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Conversion of the London Hippodrome into 'The Talk Of The Town'

1958 Opening Programme Feature

See also - The London Hippodrome - Hippodrome Index - Theatres and Cinemas in Leicester Square

 

Conversion of the London Hippodrome into 'The Talk Of The Town' Hello and welcome to February 2004's Special Feature. This month the feature is about the conversion of the London Hippodrome into 'The Talk Of The Town' in 1958.

The feature consists of articles and images from the programme shown on the right and is packed full of details and images on the conversion and the people and companies involved.

The London Hippodrome was built in 1900 by Frank Matcham as a Circus Variety Theatre but since the conversion in 1958 to 'The Talk Of The Town' and subsequent closure and conversion into a night club venue the original internal architecture suffered serious damage.

In 2003 when I first visited the building, parts of the original Theatre still existed above the Night Club ceiling. The Hippodrome was refurbished eventually however, and in July 2012 it opened as a Casino, details here.

This Special Feature was converted into one page in 2017.

The Talk Of The Town - Opening Programme

Conversion of the London Hippodrome into 'The Talk Of The Town' When Sir Edward Moss, the founder of Moss' Empires, opened the Hippodrome on January 15th, 1900, he achieved his ambition to give Londoners "a circus and watershow combined with elaborate stage-spectacle impossible in any other theatre." The first show, entitled Giddy Ostend, starred Little Tich and the cast included a youngster whose name was Charles Chaplin. After Giddy Ostend came a series of extravaganzas with titles like Volcano, Typhoon, Earthquake, Avalanche, and Flood. These productions were by no means confined to the stage; in front of it, the part of the auditorium normally occupied by the stalls, there was a circular arena; the floor could be lowered and the resulting tank filled with a hundred thousand gallons of water. In the course of an Arctic Spectacle called The North Pole, seventy-six Polar Bears slid down into the tank from the stage!

Right - An advertisement from the Opening programme for the Talk of the Town in 1958.

Conversion of the London Hippodrome into 'The Talk Of The Town' When the arena was used as a circus-ring, every kind of performing creature appeared on it - from elephants and lions to cormorants and rattlesnakes.

Left - A List of Design and Architectural Consultants for the conversion of the London Hippodrome into the 'Talk Of The Town' 1958 - Click to enlarge

All sorts of "novelties" were presented: Russian Giants, Pygmies performing a war-dance; an "Armless Wonder" who played the violin; a lady who baked clay in a crucible and handed out "rubies"; and a scientist who cooked steaks on blocks of ice.

In 1909 the Hippodrome was partially rebuilt; the stage was enlarged, and the old arena space was used for seats. Among the great showmen who appeared on the stage were Cincluevalli, Houdini and Chung Ling Soo; Marie Tempest played in a sketch with W. C. Fields and Leoncavallo conducted his opera I Pagliacci -as part of a programme that included the first American Rag-time Octette!

Conversion of the London Hippodrome into 'The Talk Of The Town' Onwards from 1912 (during which year an all-star cast performed a matinee in aid of the suffered from the "Titanic" Disaster) a series of lively revues were produced Hello Ragtime, Hello Tango, Zig Zag, Joy Bells, Round in 50, Brighter London. Among the stars were Harry Tate, Sophie Tucker, Paul Whiteman and his Band, Violet Lorraine and George Robey.

Came "TheTwenties", and Revue gave way to Musical Comedy - Mercenary Mary, Sunny, Hit the Deck, That's a Good Girl, Yes Madame, Stand up and Sing, Please Teacher. The stars included Jack Buchanan, Binnie Hale, Bobby Howes, Elsie Randolph, Vera Pearce, Cicely Courtneidge and Anna Neagle. And at appropriate seasonal intervals, of course, Pantomime reigned.

In 1938 the Late George began a series of very popular musicals - The Fleet's Lit Up, Black and Blue, Black Velvet, Get a Load of This, Lisbon Story - and from 1945 to 1947 Ivor Novello starred in his celebrated Perchance to Dream which had a record run of 1020 performances.

Conversion of the London Hippodrome into 'The Talk Of The Town' Notable attractions at the Hippodrome in recent years have been the one-man show by Maurice Chevalier, Her Excellency, starring Cicely Courtneidge, the Folies Bergere revues, Bet Your Life with Arthur Askey, The Blue Lamp with Jack Warner, Champagne on Ice, with Bellta, Anna Lucasta with a Negro Cast, and Wedding in Paris, in which Evelyn Laye made a triumphant return to the stage In the closing stages of the Hippodrome's story, Max Bygraves and Dave King appeared in light-hearted musicals, and variety bills were headed by performers like Johnnie Ray, Lonnie Donegan, Alma Cogan and Charlie Gracie.

