Monday, May 13, 2013

Carry On Nerding - Fan-Boy Icon #68 Sid James

I have been watching a lot of Carry On films lately, and thought that some of you might not be familiar with them. Thus Carry On Nerding week here at the blog. To get a feel for Carry On, you have to start with the king of the series; Sid James.

Carry On started as risqué comedies in Britain. Many were parodies of other genres. They started in 1958 with Carry On Sergeant, and continued into the 1990s. If you enjoy the British television series Are You Being Served, then you will likely enjoy Carry On films. AYBS regulars Frank Thornton (Capt. Peacock) and Wendy Richard (Ms Brahms) were both Carry On alumni.

So, as to Sid James; he is very much the male face of Carry On. He was not in every film, but is certainly the guy that you miss if he is not there. There are many other male actors that feature prominently, such as Bernard Bresslaw, Kenneth Williams, and Charles Hawtrey in particular, but James is easily the face of Carry On. James apepared in 144 films (according to the IMDb), including 23 (by my count) Carry On films. James' characters were always fairly similar, a wise-cracking Cockney, whether he was playing a gangster, Indian governor, or Henry VIII. However, I find his humour to be such that you don't care.

True to his art, and likely the way he would have wanted to go, James died of a heart attack on stage to peals of laughter from the crowd. They, of course, did not realize what was happening.

If you'd like to check out some of these films, or see those that will be discussed through the week, check out CarryOnFilms on YouTube, which has many of them in pretty good quality.


Tim Knight said...

Sid was a genius, thank you for this celebration. IMHO, the best Carry On films are the 'historicals' with Carry on Cleo being one of the greatest British comedies of all time. A close second would be Carry On Screaming, the team's take on Hammer horror, while Carry On Follow That Camel (with Phil Silvers) and Carry On Up The Khyber can't be faulted either.

Darius Whiteplume said...

I have not seen Cleo yet, but it is on the list. Khyber is a great one, and Henry VIII is good so far. I like Screaming, but the lack of Sid is noticeable, but it is nice to see John Pertwee. :-)

Tim Knight said...

You won't be disappointed with Cleo ;)

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