BoM: Milo & Roger by Arthur Brandon

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Re: BoM: Milo & Roger by Arthur Brandon

Postby performer » November 1st, 2018, 6:24 am

Jack Shalom wrote:Most links above are dead.

Try:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4J5a4rrm28


Shades of Ali Bongo. A sort of slow version anyway. Having now seen this I have a suspicion that this may well be where Ali got his inspiration from. I bet there is a fifty/fifty chance anyway. Some of the music is the same and a certain similarity in style and costume.

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Re: BoM: Milo & Roger by Arthur Brandon

Postby Tom Moore » November 1st, 2018, 5:09 pm

Only if amongst everything else he invented there was a time machine. The ali bongo character was established and working in the late 1940’s, milo and roger don’t start their career until the late 50’s. since they were all of a similar age it’s much more likely they all took similar experiences and used those to shape an act; especially as around the 50’s there was a resurgence in “Eastern mystism” amongst variety and comedy performers - Wilson Keppel and Betty has a major career resurgence around this time.
"Ingenious" - Ben Brantley: New York Times

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Re: BoM: Milo & Roger by Arthur Brandon

Postby Q. Kumber » November 1st, 2018, 6:03 pm

Wilson, Keppel and Betty worked for years in British Variety.
Here's a videoclip from 1934. Their famous Sand Dance starts at 2:43.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srLc6dTsewM

Funny story: They turned up at their theatrical digs (boarding house) on a Sunday and the landlady said that she would be going to see the show on Monday night. Over breakfast on the Tuesday morning, she said, "I saw the show last night. I didn't realise you were top of the bill, otherwise I would have changed your sheets."

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Re: BoM: Milo & Roger by Arthur Brandon

Postby erdnasephile » November 1st, 2018, 7:51 pm

Dustin Stinett wrote:I just had a wonderful conversation with a gentleman who worked for a short time with Milo & Roger in the early 1960s as an offstage assistant. He lives fairly close to me, so Im hoping to arrange a meeting to record some of his stories.

I am not at liberty to share any details yet. But the bottom line is that he said that Milo and Roger were two of the greatest people he ever had the pleasure of knowing and working with.

Details to follow as soon as I am able to share!

Dustin


Dustin:
Did anything ever become of this? Were these stories included in your companion volume?

Thanks!

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Re: BoM: Milo & Roger by Arthur Brandon

Postby performer » November 1st, 2018, 11:27 pm

Tom Moore wrote:Only if amongst everything else he invented there was a time machine. The ali bongo character was established and working in the late 1940’s, milo and roger don’t start their career until the late 50’s. since they were all of a similar age it’s much more likely they all took similar experiences and used those to shape an act; especially as around the 50’s there was a resurgence in “Eastern mystism” amongst variety and comedy performers - Wilson Keppel and Betty has a major career resurgence around this time.


Ali wasn't working in the late 1940s! I am not even sure he was born then! I should know since I worked in Hamleys with him in the early sixties and he was working on his act even then! Oddly enough I remember him talking about Wilson, Keppel and Betty. Yep. I bet he pinched the act! (they always say "inspired" when they mean "stolen". This has always amused me.)

Odd we are talking about Ali Bongo. Or at least I am anyway. I found a new Bongo Hat in a magic shop a few hours ago. I have been trying to get one for ages. It seems to have come from Ireland via a Belgian source.

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Re: BoM: Milo & Roger by Arthur Brandon

Postby performer » November 1st, 2018, 11:34 pm

Here is the origin of the Pongolian character. Part of an obituary in the Daily Telegraph:

"He became a founding member of the Medway Magical Society and joined a youth club where he took part in a pantomime that saw the creation of "Ali Bongo". The character, a ship's cook, wore a costume derived from a fantastical amalgam of oriental influences (including his mother's kimono) and sang a song which began: "My name is Ali Bongo and I come from Pongo, pong-tiddley-pongo land."

And it wasn't in the nineteen forties.........................

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Re: BoM: Milo & Roger by Arthur Brandon

Postby Tom Moore » November 2nd, 2018, 4:45 am

Ali was born in 1929

Medway magic society was founded shortly after WW2

By the early 1960’s Ali is appearing on tv & newsreels with his very developed and well known act by an established performer; not as a newcomer trying out something new.

So absolutely nothing you’ve claimed is correct mark.
"Ingenious" - Ben Brantley: New York Times

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Re: BoM: Milo & Roger by Arthur Brandon

Postby performer » November 2nd, 2018, 5:48 am

Tom Moore wrote:Ali was born in 1929

Medway magic society was founded shortly after WW2

By the early 1960’s Ali is appearing on tv & newsreels with his very developed and well known act by an established performer; not as a newcomer trying out something new.

So absolutely nothing you’ve claimed is correct mark.


