Tommy Cooper

Discuss the historical aspects of magic, including memories, or favorite stories.

Postby John McDonald » 01/29/04 03:24 PM

I really enjoyed reading "Nuts" by John Fisher is this February's Genni. Tommy Cooper was a one off in magic a true comedy genius. Just looking at him makes me laugh.I wondered if Genni members had any stories to share about him?

Wayne Dobson tells a story about Tommy when he went to Ken Brookes magic shop in London.

Tommy said to a young Dobson, "the wife's coming back in a minute, you won't swear will you?"

After a couple more minutes Tommy looked really worried and said, "please don't swear when the wife comes in she really doesn't like it."

This continued for a few minutes until, Tommy's wife arrived and Tommy said, "where the *&$@:>< have you been?" Apparantly the place collapsed. :D

Any stories?

Best wishes John
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Postby Guest » 01/30/04 02:16 PM

There was a feature article on him in Magicol two or three issues back. Quite interesting.

If copies are available the contact would be David Meyer of the Magic Collectors Association. Unfortunatley I don't have his address here but if you're interested I'm sure that someone would be able to provide it.
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Postby John McDonald » 01/31/04 09:21 AM

Thanks, I'm on to it. I was wondering though what anecdotes people could share about Tommy from, "over the pond."
Best wishes

John :)
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/31/04 11:09 AM

Tommy Cooper is virtually unknown in the United States. While I find him hysterical, the friends to whom I've showed John Fisher's wonderful Heroes of Comedy show on Tommy have sat there in stunned silence. Not one of them has thought him even remotely amusing. There's something uniquely British about his character and sense of humor, and it doesn't seem to translate well for American audiences.
So, there probably aren't many Tommy Cooper stories from this side of the pond!
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Postby Pete Biro » 01/31/04 12:04 PM

Ken Brooke was in the audience watching Cooper when he collapsed and died during the show (Live TV). Everyone thought it was a gag, even a stage crew member who decided to walk on and grab him by the ankles and drag him off. :(

Then they suddenly realized it was no joke, he was dead... "JUST LIKE THAT." :D

(Is the show "Just Like That" still running in London?) :confused:
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Postby Guest » 01/31/04 12:17 PM

Some funny Tommy Cooperisms here:

http://www.weirdity.com/oneliners/cooper1.shtml

Two personal favourites:

"I was cleaning out the attic the other day with the wife. Filthy, dirty and covered with cobwebs ... but she's good with the kids."

"So I rang up my local swimming baths. I said 'Is that the local swimming baths?' He said 'It depends where you're calling from.'"

Not sure if these will translate too well! :D
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Postby John McDonald » 01/31/04 03:00 PM

Originally posted by Pete Biro:
Is the show "Just Like That" still running in London?
Jus' Like That! closed on August 2nd after a very successful run at the Garrick Theatre in London's West End. However, the show is going to go on tour later this year.
The Jus' Like That! tour will start at the end of August and will run for 17 weeks. It's hoped that the tour will end in London for Christmas 2004.
The dates and venues won't be finalised until the Spring.
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Postby John McDonald » 02/02/04 01:40 PM

Some Cooperisms

Apparently, 1 in 5 people in the world are Chinese. And there are 5 people in my family, so it must be one of them. It's either my mum or my dad. Or my older brother Colin Or my younger brother Ho-Cha-Chu. But I think it's Colin. :)

He said 'I'm going to chop off the bottom of one of your trouser legs and put it in a library.' I thought 'That's a turn-up for the books. :)

So I was getting into my car, and this bloke says to me "Can you give me a lift?" I said 'Sure, you look great, the world's your oyster, go for it.' :D

So I got home, and the phone was ringing. I picked it up, and said 'Who's speaking please? ' And a voice said 'You are.' :D

So I rang up a local building firm, I said 'I want a skip outside my house.' He said 'I'm not stopping you. :)

"Doc, I can't stop singing the green green grass of home." "That sounds like Tom Jones syndrome. " "Is it common?" "It's not unusual." :D

A man takes his Rottweiler to the vet. "My dog's cross-eyed, is there anything you can do for him? " "Well," says the vet, "let's have a look at him" So he picks the dog up and examines his eyes, then checks his teeth. Finally, he says "I'm going to have to put him down." "What? Because he's cross-eyed? " "No, because he's really heavy" :D

I went to the butchers the other day and I bet him 50 quid that he couldn't reach the meat off the top shelf. And he said, 'no, the steaks are too high.'

"I was cleaning out the attic the other day with the wife. Filthy, dirty and covered with cobwebs.... but she's good with the kids..."

You know, somebody actually complimented me on my driving today. They left a little note on the windscreen, it said 'Parking Fine.' So that was nice.