Right - Charlie Gracie at the London Hippodrome 1957.

The London Hippodrome closed its doors to the public for the last time on 17th August, 1957. It was the end of an era - the last page of a chapter as colourful as any in theatre history. And so, with happy memories of a Glorious Past, we go forward. . .

Into the dazzling future

To put it quite simply, the Hippodrome has been transformed into the most modem theatre restaurant in the world. At the turn of the century, the first West End Moss Empire presented what was, in those days, a completely original type of show; today The Talk of the Town offers Londoners a form of entertainment that is unique in the history of the metropolis. And just as Sir Edward Moss, Master showman of his time, realised a Dream when he put Hippodrome Corner on the map, so Charles Forte, Bernard Delfont and Robert Nesbitt achieve an ambition in transforming it, and thereby putting London not merely abreast of he times but ahead of them. New York, Paris and Hollywood have their theatre restaurants; it is only fitting that London, the most vibrant and modern-minded city in the world, should have the finest of them all.

Conversion of the London Hippodrome into 'The Talk Of The Town'

As can be imagined, the transformation of the veteran Hippodrome into The Talk of the Town has been a gigantic operation-only made possible by the imaginative collaboration of three men who are leaders and pioneers in their own fields - ace-restauranteur Charles Forte, impresario Bernard Delfont, and ace-producer Robert Nesbitt. It is an entirely new conception, neither patterned on, nor inspired by, any other place of entertainment in any part of the globe; the decor does not attempt to reproduce the atmosphere of any foreign city or locale; it is the unique creation of contemporary minded men-of-the-theatre with an original but realistic approach to show-business.

The policy of The Talk of the Town is to provide three forms of entertainment under one roof; here patrons may wine and dine satisfyingly, and elegantly dance to the music of famous orchestras, and, in the course of the evening, enjoy the two contrasted stage presentations that form the theatre-entertainment. Whether you are relaxing or celebrating, you can have a complete night at The Talk of the Town from cocktail-time to the small hours. London's latest rendezvous will indeed be The Talk of the Town.

Creating "a wonderful time"

Conversion of the London Hippodrome into 'The Talk Of The Town' To Charles Forte, The Talk of the Town is not merely another business venture. As becomes the chairman of the London Publicity Committee, he has an ambition to see London, already the greatest city in the world, established also as the gayest. He feels there is a vast difference between genuine night life and night club life, and he looks to The Talk of the Town considerably to enhance London's reputation as a gay city by providing late dining facilities and wholesome entertainment till early morning for the young in heart, whether they be Londoners celebrating an occasion, business visitors needing relaxation, or holiday makers out on the Town.

With a strong family catering background he pressed on to build up the largest privately owned catering business in Great Britain. His most recent ventures being the Criterion, the Cafe Royal, all the catering at London Airport and the West London Air Terminal, the Hungarian, and the Waldorf Hotel.

Gilbert Harding says of him that 'He is as good a Londoner and as fond of London as I am. He is the man whose ideas have revolutionised many of the places where Londoners and visitors go to eat and celebrate. Simply his main idea is to give people what they want. It is his secret though to give them a little more than they expect".

Recognised even in the earliest stages of his career as a progressive man of the theatre, Bernard Delfont has in recent years firmly established himself as London's leading impresario.

Conversion of the London Hippodrome into 'The Talk Of The Town' He first began to influence the trend of events in the entertainment world when he persuaded a number of international variety stars to visit this country; nowadays his name is synonymous with spectacular showmanship and headline talent.

In association with Val Parnell, he has presented a dazzling sequence of lavish revusicals at the London Palladium, and the standard of his productions at the Prince of Wales, featuring artists of the highest calibre, is one of the highlights of London entertainment. Responsible for many summer shows at seaside resorts, he has theatrical interests all over the country, and is influential in the world of television.

Bernard Delfont has always been instinctively appreciative of talent and far-sighted in its management; it is to his help and encouragement that many big names in show-business owe a great deal of their success. Joining forces with Charles Forte to launch The Talk of the Town is an important milestone in Bernard Delfont's career; there could be no happier augery for the success of London's new Theatre-Restaurant than that it is sponsored by a partnership which brings together for the first time the two leading lights in the theatre and restaurant worlds.

