Thanks, Dave - that's terrific. I searched through their listings and couldn't find it. For some reason it doesn't seem to appear in their 'podcast' collection. I guess because it's been added later in the day than the bulk of the material.
Post by Dave Homewood on Aug 10, 2019 19:40:02 GMT 12
I just came across this small article that explains why John Laurie did not do the Stage Show in 1975-76. I knew that he'd intended to be part of it. It's a bit sad really. This comes from the Liverpool Echo - Friday 18 July 1975
WILL BE ABSENT When the Dad's Army TV squad appear in a World War II stage musical this autumn, one man will be absent from parade.
He is John Laurie, the Scot in the team who could be in Granddad' Army because he readily admits to being 78. Proud, too, that he never asks for any script concessions because of age.
The Dad's Army musical revue, consisting of sketches and wartime songs, opens up north in September and heads for London soon after.
Laurie tells me, "We agreed to say nothing about my absence. But now you've asked, it is true. I won't be appearing.
"I've spent 54 years acting—half of that in Shakespeare. I've played Hamlet. Lear and Othello. This revue would have been a doddle.
"However, I have some chest trouble and my doctor won't let me tackle eight stage performances a week. I would have been pushing for breath.
"Basically I am fit and mobile and I'm disappointed to be missing the stage show."
Post by Dave Homewood on Aug 11, 2019 1:16:11 GMT 12
Yes indeed. I had heard he felt he would not be up to it. But it seems in reality his doctor had the say so on it, and he wished he'd been involved. I now it was certainly in his diary and then crossed out.I guess this was the beginning of the emphysema that would eventually claim his life. He was a tough old guy, continuing to work despite poor health.
Post by Andy Howells on Aug 11, 2019 6:12:41 GMT 12
Yes I think in Bill Pertwee's audiobook, its worded along the lines of John felt it might be too much to take part.
I recall thinking that quite odd as John loved the theatre and had spent much of his working life in it. I'm sure had he been well enough he would have loved bringing Private Frazer to John Laurie's natural home!
Post by Dave Homewood on Aug 11, 2019 14:07:47 GMT 12
That is true although he did not do any serious theatre work in the 1970's, his last major theatre production that I know of was in MacBeth in July-Sept 1966.
He did appear on stage as William McGonagle for six nights in Jan 1968, and as himself reciting Burns in The Kindling Fire for five nights in September 1974.
Dad's Army ran from October 1975 to September 1976. It is rather remarkable to think that Arnold lasted that whole distance given that he turned 80 during the tour. I am sure that just as tiring as the actual performances would have been dealing with the hoards of public, especially the kids, who will have mobbed them wherever they went. I think John's doctor gave him sound advice. It would have been awful if he'd decided to do the tour and then died during it.
Post by Dave Homewood on Aug 13, 2019 20:38:44 GMT 12
One of the early reviews I read said the show was far too disjointed with too many songs, little sketches and changes of scene all the time. I nearly yelled at the reviewer through time to THINK about it, because he seemingly expected men in their 60's and 70's to be in stage constantly with a full dialogue play and all the physical action that goes with it - like an episode - for over 90 minutes every evening and once again on Saturdays.They would not last two weeks doing that. The show was broken up with little sketches and songs so the older main cast got breathers off stage, and were not expected to have to learn hours of dialogue. The longest musical numbers were led by Pike and Walker (the banana song) or the whole cast (Choir Practice) and all the chorus to spread the load.
Oh and another reason why I think John Laurie will have been apprehensive about this was he hated singing. He did sing i a few films, the cast singles, and probably in some stage shows, but he hated doing it.
Post by Alan Hayes on Aug 14, 2019 21:11:29 GMT 12
That's an excellent point, Dave. I imagine to the viewing audience it could have been seen as being a bit fitful, particularly if scenery changes were not quick, but then it was always billed as a 'revue'.
It wasn't advertised as a play, so the criticism of it being disjointed does seem to suggest the reviewer was expecting one thing (a play or musical play) and it delivered what it was actually billed as (a revue).
Last Edit: Aug 14, 2019 21:12:35 GMT 12 by Alan Hayes