Greetings, Middleshrough Gang
It is always grand to be able to say 'Hello' to you all and wish you every bit of Good Luck there is going for your show. It was a long time ago when Middlesbrough staged their first show and I know each 2 year show has been better than the one before and this one is going to be the best ever, I am sure. All your pals from Gang Shows all over the Country will be wishing that for you, just as I do, boys. If everyone of you go out on to that stage determined you will give of your very best, be your part large or small, then your audience will be right with you all the way and asking as they leave 'When is the next show?' With my warmest Good wishes I add the special Cheers of The London Gang Show boys.
So go to it Middlesbrough!
Ralph Reader C.B.E.
Born in Crewkerne, Somerset, orphaned at nine, he became a Scout in 1914. At the age of 17 he went to New York where he worked as a clerk during the day and took dancing lessons in the evenings which led to jobs in touring musical shows and eventually to Broadway. An agent discovered his flair for dance production and got him a three - year contract as a juvenile lead and dance producer - at the age of 18. During the next six years he was connected with nearly thirty American shows.
In 1928 he came to London to produce West End musicals. He soon re-established his contacts with Scouting and became a Rover Scout and Scoutmaster in Holborn. A few district Scout shows led, in 1932, to the launching of the famous " Gang Shows " which went from success to success in the years prior to the outbreak of war. In these shows he was author, composer and producer. He also wrote and produced the famous pageant " Boy Scout " which was staged in 1936 and 1938. His great service to Scouting was recognised in 1938 when he was presented with the Silver Wolf. From 1939 until 1945 he ran the famous R.A.F. Gang Shows and during the course of his duties toured almost every theatre of operations.
After the war he got back into Scouting again and since 1947 has been responsible for more productions of " Boy Scout " at the Royal Albert Hall, record breaking " Gang Show" seasons and three full-length plays, bringing his total to five. Ralph Reader is now a member of the Boy Scouts Association.
He received the appointment of Chief Scout's Commissioner in October 1954. In 1958 he went to Chicago to stage the first American " Gang Show " and has subsequently gone there each year to stage their annual show.
We are proud to celebrate this 32nd year of Gang Shows and hope that this week at Middlesbrough The Gang will not only give our audience a first class show but will prove - as Ralph Reader would want - that we are first class Scouts. All the material for all our Gang Shows is supplied without charge by Ralph Reader and whilst you may applaud our efforts, your appreciation and our thanks are really due to the man who 32 years ago, by his enthusiasm and knowledge, made Gang Show an international entertainment.