Our sixth object of ten takes us into the world of drama, initially taught informally at the Glasgow Athenaeum from 1886, and formally added to the syllabus as a diploma and later a degree in 1950.
This is a pantomime dame dress worn by infamous Scottish variety entertainer Jimmy Logan OBE in his guise as Pantomime Dame Lizzie Trotter. An oil of him wearing the same dress, painted by another Glasgow School of Art graduate (June Crisfield Chapman) also forms part of Jimmy Logan’s extensive archive, donated to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland by his widow, Angela, in 2005. It remains the largest archive, and one of the most popular, in all the collections.
Jimmy Logan was born Jack Short in Dennistoun, Glasgow, in 1928. Coming from a theatrical family (his aunt Ella Logan, from whom Jimmy was to adopt his stage name, was already a famous Broadway star in New York, and his parents were the popular Glasgow variety duo Short & Dalziel), Jimmy started his performance career at a young age. His early pantomime performances brought him to the attention of BBC Scotland, where he was soon to become a household name as a comedian, actor, musician – an all-round performer.
His first big screen acting role came in 1949 in the film Floodtide, a grim romantic drama set in Clydeside directed by Frederick Wilson. It would be the beginning of a very successful career in the industry, including a couple of now legendary Carry On films alongside co-star Barbara Windsor.
In 1964 Jimmy bought Glasgow’s Empress Theatre, refurbishing it and re-opening as the New Metropole Theatre where he was to continue his career as a producer and theatrical impresario.
One of Logan’s best remembered performance series were his recreations of Sir Harry Lauder’s music hall revues, and although much of his Lauder memorabilia now rests at the University of Glasgow Library’s Special Collections Department and Low Parks Museum in South Lanarkshire, Logan’s original scripts for his Lauder performances form part of his archive at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. They were used to form a re-creation of the re-creation, this time with Jamie MacDougall in the titular role.
Discover the Jimmy Logan archive catalogue.