Thomas Reginald "Tommy" Handley was a British comedian known for the BBC radio programme It's That Man Again. He was born at Liverpool in Lancashire, he served with a kite balloon section of the Royal Naval Air Service during the First World War and went on to work in variety, in the infancy of radio, broadcast regularly. He worked with people such as Arthur Askey, wrote many radio scripts, but it is the BBC comedy series ITMA for which he is best remembered, which itself became known for a number of catchphrases, some of which entered popular vocabulary, he starred in Time Flies. In years, he suffered with high blood pressure, the result of his driving commitment to ITMA, died on 9 January 1949 from a brain haemorrhage, eight days before his 57th birthday, he was cremated and his ashes placed in the rhododendron bed at Golders Green Crematorium. In a eulogy at his memorial service at St Paul's Cathedral, the Bishop of London, John W. C. Wand, said that "he was one whose genius transmuted the copper of our common experience into the gold of exquisite foolery.
His raillery was without cynicism, his satire without malice". On 7 November 2006, BBC Radio 4 broadcast a review of one of his partnerships, Mr Murgatroyd and Mr Winterbottom: "The story of Tommy Handley and Ronald Frankau, a comedy partnership which had its heyday in the 1930s world of radio. There was no straight man, so the partnership was a rare one. Tommy was a fast talking Liverpudlian. Presented by Nicholas Frankau and grandson of Ronald." The Disorderly Room It's That Man Again Time Flies Tommy Handley on IMDb Two recordings to listen to or download
We're Going to Hang out the Washing on the Siegfried Line
"We're Going to Hang out the Washing on the Siegfried Line" is a popular song by Ulster songwriter Jimmy Kennedy, written whilst he was a Captain in the British Expeditionary Force during the early stages of the Second World War, with music by Michael Carr. It was first published in 1939; the Siegfried Line was a chain of fortifications along Germany's Western border, analogous to the Maginot Line in France. At the first big wartime variety concert organized by ENSA, broadcast by the BBC from RAF Hendon in North London on 17 October 1939, Adelaide Hall performed the song accompanied by Mantovani and his orchestra. A rare newsreel of this concert exists, the footage is thought to be the earliest surviving film of a performer singing the song; the song was used as a morale-booster during the war up to and during the Battle of France. It began: Leslie Sarony and Leslie Holmes added some unofficial lines; the Sarony and Holmes version put "Mother dear, I'm writing you from somewhere in France" at the start and after the main section, added four lines starting "Everybody's mucking in and doing their job".
The song was recorded by many British musicians during the Second World War, including Arthur Askey and Allen, Vera Lynn. A mocking parody was written shortly after the Battle of France by a German songwriter, with translated lines that include: Jimmy Kennedy's obituary at the New York Times, April 1984
Douglas Coy Byng was an English comic singer and songwriter in West End theatre and cabaret. Billed as "Bawdy but British", Byng was famous for his female impersonations, his songs are full of double entendres. An gay performer, Byng was noted for his camp performances in the music halls and in cabaret. Byng made a large number of recordings, many of which have been transferred to CD. Byng was a noted pantomime dame and appeared in over 30 pantomimes. Byng was born 17 March 1893 in Nottinghamshire, his father was a bank manager and his mother was a former school teacher. They did not encourage his early theatrical leanings, when he was ten, they sent him to live in Germany with his elder brother, who owned a lace factory there. Byng studied music and German, but following the trade of his brother he concentrated on fashion. After his return to Britain, he worked for the costume designer Charles Alias in London. In 1914 Byng answered an advertisement for a light comedian for a seaside concert party and made his first appearance on stage at Hastings.
At the age of 21, playing a middle-aged diplomat, he toured more than a hundred towns in the musical comedy The Girl in the Taxi. He continued his theatre work throughout the war, playing character parts in touring comedies and achieving a juvenile lead in 1920. In the 1920s he took to pantomime, playing the Grand Vizier in Aladdin at the London Palladium in 1921, in 1924 creating the first of his many pantomime dames as Eliza in Dick Whittington and His Cat at the New Theatre Oxford. In 1925 Byng appeared at the London Pavilion in C. B. Cochran's revue On with the Dance, written by Noël Coward. Byng remained with Cochran for five years in a succession of revues. During this period he opened his own nightclub in central London, where he first performed the cabaret drag songs for which he is best remembered, described by the critic Sheridan Morley as "a curious mixture of sophistication, schoolboy humour and double entendre." An example is his Mexican Minnie: Come where the heat from the sun's burning raysGets you so gaga you tear off your stays!
