Monday, 6 October 2008
George Formby was more my parents era than mine. His gormless northern wit and chirpy songs , all accompanied on the ukulele or banjolele is what cheered up the troops in the second world war. Eee by gum! His father George Formby Senior was a big star of the music halls and george followed in his footsteps and became an even bigger star of the 30's and 40's- selling millions of records and filling variety halls all over the land. His films too , which seem crass by today's standards, were big hits and cheered up the populace during those dark days between the wars.
"With his toothy grin and goofy personality, Formby was dubbed "the beloved imbecile" by pundits; after earning a loyal following among music hall denizens, he scored a major pop hit with 1932's "Chinese Blues," which when renamed "Chinese Laundry Blues" became his signature song for the duration of his career. Two years later Formby made his first film, Boots! Boots!; the picture was a smash, and he swiftly contracted to make 11 more films for Ealing Studios. Over the course of movies like 1935's No Limit, 1937's Feather Your Nest and 1938's It's in the Air, he became Britain's biggest star, earning an estimated £100,000 a year; his films also continued to provide him with a wealth of saucy hit records, including "The Window Cleaner," "Fanlight Fanny," "Riding in the T.T. Races" and the Noel Gay-penned "Leaning on a Lamp Post," perhaps his most popular song."