Carry On (franchise)

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Carry On
Carry On logo illustration.jpg
Directed by Gerald Thomas
Produced by Peter Rogers
Written by Norman Hudis 1958–62
Talbot Rothwell 1963–74
Starring Kenneth Williams
Joan Sims
Charles Hawtrey
Sid James
Kenneth Connor
Peter Butterworth
Bernard Bresslaw
Hattie Jacques
Jim Dale
Barbara Windsor
Jack Douglas
Terry Scott
and others
Music by Bruce Montgomery (1958–62)
Eric Rogers (1963–75 and 1978)
Max Harris (1976)
Distributed by Anglo-Amalgamated
Rank Organisation
Release dates 1958–78, 1992
Running time Estimated at 2700 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

The Carry On franchise primarily consists of a sequence of 31 low-budget British comedy motion pictures produced between 1958 and 1992, but also includes three Christmas specials, one television series of thirteen episodes, and three West End and provincial stage plays. The films' humour was in the British comic tradition of the music hall and seaside postcards. Producer Peter Rogers and director Gerald Thomas drew on a regular group of actors, the Carry On team, that included Sidney James, Kenneth Williams, Charles Hawtrey, Joan Sims, Kenneth Connor, Peter Butterworth, Hattie Jacques, Terry Scott, Bernard Bresslaw, Barbara Windsor, Jack Douglas and Jim Dale.

The Carry On series contains the largest number of films of any British series, and next to the James Bond films, it is the second longest continually running UK film series (with a fourteen-year break between 1978 and 1992). From 1958 to 1966 Anglo Amalgamated Film Distributors Ltd produced 12 films, with Rank Organisation making the remaining 19 between 1967 and 1992. All the films were made at Pinewood Studios.

Producer Peter Rogers and director Gerald Thomas made all 31 films, usually on time and to a strict budget, and often employed the same crew. Between 1958 and 1992, the series employed seven writers, most often Norman Hudis (1958–62) and Talbot Rothwell (1963–74). In between the films, Rogers and Thomas produced four Christmas specials in 1969, 1970, 1972 and 1973, a thirteen episode television series in 1975 and various West End stage shows which later toured the regions.

Background[edit]

The films' humour was in the British comic tradition of the music hall and seaside postcards. Many of them parodied more serious films — in the case of Carry On Cleo (1964), the Burton and Taylor film Cleopatra (1963).

The stock-in-trade of Carry On humour was innuendo and the sending-up of British institutions and customs, such as the National Health Service (Nurse, Doctor, Again Doctor, Matron), the monarchy (Henry), the Empire (Up the Khyber), the military (Sergeant) and the trade unions (At Your Convenience) as well as the Hammer horror film (Screaming), camping (Camping), foreigners (Abroad), beauty contests (Girls), and caravan holidays (Behind) among others. Although the films were very often panned by critics, they proved very popular with audiences.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7]

The series began with Carry On Sergeant (1958), about a group of recruits on National Service, and was sufficiently successful that others followed. A film had appeared the previous year under the title Carry on Admiral; although this was a comedy in a similar vein (with Joan Sims in the cast) it has no connection to the series. There was also an unrelated 1937 film Carry On London, starring future Carry On performer Eric Barker.

The cast were poorly paid — around £5,000 per film for a principal performer.[8] In his diaries, Kenneth Williams lamented this and criticised several of the movies despite his declared fondness for the series as a whole.[9] Peter Rogers, the series' producer, acknowledged: "Kenneth was worth taking care of, because while he cost very little [...] he made a very great deal of money for the franchise."[8]

Cast[edit]

Filmography[edit]

Unmade films[edit]

Several other films were planned, scripted (or partly scripted) or entered pre-production before being abandoned:[10][11][12]

  • What a Carry On... (1961)
  • Carry On Smoking (1961)—the story revolved around a fire station, and various attempts to train a bungling group of new recruits.
  • Carry On Flying (1962)—scripted by Norman Hudis, about a group of RAF recruits. It got as far as pre-production before being abandoned.
  • Carry On Spaceman (1962)—see section below.
  • Carry On Again Nurse (1967 and two other attempts)—see section below.
  • Carry On Escaping (1973)—scripted by Talbot Rothwell, a spoof of World War 2 escape films. The complete script was included in the book The Complete A-Z of Everything Carry On.
  • Carry on Dallas (1980)—a planned spoof of the popular US series Dallas. A script was written and casting offers made to Williams, Connor, Douglas, Sims, Hawtrey and Dale. The production was abandoned when Lorimar Productions demanded a royalty fee of 20 times the total production budget.
  • Carry On Down Under (1981)—Gerald Thomas did some location scouting while on holiday in Australia and spoke to the Australian Film Commission. The production was abandoned when finance fell through. A complete script was written by Vince Powell and is included in the book Fifty Years Of Carry On.[13]

Carry On Spaceman[edit]

Carry On Spaceman was to be released shortly after Carry On Regardless, in 1961. It was scripted by Norman Hudis, and was to satirise interests in the Space Race from the Western world's point of view, and was to have been shot in black and white.