I'm all jolly and ginnyI loll in the mountains all day. Though I'm well off the map, I'm just covered in slap, Luring brigands to play ha ` penny nap, but they get reckless, will stay to breakfastThen go off refusing to pay. I say, "Well you can go,"I'm sick of the gang, so"You shan't see my tango today!"Byng's skill in performance was said to vanquish prudery, but in reality his material was never crude. His famous numbers included: "Sex Appeal Sarah", "Milly the Messy Old Mermaid" and "The Lass who Leaned against the Tower of Pisa", his "Doris, the Goddess of Wind" was revived in Alan Bennett's 2010 play The Habit of Art. In 1931 Byng appeared in cabaret at the Club Lido, in New York, had a great success, he pursued his career of revue and pantomime in London throughout the 1930s, was the first cabaret artiste to have his name in neon lights in the West End. In 1938 he played his favourite role in a musical, Prince Zorpan, in an adaptation of Emmerich Kálmán's Maritza. Byng wrote all his own words for the piece and some extra music.
In one scene he impersonated a lady violinist, singing "I'm the pest of Budapest that turned the Danube so blue" in which The Times said he shone intensely. During the Second World War, Byng was busy in musicals and variety, as well as cabaret and entertaining the troops. Afterwards he appeared in more comedies and farces, the best remembered being Georges Feydeau's Hotel Paradiso in 1956 with Alec Guinness at the Winter Garden Theatre in London, reprised in a 1966 film version in which he appeared, he turned up sporadically on television, notably in Alan Melville's series Before the Fringe in the 1960s when he sang, or rather recited, some of the old revue songs. Byng never retired from the stage and was working in his late eighties, his career was revived when he made a guest appearance on the BBC's Parkinson show in 1977 with Carol Channing. In the last years of his life he teamed up with another veteran variety artiste, Billy Milton, in the touring revue Those Thirties Memories, directed by Patrick Newley.
He made his last appearance in 1987 in a one-man show at the National Theatre in London at the age of 93. He wrote an autobiography, As You Were, he features prominently in Patrick Newley's autobiographical memoir The Krays and Bette Davis. Byng moved to Denville Hall, the Actors' Charitable Trust home in Northwood, England, he composed his own epitaph: So here you are, old Douglas, a derelict at last. Before your eyes what visions rise of your vermilion past. Mad revelry beneath the stars, hot clasping by the lake. You need not sigh, you can't deny, he died 24 August 1987 aged 94. His ashes were scattered outside his former home in Brighton. A Brighton bus is named after him. Massingberd, Hugh; the best of The Daily Telegraph Obituaries, p. 20, Pan, 2001. Morley, Sheridan; the Great Stage Stars, Angus & Robertson, London, 1986. ISBN 0-8160-1401-9
Stewart Granger was an English film actor associated with heroic and romantic leading roles. He was a popular leading man from the 1940s to the early 1960s, rising to fame through his appearances in the Gainsborough melodramas, he was born James Lablache Stewart in Old Brompton Road, West London, the only son of Major James Stewart, OBE and his wife Frederica Eliza. Granger was educated at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art, he was the great-great-grandson of the opera singer Luigi Lablache and the grandson of the actor Luigi Lablache. When he became an actor, he was advised to change his name in order to avoid being confused with the American actor James Stewart. Granger was his Scottish grandmother's maiden name. Offscreen friends and colleagues continued to call him Jimmy for the rest of his life, but to the general public he became Stewart Granger. Granger made his film debut as an extra starting with The Song You Gave Me, he can be glimpsed in Give Her a Ring, Over the Garden Wall and A Southern Maid.
It was at this time that he met Michael Wilding and they remained friends until Wilding's death in 1979. Years of theatre work followed at Hull Repertory Theatre and after a pay dispute, at Birmingham Repertory Theatre. Here he met a leading actress with the company, who became his first wife, his productions at Birmingham included The Courageous Sex and Victoria and Empress. Granger began to get work on stage in London, he appeared in The Sun Never Sets at the Drury Lane Theatre and in Serena Blandish opposite Vivien Leigh. At the Buxton Festival, he played Tybalt in a production of Romeo and Juliet opposite Robert Donat and Constance Cummings, he acted opposite them both in The Good Natured Man. In London he was in The House in the Square. Granger had small roles in the film So This Is London and Convoy. At the outbreak of the Second World War, Granger enlisted in the Gordon Highlanders transferred to the Black Watch with the rank of second lieutenant; however he suffered from stomach ulcers and he was invalided out of the army in 1942.
