A 152nd Birthday Greeting to George Arliss!


Today, April 10, is Good Friday. It was also Good Friday back in 1868 on that day when Mr. A was born in London. He came from a family of publishers going back to the 18th century and founded by his grandfather, John Arliss. His family lived and worked in the Bloomsbury district, which, of course, has long been celebrated as the literary center of the city.

As we all know too well, no matter where you live today this is a tense time in our lives with conditions not seen since the Second World War. Celebrities have been stepping up to boost our morale so I think it’s fitting on this particular Arliss birthday observance to recall his own efforts in speaking to the British people during WWII while he and Florence remained in London throughout the long war.

Mr. A talks to the crowd at Market House in 1942:

We know in letters that Mr. A wrote to friends during the war that he spoke to the public on several occasions. It was typical of him to question his effectiveness and he hoped he was not too boring. But even in his 70s, he apparently answered the call every time he was asked to give a morale-boosting talk.

Mr. A seems to attract some attention at Waterloo Station:

We are fortunate to have preserved an address he gave over the BBC at some point between the fall 1939 and the spring 1940. I believe his words are just as meaningful in dealing with today’s crisis as they were back then. His message is simple and direct: do something. Everybody can contribute in some way or other to the gigantic effort that is required of all of us to get through this crisis, whether a war or a pandemic. Here he is:

Happy Birthday, Mr. A. Your words continue to inspire!

Published in: on April 10, 2020 at 2:05 PM  Leave a Comment  

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