George Mozart was a popular comic vocalist, actor, skilful musician and instrumentalist and became one of the finest character comedians and pantomime artiste of his day.
Born DAVID JOHN GILLINGS on 15th February 1864 in Great Yarmouth.
As a young lad, he was a member of the Prince of Wales’s own Norfolk military band. (see story below)
George's first professional appearance was as a clown before joining the Livermore Brothers Court Minstrels, initially as a musical director and then becoming a corner man. He continued working as a burnt cork minstrel until making his London debut at the Marylebone Music Hall in 1886.
Partnering up with CHARLES WARRINGTON in a comedy and musical act known as WARRINGTON AND GILLINGS before changing their names to THE MOZARTS, they made their first appearance at The Queen’s Music Hall in Poplar in 1892.
This was followed by engagements at the Middlesex, Washington, Collins and all the leading Music Hall throughout the United Kingdom. George toured Australia in 1914.
It is recorded that George also ran a tobacconist shop in Great Yarmouth in 1891 and in the 1920s he was landlord of The Green Man and French Horn in St. Martin's Lane, London.
In 1938 George appeared in a cameo role in the film Pygmalion.
He married ELEANORE AMELIA TENNANT in 1887 and had several children. His granddaughter CHARMIAN INNES became one of the famous Windmill girls.
The great George Mozart passed away on 10th December 1947 aged 83.
THE SONGS GEORGE SANG INCLUDED:
COLONEL NUTTY OF THE NUTS
A DAY AT THE RACES
THE FAMILY PARTY
THE FLASH LIGHT EXPRESS
IF I, IF I, IF I, IF I, IF I, IF I DO
THE QUACK PHYSICIAN
A SOLDIER AND A MAID
Comedian GEORGE MOZART recalls his childhood experience with Queen Alexandra. Taken from The Era 1904.
When a boy of fourteen I was in a military band – the Prince of Wales’s own Norfolk Artillery. His Majesty was Honorary Colonel of the regiment and the band used to be ordered to Sandringham about twice a year. We stayed a week each time generally in November and December, when their Majesties had their birthday parties.
We principally played for dinner (string band, of course) and during the week the servants and tenants ball we also had to play for. The King – of course, then Prince of Wales – was a grand M.C.; it was quite a treat to see him forming up the sets for quadrilles etc, and I can assure you if he was out of the ballroom everything seemed to go woefully wrong.
Our bandmaster at that time was a German, and a very peculiar, eccentric, irritable old man he was, though very clever and a splendid musician. The King was very fond of him. At every dinner, after the ladies had left, he would have Herr Doria in the dining room and have a chat with him; anyhow the old man used to come back smacking his lips. The wine’s good at Sandringham – our mouths used to water – and the same remark might be applied to the beer we drank out of horns, never glasses. We were well looked after, and stayed in the adjoining village (Dersingham) at an inn then called “The Cock,” but afterwards altered and re-christened “The Feathers Hotel,” kept by Mr. and Mrs Taylor. It would take too long to tell you all our adventures. I remember I often walked miles to see the King and party shooting, especially when the Countesse de Paros was one of the party. Sometimes on fine mornings, we would play outside for breakfast: a military band on this occasion of course, and, whether wet or fine, we would play “God bless the Prince of Wales,” under his bedroom window on his birthday morn, and we played the “Danish Anthem,” under the window of the first lady in the land, our lovely Queen (then the Princess of Wales), also on her birthday.
I remember on one occasion – a very frosty morning – we played outside for breakfast, after which the King and gentlemen would be off shooting. The ladies would come out of the principal entrance to watch them start and wish them good luck. I was then quite a little fellow; I am not very much bigger now, so you can imagine how small I must have looked in the uniform of an artillery bandsman at the age of fourteen.
I was the drummer of the band and had to look after and play all the effects as well – triangle, cymbals, castanets, sleigh-bells, music stand, books, etc. I have already said our bandmaster was irritable; not only was he irritable, but he took likes and dislikes to members of the band, lasting only for short periods, thank goodness. Then he would be very nice, so that when he was nice the sergeant would be also, and would order someone to help me carry all my traps to and from the places in which we were told to play; but if I was in disgrace, oh dear! I had to struggle with the lot. On this occasion I was in the latter stage, and after we had finished playing, and they had finished breakfast, out cam the King and Queen and all the party. The Queen stood surrounded by a group of ladies, including her three charming daughters. The gentlemen started off on their shooting expedition, the ladies remaining behind. We were told we were not required any longer. It was beastly cold; I could not feel my drumsticks. We were ordered to pack up and carry out things to the servants’ hall. I shall never forget it. I dare say you have seen the footman comedian in a sketch doing the old business picking up one parcel and dropping another. Well, that was fools play to mine. First of all the music stand fell over, then the book, then the cymbals and the sleigh-bells would come with a crash on the hard frosty ground. I felt myself going all colours. The ladies were standing all around; and although I had been cold one minute before I felt like a perfect volcano. At last I managed to grip the lot; and alter letting some of the things fall in order to get a rest on my way, I succeeded in my efforts, and arrived at the servants’ halls. We were then ordered by the sergeant to fall in and march out of the grounds on or way back to Dersingham. On falling in with the rest I discovered I had lost one of my gloves. I tried to hide my hand, but the sergeant’s sharp military eyes were too quick. He spotted me; asked me to put on my other glove. I told him I must have left it behind at the place where we had just been playing against the principal entrance. He ordered me back to find it. Great Scot! When I got there the ladies were still chatting together. I was extremely nervous; I daren’t disobey orders; and besides, the band and sergeant were waiting for me outside the servants ‘ hall. So I plucked up courage and advanced towards the ladies, feeling I should like to sink through the earth and when I got quite close I saw my glove lying on the ground within a yard of where the Queen was sitting. Most of the ladies were tall, which made me look awfully short. However, I put on a second effort and advanced quite in front of the Queen, saluted, stooped, picked up my glove, saluted again, right about turned and marched off towards the servants hall, getting one of the biggest laughs of my life from the ladies.