Jack Pleasants

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Jack Pleasants
Died1924 (aged 49)
Bradford, West Yorkshire, England
OccupationMusic hall comedian and singer
Years active1901–1924
Known forI'm 21 Today
I'm Shy, Mary Ellen, I'm Shy
Spouse(s)Jessie (maiden name unknown) (?–1924, Pleasants's death)

Jack Pleasants (1875–1924) was an English music hall comedian and singer.

Life and career[edit]

Jack Pleasants was born in Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire, England in 1875.[1] He was popular in Northern music halls in the early part of the twentieth century.[1] Billed as “The Bashful Limit”,[2] he typically played the part of a "Bashful Fool", whose ostensible lack of experience with women could turn out to reveal hidden purpose.[3]

He popularised the songs “I’m Twenty-One Today” and “I’m Shy, Mary Ellen, I’m Shy”, which remain the songs for which he is best remembered.[4]


Jack Pleasants died in 1924 aged forty-nine.[4] He died of a perforated appendix after an evening pantomime performance of Little Red Riding Hood[5] at the Prince's Theatre, Bradford.[6] One source suggests that Pleasants dropped dead on stage, and that he had been only "subbing" for Arthur Lucan and Kitty McShane of Old Mother Riley fame.

The pantomime began to seem jinxed. The 7 February 1924 edition of Variety carried the following report:

"Francis Laidler's[7] pantomime at Prince's Theatre, Bradford is having a particularly unhappy time. First, the principal comedian, Jack Pleasants, died shortly after the production opened, and now the principal girl, Winifred O'Connor, has been nearly burned to death. She was shampooing her hair with spirit mixture assisted by her mother when the stuff caught fire, setting the room ablaze. The screams of the two women brought their landlord to the room, and he flung a carpet over them. Winifred O'Connor was so seriously burned that it will be some time before she can return to work."[8]

Pleasants's widow, Jessie, lived in London and died just after World War II.


Both Will Fyffe and Sandy Powell began their careers by doing impressions of Jack Pleasants and other music hall performers.[9]


  1. ^ a b "Jack Pleasants". Discogs website. 2018. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
  2. ^ "78man Presents . ." WordPress. 2018. Retrieved 24 July 2018.
  3. ^ "Jack Pleasants (1874–1924)". Monologues.co.uk website. 2018. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Prince's". It's Behind You website. 2018. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
  5. ^ "Laidler Pantomimes: 1902–1955; Bradford & Elsewhere". It's Behind You website. 2011. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
  6. ^ "The Prince's Theatre, Manchester Road and Victoria Square, Bradford, West Yorkshire". Arthur Lloyd website. 2018. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
  7. ^ "How impresario Francis Laidler built and developed a theatre that has seen a host of stars". Telegraph & Argus. 2014. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
  8. ^ "Winifred O'Connor burned". Variety. 1924. Retrieved 24 July 2018.
  9. ^ Double, Oliver (1997). Stand Up: On Being a Comedian. Methuen Publishing. p. 42. ISBN 0413703207.

External links[edit]