Paul Gallagher from the Dangerous Minds blog with a charming look at a forgotten trip to Glasgow by one of the UK’s most loved comedians and actors, Sid James.
There will always be some part of Britain that is forever Sid James. Few comic actors have won a nation’s affections as much as rough diamond James.
From the 1940s to his death in 1976, Sid had a highly successful career in films, most notably the ‘Carry on…’ franchise, and TV series, such as ‘Tony Hancock’s Half Hour’, ‘Citizen James’ and ‘Bless This House’. He also toured the country in various theatrical productions, and tragically died on stage during a performance of ‘The Mating Game’.
James was Britain’s highest paid character actor and was known as “one take Sid”, because of his professionalism on set, and was respected by his fellow actors for his kindness and encouragement to younger performers – including the teenage Laurence Harvey, who met James on board ship when they travelled from South Africa to Britain in 1946.
Sid was special because he never appeared to be acting, that was his trick. The man with a face like a pickled walnut came across as an easy-going, devil-may-care bloke, who had a passion for the ladies, and liked a tipple, and the occasional flutter on the gee-gees. Sid was that universal character, which can be found in fiction as diverse as Dickens, or Bukowski, or, Ian Pattison’s Rab C Nesbitt.
James rarely gave interviews, which makes the following clip all the more enjoyable.
June 1963, a man hails down a cab on Queen Margaret Drive, Glasgow, only to find the taxi is driven by Sid James. This was the quirky introduction to a short, rare interview with the famed comic actor about his latest film ‘Carry on Cabbie’. James played along with the opening banter, and managed to shrug off questions about his mockney accent and whether he’d return to his homeland, South Africa, before going on to tick the interviewer off for not knowing what he was talking about.
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(With thanks to Peggy Mount)