Mad Max made 'em laugh
Maxwell Lorrimer had show business in his blood – his parents were big stars of the music hall and his first ever stage appearance was in his father’s arms.
Millions, though, would never know him by his real name but only as Max Wall, the surname being taken from a song and dance man called Harry Wallace, with whom his mother, Stella, lived on parting from Max’s father. Wallace later adopted the boy as his own son.
As an entertainer Max Wall became a legend in a career which spanned 70 years. From acrobatic dancing in the Twenties and Thirties he moved on to comedy, his creation of the weird Professor Wallofski in boots, black tights and white socks becoming a national favourite for decades.
In later years John Cleese of Month Python fame, would claim in a magazine article that the idea for the famous Python sketch the Ministry of Silly Walks came after he watched Max Wall.
Once described as “quite simply, the funniest comedian in the world” Max was a TV regular at one time.
He died in 1990 following a fall and his headstone in Highgate Cemetery, London sums up his legend: “I believe that since my life began, the most I've had is just a talent to amuse.”
The not so ordinary copper
For 21 years the name Jack Warner was synonymous with just one TV character – Dixon of Dock Green.
Sgt Dixon made his first appearance and uttered those famous words “even’ all” in 1955, eventually strolling into retirement in 1976.
The show as a massive success – remember its theme tune “An Ordinary Copper?” – and featured a character who was exactly that, patrolling his East End beat and hardly ever finding a criminal who had committed a crime more serious than simple theft.
Warner, who was born in 1900 in London, started his career as a comedian but later turned to acting. Prior to Dixon he was famous for his role in the Huggett family films which were made between 1948 and 1953.
He made his first appearance as Sgt Dixon not on TV but in the 1949 film The Blue Lamp.
Other stars from Dixon of Dock Green were Peter Byrne as Andy, Dixon’s son-in-law and his on-screen wife Mary, played at one time by Billie Whitelaw.
Written by The Editor - 03/10/2004 18:44:38
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