Tony Hancock was a British Actor and comedian; born on the 12th of May 1924 at Southam Road Hall Green Birmingham UK he still stands as my all time favourite funny man, and although he was born in Birmingham from the early age of three he was brought up by his father John, He ran The Railway hotel in Bournemouth and was also a comedian and entertainer.
John died in 1934 so Tony and his brothers moved in with their mother, Tony joined the RAF in 1942 he auditioned for ENSA The entertainment arm of the forces, his big break was with the Ralf Reader show and after the war he got the position as resident comedian at the Windmill in London and from there getting radio slot on the BBC with workers playtime and verity bandbox.
It all started to happen in 1951 when he got a big break working on the Educating Archie Show as Archie’s Teacher, he coined his first catchphrase “Flipping kids” also in 1951 he made an appearance on the TV show Kaleidoscope and three years later in 1953 got his own radio show “Hancock’s Half Hour” his radio show it lasted for five years. The show metamorphoses to a TV version in 1956 with the same name.
The show was set in Railways cuttings in East Cheam London, Tony basically played himself along with Sid James, Bill Kerr and the wonderful Kenneth Williams and although the male side of the cast remained the same the show featured two other female characters before Hattie Jacques finally became the regular fifth member. The other two were Moira Lister and Andrée Melly the show came in another format called “The Tony Hancock Show” this ran for two series between 1956/7. The show ended with the name Hancock
To recall some of the most popular episodes we had, The Blood Donor, The Radio Ham, The Wild man of the Woods and a Sunday Afternoon at Home.
In March 1968 Tony made his way to Australia. To work for ABC and Seven Network
It was well know that Tony had a drink problem and in the end it started to affect his performances while in Australia he was know to regularly visit gay bars and nightclubs in Sydney.
He made five appearances
Orders Are Orders in 1954
The Rebel in 1961
The Punch and Judy Man in 1962
Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines in 1965
The Wrong Box in 1966
Tony tragically died on the 24th June in Sydney Australia after committing suicide he was 44
If you are a fan you might be interested in Tony Hancock Appreciation Society
At his death Spike Milligan said
“He went around closing doors on everybody and eventually closed the door on himself” and Sir Harry Secombe said
“The demands of his profession shaped him, destroyed him and eventually killed him. If anyone paid dearly for his laughs it was the lad himself. May he lie sweetly at rest”