Hancock's Half Hour Page 4

Hancock's Half Hour. Image shows from L to R: Sidney Balmoral James (Sid James), Anthony Aloysius St John Hancock (Tony Hancock). Copyright: BBC.

Hancock's Half Hour

Tony Hancock stars in Galton & Simpson's comic masterpiece, with his delusions of grandeur and acquaintances at the root of his every downfall

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Gordon Bennett

  • Sunday 3rd February 2013, 12:26pm [Edited]
  • Basel, Switzerland
  • 19,199 posts
Quote: Tuumble @ February 3 2013, 12:05 PM GMT

I did.

The background is quite bizarre and just proves if you don't ask you don't get. If I hadn't asked Nasher to come on my radio show last night he wouldn't have been there either - he drove up from London to speak and wouldn't even accept payment for a copy of his book.

Anyway, the full G&S story has been told on here before so I'll link to that rather than type it again. :)

https://www.comedy.co.uk/forums/thread/6261/


Thanks for the link, mate. I read your post with great interest. It was like dipping into a time where show business wasn't that much infected by monetary matters. Things seemed to be a lot more innocent and even naive; creativity wasn't that interferred by execs who think they know better. Genius had arguably more room to breathe.
A story that doesn't seem possible these days; I can't imagine there still are such things as tuberculosis sanatoriums these days. ;)

Quote: Tuumble @ February 3 2013, 12:05 PM GMT

...proves if you don't ask you don't get.


That's sounds plausible. But you need to have the balls to ask.

Off-topic post by Tuumble on Sun 3rd Feb 2013, 12:42
Quote: Gordon Bennett @ February 3 2013, 12:26 PM GMT

But you need to have the balls to ask.


Anyone that knows me will say that I'm incredibly quiet and maybe lacks a bit of confidence. Having a radio show would suggest that wasn't the case but remember I'm normally in a room on my own effectively talking to nobody so it's not a social situation in the true sense. When I am the focus in front of people I do get very nervous sometimes.

If you don't ask the answer is always 'no' but if you do get a 'yes' you might get the experience I've just talked about. If the person says 'no' well, you expected that anyway so on balance it's a no-brainer as far as I'm concerned?

Off-topic post by Gordon Bennett on Sun 3rd Feb 2013, 12:52

Yeah, maybe...but sometimes it's easier to hide from a problem than to face the possible negative consequence (i.e. a rejection). A 'No' does always hurt at least a bit. So, well done Tuumble!

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Gordon Bennett

  • Monday 4th February 2013, 9:22am
  • Basel, Switzerland
  • 19,199 posts
Quote: Gordon Bennett @ February 3 2013, 9:24 AM GMT

The second episode was much better. Where he was a flight steward and Sid James a crook.


Third was even better. Hancock as lawyer and John Le Mesurier as bored Judge. Now I'm really into that show. I can't wait to see what's the next situation.
Aaron was spot on to call it a CharCom. You'll never know what's the next situation. Cool approach.

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Gordon Bennett

  • Wednesday 6th February 2013, 10:18am [Edited]
  • Basel, Switzerland
  • 19,199 posts

They left a lot of f**ks ups in, as in MBB. Only the corpsing in Hancock seem to be genuine.

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Aaron

  • Wednesday 6th February 2013, 1:40pm
  • Royal Berkshire, England
  • 68,707 posts
Quote: Gordon Bennett @ February 6 2013, 10:18 AM GMT

They left a lot of f**ks ups in, as in MBB. Only the corpsing in Hancock seem to be genuine.


Quite common in older comedies. It, quite rightly, wasn't seen as a problem when an actor stumbled on a word, just as we all do in real life.

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Gordon Bennett

  • Wednesday 6th February 2013, 1:45pm [Edited]
  • Basel, Switzerland
  • 19,199 posts

I haven't noticed this yet. I know in Dad's Army are several little false starts left in and the makers of Fawlty Towers didn't care about jiggling "hotel walls". But what I saw in episode 4 of my Hancock box set was a short interaction between Tony and the audience.

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Aaron

  • Wednesday 6th February 2013, 1:49pm
  • Royal Berkshire, England
  • 68,707 posts

Ah, now that is far less common, but again not wholly unheard of. Part of the magic.

Nowadays producers and executives seem to have decided that "high production values" are a substitute for a good quality, funny script.

