WIRELESS OSCILLATIONS AND AGGRAVATIONS (2 sides, 6'40") BROADCAST 3133 recorded c. November 1931
TOMSKY THE GREAT COUNTER SPY (Worsley & Kester) COLUMBIA FB2303 recorded 26 October 1939
Tommy Handley became the nation's favourite radio comic with ITMA, the wartime series which did so much to boost morale. He had been a star of radio and music-hall, though a less prominent one, for many years before that. His first fame came with a music-hall sketch 'The Disorderly Room' in which army disciplinary proceedings were conducted in the form of new words to old songs. As a stand-up comic he was a bit old-fashioned, relying heavily on odd-sounding combinations of words as opposed to puns, though he did also use the more common type of gags, plus a touch of surrealism gained from his Liverpudlian background. On radio he did monologues, and in 1937 made regular appearances with Ronald Frankau in Monday Night at Seven; with ITMA from 1939 the brilliant scripts by Ted Kavanaugh and the support of a number of gifted comic actors he found a style which made him a top star. His records inevitably aren't as effective as the best of his broadcasts, the effect being rather muted without an audience; the one early and one later recording I've chosen do give some idea of his style.