atlantic showboat
Canada-bound George offers his talents for free
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Another piece in the Formby jigsaw was firmly put in place last week when the long lost 50’s film “Atlantic Showboat” was tracked down by this website and now a first rate video copy is safely stored within the archives of the George Formby Society. I am sure that many Formby fans (including Society members) will have no idea what this film is even about. In the late 1950’s Hughie Green star of the hit TV show’s “Double Your Money” and “Opportunity Knocks” produced a variety film based on a voyage on the recently launched cruise ship ‘Empress Of Britain’. The destination of the cruise was Canada, which was Hughie Green’s homeland. Hughie had organised the film around some of the leading lights of show business at the time including Shirley Bassey, David Whitfield, Lionel and Joyce Blair and Duke Ellington. When George Formby (who was a friend of Hughie) learned of the cruise he asked Hughie why he hadn’t been invited, Hughie told George that the budget wouldn’t stretch to George’s fee but George came straight back and said that he would do the trip for just the ticket! The film lasts around 50 minutes and whilst Formby doesn’t feature until the last reel, the whole film is a fascinating look at the style of television programme that was being made at that time. This would be shortly after the birth of commercial television in the UK and of course Hughie Green was a major figure within the commercial television scene. George Formby is actually seen walking into the ship at the start of the film and then isn’t seen again until the final reel when the camera opens on him signing an autograph for a little girl. Hughie then comes to chat to George and Formby tells him that he knows a song about their final destination. George then sings “Hello Canada” a song that he never officially recorded. After this he sings “Pleasure Cruise” what else? And then the film goes into the final scenes. My thanks to Chris Webster who emailed me to inform that the film was in fact shown on ITV on January 10th 1959 and even sent a cutting from the TV Times advertising the film. The Society was allowed to make one copy of the film and it will be shown at a Society convention later this year. I am delighted that we have been allowed access to this film especially in the 40th year of the Society’s existence. I believe that Hughie Green loaned the film to the Society to be screened at a convention many years ago but I would think most of our members would never have seen it. Empress of Britain - Queen Anna Maria - Carnivale - Olympic - Topaz The Empress of Britain was built in 1956 by Fairfields of Glasgow, preceding sister Empress of England into service by one year. She was Britain's first fully air-conditioned liner. Initially running on the North Atlantic from Liverpool, she ran her first winter Caribbean cruise from New York in January 1960. As time passed, more of her time was spent cruising as air travel hit the Atlantic market, and her final Atlantic voyage was number 123, completed in October 1963, only seven years after her maiden voyage. She was sold to the Greek Line, and re-entered service for them as Queen Anna Maria in 1965, running a fortnightly service to New York calling at Naples and Lisbon. Following the collapse of the Greek Line, she was sold to Carnival, joining the the Mardi Gras (ex- Empress of Canada) in 1975 as the Carnivale. Following the numerous new deliveries to Carnival, she was transferred to subsidiary Fiesta Marine Cruises as Fiesta Marina. She was sold again in 1994 to Epirotiki as Olympic, and has recently been on charter to British tour company Thomson as the Topaz.
Canada-bound George performs for free
Another piece in the Formby jigsaw was firmly put in place last week when the long lost 50’s film “Atlantic Showboat” was tracked down by this website and now a first rate video copy is safely stored within the archives of the George Formby Society. I am sure that many Formby fans (including Society members) will have no idea what this film is even about. In the late 1950’s Hughie Green star of the hit TV show’s “Double Your Money” and “Opportunity Knocks” produced a variety film based on a voyage on the recently launched cruise ship ‘Empress Of Britain’. The destination of the cruise was Canada, which was Hughie Green’s homeland. Hughie had organised the film around some of the leading lights of show business at the time including Shirley Bassey, David Whitfield, Lionel and Joyce Blair and Duke Ellington. When George Formby (who was a friend of Hughie) learned of the cruise he asked Hughie why he hadn’t been invited, Hughie told George that the budget wouldn’t stretch to George’s fee but George came straight back and said that he would do the trip for just the ticket! The film lasts around 50 minutes and whilst Formby doesn’t feature until the last reel, the whole film is a fascinating look at the style of television programme that was being made at that time. This would be shortly after the birth of commercial television in the UK and of course Hughie Green was a major figure within the commercial television scene. George Formby is actually seen walking into the ship at the start of the film and then isn’t seen again until the final reel when the camera opens on him signing an autograph for a little girl. Hughie then comes to chat to George and Formby tells him that he knows a song about their final destination. George then sings “Hello Canada” a song that he never officially recorded. After this he sings “Pleasure Cruise” what else? And then the film goes into the final scenes. My thanks to Chris Webster who emailed me to inform that the film was in fact shown on ITV on January 10th 1959 and even sent a cutting from the TV Times advertising the film. The Society was allowed to make one copy of the film and it will be shown at a Society convention later this year. I am delighted that we have been allowed access to this film especially in the 40th year of the Society’s existence. I believe that Hughie Green loaned the film to the Society to be screened at a convention many years ago but I would think most of our members would never have seen it. Empress of Britain - Queen Anna Maria - Carnivale - Olympic - Topaz The Empress of Britain was built in 1956 by Fairfields of Glasgow, preceding sister Empress of England into service by one year. She was Britain's first fully air-conditioned liner. Initially running on the North Atlantic from Liverpool, she ran her first winter Caribbean cruise from New York in January 1960. As time passed, more of her time was spent cruising as air travel hit the Atlantic market, and her final Atlantic voyage was number 123, completed in October 1963, only seven years after her maiden voyage. She was sold to the Greek Line, and re-entered service for them as Queen Anna Maria in 1965, running a fortnightly service to New York calling at Naples and Lisbon. Following the collapse of the Greek Line, she was sold to Carnival, joining the the Mardi Gras (ex-Empress of Canada) in 1975 as the Carnivale. Following the numerous new deliveries to Carnival, she was transferred to subsidiary Fiesta Marine Cruises as Fiesta Marina. She was sold again in 1994 to Epirotiki as Olympic, and has recently been on charter to British tour company Thomson as the Topaz.
atlantic showboat
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