The Teddy Bear’s Picnic: Henry Hall & His Orchestra

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13 Comments on “The Teddy Bear’s Picnic: Henry Hall & His Orchestra”

  1. Hedley Says:

    This is probably the single best music post that you have ever done

    At six o’clock their Mummies and Daddies will take them home to
    ‘Cause they’re tired little Teddy Bears

    On Saturday mornings at 9.00 am, Derek McCulloch, known to everyone as Uncle Mac, would present “Children’s Favorites” which for an hour would feature such classics as “Teddy Bear’s picnic” by Harry Hall – this song is still absolutely brill

    The show, broadcast on the BBC Light Programme, began in 54 and opened with a grandfatherly “Hello children everywhere” By the early 60s the social movement was underway and the show would accommodate the Beatles by playing their current hit as the last tune right at 10.00 o’clock. We waited patiently

    By the mid 60s Uncle Mac was gone, and was to be followed by Lesley Crowther, Ed Stewpot Stwear and then….well it had all changes.

    Uncle Mac was a war hero, wounded on the Somme, and a voice heard by generations. As the Savile investigations got underway it was disclosed that McCulloch was a pervert of the worst order (if there are degrees of being a pre-vert)

    If you go down in the woods today you better not go alone
    It’s lovely down in the woods today but safer to stay at home
    For every bear that ever there was will gather there for certain
    Because today’s the day the Teddy Bears have their picnic

    • Hedley Says:

      BTW – I do think its Henry Hall and not Harry….but who cares – he did the first vocal for this in 1932

      • katry Says:

        You are right, and I changed it so the real name is there, not the familiar his wife probably called him.

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      Given how you’ve loved all the Pet and Kate songs, I am amazed.

      I figure the songs from our childhoods trigger deep feelings and give the songs a richness, a depth.

      I liked that the show changed a bit with the times and finished with the Beatles.

      Uncle Mac was a vile man and most probably used his fame to entice children. They were innocent and unsuspecting. I do think some perverts are worse than others. The ones who look at child porn and don’t touch are not of the worst order. This Uncle Mac was.

      • Hedley Says:

        OK, so I was a bit over the top with your best post ever, but hey, the Tigers start their adventures tonight and Spurs are live on Fox. Sometimes I get a bit over stimulated. Open apologies to Pet, Emmylou, Kate, E and sundry other moments of genius that come with your postings. (except Lennie)

        We had no sense that Uncle Mac was anything other than a kindly Grandfather figure reaching out to the children every Saturday morning. Bit of a pisser to discover that he should have done major jail time and was protected

      • katry Says:

        I’m just fine with your over the top enthusiasm given you have the Tigers starting tonight and you can switch between seasons by checking on the pure.

        Who protected him? Was it the brass knowing how popular he was was? I know what I would have done to him, but they don’t allow that though it would fit the crime.

      • Hedley Says:

        Supposedly the BBC hid it.

        As the cultural revolution took place so Nellie The Elephant , and the Teddy Bears disappeared very quickly. No place for a Windmill in old Amsterdam. The Fab Four lead the charge and very quickly tastes changes and we had RSG and Cathy and Dusty and it was really exciting.

      • katry Says:

        I love finding these old songs like this one and the Windmills. They have such a great sound. I was glued to the radio to listen to the Beatles and all the rest, but now I’m thrilled to find an old song that I missed along the way.

  2. J Says:

    This is a bit of a long one:
    1. I think I remember hearing this when I was growing up in southern New England. Bob Steele was a morning fixture on WTIC-AM, and weekday mornings at 7:50 he’d play ‘something for the children’. One I know I heard was “The Lion and Albert”, but I’m sure he also played “Teddy Bear’s Picnic”… (And I think Dave van Ronk recorded it as well.)
    2. Re: the allegations. Here’s two short news stories, both from IBT:
    “Jimmy Savile Sex Scandal: Was BBC’s Larry the Lamb Derek McCulloch a Paedophile?” By Dominic Gover
    October 17, 2012

