ALL MATERIAL ON THIS SITE IS MY COPYRIGHT. DO NOT COPY IT FOR ANY PURPOSE WHATSOEVER WITHOUT OBTAINING MY PERMISSION! Webster Booth (tenor - 1902-1984) and Anne Ziegler (soprano - 1910-2003) were best known in Britain as duettists on the Variety circuit from 1940 to 1955. During that time they rose rapidly to fame and were frequently heard and seen on radio, records, television, film and stage. Besides this Variety Act, Webster Booth was one of the foremost tenors of his generation and continued to sing in numerous oratorios throughout his career on the Variety circuit. Join The Golden Age of Webster Booth-Anne Ziegler and Friends on Facebook.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


I Remember Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth by Peggy Cruden (nee Wakefield)

I first met Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth in June 1940. I had of course heard of them before because they were so well known. I was 22 years old at the time and lived in Blackpool with my mother, Elizabeth Wakefield. We had come to live in Blackpool following evacuation from Birmingham during the Great War because of the fear of bombing by German Zeppelins. My mother had known Webster's parents in Birmingham.

Peggy as she was in 1940, age 22

Quite by chance one day, my mother was talking to the local butcher, Charlie Farrar who told her that Anne and Webster were living in North Park Drive Blackpool whilst performing in 'On with the Show' at the North Pier Theatre. He knew this because he delivered orders to them. My mother arranged, through Mr Farrar, to meet up again with Webster to renew old acquaintances and we went to visit them at the house. I was struck by what a glamorous couple they were yet at the same time very homely and friendly.

During the visit Anne and Webster mentioned that their housekeeper, whom I understand usually travelled with them, was unable to work for them for the foreseeable future because her father had been taken ill. My mother offered to help with the housekeeping chores and Anne and Webster happily agreed. However, my mother, who was in her sixties by this time found that the housekeeping was a little too much for her. I was not working at the time as I was waiting to be called up for war service so I offered to help out instead. Anne and Webster were perfectly happy with this arrangement so I became their housekeeper for the rest of the season until it ended in October 1940.

I had a wonderful time working for them. They were always so kind and friendly towards me and were such good company. I went to the house six days each week during the morning and did general dusting and cleaning. I recall that I never had to make the bed for them as they seemed to do that for themselves. I made a rice pudding for them on one occasion. Webster said it was the best he had ever tasted although, being such a gentleman, I expect he was just being polite! An embarrassing thing happened one day whilst I was working upstairs in the house. I heard the bathroom door open and when I turned around there stood Webster wearing, it seemed, nothing but a shirt! I turned away but Webster didn't appear to be concerned at all.

Anne was very generous to me. She gave me a wonderful black dress with thin silk pleats which she no longer needed and a beautiful peach coloured nightdress. I had to shorten the black dress as Anne was a little taller than I was. I also used to admire her range of make up and other cosmetics such as Elizabeth Arden cream and she would let me have some of her make up if she no longer needed it. Anne would ask for my suggestions as to where to buy good quality clothes in Blackpool and also for my recommendations for a good hairdresser. I suggested my own hairdresser who began visiting Anne at the house on a regular basis.

I recall that Anne was a very delicate lady who was anxious to maintain her strength and energy for her performances. The butcher used to deliver marrow bones and I recall that Anne would regularly eat the marrow from the bone. She would also have regular visits from the doctor, a very handsome man as I recall. One rather bizarre recollection I have is that during one of his visits, the doctor sat me down on the bed and syringed my ears for me. I cannot remember why but I suppose I must have asked for it to be done!

I do remember Anne telling me one day that her agent had asked her if she would like to perform a show with Richard Tauber. I was most impressed because of Richard Tauber's reputation but for some reason Anne was less than thrilled at the prospect and as far as I know turned down the invitation.

During the summer Webster's son, Keith, visited the house for a few days. One day the air raid siren sounded and although Blackpool was never really a target for German bombers, Keith and I took refuge in the coal house until the all clear was sounded. Another memory of Keith was that, according to Anne and Webster, he told them that he had been walking behind me in the street one day and had commented that I had a very trim figure! They were probably just teasing me but it was very flattering anyway!