Granger had a small role in a war film Secret Mission and a bigger one in a comedy Thursday's Child. He was in a stage production of Rebecca when he was asked to audition for the film that turned him into a star. Granger had been recommended by Donat, who most worked with Granger on stage in To Dream Again. Granger's first starring film role was as the acid-tongued Rokeby in the Gainsborough Pictures period melodrama, The Man in Grey, a film that helped to make him and his three co-stars – James Mason, Phyllis Calvert and Margaret Lockwood – into box office names in Britain. Granger followed it with The Lamp Still Burns playing the love interest of nurse Rosamund John. More popular was another for Gainsborough Pictures, Fanny by Gaslight, which reunited him with Calvert and Mason, added Jean Kent; the New York Times reported. The customers... Like his dark looks and his dash, it was the second most popular film at the British box office in 1944. Another hit was Love Story where he plays a blind pilot who falls in love with terminally ill Margaret Lockwood, with Patricia Roc co-starring.
Granger filmed this at the same time as Waterloo Road, playing his first villain, a "spiv" who has run off with the wife of John Mills. This film was popular too, it is one of Granger's favourites. Madonna of the Seven Moons, with Calvert and Roc, was more Gainsborough melodrama, another hit. Popular was Caesar and Cleopatra, supporting Claude Rains and Vivien Leigh. At the end of 1945 British exhibitors voted Granger the second-most popular British film star, the ninth-most popular overall; the Times reported that "this six-foot black-visaged ex-soldier from the Black Watch is England's Number One pin up boy. Only Bing Crosby can match him for popularity."Caravan, starring Granger and Kent, was the sixth most popular film at the British box office in 1946. Well liked was The Magic Bow, with Calvert and Kent, where Granger played Niccolò Paganini That year he was voted the third-most popular British star, the sixth-most popular overall. Granger went over to Rank, for whom he made a series of historical dramas: Captain Boycott, set in Ireland, directed by Frank Launder.
Granger was cast as the outsider, the handsome gambler Philip Christoph von Königsmarck, perceived as'not quite the ticket' by the established order, the Hanoverian court where the action is set. Granger stated; however it was a disappointment at the box office. Granger so appeared in Woman Hater, a comedy with Edwige Feuillère. In 1949 Granger was reported as earning around £30,000 a year; that year Granger made Evelyne, starring with Jean Simmons. The story, about a much older man and a teenager whom he realises is no longer a child but a young woman with mature emotions and sexuality, had obvious parallels to Granger's and Simmons' own lives. Granger had first met the young Jean Simmons when they both worked on Gabriel
Services Sound and Vision Corporation
The Services Sound and Vision Corporation is a British registered charity. Set up in 1982 from the merger of the Services Kinema Corporation and the British Forces Broadcasting Service to "entertain and inform Britain's Armed Forces around the world", its activities include the British Forces Broadcasting Service with its radio and television operations, SSVC Cinemas, the British Defence Film Library, its live events arm, Combined Services Entertainment. A new ten-year contract began on 1 April 2013 awarded by the Ministry of Defence. SSVC will continue to provide services to the British armed forces in the UK and where deployed abroad, its current Chief Executive Officer is Simon Bucks. Former Managing Directors/Chief Executives: 1982–1988 John Grist 1988–1993 Alan Protheroe 1993–2005 David Crwys-Williams 2005–2009 Alastair Duncan 2009–2015 Nick Pollard Official website
Annunzio Paolo Mantovani, known mononymously as Mantovani, was an Anglo-Italian conductor and light orchestra-styled entertainer with a cascading strings musical signature. The book British Hit Singles & Albums states that he was "Britain's most successful album act before the Beatles...the first act to sell over one million stereo albums and six albums in the US Top 30 in 1959". Mantovani was born in Venice, into a musical family, his father, served as the concertmaster of La Scala opera house's orchestra in Milan, under the baton of Arturo Toscanini. The family moved to England in 1912, where young Annunzio studied at Trinity College of Music in London. After graduation, he formed his own orchestra, which played around Birmingham, he married Winifred Moss in 1934, having two children: Paula Irene. By the time World War II broke out, his orchestra was one of the most popular British dance bands, both on BBC radio broadcasts and in live performances, he was musical director for a large number of musicals and other plays, including Noël Coward's Pacific 1860 and Vivian Ellis's musical setting of J. B.
