Buster Keaton

Best known for his silent slapstick films, the American comic actor, filmmaker, producer and writer Joseph Frank “Buster” Keaton sadly died of lung cancer on February 1, 1966, aged 70, in Woodland Hills, California. He was born October 4, 1895 . His trademark was physical comedy with a consistently stoic, deadpan expression, earning him the nickname “The Great Stone Face”. Buster Keaton was recognized as the seventh-greatest director by Entertainment Weekly. In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked Keaton the 21st-greatest male star. Critic Roger Ebert wrote of Keaton’s “extraordinary period from 1920 to 1929, when he worked without interruption on a series of films sadly though His career declined when he was hired by MGM. However, he recovered in the 1940s, remarried and successfully revived his career to a degree as an honored comic performer for the rest of his life, earning plaudits like an Academy Honorary Award in 1958.Orson Welles stated that Keaton’s The General is “the greatest comedy ever made, the greatest Civil War film ever made, and perhaps the greatest film ever made.”A 2002 worldwide poll by Sight & Sound ranked Keaton’s The General as the 15th best film of all time. Three other Keaton films received votes in the magazine’s survey: Our Hospitality,Sherlock, Jr., and The Navigator. At the age of three, Keaton began performing with his parents in The Three Keatons. He first appeared on stage in 1899 in Wilmington, Delaware. The act was mainly a comedy sketch. Myra played the saxophone to one side, while Joe and Buster performed on center stage. The young Keaton would goad his father by disobeying him, and the elder Keaton would respond by throwing him against the scenery, into the orchestra pit, or even into the audience. A suitcase handle was sewn into Keaton’s clothing to aid with the constant tossing. The act evolved as Keaton learned to take trick falls safely; he was rarely injured or bruised on stage.

February 1917, Keaton met Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle at the Talmadge Studios in New York City, where Arbuckle was under contract toJoseph M. Schenck. Joe Keaton disapproved of films, and Buster also had reservations about the medium. During his first meeting with Arbuckle, he asked to borrow one of the cameras to get a feel for how it worked. He took the camera back to his hotel room, dismantled and reassembled it. With this rough understanding of the mechanics of the moving pictures, he returned the next day, camera in hand, asking for work. He was hired as a co-star and gag man, making his first appearance in The Butcher Boy. Keaton later claimed that he was soon Arbuckle’s second director and his entire gag department. Keaton and Arbuckle became close friends, In 1920, The Saphead was released, in which Keaton had his first starring role in a full-length feature. It was based on a successful play,The New Henrietta, which had already been filmed once, under the title The Lamb, with Douglas Fairbanks playing the lead. Fairbanks recommended Keaton to take the role for the remake five years later, since the film was to have a comic slant. A clip from the beginning of CopsAfter Keaton’s successful work with Arbuckle, Schenck gave him his own production unit, Buster Keaton Comedies. He made a series of two-reel comedies, including One Week(1920), The Playhouse (1921), Cops (1922), and The Electric House (1922).

Keaton then moved to full-length features.A scene from steamboat Bill Jr. required Keaton to run into the shot and stand still on a particular spot. Then, the facade of a two-story building toppled forward on top of Keaton. Keaton’s character emerged unscathed, thanks to a single open window. The stunt required precision, because the prop house weighed two tons, and the window only offered a few inches of clearance around Keaton’s body. The sequence furnished one of the most memorable images of his career. Aside from Steamboat Bill Jr. (1928), Keaton’s most enduring feature-length films include Our Hospitality (1923), The Navigator (1924),Sherlock Jr. (1924), Seven Chances (1925), The Cameraman (1928), and The General (1927). The General, set during the American Civil War, combined physical comedy with Keaton’s love of trains, including an epic locomotive chase. Employing picturesque locations, the film’s storyline reenacted an actual wartime incident. Though it would come to be regarded as Keaton’s greatest achievement,.

One of his most biting parodies The Frozen North (1922), is a satirical take on William S. Hart’s Western melodramas, like Hell’s Hinges (1916) and The Narrow Trail (1917). In The Playhouse (1921), he parodied his contemporary Thomas H. Ince, Hart’s producer, who indulged in over-crediting himself in his film productions. The short also featured the impression of a performing monkey which was likely derived from a co-biller’s act (called Peter the Great). Three Ages (1923), Keaton’s first feature film, is a parody of D. W. Griffith’s Intolerance (1916), from which it replicates the three inter-cut shorts structure. Three Ages also featured parodies of Bible stories, like those of Samson andDaniel. In 1964, Keaton appeared with Joan Blondell and Joe E. Brown in the final episode of ABC’s circus drama, The Greatest Show on Earth, starring Jack Palance.In 1965, Keaton starred in the short film The Railrodder for the National Film Board of Canada. Wearing his traditional pork pie hat, he travelled from one end of Canada to the other on a motorized handcar, performing gags similar to those in films he made 50 years before. The film is also notable for being Keaton’s last silent screen performance. The Railrodder was made in tandem with a behind-the-scenes documentary about Keaton’s life and times, calledBuster Keaton Rides Again, also made for the National Film Board, which is twice the length of the short film. He played the central role in Samuel Beckett’s Film (1965), directed by Alan Schneider. Also in 1965, he traveled to Italy to play a role in Due Marines e un Generale, co-starring alongside with the famous Italian comedian duo of Franco Franchi and Ciccio Ingrassia.

