OTLEY AND DISTRICT MEN’S FORUM

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 Top of the Bill
Mr John Wallis

10th Sept 2009

“What a splendid start to our programme”; was the statement made at this time last year. This year’s start was even better. Our unanimous decision was that John Wallis’s Top of the Bill was superb, outstanding in both entertainment and humour. Every one of us enjoyed the benefit of John’s retirement study of the Music Hall, Variety Theatre and the Artistes involved. As well as telling us about these performers he also gave us renditions of their songs whilst playing either his banjo or ukulele and telling the jokes of his favourite comedians.

 Starting with Marie Lloyd who reigned in the Music Hall at the beginning of the twentieth century, he also sang one of her songs before he mentioned the performances of Gracie Fields and Florrie Ford. Although he spent sometime singing “ She’s my lady love” and describing the Minstrel Music performers Eugene Stratton and the Chocolate Coloured Coon, GH Elliott, he soon moved on to his favourite subject - comedians.

Sandy Powell “Can you hear me mother?” from Rotherham, Albert Modley from Ilkley and Norman Evans from Rochdale and their “daft humour” were discussed and some of their jokes retold. His favourite comedian Rob Wilton, known for his Second World War humour of confusion, had his jokes performed with true authenticity before John moved on to tell us about Norman Wisdom, and Chick Murray.

 Alternative  and Domestic Humour were illustrated by the jokes of Al Read and Les Dawson before the show was closed with John playing the Mandola and singing a Vera Lynn  and a Paul Robson song.


 Our next meeting is at 10-00am on 24th September 2009 at Otley Civic Centre where Mr DM Shaw will tell us about a Chinese Adventure.

   

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