Monday, 5 March 2012

Meander Down Lurgy Lane!

Those amongst you who can remember Jimmy Clitheroe may well remember one of his many catchphrases the "dreaded lurgy" which meant he had caught some obscure disease and was not well enough to go to school. Well the Memsahib has returned from Birmingham with her own version of the dreaded lurgy which she has in her wisdom decided to share with me. So here we are, sat watching the rain run down the boat windows feeling like the joys of spring - NOT!

I can remember once catching sight of the "Clitheroe Kid" whilst on holiday. We were walking along a backstreet in Blackpool some time in the mid 60's. He was appearing in pantomime at the time. 

Another Clitheroe catchphrase was "Don't some mothers 'ave 'em" when referring to his sisters boyfriend "Alfie Hall" and was often used by Jimmy on his radio shows. His posh sister, Susan, was affectionately known in the show as “scraggy neck” Jimmy’s teacher and enemy, Mr Higginbotham. With a high pitched kids voice with a strong Lancashire accent, chirpy northern humour, he was cut out for pantomime, radio and television.

There were other later "kids characters" on television such as the Krankies. Wee Jimmy in a schoolboy hat and short trousers. He and (his) dad were played by a husband and wife team - Janette and Ian. My one memory of the Krankies is as a ventriloquist act. With wee Jimmy playing the dummy. Their catchphrase was "Fan Dabby Dozy" meaning that everything was good.

The star of  the "rubbish ventriloquist" acts was Sandy Powell, with his catchphrase "Can You Hear Me, Mother" Part of his act was a comedy ventriloquism act, where Sandy would get confused and the dummy would keep falling apart. He was well known enough to have a pub named after him in my home town and Sandy was later awarded the MBE.

As a child I went to a Christmas party along with a twenty or thirty other kids. Sandy was part of the entertainment. I was sat on the floor at the front watching this man with a ventriloquist dummy. All the time I could see his lips moving and the dummy kept falling on the floor. My memory is that he was a rubbish ventriloquist - the fact that the act was based on being a crap ventriloquist was lost on me at that young age.

Archie Andrews was a ventriloquists dummy with a difference - the dummy had a radio show - that's right a ventriloquist act on radio. The bizarre concept of delivering a ventriloquist act, visual humour, by radio, never seemed to bother anyone at the time. Peter Brough was the ventriloquist. However, I always felt that the dummy had a face for radio.

You can't make it up - but I digress.

Back to the lurgy - i'm off back to bed.


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