Keaton signed with MGM in 1928, a business decision that he would later call the worst of his life. He realized too late that the studio system MGM represented would severely limit his creative input.Keaton was so depleted during the production of 1933’s What! No Beer? that MGM fired him after the filming was complete, despite the film being a resounding hit. In 1934, Keaton accepted an offer to make an independent film in Paris, Le Roi des Champs-Élysées. During this period, he made one other film in Europe, The Invader (released in America as An Old Spanish Custom in 1936). Upon Keaton’s return to Hollywood, he made a screen comeback in a series of 16 two-reel comedies for Educational Pictures. Most of these are simple visual comedies, with many of the gags supplied by Keaton himself, often recycling ideas from his family vaudeville act and his earlier films. The high point in the Educational series is Grand Slam Opera, featuring Buster in his own screenplay as an amateur-hour contestant. When the series lapsed in 1937, Keaton returned to MGM as a gag writer, including the Marx Brothers films, A Night at the Opera, (which included developing the famous crowded stateroom scene. At the Circus (1939) and Go West(1940), and providing material for Red Skelton. He also helped and advised Lucille Ball in her comedic work in films and television

.In 1939, Columbia Pictures hired Keaton to star in ten two-reel comedies, running for the series’ debut entry, Pest from the West, a shorter, tighter remake of Keaton’s little-viewed 1935 feature The Invader; The final entry was She’s Oil Mine, and Keaton swore he would never again “make another crummy two-reelerThroughout the 1940s, Keaton played character roles in both “A” and “B” features. He made his last starring feature Boom in the Moon (1946) in Mexico; the film was a low budget production, and it was not seen in the United States until its release on VHS in the 1980s. Critics rediscovered Keaton in 1949 and producers occasionally hired him for bigger “prestige” pictures. He had cameos in such films as In the Good Old Summertime (1949), Sunset Boulevard (1950), and Around the World in Eighty Days (1956). Keaton also appeared in a comedy routine about two inept stage musicians in Charlie Chaplin’s Limelight (1952), recalling the vaudeville of The Playhouse. He was a non-speaking card player in Sunset Blvd. (1950), providing additional weight to the silent era echoes of the movie. In 1950, Keaton had a successful television series, The Buster Keaton Show, which was broadcast live on a local Los Angeles station. An attempt to recreate the first series on film as Life with Buster Keaton (1951), In 1960, Keaton returned to MGM playing a lion tamer in a 1960 adaptation of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. In 1961, he starred in The Twilight Zone episode “Once Upon a Time”, which included both silent and sound sequences. Keaton played time-traveler Mulligan, who traveled from 1890 to 1960, then back, by means of a special helmet. Keaton also had a cameo as Jimmy, appearing near the end of the film It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963). Jimmy assists Spencer Tracy’s character, Captain C. G. Culpepper, by readying Culpepper’s ultimately-unused boat for his abortive escape

Despite being diagnosed with cancer in January 1966, he was never told that he was terminally ill or that he had cancer; Keaton thought that he was recovering from bronchitis. Confined to a hospital during his final days, Keaton was restless and paced the room endlessly, desiring to return home. In a British television documentary about his career, his widow Eleanor told producers of Thames Television that Keaton was up out of bed and moving around, and even played cards with friends who came to visit at their house the day before he died. His Speak Easily co-star, Hedda Hopper, died the same day. Eleanor Keaton died in 1998, from emphysema and lung cancer, aged 80 .years.

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Terry Jones (Mony Python)

British comedian, screenwriter, actor, film director and author Terry Jones was born 1 February 1942 in the seaside town of Colwyn Bay, on the north coast of Wales. The family home was named Bodchwil. His father was stationed with the RAF in India. When Jones was 4½, the family moved to Surrey in England.Jones was educated at the Royal Grammar SchoolGuildford, where he was head boy in the 1960-61 academic year. He read English at St Edmund Hall, Oxford, but “strayed into history”.He graduated with a 2:1.While there, he performed comedy with future Monty Python castmate Michael Palin in The Oxford Revue.

