Jean Darling, one of the few people still alive who worked with Laurel and Hardy, has been speaking to Made in Manchester about her role in the premiere on Broadway of the legendary musical Carousel.
Jean, who is now 92, was just 22 when she got her big theatre break in April 1945.
She’d been working in film since she was a toddler, starring in the Our Gang movies and alongside Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy as one of the Little Rascals.
But in 1945, she got her first major stage role when she landed a part in Roger and Hammerstein’s second musical Carousel.
She speaks to Made in Manchester for the BBC World Service programme Witness. Producer and presenter Ashley Byrne says: ‘Jean is a legend. She remembers the events of April 1945 vividly. She recalls being put through her paces by the masters of the musical, the nerves of opening night and the success of that great show.’
Ashley adds: ‘And 70 years on, Jean can still sing. In this programme she treats us to several bars of some of the popular numbers from the original Carousel production.’
Carousel was the musical in which the song You’ll Never Walk Alone first emerged. It went on to be made into a pop song by British group Gerry and the Pacemakers in the mid 60s and became the anthem for Liverpool Football Club.
You can listen to Witness: Carousel 70 Years On on the BBC iplayer or via the BBC World Service Witness site. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02p1h0t