Jack Hulbert

(1892—1978) actor and theatre producer

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b. 24 April 1892, Ely, England, d. 25 March 1978, London, England. A popular actor, singer, dancer, director, author choreographer, and producer, whose jaunty onstage image was of the ‘terribly British, “I say, old chap”’ variety. Hulbert began to develop his various skills in undergraduate productions while he was studying at Cambridge University. In 1913, while appearing in The Pearl Girl in the West End, he met Cicely Courtneidge, the daughter of producer Robert Courtneidge, and they were married in 1916. The Pearl Girl was the first of 13 musicals in which they appeared together. During the next few years Hulbert established himself in a mixture of musical comedies and revues such as The Cinema Star, The Arcadians, The Light Blues (for which he was also co-librettist), See-Saw, Bubbly, Bran-Pie, A Little Dutch Girl, Ring Up, Pot Luck, and The Little Revue Starts At 9 (1923). From 1925 onwards he co-produced and/or directed (and sometimes choreographed) a range of productions, particularly those in which he also acted. These included By The Way (in London and New York), Lido Lady, Clowns In Clover, The House That Jack Built, Follow A Star (1930), Under Your Hat, Full Swing, and Something In The Air (1943). After World War II, with Oklahoma! and the other American blockbusters on the horizon, Hulbert’s smart and sophisticated style of musical comedy was less in demand, although he directed Cicely Courtneidge in the highly successful Gay’s The Word in 1951. Over the years he introduced several popular songs, including ‘The Flies Crawled Up The Window’, ‘My Hat’s On The Side Of My Head’, ‘She’s Such A Comfort To Me’, and ‘I Was Anything But Sentimental’, a duet with his wife from their film Take My Tip (1937). Hulbert made several other light comedy movies during the 30s, - he and Courtneidge were just as popular on the screen as on the stage - such as Elstree Calling (1930), The Ghost Train, Jack’s The Boy, Bulldog Jack, Paradise For Two, and Kate Plus Ten. From then on there were only occasional releases which included Under Your Hat (1940), Into The Blue (1951) Spider’s Web (1960), and Not Now Darling (1973).


From Encyclopedia of Popular Music in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Music.

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