From the early 'thirties, the phrase "devised and produced by Robert Nesbitt" has had a magic ring in the world of show-business; familiar to Londoners as the guarantee-label of dozens of successful productions, it has become the hallmark of exciting entertainment.

Conversion of the London Hippodrome into 'The Talk Of The Town' As the producer of several of its most notable shows, Robert Nesbitt is very much part of the Hippodrome's "glorious past", summarised on another page; he was responsible, too, for many glamorous productions at the Coliseum, the Palace, and the Casino; the dazzling floor-show at the Pigalle and the fabulous Follies at the Prince of Wales. His flair is for colourful presentations with the accent on feminine allure; and, at the Palladium, his spectacular pantomimes and lavish revusicals have added a glittering new chapter to the history of that famous theatre.

Robert Nesbitt's reputation is high on both sides of the Atlantic; it was from Las Vegas and New York, where he had been winning fresh laurels, that he was persuaded back to London to produce shows for the Bernard Delfont organisation. That was towards the end of 1955; since then, in association with Bernard Delfont, he has established himself beyond all doubt as the outstanding theatrical producer of our time.

Planned by him and carried out under his direction, the reconstruction of the stage and the installation of stage-elevators, revolves, and orchestra-runways (plus the latest and most elaborate sound and lighting equipment) ensure that he will have at his command all the technical resources for the most spectacular productions of his career. He is also responsible, in collaboration with Robert St. John Roper, for the striking new decor.

Bernard Delfont presents Robert Nesbit's Talk of the Town Revue

Conversion of the London Hippodrome into 'The Talk Of The Town'

Conversion of the London Hippodrome into 'The Talk Of The Town'

Conversion of the London Hippodrome into 'The Talk Of The Town'

Make it a Gala!

Conversion of the London Hippodrome into 'The Talk Of The Town'

Salute to a Glorious Past

Conversion of the London Hippodrome into 'The Talk Of The Town'

Conversion of the London Hippodrome into 'The Talk Of The Town'

The "Talk of the Town" Orchestras

Conversion of the London Hippodrome into 'The Talk Of The Town'

Conversion of the London Hippodrome into 'The Talk Of The Town'

"Costumes designed and made by R. ST. J0HN ROPER" is a phrase which for many years has been associated with the spectacular revues at the Prince of Wales Theatre and for the majority of Bernard Delfont productions in this country as well as the extravaganzas and pantomimes at the London Palladium. Now he has widened his scope as a creative artist, for not only has he designed the costumes for The Talk of the Town Revue, but has collaborated with Robert Nesbitt in devising the decor of the Theatre-Restaurant itself, the adjoining rooms, and the foyer.

Conversion of the London Hippodrome into 'The Talk Of The Town' R. St. John Roper writes: "Nothing has interested me more than my collaboration with Robert Nesbitt on The Talk of the Town - an idea of his which we first discussed when travelling together in America. I am happy to have contributed to the realisation of a project which has no counterpart in the States or anywhere else in the world.

Shown right amongst others is Tod Kingman, click here for a short biography on him.

It has been a great experience to combine the costume-designing of the show with the devising, under Robert Nesbitt's direction, the decor of the building, which will (I hope and believe) strike an entirely new note in contemporary decoration, and contribute considerably to your enjoyment of an evening planned as a complete entertainment. Many artists and craftsmen have collaborated to bring into being The Talk of the Town- London's first Theatre-Restaurant. I am very proud to have been one of them."

Men and Machines

Conversion of the London Hippodrome into 'The Talk Of The Town' The most obvious place to begin is in the Prompt Corner, which one might enliken to the Captain's Bridge. In this particular enterprise it is really more of a room than a corner, measuring approximately 8'6" x 9', and situated on the audience's right-hand side of the stage. The main piece of equipment here is a manual Control Desk which operates the 20 motors, which together average 170 horsepower. They are used solely to operate the lifts, slides, bridges, chandeliers and other moving equipment on the stage. A picture of the Control Desk can be seen on the next page. There are 22 contactor control switches placed in two banks, one on the operator's right and one on his left. In the centre of the panel is the rheostat control for the 11 motors which operate the 10-panel contour curtain. The looped chain is set on this panel into the pattern it is desired to reproduce on the actual stage curtain. Merely by operating the buttons down the right hand side of the centre panel, various motors are set in motion and cause the chain pattern to be reproduced in the contour curtains - but 24 times larger. Along the bottom of the centre panel are a further set of 5 contactor control switches which operate the various other curtain arrangements on the stage.

