The great British entertainer Stanley Holloway was known for, amongst other talents, the recitation of humorous monologues in a Northern England style. Beginning in the 1930’s, these were composed originally by Marriott Edgar, although other writers took a turn, and Stanley himself contributed to the collection. Some of the best known featured the Ramsbottom family; Ma, Pa and young Albert, and their various escapades. The very first monologue, “The Lion and Albert” was set in Blackpool Zoo, and introduced Albert as having a “Stick wi’ an’ orse’s ‘ead ‘andle”, which he proceeded to poke into the ear of a lion, with perhaps predictable consequences.
In my days with the Swansea Youth Theatre, we were presenting a review, and I was looking for a piece to perform. It was at this point that I learned that we actually had a family connection with Stanley Holloway, as his wife, whom he called “Laney”, had been a cousin of my grandmother’s (the family name having been Lane). So it was that my mother suggested I perform “The Lion and Albert”, and that was how it started. To this day, I have several of the monologues in my repertoire, and often include one in between songs.
It was not long before I produced one of my own in a similar style, and over the years others emerged. I wanted to put them on the website, but this particular job has been a bit of a marathon, as they play utter havoc with Spell-check....
I never met Stanley myself, but I like to think he would have approved.