[ Guy Bolton and Fred Thompson. ] Early uncensored typescript draft of 'Song of the Drum' ('A New Musical Comedy | Book'), before the setting was changed from India to 'Huzbaria' because of political unrest.

Guy Bolton [ Guy Reginald Bolton ] (1884-1979), Anglo-American writer of musical comedies, associated with P. G. Wodehouse; Fred Thompson [ Frederick A. Thompson ] (1884-1949), English librettist
Publication details: 
With typed address of 'Fred Thompson | 419, East 57th Street | New York City. | (Plaza 2018)'. Stamp of the Theatre Royal Drury Lane Ltd. London, W.C.2. Undated [ circa 1931 ].
SKU: 17462

Jeffrey Richards, in his 'Imperialism and Music: Britain, 1876-1953' (2001), pp.272-274, discusses this piece at some length, beginning: 'There was a late entry in the imperial cycle, the now-forgotten The Song of The Drum, written by Fred Thompson and Guy Bolton, which opened at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, on 9 January 1931. It starred Derek Oldham as Captain Anthony Darrell, Bobby Howes as comic relief Chips Wilcox, Peter Haddon as silly-ass "Goofy" Topham and Marie Burke as glamorous spy Countess Olga von Haulstein. It featured spectacular and exotic sets which sent the critics into raptures, dance routines choreographed by Ralph Reader, and drills and marches reminiscent of Alhambra and Empire ballets. Originally it was to have been set in India, but this was forbidden by the Censor because of the current troubles in that country. It was therefore set in fictional Huzbaria, an Eastern country under British rule, where Captain Anthony Darrell is disgraced and loses his sweetheart, the colonel's daughter, and so goes in disguise to neighbouring Kahlek where an anti-British revolt is being plotted, to foil the enemies of Empire. | [...] this was an attempt at a home-grown exotic. The Song of the Drum had a score by Vivian Ellis and Herman Finck, with lyrics by Desmond Carter. [...]' 151pp., 4to. Complete typescript, typed on rectos only, with each of the two acts bound separately with brass studs in grey card wraps with white typed label. (Act I: [3] + 87pp.; Act II: [1] + 60pp.) In good condition, with light signs of age and wear. The first volume is a carbon copy typescript and the second volume a top copy typescript. Each volume with ' "SONG OF THE DRUM" | ACT I [II]' in white ink on cover. The typed title-page indicates that the decision to title the piece 'Song of the Drum' came late: 'A New Musical Comedy | Book | | By | GUY BOLTON and FRED THOMPSON. | Fred Thompson | 419, East 57th Street | New York City. | (Plaza 2018)'. Stamp of the 'THEATRE ROYAL DRURY LANE LTD. | LONDON, W.C.2.' throughout the two volumes. The play is set at Kimla (Polo Grounds, Bazaar, Colonel McKenna's Bungalow), at the 'Palace of the Maharajah of Mahal', and on the 'Deck of a P. & O. Liner'. The cast of characters includes four ladies (Eileen McKenna, Judy, Mrs McKenna and Countess Olga Rykoff), two 'Native Girls', two 'Nautch' girls, six officers of the Irish Fusiliers (including 'Goofy' Topham), an American ('Chips' Wilcox), an officer in the Indian Secret Service (Major Kirkwood), and natives including Prince Chandra Singh, 'A Native Conspirator' (Gurga Dass) and the Maharajah of Mahal. The revised 'Huzbaria' version was published in London in 1930, but this version is unpublished.