Stanley Holloway on stage and screen

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An elderly man sitting at a chess board wearing glasses smiling broadly at the camera
Stanley Holloway in 1974

The English comic singer, monologist and actor Stanley Holloway (1890–1982), started his performing career in 1910. He starred in English seaside towns such as Clacton-on-Sea and Walton-on-the-Naze, primarily in concert party and variety shows. The first of these, The White Coons Show, was soon followed by the more prestigious Nicely, Thanks! in 1913. From here, he went on to co-star in The Co-Optimists, a variety show which brought him to wider audience attention.[1] After the First World War, he returned to London and found success in the West End musicals at the Winter Garden Theatre, including Kissing Time (1919), followed in 1920 by A Night Out.[2] The Co-Optimists continued until 1927, and he then appeared in Hit the Deck, a comic musical which appeared both in London and on Broadway. Reporting for The Manchester Guardian, the theatre critic Ivor Brown praised Holloway for a singing style "which coaxes the ear rather than clubbing the head."[3]

In between his stage roles, Holloway had a successful film career. He made his silent film debut in 1921 in The Rotters and went onto star in over 60 motion pictures, with his last being in 1976.[4] His credits covered many genres including drama, romance and comedy and he shared successful collaborations with a number of studios, including Gaumont-British Picture Corporation, Gainsborough Studios and, most notably, Ealing Studios. He started his association with Ealing in 1934, appearing in the fifth Gracie Fields picture, Sing As We Go.[5] After a ten-year absence from the studios, Holloway returned to star in Champagne Charlie in 1944 alongside Tommy Trinder and went onto star in Nicholas Nickleby (1947) and Another Shore (1948).[4] However, it was the next three Ealing Comedies, Passport to Pimlico (1949), The Lavender Hill Mob (1951) and The Titfield Thunderbolt (1953), which confirmed Holloway as a mainstay of British cinema.[4] His final film with the studio was Meet Mr. Lucifer (1953).

In 1956, Holloway revived his flagging career, creating the role of Alfred P. Doolittle in the extraordinarily successful original Broadway production of My Fair Lady, which was made into a hit film in 1964 with Holloway in the same role.[4] Owing to the film's success, he was able to get good roles in more films, including Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter alongside Herman's Hermits.[6] His films in the early 1970s included The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, Flight of the Doves and Up the Front. His final film was Journey into Fear, released in 1976.[4]

Stage shows[edit]

