Last week we remembered Harry Korris’ Happidrome show, which the comedian put on as a summer show sketch in the 1930s.
From this he developed a radio series that ran for seven years from 1941. In 1943 there was also a film version.
Unfortunately, a little gremlin was active on the page last week and implemented the captions. Today we put Harry back in history with this “at home” Gazette photo with his wife, Connie.
Harry (1891-1971) lived at Squires Gate for nearly 40 years, first on Dunes Avenue and then on Lytham Road.
So what was the second radio sitcom that originated in Blackpool?
It was Club Night, written by and with Dave Morris (1896-1960), whose Blackpool appearances lasted 40 years and who lived in Duchess Drive, North Shore, for more than 20 years.
Coun Mrs. Constance May Korris and husband Harry Korris
Dave had starred in Blackpool for ten consecutive summer seasons before Club Night first aired in the fall of 1950.
The story of how the show came about was told on the Gazette’s radio column in the spring of 1950.
Dave had had a drink with BBC’s Robert Stead in the Dress Circle Bar at Blackpool’s Palace Theater, a popular hangout for performers, producers, and Manchester radio guys.
The conversation was put through to the Gazette, probably by Dave.
“There doesn’t seem to be anything new under the sun. What we need in broadcast are new ideas, ”said Stead.
“How about a workers club on the radio?” answered Dave.
“Look at the characters that you have. There’s the little guy with the chickens; the brave who always drinks drinks; the eternal grouser and wise man, that’s me. “
Dave explained, “The main topics of conversation are beer, racing and soccer until someone gets a brainwave and starts politics. It would be good down-to-earth fun. “
“But who is going to write such a script?” asked Mr. Stead.
And he put himself in the spotlight as treasurer and loud Mr. Know All from the club. Like its other characters, it was a clubland stereotype.
There was a steward, played by Billy Smith quoting the rules, and the Wacker, played by Liverpool’s comic Fred Ferris, who was in and out of the club forever and asked, “As’ ee am in?” That was just a way to include yourself in a round of drinks.
There was the boring Army veteran, Pongo, first played by the show’s producer, Ronnie Taylor, and the disrespectful (to Dave) Snuffy Hargreaves, played by Frank Bass.
Then there was Cedric, the little man in the bowler hat, meek and gentle, who didn’t touch alcohol, part of who gave Joe Gladwin the character around which the comedy joke began.
The Gazette article had revealed to readers who did not already know that Dave was almost blind and had a unique arrangement with the BBC. He didn’t have to read from a script when it aired: “I write my own material and can remember it – usually,” he told the newspaper’s radio columnist.
“I had to get permission from the BBC high-ups. From their point of view, that’s quite a risk. “Next week: The radio and stage success of Club Night – and the reason Dave didn’t attend the Royal Variety Performance at the Opera House in 1955.