Special Sub-Topic: Bottle, Glass; Glass, Bottle
|Tommy Cooper was seen as a very British comedian, but where was he born?|
Caerphilly. He was born Thomas Frederick Cooper on 19th March 1921 in Caerphilly, Wales. His father, Tom, was a Welsh born army sergeant and his mother, Gertrude, was from Crediton in Devon. When Tommy was three years old the family moved to Exeter where he picked up his West Country accent.
|On leaving school, which profession did Tommy Cooper initially follow?|
Shipwright. As a young lad in Exeter, Tommy helped his parents in their ice cream van, but didn't stay after he left school. He moved to Hythe in Hampshire to become a shipwright.
|Tommy Cooper was called up to National Service in 1940. In which regiment of the British Army did he serve?|
Royal Horse Guards. Part of the Household Cavalry, and initially formed by Cromwell in 1650, the Regiment has had several names, one of which was nicknamed The Blues. This, in 1969, led to the formation of The Blues and Royals when they amalgamated with the Royal Dragoons. When Tommy served with them, they were part of Montgomery's Desert Rats. Tommy was wounded in the arm and then joined the NAAFI entertainment service.
|Tommy Cooper's trademark was a fez. If things had gone to plan what might it have been?|
Pith helmet. Tommy developed his interest in magic after being given a gift set as a young lad. One day in Egypt, as part of a NAAFI entertainment, he came to a part of his act which should have included his wearing a pith helmet. Having forgotten to take it along he borrowed a fez from a passing waiter. The reaction he got from the crowd prompted him to develop his particular mix of magic and slapstick and the fez became his trademark.
|Tommy Cooper was a member of The Magic Circle.|
t. Despite making a career from tricks going wrong Tommy was a skilled magician. He was a member of The Magic Circle from, possibly, the late 1940s.
|Although best remembered for his TV performances, Tommy Cooper also appeared in a few films. The one he is best remembered for also starred a great friend, Eric Sykes. What was this short film called?|
The Plank. "The Plank" was a short film of just under an hour made in 1967. It was virtually silent, the dialogue consisting of a series of grunts to convey the appropriate emotion. It portrayed the efforts of two inept workmen, Cooper and Sykes, trying to deliver planks of wood to a building site.
|Following a "Royal Variety Show", Tommy was introduced to the Queen and asked if he could have tickets to which event?|
FA Cup Final. The conversation is recorded as this:
"Do you think I was funny?" Tommy asked
"Yes Tommy." was the reply
"You really thought I was funny?" he asked again
"Yes of course I thought you were funny."
"Did your mother think I was funny?"
"Yes Tommy, we both thought you were funny."
"Do you mind if I ask you a personal question?"
"No, but I might not be able to give you a full answer."
"Do you like football?"
"Well, not really."
"Can I have your Cup Final tickets?"
|Tommy Cooper once nearly killed another British TV icon. Who had the lucky escapee?|
Michael Parkinson. It was during an interview that Cooper cajoled Parkinson to take part in a routine that involved a guillotine. Tommy forgot to apply a safety catch to the device. It was only the last minute intervention by a vigilant floor manager that averted a disaster.
|When Tommy Cooper left the military, he began performing at a variety of venues around the country. At which London theatre did he, at one point, perform 52 shows per week? |
The Windmill. Tommy began his showbiz career on Christmas Eve 1947 and began touring variety clubs. The Windmill was a renowned London venue where many post war comedy acts began their careers. It's not known exactly where Tommy developed his routine of failed tricks, but three possibilities are: during shows to his fellow dockyard workers, his time in the army, or at a post war audition where his act went disastrously wrong but was still enjoyed by the panel.
|Tommy Cooper passed away in 1984. Where was he when he collapsed for the final time?|
On stage. On the 15th April 1984 Tommy was appearing on the TV show "Live from Her Majesty's" when he suffered a heart attack in front of the camera. The audience thought it was all part of the act, until it became apparent that he really was seriously ill. He was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital. He was later cremated at Mortlake. He was survived by his wife, son and daughter.
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