I tell you straight. I remember once... oh now, who was she... she was... she was sozzled*

*drunk

Rogers:
Who was that?

Klute:
I'm trying to think of her name. Perhaps it would be kinder to forget it...

Rogers:
You're terrible with names aren't you Nellie?

Klute:
Well, at times it escapes me. But I know she was doing her big number... oh dear, that was funny. She came down the bloody staircase, all 'got up to the nines'* you know.

*dressed very smartly


And it was the funniest thing, honestly. Because the hero was waiting down the bottom of the stairs, but as she got to the - I know it sounds daft, but it's true - as she got to the bottom of the stairs and walked across the stage and he came forward, there on the stairs was her bloody knickers!

Sitters:
[Laughing loudly]

Klute:
It was the funniest thing. Honestly, it was the funniest thing I ever saw, I think.


Sitters: [Laughing]


Klute:
And there they was in this big love theme, you know and there was her knickers on the stairs!

Sitters: [Laughing]

Klute:
I can't remember... I can't remember what they did about that one.


Flint: [Laughing]

Doreen:
I should think they went behind the curtain didn't they?


Rogers:
Pulled the blackout down?


Klute:
Well, actually she was well-known for not wearing them very often!

Sitters: [Laughing loudly]

Rogers:
I wish you could remember her name Nellie!
Have you met her over there?

Klute:
Perhaps... perhaps it's best not to mention names sometimes.


Doreen:
Yes.

Rogers:
Have you met her over there?

Klute:
Not lately.


Rogers:
You haven't. But you have seen her since you've been over there?


Klute:
No, but she was often a bit sozzled you see and sometimes she'd leave it to the last minute, you know, for her call, you see. And I think on this night, you know, she really was a bit - you know.


Rogers:
Yes.


Klute:
And evidently the elastic or what... I don't know what held them up, but it gave way, whatever it was.

Sitters: [Laughing]

Richard:
What was the show?


Klute:
I can't remember it, but I know there was this big staircase. And she comes down, all la-di-da, you know, with her tiara, and all that, you see... and I... and I know she had this lovely gown, you know, with this train thing, you see.

Sitters: [Laughing]

Klute:
Because if only... if only the train had swept the knickers away!

Sitters: [Laughing]

Klute:
I have to laugh. But I think they manoeuvred her 'round. I think he saw it out the corner of his eye.

Sitters: [Laughing]

Klute:
I think, if remember rightly, he sort of manoeuvred himself a little way up the stairs and got her perched over the top of them.

Sitters: [Laughing]

Klute:
But it must have been... oh, I know it was something that night, but it was a big moment in that show. Now what was that show? I know they did a dance.

Richard:
What was the theatre?


Rogers:
The Count of Luxembourg
would it be?


Klute:
I can't remember what it was.

Richard:
Daly's? [Theatre]

Doreen:
[Unintelligible]

Rogers:
Oh no. No, no.

Sitter: [Blows nose]


Klute:

Of course, Gertie Millar, she was nice...


Rogers:
Because there's a big, um... stairs scene in The Count of Luxembourg.

Klute:

Oh, but there always was a big stairs scene in most of them things, at that time.

Rogers:

Yes, I know but...

Klute:
You never had a musical play unless there was a bloody big staircase - and a palace, you know. It was one of the big numbers, you see. And they often used the same thing but they switched it 'round, you see. Or sometimes it would be down the middle. Sometimes they'd have it arranged so that it came from the wings down half the side, you know.

Rogers:
Yes.

Klute:
Oh, they always did you know. A lot the musical shows of those days, they invariably had a big staircase entrance, you see. Of course, everybody expected it you see and it was very effective. And sometimes she'd be singing off, you see. I don't mean off-key. Off-stage.

Sitters: [Laughing]

Klute:
Oh, I can tell you some funny stories. I remember once, another funny thing happened once. I know there was a trap-door thing in it. Well there must have been, because he disappeared before his time.


Sitters: [Laughing]

Klute:
I mean, she turned 'round - he wasn't there!

Sitters: [Laughing loudly]


Klute:
That was funny that was. Oh, they did make some bloomers alright, at times, but it was often because they were half-cut* you know. Sometimes it was the man down below or the trap-door, you know.

*drunk

Sitters: [Laughing]

Rogers:
It's a wonder anything was successful.


Klute:
Oh, but it was very unusual. I mean, I could go night after night, as I did, you know, to work and I'd see the same show... oh, perhaps a couple of hundred times. And perhaps during the whole of that period you'd only see two or three little mistakes. Very rare you got anything unusual. But, of course, there were some funny incidents. Here and there, you know.

Rogers:
Well, it broke up the monotony...


Klute:
I remember seeing a performance of Cinderella. Now where was that? I can't remember whether it was at The Lyceum or whether it... Yes, it was at The Lyceum, I think. Something happened. Now what was that? I remember... at the dance... very funny...

[Short silence]


Ah, well. I must keep off reminiscing, as you call it.

Oh, well. I'll come and see you again some time.


Sitters: [All talking]
Yes, please do. It's nice to listen to you.


Klute:
Anyway, we're all much the same really. Of course we've learned a bit more... are a bit wiser, and all that. But I was asked if I'd like to come and I said, 'Yes, I'll go and have a natter to them', as you say, you know. And you seem such a nice crowd and I was told that, um... some of you was connected with the theatre and all that.


And I had heard about this Chichester place, as you call it. But of course it's modern, you see. I don't profess to understand it, and... well, some it's alright, I suppose. Of course I like the old-fashioned stuff, you see; being a bit old-fashioned still myself I suppose.


