I am glad to see that the news of Mollie's passing isn't going unnoticed on American news sites either. More and more of them are starting to pick it up now. Are You Being Served has been a staple of U.S. public broadcasting stations ever since the 1980s. So she's getting some recognition over here, too -- in spite of her dying the same day as the American actor Karl Malden and in spite of the continuing deluge of Michael Jackson stories.
Post by Dave Homewood on Jul 2, 2009 23:05:20 GMT 12
Straycat, that's good to hear she's being remembered in the USA. She was among the leading news items on the TV news here all day too, and actually her death was announced in each bulletin before that of Oscar winner Malden, so she is obviously still well remembered here too.
There can't be many of the Are You Being Served cast left alive now. Frank Thornton, Trevor Bannister, Nicholas Smith, Mike Berry and a few of the girls who played secretaries and nurses would be the only regulars, wouldn't they?
John Inman, Mollie Sugden, Wendy Richard, Arthur English, Larry Martyn, Arthur Brough, Alfie Bass, Harold Bennett, Ken Waller, James Hayter, Milo Sperber, Benny Lee, Freddy Wiles, they're all gone to the big department store in the sky. Sad.
One of my favourite quotes was when Mrs Slocombe was dieting and she said, "I always say, you are what you eat." Mr Lucas replied, "Blimey, you must eat a lot of sour grapes and ugly fruit."
Sad to say I believe you're right, Dave. I can't think of any of the others still alive. The list of surviving cast is getting about as thin as that of DA, isn't it?
My all-time favourite AYBS line was after Mrs. Slocombe told Miss Brahms that, like her younger associate, she too could have a date every night if she wanted ......... but one grows tired of all the pawing and struggling and desperate grappling for the car door handle. Miss Brahms answered: "Did many of them get away, Mrs. Slocombe?"
I was lucky enough to get to see all of Grace and Favour on our PBS stations, too. I have to agree with some of the cast who've said they thought that sequel was superior even to the original. Pity that Grace and Favour didn't continue longer than only a couple of series.
Mollie was central to my favourite Grace and Favour moment, too. Mrs. Slocombe was in the dock and didn't realize the magistrate wasn't pronouncing sentence, but rather accepting a bribe when he barked "Hang the bird in the cellar!" Fainted dead away, she did ....... with Mr. Humphries rushing to her aid.
Is it known what "long illness" Mollie suffered from? A few months ago when pictures were published from Wendy Richard's funeral, I remember being sad to see one of Mollie in a wheelchair and wondering then what had debilitated her to that extent.
In any case you're gonna be missed, Mollie, and thanks for all the fun.
Post by Dave Homewood on Jul 3, 2009 21:33:13 GMT 12
I personally don't think Are You being Served has aged as well as Dad's Army, It Ain't Half Hot Mum and Allo Allo, etc. But there were certainly a lot of funny moments in it. I especially liked the earlier ones with Trevor Bannister and Larry Martyn in. Arthur English was great too, but I loved Larry as the militant trade unionist, he had some great run ins with Mrs Slocombe and Captain Peacock.
I wonder if Frank Thornton is really as pompous as the chracters he plays.
I tend to agree about AYBS seeming more dated now than a lot of Croft's other work. Mollie, however, seems to have had a different take on that:
"Are You Being Served was not just a hit in the UK. It also became something of a cult hit in the USA in the late 1980s and today can still be seen in America and Canada on the PBS Network. In Britain it still enjoys numerous repeats on UK Gold. How does Mollie account for its longevity? 'Well I think one of things is that it has much in common with Dad's Army is because they were old-fashioned to begin with, so they haven't dated - they were dated when we did them. I mean Grace Brothers is a terribly old-fashioned store, and Dad's Army was about the war, so I think that has something to do with it. And I think people recognize the characters too. They've all been in department stores and seen Captain Peacock's and certainly Mrs. Slocombe and Mr. Humphreys. So I think that's another reason.'"
As for Frank and pomposity, he didn't sound pompous in the telephone interview he did after Mollie's death. Nor in "Celebrating Mollie Sugden" a few years ago when he talked about her at greater length. I've heard him say he has a face that was just made for playing pompous. Maybe that's all it is. I like to think so. Kinda like Windsor Davies had a voice that was just made for playing a barking sgt. major ...... and John Laurie had those eyes that were just made for playing a spooky old sailor-turned-undertaker ...... etc.
He was in a couple made for him by ITV, Odd Man Out & Take a Letter Miss Jones but they both only lasted one series - I have been watched AYBS as well, I notice that David Croft is mostly credited as producer and hardly ever as director, I guess unlike some of the other shows he didn't really have that much knowledge of the subject and 'Dads & Hot Mum' were running at the same time so he was kept busy. David & Jeremy said and still do mantain that Mr Humphries was not gay , he was just a mummy's boy & looking at it recently most of his friends that he talks about seem to be women, he often says when the others made comments ' What makes you think it's a man ?'.
Its too bad. I was watching a youtube clip on a tribute to him. It was stated that the kind of homosexual kidding he had to face and the things he had to do would be considered cruel today. I think thats what made it such a good comedy. As I said earlier , he was such a pro he, took it all good naturedly. I am sure he was much loved by all on that show. There was also an article I read on this british site where it said he left all his money to his long time partner. AS they entered into a civil 'marriage'ceremony before his death, John Inman 's partner was spared paying the inheritance tax. Otherwise 2/3 of his inheritance would have gone to the taxman.
Whatever it was, I was so hoping to see him in more comedies. Too bad.
If you watch the AYBS dvd's you will see that John is credited around fifth in the pilot & first series and by the seventh he is credited first above Trevor Bannister & Mollie Sudgen who were considered the main stars when it began. John did a lot of stage work and many pantomines, he was due to play Mother Goose at Richmond Theatre near me at Christmas 2006 but was too ill to appear.