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Thursday, 25 June 2020


Available for freelance writing commissions on a variety of subjects including family history, nostalgic Belfast and its famous people, shops, shoppers & shopping (40 years in retailing), the golden age of Hollywood (including westerns) and humorous pieces on life's weird and wonderful. Op-eds, columns, non-fiction book reviews too. & @JoeCushnan

I have a portfolio of features, reviews, poetry and short fiction published in all sorts of places - Belfast Telegraph, Tribune, Ireland's Own, Dalhousie Review, Fairlight Books, Reader's Digest, Reality, Lapwing Poetry, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Spillwords, Dear Reader, Amethyst Review, to name a selection.  Oh, and the odd BBC radio contribution. 

This is a series of very short items that have nothing to do with the current news agenda.  Swift diversions for a moment or two.

Apropos of Nothing #68 – 25 June 1968

Comedian and actor Tony Hancock died at 44 on 25 June 1968.  It was a suicide.
His radio and subsequent television show, Hancock’s Half Hour, were enormous successes and made him a popular star in the late 1950s and early 1960s.  

He was helped significantly by the scriptwriting of Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, but Hancock’s delivery and performance made the shows memorable.  The cast around him, including Sid James, Bill Kerr, Moira Lister, Hattie Jacques and Kenneth Williams was pure comedic gold too.

The radio shows continue to be broadcast regularly to this day on BBC Radio 4Extra.

The most famous shows, The Blood Donor and The Radio Ham were not part of Hancock’s Half Hour. They featured in a short season of radio performances called, simply, Hancock, in 1961.

He starred in a Galton & Simpson scripted film The Rebel, in 1961, but afterwards cut ties with the writers and the regulars in Hancock’s Half Hour and attempted to move in a different comedic direction to cast off the downbeat, pompous character he had played for so long.

Tony Hancock was a troubled man not able to come to terms mentally with the patchiness of the latter years of his career.  In addition, he had a far from settled personal life.

On 25 June, 1968, he committed suicide in his Sydney apartment.

But before the sadness, there was the brilliant Hancock, on top of his game.  He is a firm fixture in the upper echelons of British comedy greats.

Sources: Various

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