theatrical photograph of chorus and principals for an early 20th century show
As René (centre) in A Night Out (1920)
Stage appearances of Stanley Holloway
Production Date Role Theatre Notes Ref.
The White Coons Show 1910 Various Six week show in Walton-on-the-Naze [7]
Nicely, Thanks! 1913 Various Concert party in which Holloway first worked with Leslie Henson [8]
Kissing Time 16 September 1918 – 1 February 1919 Captain Wentworth New Amsterdam Theatre, New York Written by Guy Bolton and P. G. Wodehouse [9][10]
Kissing Time 20 May 1919 – 3 July 1920 Captain Wentworth Winter Garden Theatre, London Written by Guy Bolton and P. G. Wodehouse [9][10]
The Disorderly Room 1919 Various Victoria Palace Theatre Written by Eric Blore, Holloway starred alongside Leslie Henson, Tom Walls and Jack Buchanan. It was a variety musical sketch about army life in the First World War. The play was later turned into a series by Tommy Handley for radio. [11]
A Night Out 18 September 1920 – 18 June 1921 René Winter Garden Theatre Ran for 309 performances [12][13]
The Co-Optimists 27 June 1921 Various Royalty Theatre Devised by Davy Burnaby [14][15]
The Co-Optimists November 1926 – 4 August 1927 Various Palace Theatre Devised by Davy Burnaby. The show ran for 500 performances. [15][16]
Hit the Deck 25 April 1927 Bill Smith Belasco Theatre, New York The musical was written by R.P. Weston, Bert Lee and Vincent Youmans with lyrics by Clifford Grey and Leo Robin. [17]
Hit the Deck 3 July 1927 Bill Smith Hippodrome, London Ran for 277 performances. The musical was written by R.P. Weston, Bert Lee and Vincent Youmans with lyrics by Clifford Grey and Leo Robin. [17]
Song of the Sea 1928 Lt. Richard Manners His Majesty's Theatre, London An adaption of a German operetta "Lady Hamilton" (1926). Written by Arthur Wimperis with music composed by Eduard Künneke. [18]
Coo-ee 1929 Various Vaudeville Theatre, London Revue with Billy Bennett, Dorothy Dickson and Claude Hulbert [19]
The Co-Optimists 1929–1931 Various Revival of the popular show which toured the provencies, including the Princes Theatre, Bristol on 11 May 1931. [20]
The Savoy Follies 1931 PC Savoy Theatre, London Written by Riginald Arkell and Wolseley Charles. Co-starring H. M. Walker, Hal David, Douglas Byng and Florence Desmond and where Holloway first introduced the monologue The Lion and Albert. [21][22]
Here We Are Again October 1932 Lyceum Theatre, London [15]
Three Sisters 19 April 1934 Eustace Titherley Theatre Royal, Drury Lane The production featured Victoria Hopper, Adele Dixon, Esmond Knight and Charlotte Greenwood. Written by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II. [23]
Aladdin 1934 Abanazar First appearance in pantomime, co-starring Sir Henry Lytton, as the Emperor,[24] playing it in successive years in Leeds, London, Edinburgh and Manchester. [25]
London Rhapsody 1938 Various London Palladium Performed alongside The Crazy Gang. Holloway and comedian Jimmy Britton replaced Bud Flanagan and Chesney Allen after they pulled out for contractual reasons. [26]
Up and Doing 17 April 1940 Various Saville Theatre, London A revue written by Firth Shephard; co-starring Leslie Henson, Cyril Ritchard and Binnie Hale. [27]
Fine and Dandy 1942 Sam Small/various Saville Theatre, London Co-starring Leslie Henson, Douglas Byng, Dorothy Dickson and Graham Payn, the show had a run of three hundred and forty-six performances. [15][28]
Mother Goose December 1946 Squire Skinflint London Casino, London The show was Holloway's first and only London Christmas pantomime. He first performed the monologue "Sam's Christmas Pudding" after writing it especially for the production. [29]
Hamlet 1951 First Gravedigger New Theatre, London Directed by Alec Guinness, who also played the title role. Holloway was offered the role of the First Gravedigger by Guinness who was impressed with his performance in the film version a few years earlier. [30]
Mr Lord Says No 1951 Henry Lord By Michael Clayton Hutton. It was adapted for the screen the following year and was retitled The Happy Family. Holloway played the same role in the film. [31]
A Midsummer Night's Dream 1954 Nick Bottom Holloway joined the Old Vic Company which toured America, performing at the Met. It opened in October 1954, having made a successful début at the Edinburgh Festival the same year. [32]
My Fair Lady 15 March 1956 Alfred P. Doolittle Mark Hellinger Theatre Holloway performed two songs; With a Little Bit of Luck and Get Me to the Church on Time. He was nominated for a Tony Award. [33]
My Fair Lady April 1958 – 3 October 1959 Alfred P. Doolittle Theatre Royal, Drury Lane Holloway was replaced in the role by James Hayter [23]
Laughs and Other Events 10 – 17 October 1960 Himself Ethel Barrymore Theatre, New York Produced by Martin Tahse, Directed by Tony Charmoli, Piano: Richmond Gale and Arthur Siegel; Banjo: Jerry Silverman; Concertina: Allan Atlas [34][35]
Cool Off 31 March 1964 – 4 April 1964 Lester Linstrom, Irving, policeman and Lester Lenz Forrest Theatre, Philadelphia Based on the legend of Faust [15][36]
Candida 1970 Burgess Shown at the Shaw Festival, in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada [15]
Siege 1972 Cambridge Theatre, London The show had a three-month run with Alastair Sim, David Ambrose and Michael Bryant. [37]
You Can Never Tell 1973 William [15]

