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Max Miller - At The Met 1961 (UK)

On: Thursday, May 12, 2011

Max Miller
Thomas Henry Sargent
aka: Cheeky Chappie
 Brighton, Sussex
Nov 21 1894 – May 07 1963

Max Miller was a British front-cloth comedian in the 1930s, '40s and '50s (a front-cloth is a painted cloth that may be brought down near to the house curtain for a front scene to be played on the forestage. This cloth usually masks scene changes behind it.)
He made films, toured in revues and music hall, sang and recorded songs some of which he wrote. He was known for his flamboyant suits, his wicked charm, and his risqué jokes which often got him into trouble with the censors.
Miller’s act on a variety bill usually lasted between 20 and 30 minutes. It would begin with the orchestra playing his signature tune, Mary from the Dairy. A spotlight aimed on the curtain by the wings would anticipate his appearance. There would be excitement in the audience. He would sometimes wait for up to 10 seconds until he appeared leading to resounding applause, walk to the microphone and just stand there in his costume, a gloriously colorful suit with plus-fours, a kipper tie, trilby and co-respondent shoes and wait for the laughter to begin.
Max appeared in three Royal Variety Performances (1931, 1937 and 1950). In the last he was fighting mad that he was only given six minutes while the American comedian Jack Benny got 20 minutes, so he abandoned his script and went on for 12 minutes ending with riotous applause.
His television appearances were never a great success. The new medium did not suit his style. He needed the feedback only a live theatre audience could give him and the freedom to use his naughty material.
His real fame was as a result of pushing the accepted standards of comedy to the very limit. To many he was an extremely funny comedian - to others (primarily in the establishment) he went too far.
Although Max's material was risqé, he never swore on stage and disapproved of those who did. He used double entendre and when telling a joke would often leave out the last word or words for the audience to complete.
Miller never swore on stage, never told a rude or dirty joke but was often in trouble with the censors for the use of risqué jokes and innuendo. In one of his acts he would take from his pocket two books, one a white book and the other a blue book, explaining to the audience that these are joke books and asking them which they would like. Invariably they would choose the blue book. The jokes in the ‘blue book’ were the naughty ones.
The laws of censorship were strict and Miller often had problems. The BBC apparently banned him twice; one ban lasting five years, but this was found to be untrue.
One of the many faces you probably didn't recognize on the cover of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band belongs to... Max Miller.
The Stone Age Benny Hill, merry Maxie was known as "The Cheeky Chappie" for the saucy tunes that got him banned from BBC radio for five years.    
In 1958 Max suffered a heart attack. After recovery he needed to take life easier. He died on May 7 1963 in his home and was cremated in the Downs Crematorium, Brighton. 

Source: R&D (robbed and duplicated) from Wikipedia, Illfolks, and History Learning Site (UK)  

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Thanks Harry Speakup!


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