M"lita Dolores - Forgotten Star
Locally-born M’lita Dolores was a top West End variety star in the 1920s. She had her first hit revue “Listening In”, co-starring with Will Hay, and between 1922 and 1926 she had a string of hit revues in the West End and touring. She also broadcasted her act on BBC Radio and gave dance demonstrations with Bert Ralton’s New York Havana Band band at the Savoy (first jazz band in the UK). She often went flying with Will Hay. She had an affair with Ralton, and went on his South Africa tour of 1926-7, where he was tragically filled. The scandal of the affair saw the downfall of her career and she retired and emigrated to Malta in 1930. After the war she became a radio star there and is still fondly remembered as “Auntie M’lita” for her children’s show.
With unique ciné film of her on the South Africa tour with Bert Ralton, and my collection of display and personal photographs, posters and memorabilia, this is a unique insight into the life and times of a typical top-range variety performer in the 1920s – the exotic M’lita Dolores (Madge Poole from Hanley). My collection will feature in a forthcoming exhibition at the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, and there is an article by Richard Ault illustrated with some of the items in this month’s Staffordshire Life magazine. 47 min