09 January, 2008

fiftysomething

TV Cream doesn't normally have anything to do with the 1950s, but seeing as they're being put on trial by BBC4 this week - again - here are 10 pieces of evidence for the prosecution:

1) MUFFIN THE MULE
Supposedly an "iconic" children's "classic"; in reality a posh woman watching a shitty wooden horse frugging on top of a piano, over and over again.

2) INTERLUDES
"Ah yes," sigh the cultural commentariat, "how we used to love watching the interludes - what a wonderful oasis of calm in the schedules." What, from the hurly burly of Jack Hylton And His Palm Court Orchestra Play The Light Classics, or yet another newsreel, or a closedown of about three hours or so?

3) THE TODDLER'S TRUCE
TV wasn't on much, which was fair enough as they couldn't afford it, but there was no excuse for the screens going blank at the most important time of the day: teatime! Telly for doing the pots to didn't arrive until 1957. Until then, if you wanted to catch up on the day's news between 6pm and 7pm, you were fucked.

4) WINIFRED ATWELL
She's been mentioned before, in suitably derogary terms, but that was last year. All the more reason, then, to castigate her and her proto-Jive Bunny jiggery-pokery once more. Some of those plinky-plonky chart-bothering classics: 'Let's Have A Party'; 'Let's Have Another Party'; 'Let's Have A Ding Dong'; 'Make It A Party'; and surely the most incongrous of all, 'Let's Rock'n'Roll'.

5) THE HIT PARADE
Specifically, the fact that in some weeks you could have two songs at number one. That's not right.

6) THE PEOPLE WHO COMPILED THE HIT PARADE
Presumably fusty clerks in funereal suits, of which there were millions in the 1950s. There was one week when 'What Do You Want' and 'What Do You Want To Make Those Eyes At Me For' were "joint" number one. Get your eyes tested!

7) THE GOONS
Posh people repeatedly squawking "I've fallen in the water".

8) UNFUNNY CARRY ON FILMS
Double entendre needs to be in glorious technicolour.

9) MULTIPLE RECORDED VERSIONS OF THE SAME SONG
OK, so rationing was still around, but it didn't extend to the notes of a musical scale.

10) THE FACT THAT SOMEBODY GETTING ONTO AN AEROPLANE WAS A NEWS STORY
"And here's Chancellor Of The Exchequer R. A. Butler, smiling as he prepares to board a jet aircraft at London Airport this morning!"

Coming soon: 10 good things about the 1950s.

2 comments:

Iain Griffiths said...

I have to take issue with The Goons ...
Without them we'd have no Python ,Vic and Bob ,Robert Rankin and plenty of others who were all influenced by Spikes writing .

Ok, some of it hasn't aged well but plenty is still funny even today - 50 odd years later.

A Show that spawned the word Lurgi, gave name to the band Ned's Atomic Dustbin, showed the talents of Peter Sellars to the world, and more importantly stopped Harry Secombe singing .

Besides having Prince Charles being called a 'Grovelling Bastard' is surely worth fusty old people (me included) going 'Hullo' is Eccles voices every now and again.

Iain Griffiths said...

And another thing - Unfunny Carry On films?
I rather disagree - Ok not the ones Carry On is famous for nowadays, but these were charming, Ealing Style comedies - forerunners to the Hollywood 'Romantic' Comedy but with jokes and little schmaltz.

Sergeant for example is a proto-Police Academy or Stripes.
Great cast - William Harnell , Sir Bob , Dora Bryant et al all giving top notch performances .

The early Carry On's are still great examples of British Comedy - their constant showing on BBC2 at 6pm on Tuesdays (alternating with 50's sci-fi B-movies ) during the 80's shows they have a place within TV Cream.