Label: Decca - SPA 446 • Format: Vinyl LP • Country: UK • Genre: Stage & Screen •
On stage, screen and record he sang light, comical songsusually playing the ukulele or banjoleleand became the UK's highest-paid entertainer. Born in WiganLancashirehe was the son of George Formby Srfrom whom he later took his stage name. After an early career as a stable boy and jockey, Formby took to the music hall stage after the early death of his father in His early performances were taken exclusively from his father's act, including the same songs, jokes and characters.
In he made two career-changing decisions — he purchased a ukulele, and married Beryl Inghama fellow performer who became his manager and transformed his act. She insisted that he appear on stage formally dressed, and introduced the ukulele to his performance. He started his recording career in and, fromhe increasingly worked in film to develop into a major star by the late s and s, and became the UK's most popular entertainer during those decades.
The media historian Brian McFarlane writes that on film, Formby portrayed Share And Share Alike - George Formby - The World Of George Formby Vol 2 Lancastrian innocents who would win through against some form of villainy, gaining the affection of an attractive middle-class girl in the process. During the Second World War Formby worked extensively for the Entertainments National Service Association ENSAand entertained civilians and troops, and by it was estimated that he had performed in front of three million service personnel.
After the war his career declined, although he toured the Commonwealthand continued to appear in variety and pantomime.
His last television appearance was in Decembertwo weeks before the death of Beryl. He surprised people by announcing his engagement to a school teacher seven weeks after Beryl's funeral, but died in Preston three weeks later, at the age of 56; he was buried in Warringtonalongside his father. Formby's biographer, Jeffrey Richardsconsiders that the Share And Share Alike - George Formby - The World Of George Formby Vol 2 "had been able to embody simultaneously Lancashire, the working classes, the people, and the nation".
He was an influence on future comedians—particularly Charlie Drake and Norman Wisdom —and, culturally, on entertainers such as the Beatleswho referred to him in their music. Since his death Formby has been the subject of five biographies, two television specials and two works of public sculpture.
Formby Sr suffered from a chest ailment, identified variously as bronchitisasthma or tuberculosis and would use the cough as part of the humour in his act, saying to the audience, "Bronchitis, I'm a bit tight tonight", or "coughing better tonight". Formby was born blind owing to an obstructive caulalthough his sight was restored during a violent coughing fit or sneeze when he was a few months old.
On 8 February Formby Sr succumbed to his bronchial condition and died, at the age of 45; he was buried in the Catholic section of Warrington Cemetery. While there, they visited the Victoria Palace Theatre —where Formby Sr had previously been so successful—and saw a performance by the Tyneside comedian Tommy Dixon.
As he had never seen his father perform live, Formby found the imitation difficult and had to learn his father's songs from records, and the rest of his act and jokes from his mother. In the show he was billed as George Hoy, using his mother's maiden name—he explained later Insolent Intolerance - Ha-Satan - Supra-Satanic Sovereignty he did not want the Formby name to appear in small print.
As a result he experienced frequent periods of unemployment—up to three months at one point. In Formby started to play the ukulele, although the exact circumstances of how he came to play the instrument are unknown,  [c] and he introduced it into his act during a run at the Alhambra Theatre in Barnsley.
When the songs—still his father's material—were well received, he changed his stage name to George Formby, and stopped using the John Loud Lucy - Breathe character. Beryl, who had formed a dancing act with her sister, May, called "The Two Violets",  had a low opinion of Formby's act, and later said that "if I'd had a bag of rotten tomatoes with me I'd have thrown them at him".
Beryl took over as George's manager, and changed aspects of his act, including the songs and jokes. She instructed him on how to use his hands, and how to work his audience. She also persuaded him to change his stage dress to black tie —although he appeared in a range of other costumes too—and to take lessons in how to play the ukulele properly.
One of the songs he recorded in July was "Chinese Laundry Blues", telling the story of Mr Wu, which became one of his standard songs, and part of a long-running series of songs about the character. With Formby's growing success on stage, Beryl decided it was time for him to move into films. Although he expressed an interest in Formby, he did not like the associated demands from Beryl. She also met the representative of Warner Bros.
