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Trivia / Morecambe and Wise

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  • Awesome, Dear Boy: At the height of their fame, even the most serious performers in British cinema, television, music, and theater were clamoring for a chance to come on the show (especially the Christmas specials) and ham it up with the boys. The writers took advantage of this to have critically acclaimed performers say and do some truly ridiculous things (such as Glenda Jackson saying nonsensical lines and doing goofy dances as Cleopatra).
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  • Approval of God: Gene Kelly loved the boys' spoof of Singin' in the Rain, saying it was the best recreation of his iconic scene.
  • The Cast Showoff: Wise's dancing. Morecambe could dance too, but Wise was a professional, to the point that Gene Kelly once said that his version of "Singing in the Rain" was the closest to the original he'd ever seen.
  • Channel Hop: Three times.
    • After the disastrous reception of their 1954 BBC series Running Wild, the duo spent seven years fine-tuning their act before returning to television with Two of a Kindnote  - this time for Lew Grade at ITV's London affiliate, ATV.
    • In 1968, Morecambe and Wise left ATV and re-joined the BBC for The Morecambe & Wise Show.
    • And in 1978, the duo left The BBC again and re-joined ITV, this time on Thames Television.
  • Missing Episode: Except for the 1978-83 Thames Television version of The Morecambe & Wise Show, all of Eric and Ernie's TV series are partially or wholly lost.
    • The BBC series Running Wild ran for a single six-episode series in 1954; as with most television series of its era, it aired live, and no footage has survived. Given how badly it was received by audiences and the negative effect it had on Eric and Ernie's self-confidence, they were probably glad to see Running Wild disappear.
    • Eric and Ernie's first ITV series, Two of a Kind, ran for 69 episodes across eight series from 1961-68, of which 50 survive intact; the entire first series (broadcast under the title Sir Bernard Delfont Presents Morecambe & Wise) and all but the first two episodes of the sixth series (which only survive as black and white telerecordings) are lost.
    • The second BBC series, the first to be known as The Morecambe & Wise Show, ran for 71 episodes (including Christmas specials) from 1968-77; five episodes are lost, including Episodes 1, 3, 4, and 8 from Series 1 and Episode 6 from Series 4, while Episode 6 from Series 1 only survives in an edited copy. The audio for the missing episodes (and the cut scenes from Episode 6 of Series 1) has survived.
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  • Money, Dear Boy: They were very open about the fact that they were capitalizing on their fame during their BBC days with both joking that if either of them were short on funds they would simply announce a quick tour and make out like bandits.
  • One-Take Wonder: The famous "Grieg's Piano Concerto" sketch was done in one take due to André Previn's busy schedule.
  • Prop Recycling: When Diana Rigg appeared on the show, she wore the same dress she wore in The Teaser for On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
  • Reality Subtext: The rain-less homage to Singin' in the Rain turned out that way because the studio had too much exposed electric equipment and inadequate drainage to use rain machines on set.
  • Throw It In!: In spite of what people thought at the time, largely averted. Much of their charm derived from the fact that they seemed to be making it up as they went along, but in fact they rehearsed a lot and expected their guests to as well. A rare exception was in the Piano Concerto sketch: André Previn hadn't had much rehearsal time and Morecambe in particular went into the sketch very nervous. When Previn delivered his line "I'll go get my baton ... it's in Chicago" with perfect comic timing, Morecambe can be seen to punch the air and ad lib the line "Pow! He's in! I like him! I like him!". For the rest of the sketch, Morecambe is visibly more confident.


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