Jack Buchanan Collection

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

This collection contains typescripts, photographs, correspondence, music sheets and lyrics related to the stage and screen career of Jack Buchanan. The collection also contains a number of personal photographs and documents relating to his residence in Nassau (The Bahamas).

Administrative / Biographical History

Walter John 'Jack' Buchanan (1891–-1957) was an actor, dancer, singer, producer and director. He started his stage career as the music-hall comedian Chump Buchanan, first appearing in the West End in 1912. He appeared in a series of musical comedies, many of which were later made into films. Notably, he starred in This'll Make You Whistle whilst concurrently making the film version.

He first went into management in 1922 producing and starring in Battling Butler. In the mid 1920s, he also starred in Broadway productions of André Charlot revues.

In 1926 Buchanan first teamed up with Elsie Randolph in Sunny. They worked successfully in partnership on stage and screen for the next ten years in such productions as That’'s a Good Girl, Stand Up and Sing and Mr Whittington (an updated version of the Dick Whittington legend).

In 1933 Buchanan built the Leicester Square theatre where the Odeon cinema now stands. He remained working on stage and film, both in the UK and the US, throughout the 1940s and early 1950s. In 1951 he took over the lead in King'’s Rhapsody following Ivor Novello's death, and in 1953 he made the film The Band Wagon, with Fred Astaire.

Conditions Governing Access

This archive collection is available for consultation in the V&A Blythe House Archive and Library Study Room by appointment only. Full details of access arrangements may be found here: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/a/archives/.

Access to some of the material may be restricted. These are noted in the catalogue where relevant.

Acquisition Information

Gift, Museum of the City of New York, 1993.

Separated Material

The following items were removed from the collection:

  • Autographed scrapbook containing Jack Buchanan press cuttings covering productions he worked on in the 1930s, namely; Stand Up and Sing, Man of Mayfair, Goodnight Vienna, Yes Mr Brown, That’s a Good Girl, Mr Whittington, Brewster’s Millions, The Flying Trapeze and When Knights Were Bold . The cuttings are prefaced by a handwritten account of Buchanan’s career written by Betty Honey, who compiled the book. 1930s. This item may now be found in the library collections – PN2598.B834.
  • Scrapbook containing Jack Buchanan press cuttings collected by a cuttings agency, 1949-1953. This item may now be found in the library collections – PN2598.B834 OUTSIZE.
  • Scrapbook containing Jack Buchanan press cuttings collected by a cuttings agency, 1953-1956. This item may now be found in the library collections – PN2598.B834 OUTSIZE.
  • Loose press cuttings, 1955-1957. These may now be found in John Buchanan’s biographical file.
  • Souvenir programme for a charity matinee at the Drury Lane Theatre, 16 May 1922. This item may now be found in the Drury Lane Theatre production files.
  • Souvenir programme for a charity performance of The Review of Revues at the London Hippodrome Theatre, 26 June 1922. This item may now be found in the London Hippodrome Theatre production files.
  • Campaign booklet for the movie As Long as They’re Happy, 1955. This item may now be found in the Diana Dors biographical file.
  • Souvenir booklet for Star, the Gertrude Lawrence biopic, 1968. This item may now be found in the Gertrude Lawrence biographical file.

Conditions Governing Use

Information on copying and commercial reproduction may be found here: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/a/archives/.

Appraisal Information

This collection was appraised in line with the collection management policy.

Accruals

No further accruals are expected.

Related Material

The following materials related to Jack Buchanan and his career may also be found in the V&A Theatre and Performance Collections:

  • Pair of shoes worn by Jack Buchanan in That’s a Good Girl, 1928; S.822-1981 & S.822A-1981
  • Drawing depicting Jack Buchanan in seven different roles, 1934; S.2058-1986
  • Sheet music for And Her Mother Came Too!, sung by Jack Buchanan, 1921; S.458-1989
  • Lino cut print portrait of Jack Buchanan, Harry Beard Collection, 1926; S.3172-2009
  • Sheet music for Everything Happens To Me, sung by Jack Buchanan, 1943; S.708-2014
  • Sheet music for Oceans of Time from Mr Whittington, 1933; S.779-2014
  • Sheet music for Gnee’ah, sung by Jack Buchanan, 1908; S.842-2014

Reference materials may also be found in several of the core collections, including the biographical, production and photograph files. Material may also be found via the V&A's National Art Library catalogue. Please ask for details.