Jones appeared in Twice a Fortnight with Michael Palin, Graeme Garden, Bill Oddie and Jonathan Lynn, as well as the television series The Complete and Utter History of Britain. He appeared in Do Not Adjust Your Set with Palin, Eric Idle andDavid Jason. He wrote for The Frost Report and several other David Frost programmes on British television. Along with Palin, he wrote lyrics for the 1968 Barry Booth album “Diversions”. Early on, Jones was interested in devising a fresh format for the Python TV shows, and it was largely he who developed the stream-of-consciousness style which abandoned punchlines and encouraged the fluid movement of one sketch into another, allowing the troupe’s conceptual humour the space to “breathe”. Jones took a keen interest in the direction of the show. As demonstrated in many of his sketches with Palin, Jones was interested in making comedy that was visually impressive, feeling that interesting settings augmented, rather than detracted from, the humour. His methods encouraged many future television comedians to break away from conventional studio-bound shooting styles, as demonstrated by shows such as Green Wing, Little Britain and The League of Gentlemen. Of Jones’ contributions as a performer, his depictions of middle-aged women are among the most memorable and his humour, in collaboration with Palin, tends to be conceptual in nature. A typical Palin/Jones sketch draws its humour from the absurdity of the scenario. For example, in the “Summarise Proust Competition”, Jones plays a cheesy game show host who gives contestants 15 seconds to condense Marcel Proust’s lengthy work À la recherche du temps perdu. Jones was also noted for his gifts as aChaplinesque physical comedian. His performance in the “Undressing in Public” sketch, for instance, is done in total silence.

Jones co-directed Monty Python and the Holy Grail with Terry Gilliam, and was sole director on two further Monty Python movies, Life of Brian and Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life. As a film director, Jones finally gained fuller control of the projects and devised a visual style that complemented the humour. His later films include Erik the Viking (1989) and The Wind in the Willows (1996). In 2008, Jones wrote and directed an opera titled Evil Machines. in 2011, he was commissioned to direct and write the libretto for another opera, entitled The Doctor’s Tale. On the commentary track of the 2004 “2 Disc Special Edition” DVD for the film Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, Terry Jones stated that to his knowledge Ireland had banned only four movies, three of which he had directed: The Meaning of Life, Monty Python’s Life of Brian and Personal Services. He was the creator and co-producer of the animated television program Blazing Dragons, which ran for two seasons. set in a fantasy medieval setting, the series’ protagonists are dragons who are beset by evil humans, reversing a common story convention. When the series was broadcast on US television, several episodes were censored due to minor cursing and the implied sexuality of an overtly effeminate character named “Sir Blaze”. itwas turned into a game for the Sega Saturn in 1994, which starred Jones’s voice. He co-wrote Ripping Yarns with Palin, and wrote the screenplay for Labyrinth (1986), although his draft went through several rewrites and several other writers before being filmed; much of the finished film wasn’t written by Jones at all. He has also written numerous works for children, including Fantastic Stories, The Beast with a Thousand Teeth, and a collection of Comic Verse called The Curse of the Vampire’s Socks.

He has written books and presented many award nominated television documentaries on medieval and ancient history and the history of numeral systems. such ad Terry Jones’ Medieval Lives (2004) (for which he received a 2004Emmy nomination for “Outstanding Writing for Nonfiction Programming”) and Terry Jones’ Barbarians (2006) which presents the cultural achievements of peoples conquered by theRoman Empire in a more positive light than Roman historians typically have, while criticising the Romans as the true “barbarians” who exploited and destroyed higher civilisations. He has written numerous editorials for The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph and The Observer condemning the Iraq war. Many of these editorials were published in a paperback collection titled Terry Jones’s War on the War on Terror. Chaucer’s Knight: The Portrait of a Medieval Mercenary (1980) offers an alternative take on the historical view of Geoffrey Chaucer’sThe Knight’s Tale as being a paragon of Christian virtue. His most recent book, Evil Machines, was launched by the online publishing house Unbound at the Adam Street Club in London on 4 November 2011. Evil Machines is the first book to be published by a crowd funding website dedicated solely to books. Jones provided significant support to Unbound and also a member of the UK Poetry Society, his poems have also appeared in Poetry Review.

