George Formby in the news

In 1939, it was reported, George Formby deliberately threw his ukulele into the sea. The Sunday Times of Perth (9 April) reveals the George had collapsed during a performance at the Palace Theatre, and his Doctor told him that he had to stop playing the uke, not sing even for a child’s birthday party, and cut down his smoking to 6 cigarettes a day. Complete rest is what was needed or he’d lose his voice. So he hopped a boat to the West Indies, and, with a quick “Sorry old pal, but t’s got to be done”, threw the uke over the side.

On a happier note, in December 1947, — obviously after a good rest — the Agrus of Melbourne reports that George received a standing ovation from the crowd at the Tivoli as few other performers ever had. “Sing us another one” was the constant call from the stamping and whistling crowd.  He also led the crowd in some community singing in a way few other performers would attempt. The show was entitled, “It turned out nice again”.

Published in: on May 8, 2011 at 5:45 am  Comments (2)  
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Ethel Formby in Australia — 1943

Another newspaper report…


Petite, blonde Ethel Formby, sister of the famous George, arrived in Melbourne from Sydney yesterday to fulfil an engagement with Tivoli Theatres, opening on October 11 in Folies Bergeres. Later she expects to tour Australia entertaining servicemen.

Had not Ethel followed in [George’s] footsteps, she could have made a name for herself by her own good looks and bright personality. She is little more than 5ft in height, with hazel eyes and fair complexion.

Taking up the ukulele, one of the many instruments in the Formby house, Ethel taught herself to play and sing, and it wasn’t long before she began to get engagements in music halls and revues, singing Lancashire dialect songs to banjo accompaniment.

In private life, Ethel is Mrs J. A. Gibson, wife of Battle of Britain pilot, Flt-Lt Gibson, DFC, a New Zealander serving with the RAF, whom she met and married in England a month after the war broke out.

(From The Argus, Saturday, 2 October 1943, page 8.)

A photo of her might be found here

Published in: on December 3, 2009 at 6:40 pm  Comments (1)  
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