No Hancock

I have written before about how much I enjoy Hancock’s Half Hour on the radio. It was one of the first radio comedy series to almost completely abolish silly voices, apart from Kenneth Williams doing his usual stuff. There were no musical interludes, no special guests (except as part of the plot) and there was an attempt at realism, with humour coming from the situation, especially so towards the end.

Season two was a problem as Hancock himself had walked out of his London show and was a no show for the recordings, so Harry Secombe was drafted in. Three full programmes (plus one partial) were recorded with the Goon Show star before Hancock returned.

Many of the early Hancock episodes are lost, apparently. But the scripts are still around, and attempts have been made to re-record them with current actors and modern methods.

Three cd box sets of these ‘missing’ Hancock’s now exist, and the BBC has broadcast them. They seem to be popular. 15 episodes in total.

They are funny, sometimes exceptionally so, but they don’t bear repeated listens. The actors involved make little real effort to re-create the original actors, even though they are named (eg “Kevin Eldon as Bill Kerr”) and the voices are rather jarring. In the early Hancock shows the pace was rather more frenetic than the later series, but the whole set is rather unconvincing.

The scripts shine through, however.

Fool Us!

There is a series on tv called Penn and Teller Fool Us! It started in the UK, then transferred to the USA and is now in season five, I believe.

During the show, magicians come onto the stage, perform a trick and try to fool P&T. Mostly they are card tricks.

I have a general dislike of magic. I don’t see what the appeal is. The job of magicians is to lie. “Pick a card, any card, you have a free choice”. Sometimes you do, but usually not.

Bits of it are on YouTube, and, for some reason, this clip was recommended.

If you watch it, you will notice certain things. One is that just after the three minute mark (3.23 ish) the glass he is drinking from jumps from one hand to another, as if by magic. Another is that at just before six minutes, there is a shot where compere Alyson Hannigan changes to be a completely different person. If you look very hard, it does appear that the razor blade trick goe wrong and he cuts his bottom lip.

So, what you see on the screen is a big cheat, and not a representation of what really happened at all.