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GEORGE FORMBY MEMORIES by Gerry George
 
george formby

FOND MEMORIES OF GEORGE FORMBY by Gerry George
George Formby

If you would like to add your favourite Formby memories to Pride Of Manchester, CONTACT GERRY GEORGE

[Also see GEORGE FORMBY TO ME by Gerry George]

[Also see MANCUNIAN FILM MEMORIES by Gerry George]

 

I HAVE A UKULELE... by Peaches Arpege, New York
George Formby

I have a ukulele
And taught myself to play.
I tuned it to the dial tone
In the key of A.

I followed the instructions
From audiotape and book
And practised in the mirror,
to get that Formby look.

I practise every morning.
I practise every night.
After all these sessions
My playing is alright.

Now I bring my uke to parties,
And wear a vintage frock.
I sing nineteen thirties pop tunes
To see the soiree rock.

I tried my hand at music
Without the fear I'd fail.
It gives me so much pleasure
To hear that ukulele wail!

Just 'cause school's behind me
The learning is not done.
I play my ukulele
For syncopated fun!


How 'Ghosting' George took steam out of Jack Hylton's boiling wrath... by Gerry George
Jack Hylton

Steam was coming out of danceband king Jack Hylton's ears, when his vocalist ducked a recording session of 'The Old Kitchen Kettle', and left him stewing on the backburner...but George Formby stepped in, to get him out of hot water.

It was 1932, and a relatively unknown Formby 'ghosted' the vocal refrain, for which - despite his later fame - he never received a credit on the Decca label.

Beryl recounted this to me, during one of several meetings I had with her, around Easter 1959, when I was researching George's biography for an intended 'This Is Your Life' programme, for Shirley McNab, of the BBC.

She said that George and her were visiting Decca's Vauxhall Bridge Road, headquarters, to arrange some recording dates, when they bumped into Jack Hylton - literally - as he was rushing out of the same sessions studio door, that they were on the point of entering.

"He was hopping mad, and pretty near to blowing a gasket about being left in the lurch, without a singer, so I leapt in, and said: 'Oh my George can do that'", Beryl, gleamed, triumphantly. "And George didn't mind: he just went ahead and sung the refrain, without his ukulele.

"We never counted it as a 'Formby' number", mused Beryl, "because George did it, just as a bit of fun, and that's how we look back on it.

"To be perfectly truthful, George and I forgot all about it, but Jack Hilton obviously didn't, and all three of us have been the best of pals ever since."


George's 'Sweet smell of success'...... That was Beryl Formby by Gerry George
Beryl Formby

Formby's elegant and imperious 'first lady', Beryl, was prone to be met - during the Forties and Fifties - doing her favourite 'thing'...shopping in Manchester's Saint Anne's Square, and adjacent King Street: She loved it!

Travelling incognito, she also enjoyed taking coffee, at the Kardomah Cafe: either the one in Saint Anne's Square, or the other, half-way up Market Street (which I regret to say, now appears to have been replaced by a MacDonald franchise).

The power behind the Formby throne, she dressed like a Fylde Coast dowager, and loved to supplement her extensive wardrobe - of sable wraps, full-length ranch mink furs, and stoles, peacock feathered hats, belted Cashmere coats, and elegantly tailored fitted costumes, and cocktails dresses - visiting elite shops, such as Marshall and Snelgrove, in the famous square, and was often to be seen, shopping in the then exclusive Kendal Milne, department store, on Deansgate.

When she died, on Christmas Day, 1960, Beryl left more than 35,000, in platignum, and gold-mounted diamond rings and custom-made Cartier jewellery, in addition to a massive wardrobe, and shoe collection - plus a range of the most expensive French perfumes - the envy of any royal.

But, she treated herself frequently, because she felt - as they say, in the modern television commercial - she was 'worth it'...and, by George, she was!


You can contact Gerry George at Gerry_George@btinternet.com

 george formby

latest releases

GEORGE FORMBY (A Troubled Genius)
This biography explores the lives of George and Beryl Formby, and their contribution to the war effort. listing all the songs and movies. (April 2001)


SONGS THAT WON THE WAR
This video goes back to the days of Second World War Britain and, through variousl artist performance, movie and newsreel footage, brings to life the songs that lifted the spirit of a nation. (May 2001)

I See Ice
I SEE ICE
George's 1938 classic movie, reissued on video. (Feb 2001)

Keep Your Seats Please
KEEP YOUR SEATS PLEASE
The video release of George's hilarious 1936 film. (Feb 2001)

also see
 
       

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