Friday, April 21, 2006

A comeback for Archie?

I see that the original Archie Andrews doll plus three spare heads has been sold for £34,000 to a collector who is considering launching a comeback for Peter Brough's former sidekick. It's hard to believe that back in the 50s no Sunday lunchtime was complete without Educating Archie on the wireless. Even harder to believe that the great British public would tune in in their millions to listen to a ventriloquist and his dummy ON RADIO. When the show eventually transferred to TV we discovered that Peter Brough was the world's worst vent - his lips didn't just move in time to Archie's they positively danced. Still, the show made the careers of many well known acts of later years, including Max Bygraves, Beryl Reid, Harry Secombe, Tony Hancock, Alfred Marks, Bernard Miles and a 13 year old called Julie Andrews (no relation so far as I know). I was amused to read that the Queen would have private performances from Archie and Brough (as Archie called him) at the Palace back in the 50s - presumably for the benefit of Charles and Anne. I'm sure it proved very instructive as the whole family have evolved into dummies over the years. Happy 80th your majesty.


At 10:07 am , Blogger DaveC said...

The bizarre success of ventriloquism on radio was not unique to the English. America had its own 'wooden' comic hero in the monocled Charlie McCarthy who was manipulated by Edgar Bergen. Their radio show began in 1937 and lasted until 1956 by which time Charlie had become a star of the silver screen. His wooden acting has rarely been bettered but I doubt that the dance routine in 'Here We Go Again!' would have had Fred Astaire reaching for his clogs.


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