No Laughing Matter: How I Carried On - Norman Hudis
For the first time, in NO LAUGHING MATTER, Norman Hudis, who wrote the first six Carry On movies, reveals his hitherto secret, decades-long and quixotic writing-activity since he left the series. It's this: He Carried On Writing Carry On stories in the hope that, one day, he'd be asked to return and come up with one! Two typical intriguing examples, elaborated in these memoirs: "Carry On Under The Pier If Wet", skewering two doughty British institutions, the seaside concert-party and boarding-house - and, most audacious of all, "Carry On Shylock Holmes." More firsts revealed within these pages: Norman's frank and terse opinions about, among others, Ted Ray, Hattie Jacques, Joan SIms ("Did I sleep with her?"), Charles Hawtrey ("Do you believe in fairies?"), Kenneth Connor and Kenneth Williams and, in Hollywood, Elvis Presley, Robert Young, Anne Baxter, Erik Estrada, Joan Crawford and Harold Shmidlap ("Who's he?" Hint: legendary creator of the TV series "Frontier Accountant.") Emerging, somewhat bewildered, but with a firm sense of comedy implanted in him by undergoing upbringing by a rather odd family, Norman felt compelled to seek substitute families to redress the balance: respectively as a young newspaperman, then serving airman in the WWII RAF, plus post-war film publicist and, finally, fully home, as a writer. This autobiography, therefore, with a fitting foreword by Carry On producer Peter Rogers, is Norman Hudis in a succinct and delightful nutshell. In his words: "I call the book NO LAUGHING MATTER as an understatement, because my life, beginning with the upbringing by my unconventional family, has actually been such a hysterical hoot, it's no great wonder that I write comedy. After all, let's face it, I've lived it."
First published: Monday 24th March 2008
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