The cast was to consist of three would-be astronauts who constantly bungled on their training and their mission into outer space - most likely the trio would have been played by the trinity of Kenneth Williams, Kenneth Connor and Leslie Phillips that had been established in Carry On Constable.

Attempts to revive Carry On Spaceman in 1962 under Denis Gifford, again by Hudis, failed, and the project was subsequently abandoned.

Carry On Again Nurse[edit]

Three scripts were written for an intended sub-sequel to the successful Carry On Nurse film, the second installment of the Carry On series. The first film was renamed, and the other two never made.

The first intended Carry On Again Nurse was made in 1967, but released as Carry On Doctor. Carry On Nurse was alluded to twice in Carry On Doctor, firstly with the sub-titles (one reading Nurse Carries On Again and Death of a Daffodil), and again in a later scene with Frankie Howerd commenting on a vase of daffodils in his ward.

A second attempt at Carry On Again Nurse came in 1979, after the franchise left Rank Films and moved to Hemdale. A completed script had been written by George Layton[14] and Jonathan Lynn in 1977. It was cancelled due to the financial loss of Carry On Emmannuelle.

The final attempt to create Carry On Again Nurse came in 1988, with a script written by Norman Hudis[15] (the script is included in the book The Lost Carry Ons), but with a budget of £1.5 million was deemed too expensive.

Carry On London[edit]

A new film, Carry On London, was announced in 2003 by producer Peter Rogers and producer James Black but remained in pre-production well into 2008. The script was signed off by the production company in late March 2008, and "centred on a limousine company ferrying celebrities to an awards show."[16] The film had several false starts, with the producers and cast changing extensively over time. Only the rather unknown Welsh actress Jynine James remained a consistent name from 2003 to 2008.[17] Danniella Westbrook, Shaun Williamson and Burt Reynolds were also once attached to the project. In May 2006 it was announced Vinnie Jones and Shane Richie were to star in the film, which was to be directed by Peter Richardson, though Ed Bye later replaced him as the named director.[18] At the 50th anniversary party held at Pinewood Studios in March 2008, Peter Rogers confirmed that he was planning a series of Carry On films after London, subject to the success of the first.

In early 2009, Carry On London or Carry On Bananas was once again 'back on', with Charlie Higson attached as director, and a different more modern cast list involving Paul O'Grady (as the acidic Kenneth Williamsesque character), Jynine James, Lenny Henry, Justin Lee Collins, Jennifer Ellison (as the saucy Barbara Windsor type), Liza Tarbuck (Hattie Jacques), Meera Syal, James Dreyfus, and Frank Skinner (filling in the Sid James role). Despite new media interest and sets being constructed at Pinewood film studios, the film once again was put on hold, and the project was shelved after the death of Peter Rogers.[19]

Non-Carry On films[edit]

Please Turn Over (1959), Watch Your Stern (1960), No Kidding (1960), Raising the Wind (1961), Twice Round the Daffodils (1962), Nurse on Wheels (1963), The Big Job (1965) and the television programme spin-off Bless This House (1972) were all also directed by Gerald Thomas and produced by Peter Rogers and utilised the same writers and some of the same cast and crew of the Carry On films. They are not part of the Carry On series.

Carry on Admiral (1957), which has Joan Sims in the cast, is a comedy in a similar vein although it has no connection to the series. There was also an unrelated 1937 film Carry On London, starring future Carry On performer Eric Barker.

Television[edit]

The characters and comedy style of the Carry On film series were adapted to a television series titled Carry On Laughing, and several Christmas specials.

Stage shows[edit]

Album[edit]

Main article: Oh! What a Carry On!

In 1971, Music For Pleasure released a long playing record Oh! What a Carry On! (MFP MONO 1416) featuring songs performed by Kenneth Williams, Jim Dale, Kenneth Connor, Frankie Howerd, Bernard Bresslaw, Joan Sims, Barbara Windsor, and Dora Bryan.

Documentaries[edit]

A 50-minute television documentary What's a Carry On? was made in 1998 for the 40th anniversary of the first film. It included archive clips, out-takes and interviews with surviving cast members. It was included as an extra on the DVD release of Carry On Emmannuelle . In November 2003 a T.V. series called Popcorn ran a Carry On Special documentary and interviews on S4c featuring Jynine James. This was in respect of a new Carry On film being produced by Peter Rogers called Carry On London. It featured interviews and clips of the past Carry On films and went into detail about the new film and cast. However, despite the script being signed off and sets constructed at Pinewood film studios, due to the untimely death of Producer Peter Rogers, the project was shelved. A two-hour radio documentary Carry On Forever!, presented by Leslie Phillips, was broadcast in two parts on BBC Radio 2 in two parts on 19–20 July 2010.