Anne and Webster invited mother and me to their show at the North Pier Theatre. Mother was worried because she didn't have a decent hat to wear so she rushed out to buy a new one. On the night, Anne commented upon how much she liked my mother's hat which pleased my mother. They called for us in their car, Webster driving, and parked in Queen Street, about 100 yards from North Pier. We all walked across the short stretch of Promenade and along the pier to the Theatre. Everyone who passed by recognised who they were. It made mother and me feel very important! When we reached the Theatre, Anne went backstage to the dressing room while Webster showed mother and me to our seats. During a wonderful performance, Anne and Webster even acknowledged us from the stage with a friendly nod! After the performance, we were driven home again by Anne and Webster.

As the end of the season approached, Anne and Webster asked me if I would go back to London and continue working for them. This was such a tempting offer which in other circumstances I would have happily accepted. However, I had by this time received notice that I was to work in munitions, making parts for Wellington Bombers at the Vickers aircraft factory in Blackpool.

As they were leaving, Anne showed me a case which she kept under the bed. The case was full of photographs of the couple and Anne invited me to take whichever photographs I wanted. I chose two and Anne and Webster autographed them for me. I still have the photographs to this day!

Peggy's autographed souvenirs from Anne and Webster: October 1940

I still live in Blackpool not far from North Pier and although I celebrated my 90th birthday in 2007, my time with Anne and Webster still evokes fond memories. I was so fortunate that, during the dark early days of World War Two, my life was brightened by two such shining stars.

Peggy Cruden. March 2008

Peggy as she is today, aged 90

Monday, March 03, 2008


Anne and Webster singing So Deep is the Night in the film, Demobbed (1944)


I have included duet recordings of Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth, and the few solo recordings made by Anne Ziegler.

Anne and Webster in Gangway at the London Palladium, 1941.


