Friday, April 08, 2011

Burl Ives on the Old Kent Road

Came across this picture at the Getty Images Archive. It shows the American folk singer Burl Ives in the Thomas a Becket pub in the Old Kent Road. The picture was taken by Kurt Hutton in 1952 and published in The Picture Post at the time. Not sure what he was doing in the pub, possibly it was simply a staged photo opportunity. In any event in May 1952 he sold out the Festival Hall on the South Bank, so he was seemingly beyond playing in pubs.

1952 was a signficant year for Ives - he had been blacklisted for having Communist ties but then in that year appeared before Senator McCarthy's House Unamerican Activities Committtee. His decision to testify - and talk about other supposed Communists - lifted restrictions on him, but led to other folk singers denouncing him, notably Pete Seeger. They didn't make up until 40 years later when they appeared together on stage.

Ives went on to become known as an actor as well as a singer, notably in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and East of Eden.


mk said...

Anyone know if the Thomas A Becket is re-opening/has re-opened?

Transpontine said...

It definitely is but don't think it has yet.