Thursday, 3 November 2016
A Shop for Books!
This is one of my favourite shops these days, mostly because of the books the offer. I keep getting large hardbacks at Two for £1 and that is better than most such shops round here. On top of this they are books worth having, not the usual rubbish that fills these shelves.
At the moment I am reading about six books at once, by this I do not mean I hold them all in my hand as I read, I pile them up and pick which one suits the mood. I've done this for years as books can get dry or the mind requires some stimulus and swapping to another book is an easy option. Some of course make the brain think and as I am not one for story books (there is a bin for those) I look to easy reading in biographies or travel books or the like. This procedure extends not just my vocabulary and knowledge it does me absolutely no good at all. In all the years I have rarely been able to put the reading to profitable use! I will however continue this endevour and one day I shall be rich.
One of the prize finds in the shop was this excellent £16:99 worth which cost me a single pound coin, and I could have got two for that price if there had been another worth buying at the time. That there was another became clear the next week when I went in! Bah!
After the Second World War comedy in Britain changed greatly. Before the war US films had brought the fast one liners into the country rather pushing aside the comedians who made their money touring the Music Halls keeping the same script for many years, adapting this depending on the audience and the part of the country in which they performed. The fast talkers had reached a peak during the war with Arthur Askey and Tommy Handley making great use of the BBC to stimulate the war effort by keeping people laughing. Askey of course was removed as some of his comments were a wee bit too socialist for the Beeb. Handley's fast patter was difficult to remove as the nation, and I mean nation, listened in weekly desperate for his humour.
However as the forties were ending and the fifties arrived new humour erupted into the world and two men were leading the change, Frank Muir & Dennis Norden! Between them their clever humour introduced new characters into the world especially in their programme "Take it From Here." Among the characters were a broken family called "The Glums," this in satirical take off from the more normal cosy middle class families then portrayed on the Wireless. 'Eth' and her dumb fiance 'Ron' were hysterical listening in the fifties, and the show ran throughout the fifties from 1948 to 1959 and is much missed to this day. This brought a more realistic type of person into the home via the wireless one people could identify with, we all know a family like the "Glums!" The show rarely gets thecredit for the use of the line "Infamy! Infamy! They have all got it in for me," which became famous when used by Kenneth Williams in "Carry on Cleo" much later.
Along with Dennis Norden they produced two panel games that also ran for years "My Word" & "My Music," both of which programmes featured them as part of the teams, this in spite of their inability to sing and Nordens unwillingness to appear.
The Muir & Norden team split up to do their own thing but never actually parted, their differing tastes led them into other spheres and they continued as friends for life. They had moved into TV creating many long running series for the BBC often featuring 'Jimmy Edwards.'
Muir became responsible for creating TV comedy at the BBC and later at London Weekend Television where he introduced many comedies including the long running "Please Sir," starring John Alderton.
Frank Muir enjoyed the limelight participating adverts as well as panel shows and put together several books which led him to many signing days at home and abroad all of which he hated.
Frank Muir's early life was spent in Ramsgate, Kent, hence the title of his book. A happy life interrupted when his fathers work took them to Leyton, a much better place then than now. Frank often appeared well educated but the grammar school boy ensured folk knew he was educated in 'E10' not Eton!' The King requested his attendance at World War Two and Frank enlisted in the RAF in the photography section and spent much time in Iceland where much of his time was taken up in learning how to write for the company. Later his photography skill was put to use with slow motion film was used in parachute experiments in an effort to end the 'Roman Candle' that is a 'chute failing to open. Many lives were saved through this work. He also produced photo's for SOE agents heading for a parachute jump into France, at night at that!
Frank Muir worked all his life either scribbling books or connected to media work, happily married to Polly he produced two children. He died in 1998 at the ripe age of 77 and is much missed.