On the wall immediately behind the operator is situated a six-way talk-back sound system through which the stage manager can give instructions to the lighting console situated on the floor immediately above his head; to the fly floor where is controlled the twenty-odd sets of counter weights, to which is attached the hanging scenery used in the production; to the spotlight boxes in the rear of the restaurant; to the understage for the rear orchestra lifts; and to the front stage directly under the dance floor, enabling him to talk to the mechanists working on the stage lift under the dance floor. This lift enables special effects to be brought up to stage level, and to form an apron stage, during the presentation of the show. Incorporated in this stage there is a revolving stage 18' in diameter. The sixth outlet is a cueing system to the dressing rooms and staff room.

This corner is controlled by the stage manager, Mike Hayman, who has been associated with Mr. Nesbitt in a number of his productions. The first qualification of such a man is a very retentive ear for music, as during the production scenes it is quite normal to have cues for changes of light occurring at the rate of three a minute and all of them occurring in time with the music.

Leaving the Prompt Corner and going to the lighting control console, it will be readily appreciated that this is laid out on the principle of a two-manual electric organ. From this is controlled the 176 lighting lanterns set in banks on the stage and out in the restaurant, in order to flood the stage at the touch of a button with 150,000 watts. The actions of the console operator are relayed through a complicated series of switch gear to the actual bank of dimmers situated in a room in the basement 120 feet away from the console itself. A picture of this room and the complicated switch gear is shown. The care and maintenance of all this equipment is only a part of the job of Ken Thompson and his staff who are also responsible for the maintenance of all the restaurant lighting and kitchen equipment, and many other electrical appliances necessary for the smooth operation of such a project as this.

Men and Machines Continued

Conversion of the London Hippodrome into 'The Talk Of The Town' In addition to these two panels there is a third panel which is situated alongside the lighting console. This panel is for the control of the sound system picked up through 15 microphones giving a cover all round the acting area of the stage and the apron stage. On this panel the operator controls the volume of the sound passed to 34 speakers in the auditorium to ensure smooth coverage of sound throughout the restaurant side of the building. This operator also controls the motors which adjust the levels of the microphones as they drop in to pre-selected heights to ensure smooth pick-up of the sound.

In the void underneath the stage, an area of some 10,000 square feet, an area large enough to accommodate a small factory, are situated the lifts and the scenery docks where are stored various effects which from time to time are brought to stage level. The main stage, with the built in revolving stage, which is situated under the apron stage, sinks to a depth of 25 feet, and is capable of staying at the bottom level or halfway up at a sort of sub-basement level, so that it can be loaded with scenery or effects at either one of these levels. The apron stage itself is formed by raising the dance floor a height of about 3 feet, to bring it level with the stage proper. In the centre of this apron stage are two sliders which sink and open in order to allow the main stage to come up to stage level.

From the void beneath the stage, let us now go to the void above the restaurant ceiling where is situated the sliding trap of the ceiling and the bridge which descends during the presentation of the stage show. The bridge is approached along a corridor separately constructed in place of the normal catwalks which are there for the servicing of the lighting lanterns concealed in the roof.

Operation Pickaxe

The creation of The Talk of the Town on Hippodrome Corner has been a large-scale building and engineering operation. The planning of the restaurant facilities and kitchens was the work of Erie Hartwell, a partner of Charles Forte and a director of Theatre Restaurants Ltd. The credit for devising ways-and-means and overcoming the many structural difficulties involved belongs to A. T. Pine, L.R.I.B.A, M.Ins.A.R., Forte's resident architect.

Conversion of the London Hippodrome into 'The Talk Of The Town'

Conversion of the London Hippodrome into 'The Talk Of The Town' The stage has been completely reconstructed by Hall Stage Equipment Limited to Robert Nesbitt's plan - with a "bridge" and rising-and-sliding orchestral rostrums incorporated. In front of the stage the old water tank has been removed, involving an excavation forty-five feet across and forty feet deep; in its place the rising apron-stage, which revolves, has been constructed.

