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Hughie Green and his Gang

‘And I mean that most sincerely, folks’. This was one of Hughie Green’s catchphrases. Another was ‘Vote, vote, vote, ‘cos your votes count’. As the host of quiz show Double Your Money and Opportunity Knocks, a forerunner of Britain’s Got Talent, he had one of the most recognisable faces (and voices) on TV in the sixties and early seventies. Then, abortive lawsuits, womanising and alcohol all took their toll and he died largely forgotten in 1997 aged 77. But what many below the age of eighty might not know is that Green was once a child star who, with his very own 'Gang' of fellow child performers, toured the halls from the mid thirties. One of his star turns was a distinctly manic solo dance routine.

So what we have here is evidence that young Green and his Gang performed at The Empire, Swindon in February 1937. Evidently, Mrs Barbara Slocombe, his landlady at 5, Farnsley Street, was a bit of a celeb spotter and kept an album in which she got her showbiz guests to sign, perhaps with a message, a calling card, and often with a signed photograph, or even a drawing. Several of Green’s gang obliged, but there is no record of the boy wonder himself leaving a signature. What we do have, however, is a postcard from Penge featuring a photograph of Green which was sent by one of the gang, Willie Mars, asking if Mrs Slocombe would kindly send on the sports jacket that he had left behind in her guest house.

I wonder what happened to Willie Mars.

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