June 1949 (probably), venue unknown
The Ghost Train is a comedy-thriller, written in 1923 by the English actor and playwright Arnold Ridley, later of Dad’s Army fame. The story centres on the interaction among a group of railway passengers who have been stranded at a remote rural station overnight and are increasingly threatened by a mysterious external force.
The date of Chelsfield’s production is uncertain. It was listed among the ‘Past Productions’ on the programme for This Happy Breed in May 1947 but later records list it in mid-1949. Wartime rationing of photographic film means that the production shown here must have been post-war, although many productions were produced in members’ houses during the war and revived later on a proper stage (see Elegant Edward), so it’s possible that this show was performed on a small scale during the war with a full production coming some time later.
As for the cast, we think we’ve identified Jimmy Dean, Gladys Hollands and Vernon Tomalin. Joan Westfold, Norman Nash and Eric Hart seem to be present too.
Jimmy Dean’s first confirmed performance for the Society was in Noah (December 1946), so if he was involved as early as 1945 then why wasn’t he in New 66, since half the population of the village seems to have acted in that show? That suggests Ghost Train was a post-1946 production. Other explanations for his absence are that Jimmy didn’t like revues or that he just happened to be busy that week.