Special stage features include the very large Venetian-type blind which is raised, lowered and tilted electrically, and an electrically controlled pre-set contour curtain. Of special technical interest are the rear-folding draw-curtain tracks. The two large chandeliers over the auditorium are made to rise electrically into ceiling-wells in order to clear the line of sight for spectators. Provision has been made for an ice-floor and the presentation of a fountain spectacle.

All the old Hippodrome floorings have been removed; on the stalls level, two other floorings -- of earlier dates and with different "rakes" - were discovered and had to be removed, too. The original mosaic of the foyer was also revealed when the old rubber flooring was replaced by the new one. Approximately one-and-a-third miles of Wilton Carpet and over a thousand square yards of linoleum have been used for the covering of the new floorings The ceiling is made of an entirely new plastic material of great strength and lightness.

Conversion of the London Hippodrome into 'The Talk Of The Town' The main contractors were Messrs. Walter Lilly and Co. Ltd., and the work of bricklayers, carpenters, plasterers, plumbers, painters, tilers, steelfixers and labourers has taken over 162,000 manhours. The debris carted from the old building has totalled nearly 1,600 cubic yards, and the materials used in the re-construction include 120,000 bricks, 60 tons of steel, 150 tons of cement, 50 tons of plaster, 15 tons of granite chippings, 400 cubic yards of concrete aggregates, 200 cubic yards of sand, 1.25 miles of piping for plumbing services, and vast quantities of partition slabbing, paint, and wallpaper.

The electrical installation is the work of the Strand Electric Company. The switchboard-console, of the latest electro-mechanical design and involving 120 circuits, is situated in a control room from which the operator can observe his effects both on the stage and the dance-floor.

Conversion of the London Hippodrome into 'The Talk Of The Town' The console is a remote-control in that the actual dimmer-bank with which it is connected is in the basement.

Over a hundred new-type soft edge Fresnel spot-lanterns (in use for the first time in this country) have been installed above the stage and restaurant ceiling; all the decorative lighting fittings and the chandeliers have been specially designed by the General Electric Company in collaboration with Robert Nesbitt, and the lamps include 2,000 new-shape star bulbs specially made to his specification.

The Talk of the Town is ventilated by a fresh air supply fan providing 17,000 cubic feet per minute of filtered and warmed air; this represents 34 tons of fresh air per hour. Air ducts concealed within the building fabric include some which would be large enough for two people to cycle abreast inside them.

Conversion of the London Hippodrome into 'The Talk Of The Town'

The ground floor frontage and canopy was designed by Fredk. Sage and Co. Ltd., in conjunction with Mr. Nesbitt. The exterior cladding is of toughened black glass, with aluminium framed poster cases at intervals along the frontage illuminated by tubular lighting, and decorated with fibreglass ornamentation. The rusticated pilasters and doors and frames of entrances are of aluminium sprayed with metallic gold.

To see more images of the destruction of the London Hippodrome and its condition in 2003 Click here.

To Wine and Dine

THEATRES have been transformed into Theatre Restaurants before. but (maintains CHARLES FORTE) the transformation of the HIPPODROME into THE TALK OF THE TOWN is unique in that for the first time (in Europe) the requirements of the restauranteur were studied and met in the first stages of planning-even before demolition began-on the grounds that, the customer being both diner and theatregoer, the meal is as important as the show, and the kitchen, therefore, as important as the stage. As a result, the restaurant equipment and dining facilities at THE TALK OF THE TOWN are as efficient as modern techniques and imaginative planning can make them.

Conversion of the London Hippodrome into 'The Talk Of The Town' There are three main kitchens-a vast preparation kitchen at basement level, where the refrigeration plant is housed, and two service kitchens-one on each service level. Mr AMANADA maintains that he has under his cortrol the most efficient staff in London. Headed by the restaurant manager and assistant manager, it consists of two maitres d'hotel, two head wine butlers, head-waiters and wine-butlers for each group of tables, and about a hundred waiters and commis-waiters: the kitchens are in the charge of the head chef, who has a second chef (one on each floor) and forty cooks; there are also specially-trained coffee-men and pages.

The cuisine is international-classical as prescribed by ESCOFFIER and SAVARIN; selected provincial dishes and national specialities are also served. The cellars are stocked with all the famous wines characteristic of France, Germany, and the Commonwealth.