Three weeks later Formby was approached by John E. Blakeley of Blakeley's Productionswho offered him a one-film deal. The film, Boots! The success Again & Again (Nelson Grover Edit) - Sharam Jey & LouLou Players ft. Sam Obernik - Again & Again the pictures led Dean to offer Formby a seven-year contract with ATP, which resulted in the production of 11 films,  although Dean's fellow producer, Michael Balconconsidered Formby to be "an Radar Love - Various - Bang Your Head!!!
Festival - 2005 (DVD) and not particularly loveable character". Monty Banks directed, and Florence Desmond took the female lead.
The writer Matthew Sweet describes the set as "a battleground" because of her actions, and Banks unsuccessfully requested that Dean bar Beryl from the studio.
Regarding the star of the film, the reviewer thought that "our Lancashire George is a grand lad; he can gag and clown, play the banjo Der Jäger Aus Kurpfalz - Musikkorps Der Schutzpolizei Berlin - Zum Tanz, Marsch-Marsch! sing with authority Still and all, he doesn't do too bad.
The formula used for No Limit was repeated in his following works: Formby played "the urban 'little man' defeated—but refusing to admit it". The plots were geared to Formby trying to achieve success in a field unfamiliar to him in horse racing, the TT Races, as a spy or a policemanand by winning the affections of a middle-class girl in the process.
The songs are, in the words of the academic Brian McFarlane, "unpretentiously skilful in Hells Session - Various - 100 Hits: Rock On.
Driving Rock 60s & 70s. MP3 balance between broad comedy and action, laced with Sixteen in one bed I've seen, With the lodger tucked up in between, When I'm cleaning windows! Now lots of girls I've had to jilt, For they admire the way I'm built, It's a good job I don't wear a kilt. Tensions arose in pre-production with Banks and some of the cast requesting to Dean that Beryl be banned from the set.
Tempers had also become strained between Formby and Desmond, who were not on speaking terms except to film scenes. The situation became so bad that Dean avoided visiting his studios for the month of filming. The corporation's director John Reith stated that "if the public wants to listen to Formby singing his disgusting little ditty, they'll have to be content to hear it in the cinemas, not over the nation's airwaves";  Formby and Beryl were furious with the block on the song.
The BBC relented and started to broadcast the song. When production finished on Keep Your Seats, PleaseBeryl insisted that for the next film there should be "no Eye-Ties [ sic ] and stuck-up little trollops involved", referring to Banks and Desmond, respectively.
By the time of the next production, Keep Fit inDean had begun to assemble a special team at Ealing Studios to help develop and produce the Formby films; key among the members were the director Anthony Kimminswho went on to direct five of Formby's films. Beryl objected strongly, and Kimmins continued his directorial duties, while Ward was brought in for the female lead.
Beryl, as she did with all Formby's female co-stars, "read the 'keep-your-hands-off-my-husband' riot act" to the actress. Every year afterwards he would purchase either a new Rolls Royce or Bentleybuying 26 over the course of his life. In the autumn Share And Share Alike - George Formby - The World Of George Formby Vol 2 Formby began work on Trouble Brewingreleased the following year with year-old Googie Withers as the female lead; Kimmins again directed.
In a dream sequence after being drugged, Formby's character parachutes into a Nuremberg Rally and punches Hitler. According to Richards, the scene provided "the visual encapsulation of the people's war with the English Everyman flooring the Nazi Superman".
He and Beryl also set up their own charities, such as the OK Club for Kids, whose aim was to provide cigarettes for Yorkshire soldiers,  and the Jump Fund, to provide home-knitted balaclavas, scarves and socks to servicemen. Formby continued filming with ATP, and his second film ofSpare a Copperwas again focused on an aspect of the war, this time combating fifth columnists and saboteurs in a Merseyside dockyard.
The examining board rejected him as being unfit, because he had sinusitis and arthritic toes. When the season came to an end the Formbys moved to London and, in Mayperformed for the royal family at Windsor Castle. He had commissioned a new set of inoffensive lyrics for "When I'm Cleaning Windows", but was informed that he should sing the original, uncensored version, which was enjoyed by the royal party, particularly Queen Mary, who asked for a repeat of the song.
King George VI presented Formby with a set of gold cuff links, and advised him to "wear them, not put them away". With the ATP contract at an end, Formby decided not to renew or push for an extension.
Robert Murphy, in his study of wartime British cinema, points out that Balcon, Formby's producer at the time, "seems to have made little effort to persuade him not to transfer his allegiance", despite the box office success enjoyed by Let George Do It and Spare a Copper.
