By the 1950s musical comedy had begin to fall out of fashion, and his last full-length musicalHalf in Earnest, appeared in 1958. He contributed to revues for a few more years and then turned his hand to writing a series of amusing books such as How To Enjoy Your Operation. Ellis became the President of the Performing Right Society and in 1984 the society instituted an annual event - the Vivian Ellis Prize - to encourage young composers and lyricists to write for the musical stage. Ellis gave all the writers the same advice: "Try and put at least one hit song in every musical you write." Several of the promising writers featured in the competition went on to success, including Charles Hart who wrote lyrics for Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical of The Phantom of the Opera, and Philip Glassborow whose comedy musical The Great Big Radio Show! was a personal favourite.
Ellis as a composer was "rediscovered" in the 1980s when his 1929 musical "Mr. Cinders" (featuring the hit song, "Spread A Little Happiness") was revived at the King's Head Theatre in London. The song also charted again in a version by Sting, following its ironic use in the film Brimstone and Treacle. His song This is My Lovely Day also appeared in the John Cleese comedy Clockwise in 1987.
Ellis's composition "Alpine Pastures" was used as the theme song for the long-running BBC radio series My Word and another light music composition of his, "Coronation Scot," was the signature tune for the Paul Temple series.
His grandmother was the composer Julia Woolf. His autobiography, published in 1953, is entitled "I'm on a See-Saw", named after the hit song from his musical Jill Darling.
In December 2008, the King's Head Theatre in London will present the world premiere of "Godiva", a previously unproduced musical (book by Guy Bolton) written in the 1950s.
A new chapter -- After years of problems, an illiterate inmate turns the page for a fresh start on life - thanks to a kind corrections officer
Jul 29, 2008; If Carletha Caraway was reading a book of her life, she might want to skip the first couple chapters. They tell the story of a...