Vaudeville is Really Alive and Well in Barkerville

THEATRE ROYAL CAST RECORDING
Fran Dowie MR. WORDS!
Norman Long MR. MUSIC!

SID WILLIAMS, LOUISE GLENNIE, SUSAN TRUDELL, BOB UNDERWOOD, ROB GOOGEL, CHRIS DOWIE, WANDA WILKINSON, BRAD COWAN, GOLDIE SEMPLE

Canada’s Unique Frontier Mining Town
BARKERVILLE, BRITISH COLUMBIA

CANADA’S LONGEST-RUNNING MUSIC HALL

Fran Dowie’s infectious brand of music hall entertainment is delighting the hundreds of thousands of visitors that flock every summer to this restored Cariboo gold rush community of Barkerville, 55 miles east of Quesnel.

The veteran vaudeville showman, known variously as the Barnum of Barkerville and the High-Priest of Nostalgia, has written directed and generally inspired a small troupe of actors in an annual production of what can be most accurately described as “Barkerville-style music hall”

Together with pianst Norman Long, he writes the original music and lyrics for the productions that are drawing a new type of traveller to the narrow valley that once housed more than 10,000 gold-hungry miners.

The artists, some of whom have appeared with Dowie for the past 11 seasons, are on stage “in flesh and blood reality” to sing, dance and entertain generally, in what has come to be known as the longest-running variety show in Canada.

For unsurpassed pleasure, guaranteed to induce intense interest and enthralling enjoyment, Mr. Dowie has imported a constant succession of enthusiastic first-class artists to entertain with dignity and eclat.

There is Mr. Sid Williams, ladies and gentlemen, that wonderful man of 10,000 faces appearing personally in unparalleled attractions of capricious comedy.

Miss Louise Glennie also returns by popular desire with more delightful delineations, in addition to demonstrating her own considerable charms as an effervescent artiste.

For one’s added pleasure, three beautiful damsels of unmatched distinction, Miss Susan Trudell, Miss Goldie Semple, and Miss Wanda Wilkinson, leave no doubt in the mind that they are truly the song birds of the gold fields, as they present their saucy music hall song and operatic arias.

Mr. Bob Underwood demonstrated unique and diversified style in captivating the ladies’ hearts with his lyric tenor voice.

Mr. Robbie Googel also is featured in his latest novelty act.

And much to nobody’s surprise the Great Barstow has returned from a trip to most parts of the civilized world, including New Westminster, with conglomerate yet cohesive competance and craft, carefully contrived to captivate the connoisseur and confound the castigator.

The net result is a delightful revival of the type of entertainment once popular in the former gold capital of B.C.

NATURAL SOUNDS NS 8002
Recorded at Studio 3 Productions Ltd.
Vancouver, Canada

Side One:

  1. The Caribou Itch (2:48)
  2. Honeysuckle and the Bee (2:38)
  3. Take Me To the Station (3:43)
  4. Miner’s Dream of Home (2:46)
  5. Mosquito Creek Rag (1:21)
  6. Blow the Wind Southerly (2:32)
  7. Wagon Road North (2:53)

Side Two:

  1. Take Your Pick (3:08)
  2. On Wings of Song (1:37)
  3. Goodbye Boys (2:56)
  4. The Mermaid and the Clam (4:03)
  5. Dreaming (2:18)
  6. Salute to the Saloons (4:39)

(The date (mid-1970’s) on this one is entirely a guess, as there’s no date information at all on the LP. I know it was pre-1980, however, based on its mention in this article dated November 1979.)

3 Comments

  1. Lucy
    Posted January 13, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    This Barkerville LP is from 1973/1974. My father worked with Fran Dowie in 1975, but this LP was for sale prior to then. Thought I would let you know. Nice to hear it again.

  2. Posted January 13, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Lucy, that’s very helpful!

  3. Susan Hall
    Posted March 10, 2014 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    Wow the record was produced in 1966. Prior to Expo ‘67. It was for sale when Fran did the centenial tour of Canada in 1967. The record was a great hit and one was made for the Golden Garter Saloon in Fort Edmonton on La Ronde. ‘67. I was there. I am Fran’s Daughter Susie Francis (stage name).

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