Film[edit]

Film[4] Year Role Notes
The Rotters 1921 Arthur Wait
The Co-Optimists 1929 Various
Sleeping Car 1933 François Dubois
The Girl from Maxim's 1933 Mongicourt
Love at Second Sight 1934 PC
D'Ye Ken John Peel? 1934 Sam Small
Lily of Killarney 1934 Father O'Flynn
Road House 1934 Donovan
Sing As We Go 1934 Policeman
In Town Tonight 1935
Play Up the Band 1935 Sam Small
Squibs 1935 Constable Charley Lee
Sam Small at Westminster 1935 Sam Small
Sam Small Leaves Town 1937 Richard Manning
Song of the Forge 1937 Joe; Sir William Barrett
The Vicar of Bray 1937 Vicar of Bray
Cotton Queen 1937 Sam Owen Re-issued in 1940 as Crying Out Loud[38]
Our Island Nation 1937 Chief Petty Officer George Barber
Sam Goes Shopping 1938 Sam; Narrator Documentary
Major Barbara 1941 Policeman
Salute John Citizen 1942 Oskey
This Happy Breed 1944 Bob Mitchell
The Way Ahead 1944 Private Ted Brewer
Champagne Charlie 1944 The Great Vance
The Way to the Stars 1945 Mr Palmer
Brief Encounter 1945 Albert Godby
Caesar and Cleopatra 1945 Belzanor
Wanted for Murder 1946 Sergeant Sullivan
Carnival 1946 Charlie Raeburn
Meet Me at Dawn 1947 Emile Pollet
Nicholas Nickleby 1947 Vincent Crummles
Snowbound 1948 Joe Wesson
One Night with You 1948 Tramp
Hamlet 1948 Gravedigger
The Winslow Boy 1948 Comedian
Noose 1948 Inspector Kendall
Another Shore 1948 Alastair McNeil
Passport to Pimlico 1949 Arthur Pemberton
The Perfect Woman 1949 Ramshead
Midnight Episode 1950 "The Professor"; Kelvin Landseer; Prince
One Wild Oat 1951 Alfred Gilbey
The Lavender Hill Mob 1951 Alfred Pendlebury
The Magic Box 1951 Broker's Man
Lady Godiva Rides Again 1951 Mr Clark
The Happy Family 1952 Henry Lord
Meet Me Tonight: Fumed Oak 1952 Henry Gow
The Titfield Thunderbolt 1953 Valentine
The Beggar's Opera 1953 Mr Lockit
A Day to Remember 1953 Charley Porter
Meet Mr. Lucifer 1953 Sam Hollingsworth; Mr Lucifer
Fast and Loose 1954 Mr Crabb
An Alligator Named Daisy 1955 The General
Jumping for Joy 1956 Captain Jack Montague
Alive and Kicking 1959 MacDonagh
No Trees in the Street 1959 Kipper
No Love for Johnnie 1961 Fred Andrews
On the Fiddle 1961 Cooksley
British Transport Films – "The Third Sam" 1962 Narrator; monologist Documentary[39]
My Fair Lady 1964 Alfred P. Doolittle
In Harm's Way 1965 Clayton Canfil
Ten Little Indians 1965 Detective William Henry Blore
The Sandwich Man 1966 Park Gardener
Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter 1968 George G. Brown
How to Make it 1969 Jason Carlyle
The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes 1970 Gravedigger
Flight of the Doves 1971 Judge Liffy
Up the Front 1972 The Great Vincento
Journey into Fear 1975 Mr Mathews

