The Christmas Quiz For Those Of A Certain Age: Answers
A still from a later edition of ‘Crackerjack’ and yes, it has blackface cannibals, a standard comic trope based on cartoon clichés divorced from anything real, but still awkward now. I have an ambivalent attitude to nostalgia. Is it fun to look back? Yes. Would I want to live there? No.
1. George Cole was Sim’s ward. He’d had a terrible upbringing and Sim and his wife raised him and taught him acting.
2. They were ‘Rinky tink’ pianists. Their unique sound is curiously tied to the 1950s.
3. Martha Longhurst. The idea was to give ‘Corrie’ a Greek chorus.
4. Rag, Tag & Bobtail. A different children’s show for each day of the week.
5. A pencil – such was the paucity of prizes at the BBC in the 1950s. And a cabbage if you lost. Looking at the episodes on YouTube now, this long-running series seems to have been conceived a century ago.
6. They were all straight men in double acts. Jerry Desmond’s finest moment comes in ‘The Early Bird’, with a golf game that ends up in a tree..
7. They drank tea and spat it out. The tea tasters stood in a row in the window doing this all day long until the mid-nineties.
8. Arnold Ridley, who played Godfrey, wrote a comedy play called ‘The Ghost Train’ about IRA gunrunners which was turned into an Askey star vehicle.
9. Wilson, Keppel and Betty. They started long before I was born and were still doing it into their dotage with the latest in a long line of Bettys. There’s a great biography; ‘Too Naked For The Nazis’.
10. Sunday. The line is from ‘A Sunday Afternoon At Home’ – at the time considered one of the most innovative radio shows ever recorded because it contained so much dead air.
11. Jubbly was an orange drink newsagents froze for kids. The others were all lollies.
12. A table. You had to fix the horse race game to the table with a clamp.
A pen, to make patterns with.
A car. For watching from the window and shouting ‘Cow!’