Radio: Grycie

"Grycie," yelled a visiting British tar, "do us a cartwheel!" Gracie Fields, once the world's highest paid comedienne, obliged. Then, opening her full bag of tricks, she displayed the wares that had hoisted her from a shilling-a-week trouper to first lady of the English music halls, at $750,000 a year, before U.S. and British income taxes. Scratching, sniffling, grimacing, Gracie clowned her "low but clean" repertory, squealing high C, telling screwy Lancashire stories, whooping up a community sing with the servicemen packing her audience.

This scene and others like it take place regularly...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!