Fagan's And So to Bed. After the war, he concentrated on recording, gave up live performance altogether, he worked with arranger and composer Ronald "Ronnie" Binge, who developed the "cascading strings" effect. His records were used for demonstration purposes in stores selling hi-fi stereo equipment, as they were produced and arranged for stereo reproduction, he became the first person to sell a million stereophonic records. In 1952, Binge ceased to arrange for Mantovani but the distinctive sound of the orchestra remained. Mantovani recorded for Decca until the mid-1950s, for London Records owned by the Decca Company, he recorded in excess of 50 albums on that label. His single tracks included "The Song from Moulin Rouge", which reached Number One in the UK Singles Chart in 1953. In the United States, between 1955 and 1972, he released more than 40 albums with 27 reaching the "Top 40", 11 in the "Top Ten", his biggest success came with the album Film Encores, which attained Number One in 1957. Mantovani Plays Music From'Exodus' and Other Great Themes made it to the Top Ten in 1961, with over one million albums sold.
Mantovani starred in his own syndicated television series, produced in England and which aired in the United States in 1959. Thirty-nine episodes were filmed. Mantovani made his last recordings in the mid-1970s, he died at a care home in Royal Tunbridge Wells Kent. His funeral was held at the Kent and Sussex Crematorium and Cemetery on 8 April 1980; the cascading strings technique developed by Binge became Mantovani's hallmark in such hits arranged by Binge as "Charmaine". Binge developed this technique to replicate the echo experienced in venues such as cathedrals and he achieved this goal through arranging skill alone. Author Joseph Lanza describes Mantovani's string arrangements as the most "rich and mellifluous" of the emerging light music style during the early 1950s, he stated that Mantovani was a leader in the use of new studio technologies to "create sound tapestries with innumerable strings", that "the sustained hum of Mantovani's reverberated violins produced a sonic vaporizer foreshadowing the synthesizer harmonics of space music."
His style survived through an ever-changing variety of musical styles prompting Variety to call him "the biggest musical phenomenon of the twentieth century". From 1961 to 1971 David McCallum Sr was leader of Mantovani's orchestra. At this time, his son David McCallum Jr was at the height of his fame, prompting Mantovani to introduce his leader to audiences with the quip, "We can afford the father but not the son!"Mantovani is referred to by name in The Kinks song "Prince of the Punks". He had a big influence on Brian May, Queen guitarist. During his lifetime, Mantovani did not always get respect from his fellow musicians; when George Martin first suggested overdubbing Paul McCartney's recording of Yesterday with strings, McCartney's initial reaction, according to Martin, was that he didn't want it sounding like Mantovani. Martin therefore used a more classical sound. Much of his catalogue has reappeared on CD. There are many compilations. A large number of CDs are available containing unauthorised recordings, billed as Mantovani or Mantovani Orchestra, for example the CD titled "The Mantovani Orchestra" released in 1997 contained a track from the 1980s Andrew Lloyd Webber musical "Cats", which would have required posthumous conducting on the part of Mantovani.