I went to Millets and said 'I want to buy a tent.' He said 'To camp?', I said (butchly) 'Sorry, I want to buy a tent.' I said 'I also want to buy a caravan.' He said 'Camper?' I said (campily) 'Make your mind up.'

So I went to the dentist. He said "Say Aaah." I said "Why?" He said "My dog's died.'"

So I was in my car, and I was driving along, and my boss rang up, and he said 'You've been promoted.' And I swerved. And then he rang up a second time and said 'You've been promoted again.' And I swerved again. He rang up a third time and said 'You're managing director.' And I went into a tree. And a policeman came up and said 'What happened to you?' And I said 'I careered off the road.'
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Postby Ian Kendall » 02/02/04 03:01 PM

I remember watching that show...

Roy told me a related story; Apparantly Paul Daniels was in Egypt (or some similar country) and he was walking through a market. One of the stalls was selling fezez (fezii? More than one fez) and the seller was wearing a fez, shrugging his shoulders and saying 'Jus like that!'

Impressed, Paul asked the man if he liked Tommy Cooper, but the man had never heard of him; it was just that everybody came up to his stall, put on a fez and did their best Tommy Cooper impression.

Whether Daniels bought a fez is not recorded.

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Postby John McDonald » 02/03/04 12:59 PM

Here is a story that is Classic Cooper.

At the Royal Command Performance 1964, Tommy walks on stage with a heater he says, "They told me to go out and warm the crowd up." Priceless ;)
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Postby Guest » 02/04/04 10:06 PM

Its a couple of days late, but Richard, you really should explain your fondness for some non-Python styles of British humor.

Mark
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Postby mrgoat » 02/05/04 07:05 AM

Originally posted by thinair:
Its a couple of days late, but Richard, you really should explain your fondness for some non-Python styles of British humor.
a) if its british humor, surely it should be spelt appropriately? HumoUr

;)

b) seriously, i cannot think of a style of british humour that ISN'T down to Python. They changed the face of comedy. Pre Python 'Ealing Comedy' is the only other famous style, and that is from the 40s.

Is there a British comedian NOT influenced by Python?
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Postby pduffie » 02/05/04 09:34 AM

Tommy Cooper's comedy career started in 1947. He certainly wasn't influenced by Python.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 02/05/04 10:06 AM

Frankly, I could not begin to explain why I find Monty Python boring and why I think Tommy Cooper is funny.
Really can't.
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Postby Steve Bryant » 02/05/04 10:11 AM

Many of us were exposed to British comedy through the movies, especially the risque Carry On, Nurse series and the early British Peter Sellers movies. Later there was Benny Hill, who seems to me more influenced by the Carry On tradition than by Monty Python. In books P.G. Wodehouse constantly makes me laugh, and Eddie Izzard seems to march to his own drummer. And of course Tommy Cooper was hilarious. (Richard -- you need some new friends!)
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Postby Pete Biro » 02/05/04 10:33 AM

What what what what??? Neddie... 'tis the Goon Show that beat 'em all.
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Postby Bob Farmer » 02/05/04 11:39 AM

Theory of Evolution:

Marx Brothers + W.C. Fields

connect to

Goon Show

connect to

Beyond the Fringe

connect to

Tommy Cooper

connect to

Firesign Theater + Cheech & Chong

connect to

Monty Python

result: even a non sequitur has to be followed by something.
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Postby Guest » 02/05/04 11:50 AM

Let's not forget Tony Hancock, he of Hancock's Half-Hour fame! He's also pre-Python.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/guide/artic ... 2975.shtml
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Postby Bob Farmer » 02/05/04 12:53 PM

There's a great Tony Hancock movie, "Call Me Genius," in which he plays an amateur painter who goes to Paris to become famous.

Just before he leaves London, his landlady enters his apartment and he shows her a selection of his work.

As she gazes at a painting on the wall, Tony says, "It's a self-portrait."

"Of who?" she says.
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Postby Pete Biro » 02/05/04 01:00 PM

Of course being from another planet, Ken Dodd doesn't fit in any of this.

One of the great pleasureful evening I had was winding up at a party where I knew nobody, and Dudley Moore was in the same boat, so when I asked him a question about one of his show's gags (where he appeared to open act two by being shot into the air from a stage trap) we hit it off and sat and talked the whole night.

He told me they wrote the gag and had to build the trap wherever they played.

I had thought they found it in a theater and decided to use it. But no, he said, they wrote it and had it built everywhere... EXCEPT in Australia where the stage was a cement floor with no basement.
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Postby Pete Biro » 02/05/04 01:01 PM

Oh, in 1917, the Dippy Mad Magician, Frank Van Hoven was headlining in England and was making more money than Houdini.
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Postby Pete Biro » 02/05/04 01:04 PM

One of my favorite Goon Show gags:

Seagoone says, "I just invented a SILENT EXPLOSIVE... only a fool can hear it."

