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

Monday, 16 April 2012

San Ferry Ann

San Ferry Ann is a short (55 minute) British silent film made in 1965, involving a motley collection of holidaymakers let loose on an unsuspecting Calais for the weekend. Amongst the crew are Mum (Joan Sims), dad (David Lodge), grandma (Lynne Carol - Martha Longhurst in Coronation Street) and grandad (Wilfred Brambell), who arrive in a Bedford CA caravan, whilst a pair of lovers, off for a romantic sojourn, are played by Rodney Bewes (by this time a Likely Lad) and Catherine Feller, pitching up in and old MG and never leaving the hotel. Two hitchhikers are wiggling Barbara Windsor and accident-prone Ronnie Stevens, who had played the drunk in Carry on Cruising three years previously. Other well-known faces to turn up include Warren Mitchell as a waiter, Fred Emney as a Frenchman with a comedy plaster-cast on this foot, Hugh Paddick, Ron Moody and the marvelous Graham Stark as a bemused Gendarme.

Plenty of stereotypical behaviour ensues; mum and dad get drunk, they can't read the signs nor speak the language, and are 'embarrassed Brits abroad' on the beach, whilst Ron Moody, as a former German soldier, forms an unlikely friendship with ex-Tommy Wilfred Brambell. Oh, and yes, there is an onion-seller in a beret on a bike and a smattering of sexy french girls, one of whom 'entices' Wilfred Brambell into her little war museum, very much under false pretences.......

At the very end of the film, we see our hitchhikers heading home to blighty. Barbara Windsor uses her obvious charms to thumb a lift in a passing Peugeot 404 (leaving her companion behind a hedge having a wee). He has the last laugh however, cadging a lift with a pretty girl in an MGB, passing the Peugeot with it's bonnet up.

Not a bad little film, perhaps a little long, but plenty of smiles along the way, if not many actual laugh-out-loud moments. There is much for the car enthusiast to savour, lots of French classics, not to mention the array of British motors that frequently crop up, and of course the British comic actors featured are always good value. My copy came as a triple DVD pack along with Simon Simon and A Home of your Own, both of which I will review in due course, all for £4.99 at our local branch of Works.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Jane & Jag

Model Jane Mercer, not her real name, I'm sure, adorns 1960s Jaguar XKG 318 amongst the pages of Span magazine for March 1975. My father did some glamour photography from a studio set up in the spare bedroom (which made my early teenage years interesting!) and also owned a Mark 2 Jag. I don't think that he ever combined the two interests, although I suspect that my mother would have taken a dim view if he had!