Jones has performed with The Carnival Band and appears on their 2007 CD Ringing the changes. In January 2008, the Teatro São Luiz, in Lisbon, Portugal, premiered Evil Machines – a musical play, written by Jones (based on his book) and with original music by Luis Tinoco. Jones was invited by the Teatro São Luiz to write and direct the play, after a very successful run of Contos Fantásticos, a short play based on Jones’ Fantastic Stories, also with music by Luis Tinoco. In January 2012, it was announced that Jones is working with songwriter/producer Jim Steinman on a heavy metal version of “The Nutcracker.” Apart from a cameo in Terry Gilliam’s Jabberwocky and a memorable minor role as a drunken vicar in BBC sitcom The Young Ones, Jones has rarely appeared in work outside of his own projects. Since January 2009, however, he has provided narration for The Legend of Dick and Dom, a CBBC fantasy series set in the Middle Ages. He also appears in two French films by Albert Dupontel : Le Créateur (1999) and Enfermés dehors (2006). In 2009 Jones took part in the BBC Wales programme Coming Home about his Welsh family history. Unfortunately Jones was sadly recently diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease.

Edward Lear

Renowned for humourous poetry, prose and limericks, the British artist, illustrator, author, and poet Edward Lear sadly died 29 January 1888. He was born 12 May 1812  in the village of Holloway, and was raised by his eldest sister, 21 years his senior. Due to the family’s failing financial fortune, at age four he and his sister had to leave the family home and set up house together. Ann doted on Edward and continued to mother him until her death, when he was almost 50 years of age. Lear suffered from health problems. From the age of six he suffered frequent grand mal epileptic seizures, and bronchitis, asthma, and in later life, partial blindness. Lear experienced his first seizure at a fair near Highgate with his father this event scared and embarrassed him. Lear felt lifelong guilt and shame for his epileptic condition. His adult diaries indicate that he always sensed the onset of a seizure in time to remove himself from public view. How Lear was able to anticipate them is not known, but many people with epilepsy report a ringing in their ears (tinnitus) or an aura before the onset of a seizure. In Lear’s time epilepsy was believed to be associated with demonic possession, which contributed to his feelings of guilt and loneliness. When Lear was about seven he began to show signs of depression, possibly due to the constant instability of his childhood. He suffered from periods of severe depression which he referred to as “the Morbids.

Lear was already drawing by the time he was aged 16 and soon developed into a serious “ornithological draughtsman” employed by the Zoological Society and then from 1832 to 1836 by the Earl of Derby, who kept a private menagerie at his estate Knowsley Hall. Lear’s first publication, published when he was 19 years old, was Illustrations of the Family of Psittacidae, or Parrots in 1830.His paintings were well received and he was compared favourably with the naturalist John James Audubon.He was also widely travelled and visited Greece and Egypt during 1848–49, and toured India and Ceylon (Sri Lanka) during 1873–75. While travelling he produced large quantities of coloured wash drawings in a distinctive style, which he converted later in his studio into oil and watercolour paintings, as well as prints for his books.His landscape style often shows views with strong sunlight, with intense contrasts of colour. Throughout his life he continued to paint seriously. He had a lifelong ambition to illustrate Tennyson’s poems; near the end of his life a volume with a small number of illustrations was published

In 1846 Lear published A Book of Nonsense, a volume of limericks that went through three editions and helped popularize the form. In 1865 The History of the Seven Families of the Lake Pipple-Popple was published, and in 1867 his most famous piece of nonsense, The Owl and the Pussycat, which he wrote for the children of his patron Edward Stanley, 13th Earl of Derby. Many other works followed. Lear’s nonsense books were quite popular during his lifetime, but a rumor developed that “Edward Lear” was merely a pseudonym, and the books’ true author was the man to whom Lear had dedicated the works, his patron the Earl of Derby. Promoters of this rumour offered as evidence the facts that both men were named Edward, and that “Lear” is an anagram of “Earl.” Lear travelled widely throughout his life and eventually settled in Sanremo, on his beloved Mediterranean coast, in the 1870s, at a villa he named “Villa Tennyson.” The closest he came to marriage was two proposals, both to the same woman 46 years his junior, which were not accepted. For companions he relied instead on a circle of friends and correspondents, and especially, in later life, on his Albanian Souliote chef, Giorgis, a faithful friend and, as Lear complained, a thoroughly unsatisfactory chef. Another trusted companion in Sanremo was his cat, Foss, who died in 1886 and was buried with some ceremony in a garden at Villa Tennyson.