References in other media[edit]

The success of the Carry On series occasionally led to affectionate parodies of the series by other contemporary comedians:

Merchandise[edit]

Falcon De Luxe a UK company owned by Jumbo Games released a jigsaw based on the official Carry On movie posters. The jigsaw is a montage of numerous movie posters along with the main movie logo in the center.[22]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ "More than just a Carry On?". BBC News. 25 July 2008. Retrieved 12 December 2010. 
  2. ^ Peter Bradshaw (15 May 2004). "What a Carry On!". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 12 December 2010. 
  3. ^ Cook, William (18 March 2008). "Film Blog: Stop Carry Ons". London: Blogs.guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 12 December 2010. 
  4. ^ Logged in as click here to log out (28 September 2007). "Infamy? They've got it". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 12 December 2010. 
  5. ^ "The possibility of happiness...". Newstatesman.com. 1 October 2001. Retrieved 12 December 2010. 
  6. ^ TimesOnline: A 50th anniversary appreciation of the Carry On movie, 29 July 2008[dead link]
  7. ^ White, Jim (17 March 2008). "A British comedy classic that could carry on". London: Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 12 December 2010. 
  8. ^ a b Kenneth Williams Unseen by Wes Butters and Russell Davies, HarperCollins 2008
  9. ^ The Kenneth Williams Diaries edited by Russell Davies, HarperCollins 1993
  10. ^ Morris Bright and Robert Ross (2000). The Lost Carry Ons: Scenes That Never Made it to the Screen. Virgin Books. ISBN 1-85227-990-7. 
  11. ^ Robert Ross (2002). The Carry on Companion. Batsford. ISBN 0-7134-8771-2. 
  12. ^ Richard Webber (2005). The Complete A-Z of Everything Carry On. HarperCollins. ISBN 0-00-718223-6. 
  13. ^ http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0099490072
  14. ^ http://www.georgelayton.co.uk/biog.html#film
  15. ^ Richard Webber (2008). Fifty Years Of Carry On. Random House.  [1]
  16. ^ Hassan, Genevieve (13 March 2008). "Carry On script gets green light". BBC News. Retrieved 13 March 2008. 
  17. ^ "From Convent to Carry On". BBC News. 10 September 2003. Retrieved 12 December 2010. 
  18. ^ "Vinnie Jones in new Carry On film". BBC. 16 May 2006. Retrieved 21 October 2007. 
  19. ^ "'Carry On' producer Rogers dies", BBC News, 15 April 2009
  20. ^ The Spitting Image Book - Faber and Faber Ltd, 1985. Pg. 11
  21. ^ "Carry on news: Channel 4 to show Carry On Banging", Carry online, accessed 5 February 2013
  22. ^ Carry On Movie Posters Jigsaw Puzzle

Bibliography

  • Bright, Morris; Ross, Robert (2000). Mr Carry On - The Life & Work of Peter Rogers. London: BBC Books. ISBN 978-0-563-55183-6. 
  • Davidson, Andy (2012). Carry On Confidential. London: Miwk. ISBN 978-1-908630-01-8. 
  • Eastaugh, Kenneth (1978). The Carry On Book. London: David & Charles. ISBN 978-0-7153-7403-0. 
  • Hibbin, Sally & Nina (1988). What a Carry On. London: Hamlyn. ISBN 978-0-600-55819-4. 
  • Hudis, Norman (2008). No Laughing Matter. London: Apex. ISBN 978-1-906358-15-0. 
  • Ross, Robert (2002). The Carry On Companion. London: Batsford. ISBN 978-0-7134-8771-8. 
  • Ross, Robert (2005). The Carry On Story. London: Reynolds and Hearn Ltd. ISBN 1-903111-96-X. 
  • Rigelsford, Adrian (1996). Carry On Laughing - a celebration. London: Virgin. ISBN 1-85227-554-5. 
  • Sheridan, Simon (2011). Keeping the British End Up - Four Decades of Saucy Cinema. London: Titan Books. ISBN 978-0-85768-279-6. 
  • Snelgrove, Kevin (2003). The Carry On Book of Statistics. Somerset: KAS Publications. ISBN 0-9544200-0-4. 
  • Snelgrove, Kevin (2008). The Official Carry On Facts, Figures and Statistics. Norfolk: Apex Publishing Ltd. ISBN 1-906358-09-5. 
  • Webber, Richard (2009). 50 Years of Carry On. London: Arrow. ISBN 978-0-09-949007-4. 

External links[edit]