Leo T Croke


It appears that Leo Thomas Croke was born in the first quarter of 1888, the fourth of 10 children born to Thomas Joseph Croke, an Irish doctor practicing in Hull, and his wife Gertrude.

On the 1911 census, at the age of 23, he gives his profession as Musical Director, working on the Music Halls. He wrote the music for several popular songs of the Edwardian era, and published arrangements for many more.

In 1929 he contributed to the musical score of the film Bright Eyes, a vehicle for Betty Balfour. Around this time it seems he also used the name "Lionel Claff" (confusing because there was an real Lionel Claff). He also wrote the score for a musical, Hearts are Trumps (lyrics by Alfred Denville) which toured provincially in 1935, according to Philip L Scowcroft.

He provided musical direction for Tod Slaughter's version of Maria Marten, or The Murder in the Red Barn (1935), and was engaged by Albert Hopkins to work as Musical Director on Publicity Pictures' production of Gounod's opera Faust (1935), made as a showcase for the Spectracolor 2-colour process, and featuring Ann Zeigler as Marguerite and Webster Booth as Faust - the first meeting of the couple who would later marry and become a popular classical singing duo. Hopkins retained Croke to work on Publicity Pictures' other Spectracolor films, incuding their series of colour adverising cartoons Cheery Chunes.

In the 1950s he seems to have been Musical Director at the Tower Ballroom, Blackpool, before retiring to London in 1959, where he took up the baton of the Bromley Concert Band, until his death on 26 May 1964.

Filmography (animated films only)

Morris May Day(Publicity Pictures, 1935) Music Composer, Arranger, Conductor
The Midshipman(Publicity Pictures, 1935) Music Composer, Arranger, Conductor
The Baronial Beanfeast(Publicity Pictures, 1935) Music Composer, Arranger, Conductor
Carnival Capers(Publicity Pictures, 1935) Music Composer, Arranger, Conductor
The Gay Cavalier(Publicity Pictures, 1935) Music Composer, Arranger, Conductor

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Peter Hale
Last updated 2017