Morecambe and Wise

What do you think of it so far?

These two were part of the TV I watched and loved for many years
These two were part of the TV I watched and loved for many years

Morecambe and Wise

Perhaps it's because it is Christmas that I began to think about Morecambe and Wise. As a child no Christmas was complete without the Morecambe and Wise Christmas special. I think it had more viewers than the Queen's speech. From their humble beginnings on the radio and the music halls they climbed the ladder of success to become the best loved comedy duo in Britain. In 1999 Eric Morecambe was voted the funniest person of the 20th Century in an internet poll. Eric pulled in 26% of the votes, beating Tommy Cooper and John Cleese to the coveted position.Why were they so popular? I tend to think it was that they didn't have to be rude or foul mouthed to be funny. You never felt embarrassed when watching Morecambe and Wise. Children or your granny could watch them and everyone would laugh. So, what do you think of it so far?

Deaf O Conner

Des O Conner embraced the good humored jokes Eric would make about his singing
Des O Conner embraced the good humored jokes Eric would make about his singing

Background

Eric and Ernie first joined forces in 1941,War service broke up the act but they reunited by chance in 1946 when they joined forces again. Initially appearing in music hall, they made their name in radio, transferring to television in 1954. They appeared together in many series such as Two of a Kind. However, it was for their Christmas specials that they will be best remembered. They were so well regarded and their reputation in the T V industry so good that they could enlist any one to appear with them. A number of prestigious guests included, Princess Anne, Shirley Bassey, Angela Rippon, Sir Cliff Richard, Glenda Jackson, Elton John, Tom Jones and even the Prime Minister, at the time, Harold Wilson. Des O'Connor was frequently the butt of their humor. So enormous was Morecambe and Wise's popularity that their annual BBC Christmas shows became almost mandatory viewing in Britain from 1968-1978. Despite his heart condition (his first attack striking in 1968), he and Ernie still managed energetic song and dance routines and superbly timed visual comedy.  Some of the running jokes throughout their career were; Des O'Connor; Luton Town FC (Eric was a director of the club); Ern's hair ("you can't see the join"); Ern's plays; Eric wobbling his glasses and saying "what do you think of it so far? - Rubbish!” The fat lady ("I love you all") . . . 

 

The plays what Ern wrote

Although their big musical numbers is what they are remembered for, I actually preferred it when they were in their flat. They reminded me of two old uncles pottering around, bumbling their way through life . The plays what Ern wrote also gave us some of the funniest moments on T V,

watch Eric's sleeves!

Eric Morecambe

A larger-than-life statue of Eric was unveiled by the Queen at Morecambe in 1999.
A larger-than-life statue of Eric was unveiled by the Queen at Morecambe in 1999.

The legacy

A West End show, The Play What I Wrote, appeared in 2001 as a tribute to the duo. Directed by Kenneth Branagh, each performance featured a different guest celebrity, including Kylie Minogue, who was said to be particularly keen to participate. Bizarrely, the show later transferred, with some success, to Broadway, only moderately rewritten to allow for the fact that Eric & Ernie were virtually unknown in the U.S. The show toured the UK in 2003.

 

In 2003, Eric's eldest son Gary released "Life's not Hollywood, it's Cricklewood", a biography of his Father from the point of view of his family, using family photos and extracts from previously unseen diaries. The book revealed Morecambe as a toned down version of his on-screen persona, prone to occasional bouts of mild depression and overworking.

. IN LOVING MEMORY
Eric Morecambe collapsed and died on May 29, 1984 after appearing in a Sunday concert in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire. He was 58 years old.

Ernie Wise died on March 21, 1999 having recently undergone emergency heart by-pass surgery in the USA. He was 73 years old.

Bring me sunshine in your smile
Bring me laughter all the while
In this world where we live
There should be more happiness
So much joy you can give
To each brand new bright tomorrow

Make me happy through the years
Never bring me any tears
Let your arms be as warm
As the sun from up above
Bring me fun, Bring me sunshine, Bring me love

 

One of my favorite clips

In the spirit of Eric Morecambe

what do you think of it so far?

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Comments 15 comments

jayjay40 profile image

jayjay40 6 years ago from Bristol England Author

I so agree with you steve 3.9 the whole family could watch them and enjoy them. Thanks for the comment


Steve 3.0 profile image

Steve 3.0 6 years ago from Cornwall UK

They were so funny and all the family could watch. There aren't many comedians like that now. Eric Morecambe seemed like a natural, he was very funny in interviews. Watched a documentary about them and they rehearsed everything over and over but it always seemed natural.


poetlorraine 6 years ago

the chemistry between these two is magic


jayjay40 profile image

jayjay40 6 years ago from Bristol England Author

Thanks for the comments, the breakfast sketch is a classic and I agree sufidreamer they are sorely missed


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 6 years ago from Sparti, Greece

Don't know how I missed this Hub - I am from Morecambe, so was brought up with Eric, a local hero. A comedy genius who is sorely missed :)


wrenfrost56 profile image

wrenfrost56 6 years ago from U.K.

Great hub with loads of information. M & W are very funny, I like the breakfast sketch, it always makes me laugh.


jayjay40 profile image

jayjay40 6 years ago from Bristol England Author

I have to agree with you Shinkicker, so many good memories


Shinkicker profile image

Shinkicker 6 years ago from Scotland

Christmas wasn't Christmas without Morecambe and Wise. Still hugely funny watching the repeats


jayjay40 profile image

jayjay40 6 years ago from Bristol England Author

Thanks 2uesday, Morecambe and Wise never fail to make me laugh


2uesday profile image

2uesday 6 years ago from - on the web, I am 2uesday.

jayjay you "bring me smiles" with this hub and very fond memories...especially of the show where the water poured over one of them each time he played the piano. Thank you.


jayjay40 profile image

jayjay40 6 years ago from Bristol England Author

Yes I love that one as well, also Eric Morecambe playing the piano. So Funny


jayjay40 profile image

jayjay40 6 years ago from Bristol England Author

Yes I love that one as well, also Eric Morecambe playing the piano. So Funny


scarytaff profile image

scarytaff 6 years ago from South Wales

Tremendous, jayjay. I love the one where they are preparing breakfast. Have you seen that one?


jayjay40 profile image

jayjay40 6 years ago from Bristol England Author

We must be of the same age, I,m glad that the hub brought back such good memories.


2patricias profile image

2patricias 6 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

We were both of the age when the family sat down to watch and enjoy the M&W Christmas shows. They really did 'bring us sunshine'.

The underlying 'plan' of their comedy was complex. Ernie was supposed to be the comedian, supported (mostly subverted) by his straight man, Eric. The reality was that Eric was the comic, and Ernie the straight man. Never realised this at the time, as we were laughing too much to analyse the programme.

Thanks for reminding us of those happy days.

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