History

W. H. Ralph Reader born May 25, 1903 in Crewkerne, Somerset, United Kingdom died May 13, 1982 at Bourne End, Buckinghamshire. Awarded CBE (1959) and MBE (Military Division) (1943) for service in RAF Intelligence. In 1971 Reader was made a member of the UK entertainment charity, the Grand Order of Water Rats. Reader was awarded the Bronze Wolf, the only distinction of the World Organization of the Scout Movement, awarded by the World Scout Committee for exceptional services to world Scouting, in 1975. Choreographer, lyricist, director and producer (both theatre and television), Scouter. Originator of the Scouting Gang Show.

In 1931, he was asked to write a Scout based amateur variety show to help raise money for a swimming pool at Downe Scout Camp (now a Scout Association National Activity Centre). Rehearsals commenced under Reader's direction on 25 May 1932 (his 29th birthday).
Initially the show did not have a title but during a rehearsal break, Reader recalled later, he asked a cast member if everyone was ready to which the response was Aye, Aye Skip, the gang's all here. The first production, under the title The Gang's All Here ran between 30th October and 1st November, 1932 at the Scala Theatre in central London.

Despite the fact that the show was not a sell out, enough money was raised to fund the swimming pool and the show was well received. Baden-Powell, the founder of scouting, approached Reader and persuaded him to produce another show in 1933. This show was produced with the title The Gang Comes Back and ran for a week.

A tradition had been born and Reader continued to write and produce the London Gang Show. In 1934 the show became known as The Gang Show and the song Crest of a Wave was performed for the first time becoming over the years the Show's iconic song internationally.

In 1937 the London Gang Show achieved the distinction of being the first amateur production to have a Royal Command Performance (an honour that was repeated in 1957 and 1964).