Sunday, January 07, 2007

Uncle Harry On The Web

Uncle Harry would have liked to feature on the web. He liked that kind of thing. I remember how proud he was when he was on television once. It was the late 1950s. He was playing piano with a drummer called Geoff and they had a weeks' contract entertaining at the social club of a caravan park just south of Bridlington. The new commercial television channel had a nightly regional news programme and to play it out they usually featured a local musical act. For some reason the producers hit on "Harry and Geoff" and the cameras turned up at the caravan park to film them. Part of the contract was a free caravan for the week and I was staying along with my Auntie Annie, so I remember being there at the recording. These were black and white television days. For some reason white shirts never appeared white on monochrome television at that time and therefore they had to wear dreadful lemon-yellow shirts and thick skins of make-up (Uncle Harry would have quite liked the latter). After the filming, I remember him saying to me : "That means I will be immortal, that film will live for ever, long after I'm gone"

Uncle Harry was around for another twenty-five years and I strongly suspect that he outlived the film by a couple of decades. But if he had lived long enough to see the internet he would have been quite keen on the idea of appearing on it. "That means I will be immortal", I hear him saying, "that blog page will live forever". So here is Uncle Harry. He's the one on the right wearing the plumed helmet. The picture dates from the early thirties, I suspect, and at that time Harry was making a living as a travelling playing in a pierrot show called "The Silhouettes Concert Party"

I have a copy of the programme for the show dated Monday 14th September 1931, when the Silhouettes were playing the Pier Hall, Bognor. The cast includes : Harry Christian (Comedian : late of "Catlin's" and own show); Elsie Prince (Soprano : late of "Farce" and other leading concert parties); Audrey Hawke (Soubrette and Dancer : The well-known young Pantomime Principal Boy); and Harry Moore (Pianist and Tenor Vocalist). According to the programme : "their humour can be thoroughly recommended to all who love to laugh, while patrons to whom Art and Music appeal strongly will find that their tastes have been well catered for". The show is billed as "The Acme of Perfection in Pierrotic Entertainment"

Other than a few fading playbills and a long-lost bit of TV film little of Uncle Harry lives on. Which is a shame. Well now he has his own place on the World Wide Web. Good for you Uncle Harry. Now, play us out ...

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