From the back row, Jim Dale as Cyclops, Bernard Bresslaw as Colossus, Hattie Jacques as Storm, Peter Butterworth as Beast, Joan Sims as Dr. Jean Grey, Kenneth Williams as Magneto, Barbara Windsor as Rogue, Kenneth Connor as Professor Charles Xavier, Sid James as Wolverine, and Charles Hawtrey as Nightcrawler. Now this is how to do the X-Men!
Sometimes you can judge a film by its poster, as can be seen by this fab poster by artist Paul Garner for an imaginary flick, Carry On Zombie. Indeed, I’m so taken with Mr Garner’s illustration, I’d pay good money to see Sid, Kenneth, Babs and co. as the living dead.
Based in Brighton, Garner has produced an incredible array of art work for magazines, papers, CDs and posters, all of which is available for view over at his site.
I do hope Mr Garner’s excellent poster will inspire someone to resurrect (ahem) the Carry On… franchise. Meantime, here’s a trailer for one they made earlier, Carry On Screaming.
Kenneth Williams was born today in Bingfield Street, London, just off the Caledonian Road, on the 22nd of February 1926. According to his mother, he was born at two-thirty in the afternoon. She later claimed she remembered this, because it was early closing day and her husband had the afternoon off.
Kenneth’s father, Charlie, owned a hairdresser’s and, Kenneth’s mother, Louisa, worked there part-time. Charlie was known for being bluntly outspoken and highly sarcastic to his customers. “Henna dye on your head?” he’d ask incredulously. “Do you want to look like a tart?” Or, “Stick to your own color. You can’t improve on nature. You ought to know that. You’re old enough, and ugly enough.”
If Kenneth owed his refined looks to his mother, then, it was from his father that he inherited his sharp and acerbic tongue.
With only an older sister, Pat, born in 1923, it rested with Kenneth to take over the family business. But Kenneth aspired to things other than a shampoo and set. He had seized upon acting as a possible, future career. However, his father decried his son’s ambitions, acting, he said: “The women are all trollops and the men are nancies.“
While his sister Pat showed prowess as a swimmer and as an athlete, the rather camp Kenneth stuck to books and art.
“I settled for the books and gramophone and an awful lot of talking to myself. My exhibitionism concealed a sense of inadequacy. The real self was a vulnerable quivering thing, which I did not want to reveal; showing-off, affectation and role-playing I used like a hedgehog uses his spines. The facade was not to be penetrated. My parents respected this privacy. ‘He’s up in his room,’ they’d tell visitors. ‘He likes to be on his own,’ and I was undisturbed in my private world where artists were heroes and the imagination was king.”
One of his school reports ended with the word, “Quick to grasp the bones of a subject, slow to develop them.” The young, master Williams ‘”affected indifference” when his father read the report to him. “It sounded like a reluctant vulture on someone else’s prey.” It was at school that Williams developed a talent for mimicking his teachers, something that landed him in trouble more than once. It was the first inkling of Williams’s desperate desire to be liked, and of the possible outcome such mimicry would incur.
The headmaster warned Williams that such “mocking” may win him popularity but that it would also succeed in undermining his own authority. “A facetious front may win you popularity but you won’t be taken seriously when you want to be sincere. People won’t believe you and that will hurt you.” A surprisingly apt prediction.
Kenneth’s need for human companionship saw him attempt to steal away many of his sister’s schoolboy boyfriends. Infuriated by the number of youthful suitors that called for the blossoming Pat, Kenneth merrily told them that his sister was “meeting another bloke” and then, nobly, offered his own services as a date. Such brass-neck inevitably ended in tears.
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