Wednesday, 10 April 2019

A Comedy On This Day: Two Of A Kind (11 April 1964)

 Even though you never quite get the killer lines and ideas that Eddie Braben could come up with, and Sid and Dick never do anything much other than stand around, I generally find sixties Morecambe & Wise more fun to watch than the later series. Half an hour is probably enough and they have notably more energy. In particular, you sometimes get a vigorous dance routine, always a pleasure that never outstays its welcome like some other routines. This week, the duo performs a medley of twentieth century dances with two women. The tango is done straight, but Eric disrupts the Charleston by dressing as a flapper and - best of all - dances the soft shoe shuffle in hobnail boots.

 This week's special guest Janie Marden has been dealt a poor hand by posterity, with not even a Wikipedia page to explain why her credits stopped in 1969. Her performance of 'Happy Days Are Here Again' is quite something, rendering it as an expressive ballad, rather than the blaring jazz age choon that I'm familiar with (I now realise that the recording is indebted to the 1962 Barbra Streisand recording, though with none of the star power). Her expressive facial and bodily interpretation of the number is performed to camera, but it might have been less quaint if recorded by a camera that was further away. It’s like watching a West End musical performance that's signalling to the back of the gallery from the front of the stalls. Janie Marden then gets a sketch with the two leads, asking Eric "Why do you never do anything with the girl singers?" and letting the two jostle each other for the chance to mime actions for 'Just The Touch Of Your Lips' with her. Janie is a striking lass, notably taller than the funny men (especially with her lacquered blonde hair), and her physical mismatch to them makes their routine jolly to watch.

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