Rod Hull and Emu
In the great tradition of very poor entertainment, the ventriloquist is king. Children’s TV was overrun with these tawdry acts rounded up from the bottom of a thousand end of the pier shows. Still reeking of beer and fags with their hands up the rear end of glove puppets and their lips visibly twitching they got away with entertainment murder.
The list is like a roll call of showbiz crimes – Roger de Courcey and Nookie The Bear (geddit), Terry Hall and Lenny The Lion and many other curious glove puppet and ‘entertainer’ combos.
Rod Hull was the king of this tawdry bunch. The uber act. For years he got away with poking unsuspecting victims in the face with his arm dressed up as an Emu. No one laughed. The classic appearance was on The Word with Snoop Doggy Dogg, Emu starts pecking the Dogg who isn’t really in on the ‘joke’. There is an ad break and when the programme comes back the pair if them are sat visibly a few feet apart. Something had obviously been said. Something that should have been said years ago. See it HERE
Hale and Pace
There are many acts on TV that make no sense. They are on for years. Comfortable as a pair old slippers and just as stinky. Who were these people and why were they there? Perhaps they must be mates of someone to get away with it for so long.
Just who and why were Hale and Pace? Were they ever funny?
Maybe they had their own constituency. Was it the mythical lumpy Middle England Daily Mail reading man? The pair of them guffawed their way across mainstream TV for years and we all sat their dumbfounded.
They were meant to be children’s entertainers but were accidentally dark and sinister. Perhaps they were more of a surreal dark underground act than we took them for? What other explanation could there be? Were they meant to be funny? Those costumes were a trifle odd…
When your act consists of a bowler hat and a strange spittle producing speech impediment and an odd name then you know you are in trouble.
Somehow Parrotface stretched his act out into mainstream acceptance. He should have spent his whole life on somewhere like Weston Pier but he became famous. He actually was allowed to run around on mainstream TV with the same bizarre act – a sad inducement of mainstream seventies UK culture.
What! Was this some sort of sub George Formby character. Managed to play the part of a grown man dressed as a school kid for what seemed like forever, that said he was just 4ft 3 tall so had little other career options. A relic from another gentler age.
If you google Peter Glaze there is almost nothing on him. Glaze is the man who disappeared. There are now digital vapour trails. No strange forums dedicated to his cult status. Glaze was the ‘Master’ of the double take, famous for lurking around in a Beatles skit and for ever being on Crackerjack. Peter Glaze seemed be washed up from a different age. He didn’t even seem to exist at his peak and his sketches on the BBC’s attempt at a naughty kids show were out of place and never that side splitting.
Even at his peak Harry Worth seemed to come from another time and place. A time and place when you didn’t really have to be funny. Gentle and genteel Harry Worth wore a mac and hat, and did a strange arm and foot walking thing by a door. It really didn’t amount to much more than that.
‘Settle down, settle down’ Ken would tell the audience with his trademark twitch. It’s a mark of the seventies comedy ditch that that the audience was anything but settled dousing their well worn seats with moist excitement at Ken’s trademark nervous set.
Another genius from the Crackerjack school. Clifton came bursting out of his hometown St Helens riding on top of an Ostrich called Oswald that caused chaos in the studio. Watching his YouTube clips now is a very seventies experience. What was everyone on? Frankly it didn’t seem that genius at the time even when you are nine years old.