Eli Woods

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Eli Woods
John Casey

(1923-01-11)January 11, 1923
Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham
DiedMay 1, 2014(2014-05-01) (aged 91)
Other namesJack Casey
Bretton Woods
OccupationComedian and comic actor
Known forCollaborations with Jimmy James and others

Eli Woods (11 January 1923 – 1 May 2014) born John Casey, was an English comedian and comic actor, born in Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham, possibly best known for his work with stage comedian Jimmy James (in reality his uncle), and particularly for his part in the famous 'elephant-in-the-box' routine.[1]

Jimmy James developed his famous act over many years, but from the first it required two 'stooges'. One was John "Jack" Casey—tall and stick-thin, with a bony face and a stammering delivery—who originally appeared as "Bretton Woods" (named after the location of the famous 1944 United Nations monetary and financial Conference), and only later redubbed as "Eli" Woods (often "Our Eli").[2] The other stooge, 'Hutton Conyers' would be played either by members of the Casey family - including, on occasion, James Casey - or (from 1956 to 1959) by the young Roy Castle. Much later, Woods was in the support cast of Castles in the Air, a comedy series on BBC Radio 2.

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, Woods featured in two Eddie Braben scripted comedy shows: The Show With Ten Legs (26 episodes, 1978–80) and The Show with No Name (13 episodes, 1982–84). Both shows harked back to the music hall tradition. As a performer, Woods turned his lifelong stutter to his advantage, using it to comic effect in many contexts. For many years active as a stage and radio performer, Woods also appeared in a number of television comedies, as well as playing small parts in a variety of films including A Private Function released in 1984.[3]

Although Woods's birth name was John Casey, he was better known to his family as Jack. He died at home in Stockton-on-Tees in the early hours of Thursday 1 May 2014, aged 91.[4][5]

Selected filmography[edit]


  1. ^ Berry, Kevin (16 April 2007). "The Good Old Days II". The Stage. The Stage Newspaper. Retrieved 7 May 2009.
  2. ^ Gifford, Denis (1985). The golden age of radio: an illustrated companion. Batsford. p. 166. ISBN 0-7134-4234-4. Retrieved 2009-05-07.
  3. ^ IMDb profile; accessed 3 May 2014.
  4. ^ Webber, Chris. "Tributes are paid to legendary Stockton comedian". Northern Echo. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
  5. ^ Robson, Dave. "Eli Woods died aged 91". Gazette Live. Retrieved 2 May 2014.

External links[edit]

  • Eli Woods on IMDb
  • [1] A fan's page including a recent photograph of Eli Woods
  • The 'shoebox' or 'elephant-in-the-box' routine - an early version appears on Video on YouTube. Not currently (May '14) available because of copyright. A later Roy Castle version also appears on Video on YouTube