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! Much better, in fact, than the extract below suggests….

Extract 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.

Marion was a regular performer at Cafe de Paris an a great favourite of the then Prince of Wales.

Another favourite 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.

We have another returnee to the show – Richard Luck of the New European pops in to enthuse about his home town.

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.

Dr Lawrence Napper, this episode’s film expert, is a lecturer on Film Studies at Kings College London. Check out his details and published works on the KCL website and follow Lawrence on Twitter.

Visit Rob Baker’s websites: Another Nickel in the Machine & FlashBak, check out his fascinating Pinterest site and follow him on Twitter. You can also buy his books directly from the publisher.

Follow Richard Luck on Twitter, checkout out his contributions to The New European and listen to his previous appearance on the Soho Bites

Listen to Soho Bites ep 27 – Saturday Night Revue

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