Lear’s most fervent and painful friendship involved Franklin Lushington. He met the young barrister in Malta in 1849 and then toured southern Greece with him. Lear developed an undoubtedly homosexual passion for him that Lushington did not reciprocate. Although they remained friends for almost forty years, until Lear’s death, the disparity of their feelings for one another constantly tormented Lear. Indeed, none of Lear’s attempts at male companionship were successful; the very intensity of Lear’s affections seemingly doomed the relationships. The closest he came to marriage with a woman was two proposals, both to the same person 46 years his junior, which were not accepted. For companions he relied instead on friends and correspondents, and especially, during later life, on his Albanian Souliote chef, Giorgis, a faithful friend and, as Lear complained, a thoroughly unsatisfactory chef. Another trusted companion in Sanremo was his cat, Foss, who died in 1886 and was buried with some ceremony in a garden at Villa Tennyson. Lear eventually settled in San Remo, on his beloved Mediterranean coast, in the 1870s, at a villa he named “Villa Tennyson.” Lear was known to introduce himself with a long pseudonym: “Mr Abebika kratoponoko Prizzikalo Kattefello Ablegorabalus Ableborinto phashyph” or “Chakonoton the Cozovex Dossi Fossi Sini Tomentilla Coronilla Polentilla Battledore & Shuttlecock Derry down Derry Dumps” which he based on Aldiborontiphoskyphorniostikos.

Sadly After a long decline in his health, Lear died at his villa in 1888, of heart disease. Lear’s funeral was said to be a sad, lonely affair by the wife of Dr. Hassall, Lear’s physician, with none of Lear’s many lifelong friends being able to attend. Lear is buried in the Cemetery Foce in San Remo. The centenary of his death was marked in Britain with a set of Royal Mail stamps in 1988 and an exhibition at the Royal Academy. Lear’s birthplace area is now marked with a plaque at Bowman’s Mews, Islington, in London.

Lewis Carroll

Author, mathematician, Logician, Anglican Deacon and Photographer Lewis Carroll (Charles Dodgson) was born 27 January 1832, his most famous writings are Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking-Glass, as well asthe poems “The Hunting of the Snark” and “Jabberwocky”, all examples of the genre of literary nonsense. He is noted for his facility at word play, logic, and fantasy, and there are societies worldwide dedicated to the enjoyment and promotion of his life and works. From a young age, Dodgson wrote poetry and short stories, contributing to the family magazine Mischmasch and various other magazines. Between 1854 and 1856, his work appeared in The Comic Times, The Train, the Whitby Gazette and the Oxford Critic. Most of this output was humorous, sometimes satirical, but his standards and ambitions were exacting. sometime after 1850, he wrote puppet plays for his siblings’ entertainment, including La Guida di Bragia.

in 1856 he published A romantic poem called “Solitude” under the pseudonym “Lewis Carroll”. This was a play on his real name; Lewis was the anglicised form of Ludovicus, which was the Latin for Lutwidge, and Carroll an Irish surname similar to the Latin name Carolus, from which comes the name Charles. The transition went as follows: “Charles Lutwidge” translated into Latin as “Carolus Ludovicus”. This was then translated back into English as “Carroll Lewis” and then reversed to make “Lewis Carroll”. In, 1856, a new dean, Henry Liddell, arrived at Christ Church, bringing with him his young family, who figured largely in Dodgson’s life and, greatly influenced his writing career. Dodgson became close friends with Liddell’s wife, Lorina, and their children, particularly the three sisters: Lorina, Edith and Alice Liddell. He was for many years widely assumed to have derived his own “Alice” from Alice Liddell although Dodgson himself repeatedly denied this and frequently dedicated his works to girls of his acquaintance, adding their names in acrostic poems at the beginning of the text. Gertrude Chataway’s name appears in this form at the beginning of The Hunting of the Snark however it is not suggested that any of the characters are based on her.

Carroll’s friendship with the Liddell family was an important part of his life in the late 1850s and he took the children on rowing trips accompanied by an adult friend.to nearby Nuneham Courtenay or Godstow. It was on one such expedition, on 4 July 1862, that Dodgson invented the outline for Alice in Wonderland after Alice Liddell persuaded him to write it down, Dodgson presented her with a handwritten, illustrated manuscript entitled Alice’s Adventures Under Ground in November 1864 Before this, the family of friend and mentor George MacDonald read Dodgson’s incomplete manuscript, and the enthusiasm of the MacDonald children encouraged Dodgson to seek publication. In 1863, he had taken the unfinished manuscript to Macmillan the publisher, who liked it immediately. After the possible alternative titles Alice Among the Fairies and Alice’s Golden Hour were rejected, the work was finally published as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in 1865 under the Lewis Carroll pen-name, which Dodgson had first used some nine years earlier. The illustrations this time were by Sir John Tenniel; Dodgson evidently thought that a published book would need the skills of a professional artist.