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AlanC

  • Wednesday 6th February 2013, 10:22pm
  • The Frozen North, England
  • 2,969 posts
Quote: Aaron @ February 6 2013, 1:49 PM GMT


Nowadays producers and executives seem to have decided that "high production values" are a substitute for a good quality, funny script.


As they pander to US sitcom values that they will never achieve. Hancock can never be compared to modern day productions, just as the fifties values are not the same as this decades values (not sure what they call this decade!!?).

Hancock, the writers & the producers were tiptoeing their way through a new genre - just as The Beatles were finding new ways to create sounds with an electric guitar. When Charlie Drake mis-timed a live bit of business in his own show back in the Sixties, nobody criticized his comatose state or his inability to make the next line - they put it down to the nature of the televisual art and thanked providence that it didn't happen more often. Apples and Oranges!?

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italophile

  • Thursday 7th February 2013, 8:35am
  • Italy
  • 214 posts

Hancock on the wireless frequently adlibbed his way around blown lines, production glitches, etc. I listened to his bedridden-in-hospital-with-a-broken-leg episode the other day. I don't know where they recorded but it was obviously close to a railway line. Late in the ep, a train whistle was heard. He dealt with it in a flash.

I also remember him dealing effortlessly with a rogue table that kept toppling over in a TV sketch.

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Oldrocker

  • Thursday 21st February 2013, 11:53pm
  • Near my beloved Black Country in Wolverhampton, England
  • 13,416 posts

As regulars will know I'm a massive Hancock fan.

I may have mentioned this before but I have never understood the line in SundayAAH 'All I can see are bunches of grapes.'

Not a flicker from the audience.

What was it doing there ?

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Agnes Guano

  • Friday 22nd February 2013, 10:00am
  • Tediumcester, England
  • 541 posts

From A Sunday Afternoon At Home, one of the finest half hours of comedy ever created!

Tony is trying to idly pass the time on a bleak Sunday afternoon. As a conversation starter apropos absolutely nothing, he suggests that if you stare long enough at the wallpaper faces can be seen in the pattern. Nobody is convinced. He points out an old man with a pipe by the serving hatch, Charlie Chaplin over the mantelpiece... All of which is wasted on Bill who can see nothing. Hattie then remarks all she can see are bunches of grapes, the joke being, as Hancock points out, that the wallpaper pattern is actually bunches of grapes.

Sometimes it's as really as obvious as it first appears.

HATTIE: All I can see on the wallpaper are bunches of grapes.
TONY: Who's asking you? Of course you can see bunches of grapes, that's the pattern. You've got to use your imagination to see the little faces. (pause) What's the time?
BILL: The little hand's on...
TONY: Oh not you, somebody else.

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comical masterpiece

  • Friday 22nd February 2013, 4:11pm [Edited]
  • England
  • 107 posts

Just think of all those missing episodes of Hancock's Half Hour, if only they could be found by a team of archeologists or something. My favourite episode is probably The Cold or Economy Drive, but to be honest nearly every episode is genius.

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Oldrocker

  • Friday 22nd February 2013, 11:21pm
  • Near my beloved Black Country in Wolverhampton, England
  • 13,416 posts
Quote: Agnes Guano @ February 22 2013, 10:00 AM GMT

From A Sunday Afternoon At Home, one of the finest half hours of comedy ever created!

Tony is trying to idly pass the time on a bleak Sunday afternoon. As a conversation starter apropos absolutely nothing, he suggests that if you stare long enough at the wallpaper faces can be seen in the pattern. Nobody is convinced. He points out an old man with a pipe by the serving hatch, Charlie Chaplin over the mantelpiece... All of which is wasted on Bill who can see nothing. Hattie then remarks all she can see are bunches of grapes, the joke being, as Hancock points out, that the wallpaper pattern is actually bunches of grapes.

Sometimes it's as really as obvious as it first appears.

HATTIE: All I can see on the wallpaper are bunches of grapes.
TONY: Who's asking you? Of course you can see bunches of grapes, that's the pattern. You've got to use your imagination to see the little faces. (pause) What's the time?
BILL: The little hand's on...
TONY: Oh not you, somebody else.


I've never heard that version !

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Agnes Guano

  • Saturday 23rd February 2013, 6:48pm
  • Tediumcester, England
  • 541 posts

That's from the 1987 BBC collection of radio scripts 'Hancock's Half-Hour - The Classic Years' compiled by Chris Bumstead. The scripts are printed in full and have sections that were either cut out by Galton and Simpson after a read through or by Dennis Main Wilson in post production.