Television[edit]

publicity shot of elderly man and young female sitting between three poles
Holloway and Regina Groves in Our Man Higgins (1962)
Known television appearances of Stanley Holloway
Programme Date Channel
(UK, unless stated)
Role Notes Ref.
The Tonight Show 29 July 1957 NBC (USA) [40]
DuPont Show of the Month: "Crescendo" 29 September 1957 CBS (USA) [41]
The Bell Telephone HourThe Mikado 29 April 1960 NBC (USA) Pooh-Bah [42]
An Arabian Night 9 July 1960 ITV Ibrahim [43]
Our Man Higgins 3 October 1962 – 11 September 1963 ABC (USA) Higgins 34 episodes [44]
Kraft Music Hall 29 October 1964 NBC (USA) [45]
The Red Skelton Show 16 November 1965 CBS (USA) Eggcup Tycoon [46][47]
The Dean Martin Show 26 May 1966 NBC (USA) Himself [48]
Show of the Week, "'Ere's 'Olloway" 24 May 1966 BBC2 [49]
Blandings Castle 24 February – 31 March 1967 BBC1 Sebastian Beach Six episodes: "Lord Emsworth and Company for Gertrude", "Blandings Castle Pig Hoo-Oo-Ey!", "Lord Emsworth Acts For The Best", "Lord Emsworth and the Crime Wave at Blandings", "The Great Pumpkin Crisis" and "Lord Emsworth and the Girl Friend" [4]
The Red Skelton Show 19 September 1967 CBS (USA) Sir Whitecliff of Dover [50][51]
Armchair Theatre, "The Ballad of the Artificial Mash" 27 July 1968 ITV [52]
Thingumybob 3 August 1968 – ITV Bob Bridge [53]
A Time to Remember 11 June 1969 – 28 March 1972 ITV Documentary series about the First and Second World Wars; Holloway narrated five episodes [54][55]
The Barnstormers 10 September 1969 BBC [56]
Run a Crooked Mile 18 November 1969 Universal Television (USA) Caretaker [57]
If It Moves It's Rude: The Story of the Windmill Theatre 26 December 1969 BBC1 On-screen participant [58]
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde 7 March 1973 NBC (USA) Poole [59]
Fifty Bighearted Years; The Variety Club of Great Britain's Tribute to Arthur Askey 17 October 1974 ITV [60]
Looks Familiar 17 April 1980 ITV [61]
Royal Variety Performance 23 November 1980 BBC1 [62]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Holloway & Richards 1967, p. 49.
  2. ^ "A Night Out". The Play Pictorial: 71. September 1920. 
  3. ^ Brown, Ivor (4 November 1927). "Hit the Deck". The Manchester Guardian. p. 15. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "Filmography: Holloway, Stanley". Film & TV Database. British Film Institute. Retrieved 30 July 2013. 
  5. ^ "Sing As We Go!". Film & TV Database. British Film Institute. Retrieved 8 August 2013. 
  6. ^ "Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter". Film & TV Database. British Film Institute. Retrieved 8 August 2013. 
  7. ^ Holloway & Richards 1967, pp. 49–50.
  8. ^ Holloway & Richards 1967, p. 50.
  9. ^ a b "Theatres". The Times (London). 3 July 1920. p. 14. 
  10. ^ a b Findon, B.H. (May 1919). "Kissing Time". The Play Pictorial. p. 82. 
  11. ^ Holloway & Richards 1967, pp. 23 & 61.
  12. ^ "Theatres". The Times (London). 18 June 1921. p. 8. 
  13. ^ "'A Night Out' – Old Farce in New Guise". The Times (London). 20 September 1920. p. 8. 
  14. ^ "The Palace Itself Again – Co-Optimists' Cheery Burlesque". The Times (London). 23 August 1921. p. 6. 
  15. ^ a b c d e f g Herbert 1978, p. 739.
  16. ^ "The Co-Optimists". The Times (London). 30 November 1926. p. 12. 
  17. ^ a b "Nautical Breeze Hit The Deck at the Hippodrome Theatre". Hull Daily Mail. 15 January 1931. p. 3. 
  18. ^ Holloway & Richards 1967, p. 255.