The overwhelming commercial success of the first Alice book changed Dodgson’s life in many ways. The fame of his alter ego “Lewis Carroll” soon spread around the world. He was inundated with fan mail and Queen Victoria herself enjoyed Alice In Wonderland so much that she suggested he dedicate his next book to her, and was accordingly presented with his next work, a scholarly mathematical volume entitled An Elementary Treatise on Determinants. He also continued to work at Christ Church. In 1871, he published a sequel – Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There. This was somewhat darker refelcting changes in Dodgson’s life. His father had recently died (1868). In 1876, Dodgson produced his last great work, The Hunting of the Snark, a fantastical “nonsense” poem, exploring the adventures of a bizarre crew of tradesmen, and one beaver, who set off to find a rare creature. The painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti reputedly became convinced the poem was about him. In 1895, Carroll published a two-volume tale of two fairy siblings which is set in two alternate worlds, one the fairytale kingdom of Elfland, the other a realm called Outland, which satirizes English society, and more specifically, the world of academia.

In 1856, Dodgson took up photography, under the influence of his uncleSkeffington Lutwidge, and his Oxford friend Reginald Southey. He became a well-known gentleman-photographer and made many studies of men, women, male children, landscapes, nskeletons, dolls, dogs, statues, paintings, and trees. His pictures of children were taken with a parent in attendance and many of the pictures were taken in the Liddell garden, because natural sunlight was required for good exposures. He Photographed many famous people including John Everett Millais, Ellen Terry, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Julia Margaret Cameron, Michael Faraday, Lord Salisbury, and Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Between 1856 and 1880 he completely mastered the medium, set up his own studio on the roof of Tom Quad, and created around 3,000 images. However Fewer than 1,000 have survived time and deliberate destruction. He reported that he stopped taking photographs because keeping his studio working was difficult and time consuming (he used the wet collodion process) whereas commercial photographers used the less time consuming dry-plate process.

However He caused controversy with some of his more revealing photographs of Alice and Lorina Liddell (who were both Minors at the time) and the exact nature of his relationship with Alice Liddell has also been called into question. There is also a suggestion that his relationship with Lorina Liddell and a disagreement between himself and Liddell Snr over Politics may also have contributed to the abrupt breakdown in contact between himself and the Liddell Family and the sudden disappearance of many of his diaries and photographs during this time.

Dodgson also worked in mathematics, in the fields of geometry, linear and matrix algebra,mathematical logic and recreational mathematics, producing nearly a dozen books under his real name. Dodgson also developed new ideas in linear algebra (e.g. the first printed proof of the Kronecker-Capelli theorem), probability, and the study of elections (e.g.,Dodgson’s method) and committees; some of this work was not published until well after his death. He worked as the Mathematical Lecturer at Christ Church, an occupation that gave him some financial security. His mathematical work attracted renewed interest in the late 20th century. Martin Gardner’s book on logic machines and diagrams, and William Warren Bartley’s posthumous publication of the second part of Carroll’s symbolic logic book have sparked a reevaluation of Carroll’s contributions to symbolic logic. Robbins’ and Rumsey’s investigation of Dodgson condensation, a method of evaluating determinants, led them to the Alternating Sign Matrix conjecture, now a theorem. The discovery in the 1990s of additional ciphers that Carroll had constructed, in addition to his “Memoria Technica”, showed that he had employed sophisticated mathematical ideas to their creation

Dodgson invented many things including the Wonderland Postage-Stamp Case in 1889 – a folder with twelve slots, two for penny stamps, and one each for the other current denominations to one shilling. The folder was then put into a slip case decorated with a picture of Alice on the front and the Cheshire Cat on the back. All could be conveniently carried in a pocket or purse. It also included a copy of Carroll’s lecture, Eight or Nine Wise Words About Letter-Writing. Another invention is a writing tablet called the nyctograph to enable note-taking in the dark if one wakes with an idea. He also divised a number of word games, including an early version of what today is known as Scrabble. He also popularised, the “doublet” a form of brain-teaser which involves changing one word into another by altering one letter at a time, each successive change always resulting in a genuine word. For instance, CAT is transformed into DOG by the following steps: CAT, COT, DOT, DOG. Other items include a rule for finding the day of the week for any date; a means for justifying right margins on a typewriter; a steering device for a velociam (a type of tricycle); new systems of parliamentary representation; better elimination rules for tennis tournaments; a new sort of postal money order; rules for reckoning postage; rules for a win in betting; rules for dividing a number by various divisors; a cardboard scale for the college common room which ensured the right amount of liqueur for the price paid; a double-sided adhesive strip for things like the fastening of envelopes or mounting things in books; a device for helping a bedridden invalid to read from a book placed sideways; and at least two ciphers for cryptography.