Ah, leave me not to pine, G&S (from Lord Oom Piet, film soundtrack – interrupted)
Ah, sweet mystery of life, Naughty Marietta, Herbert, Walter Goehr?/Jock Prentice?, 7-8 May 1940, OEA 8607, B9051*
Barcarolle, Tales of Hoffman, Offenbach, Debroy Somers, 9 March 1944
Bitter Sweet selection Concert in Johannesburg City Hall 1966 conducted by Edgar Cree, with AZ & LWB
Blue Smoke (NZ Maori song)
Dearest of All, Vernon Latham Sharp, Eric Robinson, 1949
Deep in my heart dear, The Student Prince, Romberg, Clifford Greenwood, 8 May 1940, OEA8600, B9060
Deep in the heart of a rose, Horatio Nicholls
Dream Duet, Helen, Offenbach, B9580, April 1947
Drink to me only, trad, acc Anna Bender, Drawing Room SABC, 1962
The flower song, Lilac Time, Schubert/Clutsam, Warwick Braithwaite, 10 June 1941
Fold your wings, Glamorous Night, Novello May 1940 OEA 9534, B9060
The Fruits of the Earth, Purdell, Geraldo, 1949
The gates of paradise King’s Rhapsody Novello, Mark Lubbock, 1950
George Gershwin Porgy and Bess selection, Carroll Gibbons,
Columbia MX95-3/95-4
The Golden Song, Lilac Time, Schubert/Clutsam, Warwick Braithwaite, 10 June 1941
Gypsy Love, Lehar (Music Hall -Radio broadcast)
Hear my song, Violetta, Luckesch, George Melachrino, 1949
Here in the quiet hills, Carne, B9830
If you were the only girl in the world, The Bing Boys are here, Ayer, Clifford Greenwood, October 1939 OEA8120, B8982
I remember it well, Gigi, Lerner & Loewe, various BBC broadcasts, late 1970s.
I’ll see you again, Bitter Sweet , Clifford Greenwood, October 1939?1941?, OEA9436, B9163#
Indian love call, Rose Marie, Friml, Debroy Somers, 9 March 1944
Keys of Heaven, Broadwood, September 1941, OEA 9534, B9226
Land of Mine, Waltz Time, May, 1945
Laugh at life, Sweet Yesterday, Leslie-Smith, B9490, 1945
Lehar medley 1, Mark Lubbock, 20 December 1950
Lehar medley 2, Mark Lubbock, 18 January 1951
Liebestraum Liszt arr Besley
Life and love, Princess Charming, George Posford, B9580, April 1947
Life begins anew, Sweet Yesterday, Kenneth Leslie-Smith, July 1945
Lift up your hearts, Simpson/Morian, 1951
Love is the key The Laughing Lady (AZ&LWB)
Love me tonight, Friml, Vagabond King, Debroy Somers 5 January 1943, OEA9587
Lover, come back to me The New Moon, May 1940, OEA 8606, B9051
Love’s garden of roses, Wood, Warwick Braithwaite1941, B9177
Love’s last word is spoken, Bixio, George Melachrino, 1949
Love’s old sweet song, Molloy, Ronnie Munro?/Jock Prentice?*, 7-8 May/October 1940, OEA 8610 B9070#
Love steals your heart, The Wicked Lady, May, Jack Byfield, 4 June1946. B9480
Merry Widow Waltz (from BBC Music Hall broadcast, 1940s)
Music for Romance, Magyar Melody
My Paradise Gangway Parr-Davies, Debroy Somers, November 1941
Nocturne, Chopin, arr Besly, C3460
Now is the hour, Scott, Eric Robinson, 10 March 1948, B9642
O, lovely night, Landon Ronald
Only a rose, Vagabond King, Friml, Philip Green?Jock Prentice?*, March 1940?, 7-8 May 1940?, OEA8597, B9065#
On wings of song, Mendelssohn, arr. Doris Arnold, Eric Robinson, 22 December 1947
Our Greatest successes, (1) 1940, OEA8979, B9120
Our Greatest successes (2) , B9401
A Paradise for two, The Maid of the mountains, Tate, Clifford Greenwood, 19 October 1939, OEA8119, B8982
Second Minuet, Besley, Ronnie Munro, May/October 1940 B9070
Second Minuet, Besley, acc Anna Bender, Drawing Room, SABC 1962
So deep is the night, Chopin Gangway, Debroy Somers, November 1941, OEA9628 B9247
Someday my heart will awake King’s Rhapsody Novello, Mark Lubbock, 1950
Song of paradise, Popplewell/King, Eric Robinson 1949
Still as the night Bohm (AZ/WB)
Such lovely things, North, Mark Lubbock, 1951
Swing high, swing low Véronique Méssager, Eric Robinson, 1950
Take the sun, Rotha, B9830
Throw open wide your window, dear, Hans May, Eric Robinson, 1949
Tomorrow Debroy Somers, Vagabond King, Friml
Too tired to sleep, Murray, B9642, May 1948
Trot here and there Véronique Méssager , Eric Robinson, 1950
Wanting you The New Moon, Romberg,Clifford Greenwood, October 1939, OEA8122, B9163
We’ll gather lilacs, Perchance to dream, Novello, Jack Byfield, 4 June 1946
What is done, Lilac Domino conducted by Debroy Somers September 1941?/ 5 January 1943#
When we are married, The Belle of New York, Kerker, The Belle of New York, September 1941, OEA9533, B9326
Will you remember? May time, Romberg, Warwick Braithwaite 10 June1941, B9177
Without your love The Dubarry Millocker, conducted by Debroy Somers, October 1941, OEA8607 B9326
You will return to Vienna, Waltz Time, May, 1945
You, just you, Wild Violets, Stoltz, OEA 9587, May 1940/January 1943#

#Discrepancy in listed date
*Discrepancy in listed conductor

Anne in the 1930s.


