Glasgow Empire Theatre
   Variety at its best

The Glasgow Empire Story
Glasgow Empire Theatre
About Bob Bain
The Glasgow Empire Story
Stories from the Empire
Top of the Bill
Cissie Williams
How Moss Empires Worked
Empire Show Cards
Inside the Empire
They all played the Empire
Who are they ?
The Final Curtain
An Usherette Remembers
Empire Memories
Empire ghosts

The Glasgow Empire Story

The Empire began life as the Gaiety theatre which opened in 1874. It started as a legitimate theatre but was never a great success and in 1883 it became a Music Hall.
In 1896 the Gaiety was demolished to be replaced by the Frank Matcham designed
Empire Palace which opened in April 1897 with Vesta Tilley at the top of the bill. In 1930 it was closed for reconstruction internally and was extended to the corner of Renfield Street, seating 2,100 in comfort and topping the bill, Jack Payne and the BBC Dance Band.
The last performance was on Sunday 31st March 1963 by an all star cast who all came to say goodbye to this famous variety theatre. The building was demolished and an office block raised in its place.
Today only a small blue plaque on the wall of Pizza Hut is a reminder of this great theatre.
Over the years many stars from the USA appeared at the Glasgow Empire.
Female Singers: Rosemary Clooney, Lena Horne, Betty Hutton, Judy Garland, Kitty Kallen, Ella Fitzgerald, Eartha Kitt.
Male Singers: Frankie Laine, Johnnie Ray, Hoagy Carmichael, Jerry Colonna, Mel Torme, Don Cornell, Frank Sinatra.
Comedians: Jack Benny, Abbot & Costello, Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis, Laurel & Hardy, Chico Marx,, Morey Amsterdam.
Home grown talent also appeared : Morcambe & Wise, Mike & Bernie Winters, Des O'Connor, Billy Dainty, Betty Driver, Jimmy Young, Marty Wilde, max Bygraves, Harry Secombe, Cliff Richard, Billy Fury, the list could go on and on.
Let us not forget all the great support acts who helped to make the Empire the great variety theatre it was: Wilson,Keppel & Betty, Jimmy James & Co., Stan Stennett, The Cox Twins, Dick Henderson, Walter Jackson, Clarkson & Leslie, Saveen & Daisy May, Cardini, Robert Earl, Chan Canasta, Hal Monty and all the others, too numerous to mention, but not forgotten.



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