Don't be silly, old chap. I am never wrong. I knew Ali Bongo personally. He was my boss. I knew him quite well and I exasperated him on many occasions. I remember he told someone at a convention "I worked with him for a very short time and it seemed like a very long time". I actually worked with him for about a year in Hamleys. And in the early sixties. If he was such a big star in the early sixties he wouldn't have been working in Hamleys for Tony Corinda! If he was born in 1929 he would have been about 19 years old or so in the late forties. A bit young to be a TV star like you claim. He was NOT an "established performer". Working for daft magicians at a few conventions doesn't mean a thing. In fact he showed me a photograph of the work he was doing when he was 19. No newsreels. No television. He was telling fortunes in some seedy carnival or amusement park somewhere. I was always amused when in his later years he sniffed at the validity of palmistry and never told anyone he used to do it himself! I think I was the only one who knew he ever did it!

He also told me he had a girl friend named Margaret in his younger days. I suppose if the old dear is still alive somewhere we could ask her if Ali did much in the way of professional work then. Or if she is in the spirit world I can contact her myself if you wish. in my capacity as a psychic reverend.

I do think he had his act going by then but I distinctly remember him working on it in a back room at Hamleys. The professional work he was getting at that time was minimal and he was doing even less in the late 1940s. He would perform at a few magician's conventions and that would have been about it.

You really must accept that I am the expert in these matters and we will get along far better.

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Re: BoM: Milo & Roger by Arthur Brandon

Postby Tom Moore » November 2nd, 2018, 7:46 am

Probably best not to get your facts off wikipedia Mark - technically his first network TV appearance was Good Old Days in 1965 but here is a Pathe newsreel recorded early 1964 which shows him performing what is clearly a well established act https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sclA7D4WO_I I have seen earlier footage one one of the other newsreel archives but i don't have the time or inclination to hunt for it right now; for anyone interested in seeing forgotten acts there's a lot of stuff from the 40's to the 60's in the various newsreel archives that are slowly becoming searchable.

I never said he was a TV star in the 1940's - i did point out he created the act as part of a "youth club panto" around the same time he was also a founder member of Medway Magic Club and this cross references perfectly with his birth-date in 1929 which puts the first version of the act in the late 1940's or early 1950's - a decade before Milo and Rodger which establishes that he didn't copy the idea from them. As I also pointed out there's an explosion of Egyptian / psudo-eastern style acts around this time so clearly both Bongo and M&R were responding to their own experiences and the thematic styles of the day as there are plenty of comics and sketch pieces appearing at the same time with larger than life "exotic eastern" magi in them. The late 1950's / early 60's saw major movies, a broadway show & TV specials of versions of "Aladdin" which is where many of the tropes commonly associated with the story as known by modern audiences in america come from for example.
"Ingenious" - Ben Brantley: New York Times

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Re: BoM: Milo & Roger by Arthur Brandon

Postby Bill Mullins » November 2nd, 2018, 4:54 pm

performer wrote: Ali wasn't working in the late 1940s!


Zaharee was advertising effects from Ali Bongo in the Aug 1947 issue of "The Wizard".

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Re: BoM: Milo & Roger by Arthur Brandon

Postby performer » November 3rd, 2018, 6:47 am

Bill Mullins wrote:
performer wrote: Ali wasn't working in the late 1940s!


Zaharee was advertising effects from Ali Bongo in the Aug 1947 issue of "The Wizard".


I am well aware of that. I actually read them myself ironically in Hamleys where there were loads of old magazines hanging about. The effects he advertised had nothing whatsoever to do with the act that he later became known for. And just advertising something does not prove that he was an active performer at the time. He would have been about eighteen years old. I can't see it -----sorry.

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Re: BoM: Milo & Roger by Arthur Brandon

Postby Tom Moore » November 3rd, 2018, 8:40 am

Well the name and the key traits of the character (wearing a turban of his dads, wearing a kimono of his mum, playing the part of a crazy eastern mystic inspired by films popular at the time) are all developed at the same time in a panto performance. So if in 1947 he was using the name “ali bongo” then by definition at that time he had already done at least some performances as that character which establishes beyond all doubt that he couldn’t possibly of copied that concept from someone else who did it 10-15 years later.

You may not believe how prodigal he was as a youth but that just belays a lack of knowledge on your part. There are plenty of reports of him working as a young magician, it’s an absolute fact he was a founder member of MMS which is when he would have been 16/17 so it is absolutely beyond question that he was a working performer at that time and that (at least an embrionic version of) “ali bongo the crazy turban wearing comedy magician” existed in the late 1940’s and had achieved sufficient level of fame and innovation that he was selling material to other magicians at that time.

His career did dip in the late 1950’s when his performing career had dipped at he became a muggle with an office job for a while but then he quickly returned to magic by working in various magic shops and that is what propelled him to the second phase of his career.
"Ingenious" - Ben Brantley: New York Times

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