Jack Arthur. Producer, conductor, arranger, violinist, b Glasgow 10 Jun 1889, d Toronto 30 Mar 1971. He was a child prodigy of the violin and toured at 7 with his mother (the opera singer Jean Gifford) in the company of the Scottish tenor Harry Lauder. Arriving in Toronto at 13, Arthur entered the Toronto College of Music on a scholarship. His work in minstrelsy and vaudeville in the USA in the early 1900s culminated in a position as music director for the Canadian-born minstrel George Primrose.
Arthur returned to Toronto ca 1910; he played in the Welsman TSO and studied with Jan Hambourg at the Hambourg Conservatory (where he also taught ca 1914). He conducted the Winter Garden Theatre orchestra in 1915 and moved to the Regent Theatre (Toronto) in 1916. Arthur has been credited by Leslie Bell (Music in Canada) with the introduction of pop concerts to Toronto, during intermissions at the Regent Theatre.
He was appointed music director for the Famous Players Theatres chain in Canada in 1918.and also was the music director for a number of movie theatres in Toronto - eg, the Uptown, the Imperial, Shea's Hippodrome - until the late 1930s. Artists introduced at these shows included the boy soprano Bobby Breen, Phyllis Marshall, John Moncrieff, Jackie Rae and the baritone Douglas Stanbury. Arthur also conducted at the Imperial Theatre and was a producer 1933-6 of CRBC broadcasts and music director for that network's 'Serenade to Summer'.
Arthur produced The Army Show in 1944 and perhaps was best known as the producer 1952-67 of the Grandstand shows at the CNE. While working for the CNE, Arthur also wrote songs for the shows, some of which were published by BMI in their Songs from the 1952 CNE Grandstand Show. The CBC program 'Mr. Showbusiness,' 1952-4 on radio and 1954-5 on TV, dramatized events of a career during which Arthur emerged as one of the most influential men in the Toronto entertainment world.