Review George Formby

Discussion in 'Fame & Infamy' started by Doctor Omega, Apr 12, 2018.

  1. Doctor Omega

    Doctor Omega Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2017
    Messages:
    13,008
    Likes Received:
    2,724
    formby-500x297.jpg


    George Formby, OBE (born George Hoy Booth; 26 May 1904 – 6 March 1961), was an English actor, singer-songwriter and comedian who became known to a worldwide audience through his films of the 1930s and 1940s. On stage, screen and record he sang light, comical songs, usually playing the ukulele or banjolele, and became the UK's highest-paid entertainer.

    Born in Wigan, Lancashire, he was the son of George Formby Sr, from whom he later took his stage name. After an early career as a stable boy and jockey, Formby took to the music hall stage after the early death of his father in 1921. His early performances were taken exclusively from his father's act, including the same songs, jokes and characters. In 1923 he made two career-changing decisions – he purchased a ukulele, and married Beryl Ingham, a fellow performer who became his manager and transformed his act. She insisted that he appear on stage formally dressed, and introduced the ukulele to his performance. He started his recording career in 1926 and, from 1934, he increasingly worked in film to develop into a major star by the late 1930s and 1940s, and became the UK's most popular entertainer during those decades. The media historian Brian McFarlane writes that on film, Formby portrayed gormless Lancastrian innocents who would win through against some form of villainy, gaining the affection of an attractive middle-class girl in the process.

    During the Second World War Formby worked extensively for the Entertainments National Service Association (ENSA), and entertained civilians and troops, and by 1946 it was estimated that he had performed in front of three million service personnel. After the war his career declined, although he toured the Commonwealth, and continued to appear in variety and pantomime. His last television appearance was in December 1960, two weeks before the death of Beryl. He surprised people by announcing his engagement to a school teacher seven weeks after Beryl's funeral, but died in Preston three weeks later, at the age of 56; he was buried in Warrington, alongside his father.

    Formby's biographer, Jeffrey Richards, considers that the actor "had been able to embody simultaneously Lancashire, the working classes, the people, and the nation".[1] Formby was considered Britain's first properly home-grown screen comedian. He was an influence on future comedians—particularly Charlie Drake and Norman Wisdom—and, culturally, on entertainers such as the Beatles, who referred to him in their music. Since his death Formby has been the subject of five biographies, two television specials and two works of public sculpture.



     
  2. Doctor Omega

    Doctor Omega Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2017
    Messages:
    13,008
    Likes Received:
    2,724
    Legacy
    [​IMG]
    The statue of Formby on the Isle of Man
    Formby's screen persona influenced Norman Wisdom in the 1950s and Charlie Drake in the following decade, although both these performers used pathos, which Formby avoided

    Shortly after Formby's death a small group of fans formed the George Formby Society, which had its inaugural meeting at the Imperial Hotel Blackpool.[216] George Harrison was a fan of Formby, a member of the Society and an advocate of the ukulele.[217] The rest of the Beatleswere also fans—they improvised with ukuleles during the recording breaks on Let It Be[218]—and Formby's influence can be heard in the song "Her Majesty".[219] The Beatles' penultimate song, "Free as a Bird", ends with a slight coda including a strummed ukulele by Harrison and the voice of John Lennon played backwards, saying "Turned out nice again".

    As of 2014 there are two public statues of Formby. The first, by the Manx artist Amanda Barton, is in Douglas, Isle of Man, and shows him leaning on a lamp-post and dressed in the motorcycle leathers of a TT racer. Barton was also commissioned to provide a second statue for the Lancashire town of Wigan, which was unveiled in September 2007 in the town's Grand Arcade shopping centre.[221]

    Formby has been the subject of five biographies as of 2014. In the late 1960s Harry Scott published his reminiscences of Formby, The Fabulous Formby, in 14 issues of The Vellum, the magazine of the George Formby Society;[222][y] John Fisher published George Formby in 1975 before Alan Randall and Ray Seaton published their book in 1974 and David Bret produced George Formby: A Troubled Genius in 1999.[224][225] The last of the five to be published was by Sue Smart and Richard Bothway Howard in 2011, It's Turned Out Nice Again!.[226]There have also been two documentaries on British television, an edition of The South Bank Show in 1992, and Frank Skinner on George Formby in 2011.[227]

    In 2004 Formby was inducted into the Ukulele Hall of Fame, a non-profit organisation for the preservation of ukulele history. His citation reads, in part: "He won such love and respect for his charismatic stage presence, technical skill and playful lyrics that he remains popular forty years after his death."[228] In June 2012 a Blackpool Boat Car tram, number 604, was repainted and returned to service with sponsorship from the George Formby Society. The tram was named "George Formby OBE" and images of him are affixed within the trolley
     
  3. Doctor Omega

    Doctor Omega Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2017
    Messages:
    13,008
    Likes Received:
    2,724
    George Formby rare archive find - March 2018



     

Share This Page