Archive for February 15th, 2013

hancock 1

by Allan Fish

(UK 1956-1961 1,650m & 150m) DVD2

A man of his cal-eye-ber

p/d  Duncan Wood  w  Ray Galton, Alan Simpson  m  Wally Stott, Bob Sharples

Tony Hancock (Anthony Aloysius St John Hancock), Sid James (Sidney Balmoral James), Hugh Lloyd, Patrick Cargill, June Whitfield, Dick Emery, John le Mesurier, Richard Wattis, Kenneth Williams, Liz Fraser, George Coulouris, Clive Owen, Patricia Hayes, Hugh Lloyd, Hattie Jacques, Bill Fraser, Raymond Huntley, Pat Coombs, Frank Thornton,

Philip Purser once said of Tony Hancock that his appearance was “of a frog nearly, but not quite, transformed into a handsome prince by the kiss of a sub-standard princess.”  Of the hundreds of pages devoted to the life, work and persona of Britain’s most beloved radio and TV comedian of the postwar decades, I can think of no more succinct and accurate description than that.  Hancock was a genius, a comedy giant whose finest hours were probably on the radio, but who managed, in six glorious years, to give us at least a dozen of the finest half hour comedy episodes caught on camera on either side of the pond.  Like his American contemporaries, Phil Silvers and Jackie Gleason, he was an egotist, and his ego would be his downfall.  In 1960 he removed his co-star Sid James, as Will Hay had once done Moore Marriott and Graham Moffatt, and got one more classic series, Hancock, before finally he succumbed.  He could no longer remember the lines now, was reduced to reading from cue cards, drank heavily and his personal insecurities took him over.  Seven years after the final Hancock went out, he was found dead in an Australian hotel.  The eternal comic who made his own countrymen laugh but couldn’t do the same for himself.  (more…)

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