This film is part of Free

Are We Down-hearted?

Cecil Hepworth’s Vivaphone film features Hay Plumb singing George Robins’ optimistic 1906 ditty.

Musical 1911 3 mins


Cecil Hepworth’s Vivaphone film (an early system for matching mimed action to music recorded on 10” disc) features well-known actor, director and writer Hay Plumb singing George Robins’ optimistic 1906 ditty concerning the mischievous responses of a poor family to regular visits from the bailiffs.

Plumb is assisted onscreen by a chorus of Hepworth studio regulars: Madge Campbell, Jack Hulcup, Chrissie White, Alma Taylor, Jamie Darling (“Whimsical Walker”), and Frank Wilson, who probably directed it, as the bailiff. The accompanying Vivaphone disc featured Charles Bignell and was issued in December 1910. Cecil Hepworth launched his synchronized sound system, the Vivaphone, in 1909. The device synchronised pre-recorded phonograph discs with a film picture which featured actors miming to the recording. This film from the BFI National Archive has been synchronised to its corresponding original recording, supplied to the BFI by Tony Barker. Special thanks also to Glenn Mitchell for coordinating the project and digitising the recording. This synchronised Vivaphone film has been supported by The Adam S Rubinson Charitable Fund.