There have been CDs released under the Mantovani name of recordings made by others while Mantovani was still alive. Following Mantovani's death in 1980, the Mantovani Estate continues to authorise numerous concerts worldwide and recordings using original and newly commissioned arrangements. A Mantovani Program, London ffrr LPB-127, 1949 Musical Moments, London ffrr LPB-218, 1950 Waltzing with Mantovani, London ffrr LPB-381, 1951 Strauss Waltzes, London ffrr LL 685, 1953 re-recorded in stereo as London 118, 1958 Plays The Music of Victor Herbert, London ffrr LL 746, 1953 An Album of Favorite Melodies, reissued as An Enchanted Evening with Mantovani, London ffrr LL 766, 1953 An Album of Romantic Melodies, London ffrr LL 979, 1954 Plays The Music of Sigmund Romberg, London ffrr LL 1031, 1954 Song Hits from Theatreland, London f
Arthur Bowden Askey, CBE was an English comedian and actor. Askey's humour owed much to the playfulness of the characters he portrayed, his improvisation, his use of catchphrases, which included "Hello playmates!", "I thank you", "Before your eyes". Askey was born at 29 Moses Street, Liverpool, the eldest child and only son of Samuel Askey, company secretary of Sugar Products of Liverpool, his wife, Betsy Bowden, of Knutsford, Cheshire. Six months after his birth the family moved to Liverpool, it was here that a sister, Irene Dorothy, was born in 1908. Askey was educated at the Liverpool Institute for Boys, he was small in stature at 5' 2", with a breezy, smiling personality, wore distinctive horn-rimmed glasses. Askey performed in army entertainments. After working as a clerk for Liverpool Corporation, Education Department, he was in a touring concert party and the music halls, but he rose to stardom in 1938 through his role in the first regular radio comedy series, Band Waggon on the BBC. Band Waggon began as a variety show, but had been unsuccessful until Askey and his partner, Richard Murdoch, took on a larger role in the writing.
During the broadcasting of Band Waggon they attempted to advertise a scouring powder with the chant of "Askeytoff will take it off" with the result that an announcer came on and shut the show down as advertising was prohibited on the BBC. During the Second World War Askey starred in several Gainsborough Pictures comedy films, including Band Waggon, based on the radio show, his last film was Rosie Dixon - starring Debbie Ash. In the early 1930s Askey appeared on an early form of BBC television—the spinning disc invented by John Logie Baird that scanned vertically and had only thirty lines. Askey had to be made up for his face to be recognisable at such low resolution; when television became electronic, with 405 horizontal lines, Askey was a regular performer in variety shows. When television returned after World War II, his first TV series was Before Your Very Eyes!, named after his catchphrase. On 3 May 1956 Askey presented Meet The People, a launch night programme for Granada Television. In 1957 writers Sid Colin and Talbot Rothwell revived the Band Waggon format for Living It Up, a series that reunited Askey and Murdoch after 18 years.
He continued to appear on television in the 1970s, such as being a panellist on the ITV talent show New Faces, where his sympathetic comments would offset the harsher judgments of fellow judges Tony Hatch and Mickie Most. He appeared on the comedy panel game Jokers Wild, he made many TV appearances including BBC TV's long running show, The Good Old Days. During the 1950s and 60s, he appeared in many sitcoms, including Love and Kisses, Arthur's Treasured Volumes and The Arthur Askey Show, he was the subject of This Is Your Life on two occasions, in December 1959 when he was surprised by Eamonn Andrews, in December 1974, when Andrews, dressed as Humpty Dumpty, surprised him on a television show while discussing the art of pantomime. Askey appeared in the West End musical Follow the Girls, he made many stage appearances as a pantomime dame. Askey's recording career included "The Bee Song", an integral part of his stage and television act for many years, "The Thing-Ummy Bob" and his theme tune, "Big-Hearted Arthur".
In 1941 a song he intended to record, "It's Really Nice to See You Mr Hess", was banned by the War Office. A collection of Askey's wartime recordings appear on the CD album Band Waggon/Big Hearted Arthur Goes To War. Private Eye magazine in the 1970s made the comment that he and the Queen Mother had "never been seen in the same room together", referring to the fact that they were about the same age and height and suggesting that the Queen Mother was Askey in drag. Askey was awarded the OBE in 1969 and the CBE in 1981. Askey was married to Elizabeth May Swash in 1925 until her death in 1974. Askey carried on working on his comedy career until just before he was hospitalised in July 1982 due to poor circulation which resulted in gangrene and the amputation of both legs, he is buried in Putney Vale Cemetery. Radio comedy Cinema of the United Kingdom List of British actors and actresses Arthur Askey. Before Your Very Eyes ISBN 0-7130-0134-8 Kurt Ganzl; the Encyclopedia of the Musical Theatre pp. 75 ISBN 0-02-864970-2 Murphy, Robert..
British Cinema and the Second World War. A&C Black Arthur Askey Britmovie British movie community Arthur Askey BFI The Radio Academy – Hall of Fame: Arthur Askey Arthur Askey's appearance on This Is Your Life TV Greats: Arthur Askey Star Archive: Arthur Askey Arthur Askey on IMDb Askey and Band Waggon audiobook CD at CD41