Tuesday, 23 September 2008

George Formby Was No Good at Cleaning Windows

Historical texts have proven that Ukulele player George Formby was not a good window cleaner. Contemporary reports from the time revealed that the comedy maverick was often tardy, left his ladders all over the place, used the same water for days, and did not clean around the edges of the window. PC Plod said: 'We had many complaints about Formby back in the day. His employer often said he was a wrong'un, but these details speak for themselves. A Mrs Smith from 57 complained that Formby left his ladder in her backyard for four days, whilst a Mr Benn from 52 Festive Road often complained about the state of George's bucket. PC Plod continued: 'We also had many reports that he was loitering with intent, but he just sang us a song about Leaning on a Lampost, until a certain little lady comes by. He was a charmer, but we could tell he was not meant to be a Window cleaner, or a stalker.' OY - Formby, you missed a spot.

He was born George Hoy Booth on 26 May 1904 in Wigan, Lancashire. The show business career of George Formby spanned exactly FORTY YEARS, beginning in 1921 until his death in 1961. During that period he appeared in 21 hit films, cut over 230 records, made hundreds of stage performances, appeared in two Royal Command Performances and entertained an estimated THREE MILLION Allied Servicemen and women during World War II throughout Europe (see video in Normandy below) and the Middle East. Although he never performed in the U.S.A. he did make personal appearances and was quite popular in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
By 1939, George Formby was the most popular and highest paid entertainer in the British Isles and was estimated to be earning over £100,000 a year. The secret of his success was a unique combination of personality, natural ability and talent coupled with the driving force of his wife, Beryl as his Manager. With his natural human warmth and friendliness, George could hold a live audience in the palm of his hand as he sang and played the ukulele in his own inimitable style. He seemed to have the ability to make people enjoy what he did, and his audiences always called for more. George Formby helped write and perform over 300 original songs, largely flavoured with his own brand of English North Country humour. He was well known for playing the Banjo Ukulele, a hybrid instrument combining the Hawaiian ukulele and the big American Banjo, which had been invented by Alvin D. Keech and christened by him as the 'Banjulele.' He was buried in Warrington Cemetery in the family grave, and an estimated 100,000 mourners lined the streets on the day of the funeral to show their respect for one of the greatest entertainers this country has ever known.

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