(silence)

Suddently a door bursts open and Eccles says, "Wot was that NOISE?"

When Harry Seacombe died Spike Millikan sent a telegram to be read at the service. "Sir, Harry, I am glad you died first. I wouldn't have wanted you to sing at MY funeral."

Hahahah... but then...

When Millikan died, he had engraved on his grave stone...

"I told you I was sick"

RIP
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Postby Jeff Haas » 02/05/04 01:41 PM

Good clips of Tommy Cooper on this page:

http://www.tv-ark.org.uk/itvlondon/tham ... 2-new.html

Scroll down. Watch "Spoon! Jar!"

Another one here:

http://www.btopenworld.com/lifestyle/yo ... 40,00.html

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Postby John McDonald » 02/05/04 01:43 PM

Pete, you mentioned Ken Dodd and I couldn't ressist. Ken Dodd is a real hero of mine. A true professional and as many of you will know - if you have been to Blackpool he gives great value for money!!!! ;) (He is also honoury life president of Blackpool Magicians Club.)

Two Ken Dodd stories.

During my first time in Blackpool I parked in a local Car park, "what you going to see?" said the car park attendant. "The magic show" I replied.

The car park attendant said, "Oh is Ken Dodd in that?"

"Yes" said I.

"You can't park here then." He responded.

"Why?" I inquired.

He laughed "We close at midnight."

Just recently, in Manchester, Ken Dodd was on stage when there was a power cut. Doddy asked for two torches and shone a light at his feet and one at his head and continued for 50 minutes on stage waiting for the power to be turned on. The audience loved it! :D

(Anyone off to Blackpool this year?)
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Postby John McDonald » 02/05/04 01:45 PM

Thanks for the links Jeff.
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Postby Guest » 02/05/04 03:00 PM

Originally posted by Bob Farmer:
"Of who?" she says.
Okay, the suspense is killing me... who was it of? :whack:
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Postby Bob Farmer » 02/05/04 03:15 PM

Well, obviously, if it was a self-portrait, it must have been of Tony Hancock. Explaining the gag renders it unfunny.
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Postby Guest » 02/05/04 04:01 PM

Originally posted by Bob Farmer:
Well, obviously, if it was a self-portrait, it must have been of Tony Hancock. Explaining the gag renders it unfunny.
Yes, i know what self-portrait means. The question was tongue-in-cheek, i meant it facetiously. I won't explain any further... :D

Hancock: "Stone me, what a life!"
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Postby Guest » 02/06/04 11:44 AM

Originally posted by Bob Farmer:
There's a great Tony Hancock movie, "Call Me Genius," in which he plays an amateur painter who goes to Paris to become famous.
In the UK, it was titled "The Rebel".

Dave
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Postby Guest » 02/06/04 01:39 PM

There is a video out titled "The BEst of Tommy Cooper" and it is.
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Postby Steve Bryant » 02/07/04 02:31 PM

There are three Tommy Cooper videos (VHS) currently listed on Amazon: The Best of Tommy Cooper, Tommy Cooper - Not Like That, and Tommy Cooper - Solid Gold. There is also a hardback bio of Tommy Cooper by Jeremy Novick, but it is listed as unavailable. The videos are about $20 each.
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Postby Ian Kendall » 02/07/04 03:14 PM

I've got a tape called 'The Magic Lives On - Tommy Cooper' from 1993. It has the other three pictured on the back, and contains the best sketches from his TV shows. It was put out by Thames Video and might be available second hand somewhere. Produced by John Fisher.

Bonus Factette: Tommy Cooper shared a birthdate with Bobby Bernard! (Or at least that's what Bobby told me many moons ago. It might be bollocks).

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Postby Elwood » 02/08/04 05:19 AM

Possibly not to everyone's taste, but the late, great Peter Cook and Dudley Moore released a few performances as "Derek and Clive" (available on CD, and you may be able to find a live video of the recording sessions...very funny, Dud is rolling about in fits of laughter, but still delivers his lines perfectly).

A lot of it is crude, most of it is childish, all of it is hilarious. Especially the songs:

"And he jumped, hit the deck,
Broke his f#*%ing neck!"