He continued to teach at Christ Church until 1881, where he remained resident until his death. The two volumes of his last novel, Sylvie and Bruno, were published in 1889 and 1893, but the intricacy of this work was lost on contemporary readers; it achieved nothing like the success of the Alice books, with disappointing reviews and sales of only 13,000 copies. In 1867 Carroll travelled to Russia as an ecclesiastical together with the Reverend Henry Liddon. He recounts the travel in his “Russian Journal”. On his way to Russia and back he also saw different cities in Belgium, Germany, Poland, and France. He died on 14 January 1898 two weeks prior to his sixty-sixth birthday at his sisters’ home, “The Chestnuts” in Guildford, of pneumonia following influenza. He is buried in Guildford at the Mount Cemetery.

Vic Reeves

Best known as half the comedy duo Vic and Bob with Bob Mortimer, the English Comedian James Moir (Vic Reeves) was born 24 January 1959, in Leeds, West Riding of Yorkshire. At the age of five, he moved to Darlington, County Durham, and attended Heathfield Infants and Junior School and, Eastbourne Comprehensive in Darlington. After school, Moir undertook an apprenticeship in mechanical engineering, before moving to London and becoming a factory inspector. He also formed the Fashionable Five, a group of five friends (including Jack Dent, who ran the original Fan Club) who would follow bands like the Enid and Free onto stage, and perform pranks (including Moire pretending to have a brass hand, and following a Terry Scott lookalike around Darlington town centre in single file formation). Before finding fame, Reeves appeared in the Shakin’ Stevens video promo for “What Do You Want To Make Those Eyes At Me For. Eventually, they formed their own band. In 1983, he began a part-time course at a local art college, developed his love of painting and his unique work was also exhibited in a local art gallery. His drawings and paintings have been used in his television shows and form a major part of his 1999 book, Sun Boiled Onions. He also featured in A 1994 pilot written by Paul Whitehouse and Charlie Higson entitled The Honeymoon’s Over which was never made. The same year, Reeves made a guest appearance on the Radio 1 series Shuttleworth’s Showtime, hosted by John Shuttleworth.

As well as working and performing in bands, in London, Moir also joined the alternative comedy circuit as a loudmouth American called Jim Bell, a beat poet called Mister Mystery and, also portrayed “The North-East’s Top Light Entertainer” – Vic Reeves. During His stage show Vic Reeves Big Night Out he met Bob Mortimer, a solicitor who enjoyed it so much that he soon began to participate. His television debut came in December 1986 on Channel 4 Television’s The Tube in a comedy game show segment called “Square Celebrities”, suspended by a wire to ask the “celebrities” questions. His next appearance was on the short-lived chat/comedy show One Hour with Jonathan Ross in a game show segment known as Knock Down Ginger. His growing TV profile led to Big Night Out being broadcast on Channel 4. Reeves continued to work alongside Bob Mortimer as a comedy duo in The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer, Shooting Stars, and Bang Bang, It’s Reeves and Mortimer, which also featured future cast members of The Fast Show and Little Britain.

Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer were listed as one of the 50 funniest acts in British comedy. In a 2005 poll to find the Comedians’ Comedian, Reeves and Mortimer were voted the 9th greatest comedy act ever. Moir has four children, the eldest two by his first wife Sarah Vincent, whom he married in 1990. They divorced in 1999. He met his second wife, Nancy Sorrell, in 2001, and the couple married on 25 January 2003. Sorrell gave birth to twin girls at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, Kent, on 25 May 2006. He lives in Charing, near Ashford. He Is a keen birdwatcher and buried his classic Austin A40 Somerset in his back garden, as shown on the BBC’s 1997 Omnibus documentary – A Film Of Reeves & Mortimer. He also appeared on the ITV show Mr and Mrs with his wife Nancy. Reeves is also one of the few comedians to have had a number one hit record in the UK Singles Chart, with The Wonder Stuff, singing “Dizzy” (previously a number one hit for Tommy Roe). The original composition “Oh! Mr. Songwriter”, featuring Bob Mortimer on mandolin was the B side released with a version of Born Free, which was critically acclaimed and also reached the top ten. A third single, Abide With Me, was Followed by an album, I Will Cure You. In 1995, Reeves collaborated with EMF, covering the Monkees’ hit “I’m a Believer”.

