How it all began
"The story of the 'Gang Show,' its birth and growth, is extremely interesting. It offers a splendid example of how small beginnings, carried out with intelligence, foresight and ability, and in this case with hearty co-operation of all concerned, can lead to great achievements. . . ."
So wrote an official chronicler of the London "Gang Show" some years ago. In fact, it was in 1929, in one of London's smallest Scout districts, that Ralph Reader conceived the idea of producing a Scout revue. He succeeded in inspiring his fellow Scouts with his own infectious enthusiasm; he wrote the words and the music, signing himself simply "A Holborn Rover," and produced the show.
From the outset the venture prospered and each succeeding revue became more and more ambitious. In 1932, London's Scouts were in need of money for their camping grounds at Downe—so Ralph collected a company of Scouts from various parts of London and gave his first performance at the Scala Theatre. The result was that the "Gang Show" became one of the most successful entertainments in the West End.
By 1936 it was running for no less than 14 days—and in that year no less than £2,000 worth of applications for seats had to be returned. In November 1937 " The Gang " was included in the Royal Command Performance at the Palladium—an honour repeated in November 1957 when the London "Gang Show" celebrated its Silver Jubilee.
"Gang Shows" spread to the Provinces; cities like Newcastle, Stoke and Glasgow followed London's lead and now in towns and cities up and down the country, the local Scout revue—usually based largely on the London shows—has become an annual event.