Formby set up his own company, Hillcrest Productions, to distribute the films, and had the final decision on the choice of director, scriptwriter and theme, while Columbia would have the choice of leading lady. At the end of August production began on Formby's first film for Columbia, South American Georgewhich took six weeks to complete. Formby's move to an American company was controversial, and although his popular appeal seemed unaffected, his "films were treated with increasing critical hostility", according to John Mundy in his examination of British musical film.
He described his time in Ulster as "the pleasantest tour I've ever undertaken". He returned to the mainland by way of the Isle of Man, where he entertained the troops guarding the internment camps. Although the film was poorly received by the critics, the public still attended in large numbers, and the film was profitable.
In the summer of Formby was involved in a controversy with the Lord's Day Observance Societywho had filed law suits against the BBC for playing secular music on Sunday. The society began Share And Share Alike - George Formby - The World Of George Formby Vol 2 campaign against the entertainment industry, claiming all theatrical activity on a Sunday were unethical, and cited a law which made it illegal.
With 60 leading entertainers already avoiding Sunday working, Dean informed Dim Mack - The Sleeping Monk* - The Veterans Aim that his stance would be crucial in avoiding a spread of the problem.
Formby issued a statement, "I'll hang up my uke on Sundays only when our lads stop fighting and getting killed on Sundays And in any case, what have they done for the Share And Share Alike - George Formby - The World Of George Formby Vol 2 effort except get on everyone's nerves? At the end of the year Formby started filming Get Crackinga story about the Home Guard, which was completed in under a month, the tight schedule brought about by an impending ENSA tour of the Mediterranean.
Bell-Bottom George was described 60 years later by the academic Baz Kershaw as being "unashamedly gay and Although Dean personally disliked the Formbys, he greatly admired the tireless work they did for the organisation. He said that the troops "were worrying quite a lot about you folks at home, but we soon put them right about that. We told them that after four and a half years, Britain was still the best country to live in". Formby was summoned to the BBC's offices to perform his three songs in front of the committee, with his song checked against the available sheet music.
A week later, on 1 February, the committee met and decided the songs were innocuous, although Formby was told that he would have to get further clearance if the lyrics were changed. The comments, which appeared in the forces magazine Union Jackwere then widely reported in the press in Britain. The Variety Artists' Share And Share Alike - George Formby - The World Of George Formby Vol 2 demanded that Formby release names, and threatened him with action if he did not do so, but he refused to give in to their pressure.
He and Beryl travelled over on a rough crossing to Arromanches giving a series of impromptu concerts to troops in improvised conditions, including on the backs of farm carts and army lorries, or in bomb-cratered fields. During dinner with General Bernard Montgomery Share And Share Alike - George Formby - The World Of George Formby Vol 2whom he had met in North Africa, Formby was invited to visit the glider crews of 6th Airborne Division, who had been holding a series of bridges without relief for 56 days.
He did so on 17 August in a one-day visit to the front line bridges, where he gave nine shows, all standing beside a sandbag wall, ready to jump into a slit trench in case of problems; much of the time his audience were in foxholes.
We do however know and so does Formby, that certain Anna - Lucio Battisti - Lucio Battisti in the lyric must not be broadcast".
The story concerns the rivalry between two pubs: the Unicorn, bequeathed to Formby's character, and the Lion, owned by his childhood sweetheart—played by Rosalyn Boulter —but run by an unscrupulous manager. Along the promenade I stroll; In my pocket it got stuck I could tell, 'Cos when I pulled it out I pulled my shirt up as well. Everyday, wherever I stray, the kids around me flock; A girl while bathing clung to me—my wits I had to use— She cried I'm drowning and to save me you won't refuse; I said well if you're drowning I don't want to lose.
The film was less successful at the box office than his previous works, as audience tastes had changed in the post-war world. Fisher opines that because of his tireless war work, Formby had become too synonymous with the war, causing the public to turn away from him, much as they had from the wartime British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill. Bret also indicates that Formby's cinematic decline was shared by similar performers, including Gracie FieldsTommy Trinder and Will Hay.
Formby's biographers, Alan Randall and Ray Seaton, opine that in his late 40s, Formby "was greying and thickening out", and was too old to play the innocent young Lancashire lad. In early Beryl checked him into a psychiatric hospital under her maiden name, Ingham.
He came out after five weeks, in time for a tour of Scandinavia in May.
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