I think it’s basically the joy of being born to older parents at a time when, whether the world was simpler or not, it felt simpler.
I suspect it’s what happens to all parents. There must be aspects of everyone’s childhood they would wish to keep their children from (nobody’s life is perfect) but otherwise, there will be things they hope to replicate for their own offspring.
For my parents, that meant that we had singalongs on long car journeys, a cassette with the theme tunes to Thunderbirds and Doctor Who, and I grew up listening to The Goon Show and Hancock’s Half Hour.
We had telly. Obviously. I rhapsodise about television all the blithering time. It was the eighties, so television started with the Rainbow Brite, He-Man, She-Ra, Inspector Gadget or Raggy Dolls, and moved through to Neighbours, whatever was on Channel 4, and mountains and mountains of chocolate: Twirls, 54321s and Caramac (the golden, creamy bar). I grew up at a time when they advertised Hamlet cigars on Sunday afternoons. One of the finest things I’ve ever heard was that the sexy bunny in the Caramel advert was voiced by Miriam Margolyes. My word, but that made me happy.
Anyway, getting back to the point – Hancock’s Half Hour. It should go without saying that Tony Hancock was a genius. Tragically, as so many enormously gifted and funny people, he was plagued by a tremendous sadness, at which the rest of us could not begin to guess.
The Blood Donor is a work of art. I think everyone should know it.
I’m quite sure that comic timing can’t be taught. You’ve only to watch this sketch or anything with Bea Arthur in it. Over the years, I’ve seen many dozens of actors in interviews who’ve said (and I believe them) that comedy is much harder than drama. Especially, one suspects, if going through multiple takes of the same scene, to keep the momentum up and keep it light, funny and seemingly spontaneous, must be a lot harder than endless crying which, over time, is self-perpetuating. At least, in my experience.
Humour is a gift.
In The Blood Donor, there are some truly wonderful lines. For example:
Nurse: Mr. Hancock. Have you ever given any blood before?
Hancock: Given? No. Spilt? Yes.
Here’s the link.
For those who are in whimsical mood and fancy a film, I can attest to the wonders of ’The Wrong Box’. You’ve got Michael Caine, Nanette Newman (before Fairy Liquid), Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, John Mills, Ralph Richardson, Peter Sellers, Tony Hancock, Leonard Rossiter, John Le Mesurier, and Tutte Lemkow, who played the Fiddler in Fiddler on the Roof. Good lord, but it’s a great film. Everyone’s in it. It’s terribly funny with a lovely little love story in the middle and some A1 acting. Go shopping, I can’t think why you wouldn’t. Here it is: https://amzn.to/30TkLBq