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Conversion of the London Hippodrome into 'The Talk Of The Town'

And there you have it, how to destroy one of the most important Victorian Circus Variety Theatres in the country and turn it into a 'modern' 1950s Theatre Restaurant without a care for its original structure or design. It's remarkable that anything still survives of the London Hippodrome of 1900 at all, but it does. Climb up above the false ceiling of the modern night club and you will be greeted with the shell of the original Theatre. Here despite the accumulation of fifty years of neglect and the gloomy bare brick walls, there are rows of, now seat-less, raking, large fragments of detailed plasterwork, elegant wooden balustrades, ornamental pillars, and hints of the original paintwork. Many say that the Theatre is beyond restoration; that it has gone too far into dilapidation. But given the will and the funds, Frank Matcham's wonderful Theatre could be restored. The structure of the Auditorium and stage house is intact, and there is enough surviving plasterwork, woodwork, and architectural detail - not to mention the numerous historical pictures of the original that survive to work from - to recreate one of the finest and most important examples of Britain's surviving Theatrical houses. The London Hippodrome is one of only three surviving Theatres in London's Leicester Square, once the hub of London's Theatreland; surviving are The Comedy, The Prince of Wales and The London Hippodrome; gone or irreversibly converted are The Empire Theatre, The Alhambra, The Leicester Square Theatre and Daly's Theatre. Shouldn't we repair the misguided and wanton destruction of the fifties and sixties now that we know better? The London Hippodrome stands perfectly situated in the heart of London's West End, with the future capability to house large scale musicals, yet is about to play host to yet another Night Club. The Hippodrome's future is entirely uncertain, but surely, not beyond hope. M.L. 2004.

(Update: The Hippodrome was indeed refurbished eventually and in July 2012 opened as a Casino, details here)

Acknowledgements

Conversion of the London Hippodrome into 'The Talk Of The Town'

Above - Design and Architectural Consultants for the conversion of the London Hippodrome into the 'Talk Of The Town' 1958.

TOD KINGMAN 1910 - 1987

Conversion of the London Hippodrome into 'The Talk Of The Town' Tod Kingman, the well known and extremely talented theatrical scenic designer, had a long and varied career in the entertainment industry, and theatre in particular. In the days before the second world war this included scenic and poster design for the cine-variety theatres owned by the Hyams Brothers at the Trocadero, Elephant and Castle, Gaumont State, Kilburn and other venues.

He was not called into the armed services during the war and continued to work as a designer and painter at a time when artists would hire a paint frame and execute their own designs. During this period he worked for and with Edward Delaney, who was one of the leading designers and scene painters of his day.

In 1944 Tod opened his own studios, Key Studios Limited, on a bomb site, where the Elms Lesters painting rooms stood and remain today in Flitcroft Street - London under their former name, where he not only designed the scenery but also operated as a contractor, building and painting scenery.

Conversion of the London Hippodrome into 'The Talk Of The Town' During the seventies his company merged with Brunskill and Loveday, which was then owned by the Stoll Corporation, to become Brunskill and Kingman. Later this partnership was joined by Victor Mara Limited to become Mara and Kingman.

Left - Tod Kingman image and details from a Talk Of The Town Programme 1958 - Click for feature on this programme and venue.

Tod then became a freelance designer from 1984 until his death. From this time and up to the seventies he was responsible for, amongst other things, the scenic design of many of the London Palladium revues that were produced by Robert Nesbitt and also for the design of 20 of his Talk of the Town extravaganzas. He also designed many of the London Palladium pantomimes during the heyday of these annual productions.

Through his association with Howard and Wyndham and their then Head of Production, Dick Hurran, he designed many of the Five Past Eight shows for the Alhambra Theatre, Glasgow and the famous Starlight Room production. He also worked as designer and contractor on notable productions at the Stardust Hotel in Las Vegas and for the spectacular productions staged by Charlie Henchis at the Casino du Libana in Beirut.

In the eighties he worked with Ross Taylor on The Sound of Music at the Apollo Victoria and The King and I at the London Palladium.

Tod was also a well known designer of night clubs and restaurants which included a major project, for Robert Nesbitt, converting the Empress Ballroom in Blackpool into the Stardust Gardens Cabaret. Through his association with Trusthouse Forte, he was responsible for a large proportion of the interior decor of the Talk of the Town theatre restaurant in London.

He also redesigned entertainment facilities in Blackpool and Southend converting some of their pier buildings into show bars.

This biography kindly contributed by Terry Powell 2004.

Line drawings on this programme were created by Tod Kingman.

A list of all the stars to performed at the Talk of the Town can be found on this Website.