    The BBC is still reeling from the maelstrom of allegations over another well-loved children’s presenter and charity worker, Jimmy Savile. The organisation has confirmed that it’ll now also investigate the accusations about Derek McCulloch as part of the existing Savile review.
    News veteran John Simpson has claimed that the BBC gagged him when he tried to expose the behaviour of an unnamed children’s radio presenter who fits the profile of corporation legend Derek McCulloch. Simpson spoke in thinly veiled terms about a sex abuser he called “Uncle Dick”, who was famous as a children’s radio entertainer from the 1930s to the 60s. Simpson told The Sun that the abuser was one of the BBC’s biggest names from the 1920s until his death in 1967.
    McCulloch is best remembered as “Uncle Mac” in BBC Radio’s immensely popular Children’s Favouriites and Children’s Hour and for playing the Larry the Lamb character in Toytown. His sign-off line, “Goodnight children, everywhere”, was heard by four million youngsters who tuned in to every show.
    Distinguished foreign correspondent Simpson said: “Week after week, children from all over the country would win competitions to visit the BBC and meet Uncle Dick.” He would welcome them, show them around, give them lunch, then take them to the gents and interfere with them,” claimed Simpson in his book Strange Places, Questionable People. “If parents complained, the director general’s office would write saying the nation wouldn’t understand such an accusation against a much-loved figure.”
    Simpson said he uncovered the allegations while researching the presenter’s obituary in 1967. He said an unnamed woman branded the man believed to be McCulloch “an evil old bastard”.
    “I hope he died in agony,” she added.
    IBTimes UK contacted the BBC and asked if McCulloch’s activities were under investigation as part of two investigations into sex abuse at the BBC unveiled by current director general George Entwistle. A spokesman said: “The information will be shared with the BBC investigations unit and the police and we will look into these allegations as part of the Jimmy Savile review.” Simpson’s agency Kruger Cowne said: “He [Simpson] is in Afghanistan. He is not prepared to comment.”
    McCulloch was so popular during his time at the BBC that members of the royal family would be taken on studio tours by him. McCulloch was rewarded for his work with an OBE in 1964.

    “Was BBC children’s radio entertainer a paedophile?”
    by Marverine Cole
    International Business Times UK Oct 18, 2012

    There are yet more child sex abuse accusations for the BBC to deal with as the size and scope of the detailed investigation into the actions of popular presenter Jimmy Savile grows by the day. Now the broadcaster has now confirmed it’ll be looking into allegations from veteran reporter, John Simpson, who’s branded an unnamed children’s radio presenter from the 1960s as a paedophile.
    In one of his books, Simpson writes about an abuser called ‘Uncle Dick’ who seems to fits the profile of the late entertainer Derek McCulloch. McCulloch was a star from the 1930s through to the 1960s. Simpson claims that – when he uncovered allegations while researching the presenter’s obituary – the BBC blocked the journalist’s attempts to make the damning information public because McCulloch was ‘much-loved’.
    Pretty much a national treasure, McCulloch was the voice of Larry The Lamb on radio, which went on to become this successful TV show. As ‘Uncle Mac’, he presented the BBC Children’s Favourites and Children’s Hour programmes, and was awarded an OBE in 1964 for his broadcasting work. At the height of those shows fame, some four million children would hear him saying “Goodnight children, everywhere”. The ‘Uncle Dick’ in Simpson’s book is said to have interfered with youngsters he’d invited to the recording studios after they’d won a competition to meet him.

    • katry Says:

      Thanks, J. The whole story was strangely mesmerizing. Here were all of the indicators of child abuse, but no one paid any attention or hid what they knew and suspected. The OBE was mind blowing.

      That was one competition I would have been quite glad to lose.

      Thanks for finding all this.

      • Hedley Says:

        Uncle Mac was presented as a disabled war veteran, having been injured on the Somme. His role was very significant in those post war years as we were the children that listened to the wireless radio. Television was sporadic, Watch with Mother gave us 15 minutes each day of Ivor the Engine and The Woodentops,

        Saturday morning meant Uncle Mac – his greeting was warm and the songs were old fashioned and familiar. Sunday afternoon meant comedy – The Clitheroe Kid, Round the Horne, The Navy Lark.

        The Simpson revelations were sad and pathetic. Uncle Mac violated the trust of generations and avoided disclosure until well after his death.

        But I hear Teddy Bear’s Picnic, I remember every word, and I can pull up the image of my family in the Wolseley car heading to Bognor Regis, listening to Uncle Mac and hoping that some how after hearing about mice in windmills, and run away trains, that the Beatles would be on

        Jimmy Savile was always in our face and overtly creepy. Uncle Mac was a voice in the air that had no one could have know was perverted

        J thank you for sharing the article

      • katry Says:

        Being deceived by someone you trusted and admired is the worst of all, especially in how and what of the deception.

        You still have some great memories of listening to this song with your family. They are what are to be cherished.

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