About Vintage Stuff

The aim of Vintage Stuff is to display some of the ephemera that I have collected, often inadvertently, over the years. I am now deliberately seeking out interesting old adverts, screen shots, leaflets, obscure record covers, picture postcards and illustrations; anything that catches my eye, in fact. They will be mainly, but not exclusively of UK origin (so many vintage blogs appear to be American) and almost always a scan from something that I actually have in my collection, rather than off the net. If you do re-blog, please acknowledge the source. Further stuff, mainly photographs, can be found on my Flickr pages, via the Benny Hill record cover.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Frankie & Benny

Twenty years ago, in April 1992, British comedy lost both Frankie Howerd and Benny Hill. Although they died on consecutive days, 19/20th, Benny was not found until two days later, such was the reclusive life that he was leading by then. Although they were very different in their approach to comedy, Howerd's more hesitant delivery contrasting to Hill's more slick and saucy style, both learned their trade in the West End, radio and then film and television. Benny Hill was also a singer, with a number of  comedy records to his name

By the 1980s, The Benny Hill Show was suffering falling ratings and was becoming increasingly more expensive to make and changing attitudes saw much criticism of the perceived sexism in his comedy. The cancellation of his Thames series in 1989 appeared to be the beginning of the end for him.

Frankie Howerd however, was making something of a comeback during his later years, touring with his one-man show and becoming an unlikely hit with university audiences. I personally love the work of both, Up Pompeii in particular for Howerd, with his little asides to the audience and Benny Hill was probably at his best in the 1970s; trawling through DVDs of The Benny Hill Show for this period has been a delight. Despite the bashing he got in this country in his later years, he remained popular abroad; I have a Hungarian DVD featuring mainly his slapstick routines, brought back by my son off holiday a few years ago. May they both rest in peace and their influence live on.

Frankie Howerd (1917-1992)

The Ladykillers (1955)
With Katie Johnson

The Fast Lady (1962)

The Great St Trinian's Train Robbery (1966)
With Reg Varney and others

Carry On Doctor (1967)
With Anita Harris, Hattie Jacques and June Jago

Up Pompeii (1971)

Up The Front (1975)
From Star Turns, by Barry Took

Benny Hill (1924-1992)

An early publicity shot
From Star Turns, by Barry Took

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)
With Dick Van Dyke and Sally Ann Howes

The Italian Job (1969)

Benny Hill sings Ernie (1971)

The Benny Hill Show (1976)
With Henry McGee
The Benny Hill Show (1976)
With Jack Wright and Jenny Lee Wright

The Benny Hill Show (1976)
With Moira Foot


  1. What a fab post...these two are favourites of mine, too. I remember my Dad and I watching Frankie Howerd on TV in the sixties and both of us getting a scolding from my Mum. Benny Hill's appearance in the Italian Job was a delight, too. Well, the whole film was, really.
    Despite what some thought of them, they left a big gap in British comedy when they died.

  2. Thanks Ian; I really thought that I had to pay tribute, and what a wonderful excuse to raid my DVD collection! We were away in Skegness at the time, so particularly remember their passing.

  3. The lass in the last Hill photo, misidentified as Jenny Westbrook, was in fact Moira Foot.

  4. wbhist, thank you; as soon as I read your comment, I knew it was her! Duly amended.