Rogers:
You're not a fashionable bit of stuff are you?

Klute:

Well, I had my moments you know. I mean...


Doreen:
I agree with you Nellie. I like the old-fashioned theatre too.


Klute:
I mean, I like... I must, uh... I mean, I don't, uh...try to hide anything. I had a few men in my time, one way and another, you see.

Rogers:
Did you get married then, Nellie?


Klute:
Well, we can say we did.. I did. Put it like that.


Rogers:
Did you do it... not church?

Klute:
You're a very nosey young man.


Sitters: [Laughing]

Richard:
Perhaps...


Klute:
...I often got some of the dresses that... when they cast them off, you know. When I went out on a Sunday. I liked Primrose Hill and all 'round there, you know. I always looked very nice and well turned out. I had a very nice piece... a nice little suit that Lily Elsie gave me.


Rogers:
Do you have any relations alive now Nellie?

Klute:
Of course, you don't remember [unintelligible] do you? No, it was before your time.

Rogers:
Robert might know the name.

Robert:
I know the name.

Richard:
We know the name, yes.

Klute:
And then there was that... oh, he was a marvel he was... oh, goodness me....[unintelligible]...

Rogers:
Nellie, do you have any relations on this side?


Klute:
Not really. A few distant, you know. But they wouldn't be interested in me. In any case, quite frankly, some of my relations... well, they're a bit [unintelligible], as you might say. And the idea of theatres, they never went near them, you see. And, um... they didn't take kindly to it.


Rogers:
No.

Klute:
Of course, I liked my glass of Stout and I liked a night in bed with a nice man, you know!


Sitters: [Laughing]


Klute:
I mean, after all, why not? That's life isn't it?


Rogers:
Of course it is.

Klute:
And I loved the old theatre. Although, I lived with a man for a few years, but, um... well, he went to sea. Don't know whether he wanted to go and get away from me or what?

Rogers: [Laughing]

Klute:
That's neither here or there. My life's my own and I've no regrets. I never did no-one ever a bad turn. I did my best, as best I could, you know. And if everyone can say that, then [there's] no need fear in 'kicking the bucket'*, as you say.

*dying

Anyway, I must go and may God bless each one of you. Bye-bye.

All sitters:
Bye-bye Nellie.


Doreen:
Thank you for coming.


Ellis:
How fantastic.


Doreen:
Isn't she sweet?


Marshall:
...I don't think we can continue. It's been a great pleasure in coming to talk to you again tonight... or rather, bringing friends to talk to you. Quite an interesting character...


Rogers:
Marvellous.


Doreen:
She was sweet.


Marshall:
And please do not close the circle down. I hear rumours of closing it down or something.

Rogers:
Leslie?

Doreen:

Is that the Doctor?

Flint:
Oh. Well, I only thought a month.


Marshall:
You don't you think you can close other things down ...and this not?

My love and blessings. Goodbye.


All sitters:
Thank you. Goodbye.

Doreen:
Goodbye.
We haven't talked to Doctor Marshall for ages.


Marshall:
I've been away. Been very busy.


Doreen:
Have you Doctor?

Marshall:
Goodbye. God bless you.


Doreen:
Well, we've missed you.


Sitters:
Goodbye.

Doreen:
We've missed you.


Marshall:
We'll see what we can do about your foot, young lady.

Daphne:
Oh, will you. Thank you very much.


Rogers:
Is there anything serious the matter with it, do you know Doctor?


Marshall:
Slight diseased bone.


Rogers:
Oh.

Daphne:
Well, thank you.

Marshall:
Don't worry.


Daphne:
No.


Marshall:
It's easy for me to say that... but we'll see that it's put right.
Bye-bye.


Daphne:
Thank you.

Sitters:
Goodbye Dr Marshall.


Mickey:
Bye-bye and God bless you.


All sitters:
Bye-bye Mickey!

Mickey:
And I'll see you all again soon. Bye-bye.


All sitters:
Bye-bye Mickey...

Mickey: [Singing]
# God be with you 'til we meet again...


Sitters/Mickey: [Singing]
# with his counsels guide, uphold you...


Rogers: [Singing]
# In his arms securely fold you...
[Fading] God...be... with you... 'til... we... meet again.

Mickey:
Oh, you're a help!


Sitters: [Laughing]


Ellis:
Finish it Mickey...


Mickey: [Singing]
# God be with you 'til we meet again... Do you know how it goes?


Female sitter:
'Bye his love...' something 'uphold you'...


Mickey: [Singing plaintively]
# With his arms securely fold you. I sing like a choir boy! [Laughing]


Sitters: [Laughing]


Rogers:
That'll be the day!

Mickey: [Singing]
# Goodnight sweetheart, all my love is for you, goodnight sweetheart, la-la-la-la... I never remember the words.

Sitters: [Laughing]

Flint: [Coughing]

Rogers:
Never mind, Mickey.


Mickey: [Sighing]
Anyway, bye-bye.


All sitters:
Bye-bye Mickey!

Mickey: [Sighing]
[Unintelligible] Bye-bye.


All sitters/Flint: [Laughing loudly]


Daphne:
Of course Leslie, if you close down you won't have...


Mickey:
And your loganberries. Bye-bye!


Flint:
And your loganberries?

Rogers:
Raspberries and the loganberries.

Daphne:
Raspberries!




END OF RECORDING


This transcript was created and researched for the Trust by K.Jackson-Barnes – October 2020