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Morecambe and Wise
What do you think of it so far?
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
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!
Morecambe and Wise
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