Monday, December 20, 2010

Freddie "Parrot Face" Davies

As everyone seems to be uploading all their Christmas junk, I thought I would find a few horrors lurking in my collection and join in with the festive fun ( or not, as the case may be ). This LP on the Major Minor label was released in 1968 when Freddie was at the height of his powers. As you will hear his comedy was not very subtle and relied heavily on a strange impediment - a lisp with a limp.

"He learned his craft as a Butlin's Redcoat in the 1950s. By 1963 he had pulled an old hat over his face and adopted a ferocious lisp to become "Parrot Face", pronounced "Parrot Faith".

A sniffy producer at the BBC told him: "You can't do that voice - it's an impediment."

Two years later, having won Opportunity Knocks outright and become a national favourite, Davies returned to the Beeb. Was his "impediment" now acceptable?

"I suppose it will have to be," flounced the same producer.

But as quickly as he flew to stardom, this Parrot vanished from sight. New, alternative comedy came along and tastes changed, he smiles ruefully.

"People get fed up with performers doing the same thing and they move on, particularly with comedy in the 1980s."

And yet there's more to it than that. Looking back, he reckons he was never focused enough to be a great comedian.

"A lot of comedians are not very nice people," he confides. "They have this single-minded selfishness. I wanted other things."

He had a spell in drama management, spent years entertaining cruise-liner passengers, starred in the brilliant Lee Evans film Funny Bones, toured in the Victoria Wood play Talent, and became a fixture for two years in the TV series Harbour Lights."

Freddie Davies - Sleigh Bells

Freddie Davies - Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer

1 comment:

Mondo said...

His voice isn't too bad is it - didn't he used to have a comic strip in Look-In, TV Comic or similar? I've pitched in with some festive retro goodies here if you fancy an earful