Tommy Cooper

Posted: February 29, 2008 in Uncategorized
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Per Wikipedia: Tommy Cooper (March 19, 1921 – April 15, 1984) was a British prop comedian and magician.
He made an art form of getting magic tricks wrong. However, despite his purported inability to perform conjuring tricks, he was in reality an accomplished magician and member of The Magic Circle. Famed for his red fez, his appearance was large and lumbering at 6ft 3ins (1.91m) tall and over 15 stone (210 pounds)in weight. He had a range of facial expressions and would also say things like, “I must say you’ve been a wonderful audience” or “Have we got time for more?” immediately after he walked on stage that would convulse audiences with laughter. He had a host of other catchphrases such as “Just like that!”, “Spoon, jar, jar, spoon!!” and “Whisky, sample, sample, whisky, sample…”. . Famously he was once standing for several minutes behind the curtain at the start of a televised show, and the audience, knowing he was there, was in hysterics before he even appeared.

On April 15, 1984, Tommy Cooper collapsed from a massive heart attack in front of millions of television viewers, midway through his act, on the popular ITV variety show Live From Her Majesty’s. Most of the audience thought it was part of his act and were laughing, until it became apparent that he was seriously ill. At this point the show’s director, Alasdair Macmillan, cued the orchestra to play music for a commercial break and Jimmy Tarbuck’s manager tried to pull Tommy back through the stage curtains, where he was given CPR. For legal and medical reasons, Cooper’s body could not be removed from the stage except by paramedics or the police. It was decided to continue the show and other stars proceeded to present their acts in the limited space in front of the stage. For a long time, a rumour circulated that the size 13 feet from his 6 foot 3 frame protruded into view underneath the curtains. While the show continued, efforts were being made backstage to revive Cooper though these were not made easier by the darkness. It was not until a second commercial break that ambulancemen were able to move his body and rush him to Westminster Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
In 1984 I had only been in the States just over a year and my sister called me from London. Now she has a totally wicked sense of humor, and she tells me Tommy Cooper had died, she knew he was one of my favorites. So I asked what she was talking about, and she said he died live on Sunday Night at the Palladium and then broke up with hysterical laughter gasping “Died live, died live”.

So anyhow here is one of his tricks and then an interview with Michael Parkinson (in two parts).

Bottle and Glass

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