Elaine Allen gave us a fascinating talk on two famous Liverpool comedians from the early and mid-20th century, which included some archive recordings of their radio shows.
First was Tommy Handley, born in 1892, he went on the stage in his teens and after military service in the First World War he established himself as a comedian and singer on the music hall circuit. He became nationally known as a pioneer broadcaster. From 1924 onwards he was on BBC radio programmes as a solo entertainer and an actor in sketches. In the 1930s Handley frequently performed on air with the comedian Ronald Frankau in a popular comedy act as “Mr Murgatroyd and Mr Winterbottom“.
Handley’s greatest success came in 1939 with the BBC radio comedy show It’s That Man Again, which became incredibly popular. He starred as the good-natured, fast-talking anchor-man around whom a cast of eccentric comic characters revolved, & many local comic sayings evolved, e.g., ‘eh I’ll go to the foot of our stairs’.
Next was Arthur Askey born in 1900, Known for his short stature he was 5’2” and distinctive horn-rimmed glasses, Askey’s playful humour incorporated improvisation and catchphrases including “Hello playmates!”, Askey achieved prominence in the 1930s in the BBC‘s first radio comedy series Band Waggon and subsequently starred in several popular comedy films during the Second World War. His novelty recordings for His Master’s Voice include “The Bee Song”, ‘Oh, what a glorious thing to be
A healthy, grown-up, busy-busy bee’ From the 1950s, Askey was an eminent television presence and made regular appearances on the BBC’s long-running music hall programme The Good Old Days.
Both these comedians were honoured for their important part in keeping up morale in Britain during the Second World War
Elaine Allen is a Blue Badge holder, which has nothing to do with free parking, she is an official professional tourist guide and member of the Institute of Tourist Guiding. She does a huge range of walks, tours and talks throughout the Liverpool area.
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