  19. ^ Holloway & Richards 1967, p. 30.
  20. ^ "Amusements & Exhibitions". Western Daily Press. 11 May 1931. p. 4. 
  21. ^ "Savoy Follies – Sparkle and Spontaneity". The Times (London). 8 July 1932. p. 12. 
  22. ^ Gaye 1967, p. 746.
  23. ^ a b Holloway & Richards 1967, p. 237.
  24. ^ "Stanley Holloway in Pantomime", The Manchester Guardian, 1 January 1935, p. 10
  25. ^ Holloway & Richards 1967, p. 238.
  26. ^ Holloway & Richards 1967, p. 194.
  27. ^ Holloway & Richards 1967, p. 76.
  28. ^ Holloway & Richards 1967, p. 232.
  29. ^ Holloway & Richards 1967, p. 240.
  30. ^ Holloway & Richards 1967, p. 300.
  31. ^ "The Happy Family". Film & TV Database. British Film Institute. Retrieved 8 August 2013. 
  32. ^ Holloway & Richards 1967, p. 96.
  33. ^ Hischak 2004, p. 238.
  34. ^ Bordman 2010, p. 680.
  35. ^ "Burden too Heavy for Holloway". Billboard 72 (42): 44. 17 October 1960. 
  36. ^ Suskin 2009, p. 366.
  37. ^ "Nostalgia". Gramophone: 129. January 1972. 
  38. ^ "Cotton Queen (1937)". Film & TV Database. British Film Institute. Retrieved 8 August 2013. 
  39. ^ "British Transport Films Volume 3". British Film Institute. Retrieved 8 August 2013. 
  40. ^ "The Tonight Show". Film & TV Database. British Film Institute. Retrieved 11 August 2013. 
  41. ^ "DuPont Show of the Month: Crescendo". Film & TV Database. British Film Institute. Retrieved 11 August 2013. 
  42. ^ "Col. to Cut TV 'Mikado'". Billboard 72 (15): 8. 11 Apr 1960. 
  43. ^ "An Arabian Night". Film & TV Database. British Film Institute. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  44. ^ Leszczak 2012, p. 147.
  45. ^ Macfarlane & Crossland 2009, p. 226.
  46. ^ Hyatt 2004, p. 170.
  47. ^ TV Guide (Triangle Publications): A-51. November 1965. 
  48. ^ "Thursday May 26". Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles). 22 May 1966. p. A37. 
  49. ^ "Show of the Week, 'Ere's 'Olloway". Film & TV Database. British Film Institute. Retrieved 11 August 2013. 
  50. ^ Hyatt 2004, p. 171.
  51. ^ TV Guide (Triangle Publications): A-66. September 1967. 
  52. ^ "Armchair Theatre, The Ballad of the Artificial Mash". Film & TV Database. British Film Institute. Retrieved 11 August 2013. 
  53. ^ Merryn 1969, p. 126.
  54. ^ "A Time to Remember: The Better 'Ole". Film & TV Database. British Film Institute. Retrieved 11 August 2013. 
  55. ^ "A Time to Remember: The End of the Beginning". Film & TV Database. British Film Institute. Retrieved 11 August 2013. 
  56. ^ "The Barnstormers". Film & TV Database. British Film Institute. Retrieved 11 August 2013. 
  57. ^ "Run a Crooked Mile". Film & TV Database. British Film Institute. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  58. ^ "If It Moves It's Rude: The Story of the Windmill Theatre". Film & TV Database. British Film Institute. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  59. ^ "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde". Film & TV Database. British Film Institute. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  60. ^ "Fifty Bighearted Years; The Variety Club of Great Britain's Tribute to Arthur Askey". Film & TV Database. British Film Institute. Retrieved 11 August 2013. 
  61. ^ "Looks Familiar". Film & TV Database. British Film Institute. Retrieved 11 August 2013. 
  62. ^ "Royal Variety Performance". Film & TV Database. British Film Institute. Retrieved 11 August 2013. 

Bibliography[edit]