Down in the forest, Landon Ronald, BBC Music Hall, 1940s
I'll change my heart May The Laughing Lady, May, 1946, B9518

Invitation to the Waltz, Weber, B9241
Invitation to the waltz, Weber (Live, with Charles Forwood at the piano)
Messiah Recits Handel (Knysna 1968) Private recording.
Noel Coward medley, Vol 1 AZ, Joyce Grenfell, Graham Payne, conducted by Harry Acres C3635
Pink Lady Waltz, The Caryll, Radio Music Hall broadcast, 1940s
The Poplar, Mark Lubbock, BBC broadcast 1979
Slumber song, Schumann
Song in the night, A, Loughborough
Stormy Weather, Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler, Music Hall, BBC broadcast, 1940s.
Sweet Yesterday, Sweet Yesterday, Kenneth Leslie-Smith, Adelphi Theatre, Orchestra, Herbert Lodge, 1945 B9429
Waltz song, Merrie England, Edward German, test record for HMV
Waltz song Tom Jones, Edward German, B9241

Singing in Demobbed.


SWEETHEARTS OF SONG: Anne Ziegler & Webster Booth (Late 1950s)
Only a rose, Wanting you, Deep in my heart, dear, Love steals your heart, Ah! Sweet mystery of life, We’ll gather lilacs, Hear my song Violetta, Love’s last word is spoken, Lover, come back to me, Indian Love Call, I’ll see you again late fifties, Sleeve notes:: Leslie Green HMV JCLP 10012 EMI (South Africa)

NET MAAR ‘N ROOS, Anne Ziegler en Webster Booth sing hulle wereldberoemde duos, with Jack Dent (piano) and John Massey (organ).
Afrikaans LP.Johannesburg, 1960

Net maar 'n roos (Only a rose), Laat on nie van liefde meer praat (Love's last word is spoken, cherie), Al die Soet Geheime (Ah, sweet mystery of life), Diep in my hart (Deep in my heart), So donker die nag (So deep as the night), Sal jy onthou? (Will you remember?) Wunderbar, Dit is verby (One day when we were young), Liefling kom terug na my (Lover, come back to me), Die Heildronk van jou oe (Drink to me only with thine eyes), Ons sal weer blomme pluk (We'll gather lilacs), As die lente kom (I'll see you again)
RCA 31,378

SIDE 1 1 Songs we like to sing, Nursery school sing along, I went to visit my friend one day, We are busy washing linen, 2 This is the song of the pirate ship, Let’s play cowboys, When we play at Indians, 3 Down at the station, The tugboat, If you ever see a whale, The wheels of the bus, 4 Aeroplane song, There are horses in the meadow, Tall buildings in town, The Miner, SIDE 2 1 Zoom, zoom, Yodel-Elli-oh, Frere Jacques, 2 On the bridge of Avignon, Chinese music, In China people plant rice, 3 Bread is a lovely thing to eat, Will you be a sailor man? If I could have a windmill, 4 Dutch wooden shoes, I had a little engine, Our percussion Band
Nursery School sing along. Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth, assisted by Michael Murray, Peter Robinson and the Nazareth House Children’s Chorus, conducted by Sylvia Sullivan. At the piano: Heinz Alexander. Presentation arranged by Gwen Murray, 1963 Gallo EKL20

The flower, The Golden song (Lilac Time, Schubert), Love me tonight, Tomorrow (The Vagabond King-Friml) What is done you can never undo (Lilac Domino-Cuvillier), Without your love (Dubarry-Millocker) Dearest love (Operette-Coward) Liebestraum (Dream of Love- Liszt, arr Besley), Nocturne, (Chopin, arr Besley), Music for romance (Magyar Melody-Sherwin), Lehar Medley, Life and love (Princess Charming-Sirmay), Dream Duet (La Belle Helene-Offenbach), Throw open wide your window, dear, (May) produced, compiled and transferred by Chris Ellis, Cover notes: Ralph Harvey, Encore, EMI records, 1980, ONCM 530 OC(054-07-228)

If you were the only girl in the world, A paradise for two, Wanting you, I’ll see you again, Lover, come back to me, Ah! Sweet Mystery of life, Fold your wings, Deep in my heart, dear, Only a rose, You, just you, Love’s old sweet song, Will you remember, When we are married, So deep is the night, Barcarolle, Indian Love Call, Love steals your heart, We’ll gather lilacs, Hear my song, Violetta, produced, compiled and transferred by Chris Ellis, Sleeve notes: Peter Gammond 1979 Encore, EMI records 1979 ONCM519 OC-054-06 936M

Jeannie C ©2008