Whether it'd translate to American tastes, I don't know, but for me this is one of the true moments of British Comedy genius to be caught on tape.
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Postby Andrew Martin Portala » 02/09/04 02:09 PM

Just read the Tommy Cooper piece.WOW he was just funny ,period. Looking at the photos made you smile and laugh. :) It made my day!
Thanks!! :D
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Postby Pete Biro » 02/09/04 02:44 PM

I have some T. C. material on vhs... and the routine where he is trying to work on a cruise ship and the boat rocks and the table moves from one end of the stage and back, over and over again had me on the floor crying with laughter and the tears ran down my leg!
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Postby John McDonald » 02/09/04 03:16 PM

Another of Tommy's gags. :)

I went into this ice cream parlour and said 'I'd like a vanilla cone'. The assistant said 'Hundreds and thousands ?'. I said 'No - I'll just have the one'. He said 'knickerbocker glory?' I said 'I do get a certain amount of freedom in these trousers, yes.' :D

Some sound clips can be found at http://www.funkymjsite.co.uk/tommycooper.html#sounds

Two cannibals eating a clown. One says to the other "Does this taste funny?" :D :D

Police arrested two kids yesterday, one was drinking battery acid, the other was eating fireworks. They charged one and let the other one off. :D :D :D
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Postby Pete Biro » 02/11/04 11:42 AM

:D :D :D :D :D
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Postby Guest » 06/03/04 03:23 PM

Just for the record...

Some of the above jokes are not in fact Tommy Coopers and although actually written after Cooper died, have been attributed to him through emails and joke sites. The following lines (of the ones above) were in fact written by an English comedian, Tim Vine:-

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
So I rang my local swimming baths. I said, &#8220;Is that the local swimming baths?&#8221; He said, &#8220;It depends where you're calling from&#8221;.

Apparently 1 in 5 people in the world are Chinese. And there are 5 people in my family, so it must be one of them. It's either my mum or my dad. Or my older brother Colin. Or my younger brother Ho-Cha-Chu. I think it's Colin

He said &#8220;I'm going to chop off the bottom of one of your trouser legs and put it in a library&#8221;. I thought &#8220;That's a turn up for the books&#8221;

So I was getting in my car, and this bloke says to me, &#8220;Can you give me a lift?&#8221; I said, &#8220;Sure, you look great, the world's your oyster go for it&#8221;.

So I got home and the phone was ringing. I picked it up, and said &#8220;Who's speaking please?&#8221; and a voice said &#8220;You are&#8221;

So I rang up a local building firm. I said &#8220;I want a skip outside my house&#8221;. He said, &#8220;I'm not stopping you&#8221;.

So I went to the butchers the other day and I bet him 50 quid that he couldn't reach the meat off the top shelf. And he said, &#8220;No, the steaks are too high&#8221;

You know somebody actually complimented me on my driving today. They left a little note on the windscreen, it said &#8220;Parking Fine&#8221; So that was nice.

So I went to Millets and said &#8220;I want to buy a tent&#8221;. He said, &#8220;To camp&#8221; I said, (butchly) I want to buy a tent. I said, &#8220;I also want to buy a caravan&#8221;. He said, &#8220;Camper&#8221; I said, (campily) &#8220;Make your mind up.&#8221;

So I went to the dentist. He said, &#8220;Say Aaah&#8221;. I said, &#8220;Why?&#8221; He said, &#8220;My dog's died&#8221;.

So I was in my car and I was driving along and my boss rang me up, and he said, &#8221;You've been promoted&#8221;. And I swerved. And then he rang up a second time and said, &#8220;You've been promoted again&#8221;. And I swerved again. He rang up a third time and said, &#8220;You're Managing Director&#8221;. And I went into a tree. And a policeman came up and said, &#8220;What happened to you?&#8221; and I said, &#8220;I careered off the road&#8221;

So I went into this ice cream parlour and said, &#8220;I'd like a vanilla cone&#8221;. The assistant said &#8220;Hundreds and thousands?&#8221; I said, &#8220;No-I'll just have one&#8221;. He said &#8220;Knickerbocker glory?&#8221; I said, &#8220;I do get a certain amount of freedom in these trousers, yes&#8221;.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


There is absolutely no recorded instance of Tommy Cooper using any of these lines.

Someone at one stage must have recorded Tim's act and then emailed them to a friend-this was presumably forwarded and somewhere along the line the jokes were attributed to Cooper as &#8220;some Cooperisms&#8221;. This can be confirmed by the fact that on the original list sent (which has been read out on numerous TV and radio shows) one of the punchlines was in fact, &#8220;He said to me, &#8220;Mr Vine, get out the filing cabinet&#8221;&#8221;

This &#8220;theft&#8221; of material from beyond the grave has been well documented in various newspaper articles in the UK.

It may seem petty to point this all out, but for Tim, who has been heckled for using &#8220;stolen&#8221; material when using these (and many others from the list), it has become something of an albatross. It seems that this is one site where at least the record can be put straight.

Best regards, Noel
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Postby Steve Bryant » 06/04/04 05:00 AM

Sorry, Noel. The Chinese/Colin joke is definitely on The Best of Tommy Cooper tape. No idea who wrote it of course; Tommy used a lot of old standbys.
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Postby Guest » 06/04/04 07:01 AM

There are several Best Of tapes-would love to know which one and whether audio or video. Will happily stand corrected.
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