Memories of Josef
Such a grand
character as Josef Locke is bound to leave a lasting memory on those who have
If you have any recollections or photograph which you'd like to share, please email me.
QUICK FINDER:- Eamonn O'Doherty - Colin J Rennie - Katie Butcher
Alec Owen - Steve Barclay - Harry Lambert - George S Allsager
supplied by Ken Windsor
Alton's diaries provide an essential record of the comings and goings of his career, which might otherwise be too complicated to follow.
We find, for example, that in March 1968, he arrived at the Ace of Clubs' in Worksop, for a week of doubling with the Carlton Club, at Chesterfield, to be greeted by the Irish tenor, Josef Locke.
(Irish accent): "Hello there young Alton. I don't drive so can you take me about for the week?" So I did. He'd had a problem, to put it mildly, with the Inland Revenue, which meant that he could only appear over here for a few weeks each year.
Speaking of hecklers, Josef had a most unusual method of silencing them. Instead of using the sort of heckler-stoppers that we might use, like "You tell them goldfish, you've been round the globe!" Or, "There's a man with a chip on his shoulder - oh sorry - it's his head!" Or, "Will someone come and collect tonight's booby prize?" Josef would just say, (Irish accent): "Excuse me sir, you're with a very attractive young lady. Every time you speak out of turn, you insult her." It worked far belter than any of the clever lines that we used.
By a strange quirk of fate, when they later turned a fairytale-like incident, supposedly from Josef Locke's life, into the film, Hear My Song, Alton was surprised to discover a host of connections between himself, and six performers featured in the film.
"Apart from having appeared on the same bill as Josef, I'd also worked with his doppelganger, referred to in the film - a singer who used to sing his songs, wear a mask and call himself 'Mr. X'. I worked with this act several times in Olde Tyme Music Hall. I don't want to disillusion anybody, but it certainly wasn't Josef Locke!
My old pal, Harold Berens, had a part as the bandleader. Also, in the opening segment, another friend of mine, Phil Kelly, was featured. The voice for Josef Locke, in the film, 'Hear My Song', was supplied by Vernon Midgley. I worked with him many times, and his sister, Marietta, in the London hotels. They were the offspring of Walter Midgley, the famous operatic tenor. The final coincidence about that film is that John Dair, who appears in the opening sequence, was Chairman of the Olde Tyme Music Hall, at the Edgbaston Cinema in Monument Road, Birmingham."
The Alton Douglas web site is here.
the early 1960's I was a member of the folksinging 'Journeymen' with
Phil Coulter and Terry Cradden, Derrymen one and all.
One night we were enjoying ourselves singing folksongs in 'The Drift Inn' pub in Buncrana Co. Donegal when in stepped a bibulous Josef. he joined in and then sang a few of his well-known pieces like 'Hear My Song'. In the company was a poacher-fisherman, one Eddie Doherty, better known as 'Eddie the Miller'.
Josef suddenly rounded on Eddie saying "Where's the salmon you promised me?" To cut a long story short we all went down to the Crana river nearby and after a couple of tries with dry-fly Eddie landed a fine 5 lb salmon for Josef. Delighted, Josef and all of us went to Eddie's bachelor shack and had the best salmon supper ever.
The folk music group existed for about 6 months: June - Dec. 1963. It was led by Phil Coulter, internationally renowned songwriter ( wrote 'Puppet on a String' winner of 1967 Eurovision Song Contest , sung by Sandy Shaw), now has his own weekly TV show in RTE, Dublin.
Terry Cradden and I eventually went into teaching. We were all academically
birthed in St Columb's College, Derry, same as Seamus Heaney the poet and John Hume the politician. We sang weekly on the BBC N.Ireland 'Half Door Club' in the autumn/winter of 1963.
You may contact Eamonn heree.
|This lovely signed photo was loaned by Colin J Rennie, who writes: "The man with the glasses was my father's uncle, Mr Billy Cracknell, a salesman for washing machines. We think the photograph was taken just before the war at a Blackpool exhibition."|
My name is Kathleen (Katie) & I
live in Hervey Bay, Queensland, Australia..
Many years ago in the UK when I was 10-11years old, I fell in love with Josef Locke & his voice. I sent my first & last ever fan letter to him.
I waited for the postman day in & day out & was terribly upset at no reply. Not realising that at that time he was escaping the Tax man. Back in !992 I saw him on the `Aspel Show` & wrote again to them, who passed it on to Josef.
He replied with photos & a few words of which I was over the moon with. I had goosebumps after 42 years! I am so glad that I had made contact before he passed away.
I managed to order & buy a tape of him, but it was played so much that it stretched & wore out.
What a man...what a voice.
had the pleasure of meeting him, and shaking his hand in the bar at the
Queens Theatre Blackpool.
I was just 14 or 15 years old so it is over 50 years ago, and during the Finale when he came off of the stage to shake hands with members of the audience, I was in the orchestra stalls,he shook my hand again and said "I met you in the bar earlier" and believe me I couldn't get my cap back on, the man was "Charisma" with a capital "K", a voice that wafted over you like cool air on a warm Summers night, he was magical, and I have idolised him from before the time when I met him.
I was a professional entertainer myself and at the early age of 14, I would busk the local pubs with my Father, he dressing as a vicar and reading a comedy sermon, and I singing "The Great Mans" songs, and having the nerve to be announced as "The Junior Josef Locke", something to this day that I get red faced, and am ashamed about.
I later became a professional act, and I appeared in places all over the world, I worked many clubs in your area, and the British Isles, throughout the 60's, 70's, 80's and finishing in the 90's when the club scene fell apart.
I like yourself am still trying to educate todays people to "The Great Man" and I have had success as far reaching as Florida, Michigan, Los Angeles, here in Scotland, and Australia, and all that I have introduced to him agree with me, and I am only sorry that they could not have seen him live.
Steve Barclay, who has his own net sites at: www.stevebarclay.co.uk
If you'd like to contact him,click here to send your email.
I was about eight years old when I
met Joe. He was appearing at the Oldham Empire with Bobby Bennett
in Aladdin; seems today's pantomime formula hasn't changed - i.e. established star and young TV name.
Bobby Bennett was then fresh TV material, soon to be on
Junior Showtime - a show I was to appear on later .
Anyway, the pantomime started, and
no Joe as yet. I didn't know who Joe was then, but my mum kept
munching her chocs and saying "no he won't be coming on; he's dodged the tax
man again". My Dad said`` keep quite Beatrice there's time yet!'
To cut a long story short we
wound our way via the velvet lined Exit doors and finaly back-stage, where
we met Bobby Bennnett. On the way back from Bobby's room my mum said "Oh
look, it's him!".
Since then I've done lots of pantomimes myself, and feel sure that first sniff of the grease-paint at the Oldham Empire was all I needed.
I've learned since then that my
great-great uncle was musical director at the Oldham Empire years and years
ago, and it's rumoured he taught George Formby how to clog dance - would
that be old or young George? His name was John Mealier!
Just browsing the "Net" and got a great kick out of your site on Josef Locke and Feldman's theatre.
Talk about a
flood of memories.
Many thanks for bringing back some happy memories
Harold (Harry) Lambert
|George S Allsager|
I had conserable illness when
little and cannot remember the journey when dad took mum and me to what was
probably Blackpool to see Josef when I was about 8 or 10 years of age.
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