Between August 1998 and May 1999, Reeves and Mortimer presented the Channel X produced BBC Saturday night family game show Families at War alongside Alice Beer. Reeves played Marty Hopkirk in the BBC’s 2000–2001 thriller series Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) – a revival of the original 1960s series, with Mortimer as Randall, Emilia Fox as Jeannie and Tom Baker as Wyvern. In2000, he presented a series entitled, Vic Reeves Examines on UK Play. The programme featured celebrities such as Ricky Gervais, Johnny Vegas, Lauren Laverne and Emma Kennedy discussing a topic of their choice. The same year, Reeves presented a one-off radio show on BBC Radio 1, entitled Cock of the Wood. In 2004 he and Sorrell were both contestants in the fourth series of I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!. Along with Mortimer, he appeared in the series Catterick as several characters.In September 2005 Reeves hosted a show for Virgin Radio called Vic Reeves Big Night In produced by Mark Augustyn, for a short period on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 7.00pm. In May 2006 he presented a programme on ITV Tyne Tees about Northeast comedy culture, It’s Funny Up North with… Vic Reeves. Reeves presented a historical ten-part series, entitled Rogues Gallery, which was shown on the Discovery Channel (UK) in 2005. In the series, he investigated, and portrayed Anne Bonny & Mary Read, Captain Kidd, Claude Duval, Jonathan Wild, Rob Roy, Colonel Blood, George Ransley, Deacon Brodie, Blackbeard and Dick Turpin. Nancy Sorrell also appeared in some episodes.

continuing in this vein, Vic Reeves’ Pirates was shown on ITV West, and subsequently on the History Channel in 2007. In 2007, Reeves hosted a show called Vic Reeves Investigates: Jack the Ripper. Reeves, with the help of historians and leading experts, tried to discover who Jack the Ripper was. At the end of the show, he came to the conclusion that Jack the Ripper was Francis Tumblety. He was the main presenter of Brainiac: Science Abuse during the fifth and sixth series, replacing Richard Hammond, who quit the show. The series began on 8 May 2007.Beginning in June 2007, Reeves presented a BBC Radio 2 panel game called Does the Team Think?. In late 2007, Reeves appeared in a weekly radio-based sketch show on BBC Radio 2, entitled Vic Reeves’ House Arrest. The first episode was broadcast on 17 November 2007 and the series ran for six episodes. The show’s premise was that Reeves had been put under house arrest for “a crime he didn’t commit”, and each episode consists of the various events that take place in and around his house on a particular day. Reeves’ comedy partner Bob Mortimer plays his housecall-making hairdresser, Carl, while other performers include The Mighty Boosh star Noel Fielding as a local vagrant who comes to Reeves’ door on a weekly basis looking for work, and Reeves’ wife Nancy Sorrell in multiple roles. On 20 February 2008, Reeves appeared visibly disorientated onsttage at the BRIT Awards alongside Sharon Osborne, to present the “Mastercard British Album” award to winners, the Arctic Monkeys. He has stated that he was trying to read the autocue, and was pushed away by Osbourne whilst trying to do his job. He called Osbourne’s behaviour “unacceptable”. Planet Sound defended Reeves, saying “for the record” he was not drunk.

Moir also featured in one edition of a factual TV series for Five, Dangerous Adventures for Boys, based on the best-selling book written by Conn and Hal Iggulden, The Dangerous Book for Boys. In February 2009, Reeves appeared as presenter of the first episode of My Brilliant Britain, one of the new television shows commissioned for UKTV People channel’s relaunch as Blighty on 25 August 2009, Reeves appeared as a guest on the BBC One programme The One Show alongside Bob Mortimer. Series 6 of Shooting Stars aired 2009 with Reeves returning as co-host with Mortimer, along with Ulrika Jonsson and Jack Dee as team captains. Reeves appeared as one of the guests in Reece Shearsmith’s Haunted House, Reeves also lends his voice to the Virgin Atlantic Airlines onboard safety video, alongside Dani Behr. In May 2011, Reeves commemorated the Royal Wedding by painting 100 plates bearing a picture he drew of William and Kate, with the slogan “Our future King and Queen, Bill and Cath.” He also painted a vase, which bore a shirtless William. In July 2011, Vic rejoined Bob for a selection of YouTube Improvised Comedy Sketches, in association with Foster’s – They released their “Afternoon Delight” clips every weekday afternoon in July. Reeves has also appeared without Mortimer on a number of British television shows, primarily game shows, poll programmes and charity telethons. Vic Reeves also sings the theme tune for Aardman Animation’s rather amusing television series Shaun the Sheep.

Oliver Hardy -Well here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into

Best known as one half of the comedy duo Laurel and Hardy, the American comedian and actor Oliver Hardy was born 18th January 1892.Laurel and Hardy were one of the most popular and critically acclaimed comedy double acts of the early Classical Hollywood era of American cinema. Composed of thin Englishman Stan Laurel (1890–1965) and large American Oliver Hardy (1892–1957), they became well known during the late 1920′s to the mid-1940′s for their slapstick comedy, with Laurel playing the clumsy and childlike friend of the pompous Hardy. They made over 100 films together, initially two-reelers (short films) before expanding into feature length films in the 1930s. Their films include SONS OF THE DESERT (1933), the Academy Award winning short film The Music Box (1932), BABES IN TOYLAND (1934), and WAY OUT WEST (1937). