8 June 2015

Breathing space

 In Funny Bones I quoted an advertisement which Freddie's grandad Jack Herbert placed in The Stage. But I didn't provide the context. So here, first of all, is part of page 8 of The Stage for January 13th, 1927:

And here is a blow up of that all but empty rectangle in the middle - if you still can't read it, you're not darned close enough ...

Followed by Jack's payoff on page 11, which may now make rather more sense:

Being digitised, the Stage Archive was invaluable when researching Jack's career, piecing together his story through reviews, advertisements and the odd article to supplement Freddie's memories and that of Jack's surviving relative John Butler. Although I leafed through many issues of The Performer (the variety artists' trade paper) in Colindale it wasn't easy to locate reviews which mentioned Jack - and somewhat galling to find that a phrase used in one - "An orgy of face-slapping and gagging" - was recycled in another ... though it's hard to imagine a better way of putting it.

Find out more about Jack Herbert's life and career, and his influence on Freddie, in Funny Bones: My Life in Comedy by Freddie Davies with Anthony Teague, available from amazon (paperback) or direct from Scratching Shed Publishing (paperback or limited edition hardback). You can read an extract which describes Jack's act here.

Thanks and acknowledgements to The Stage Archive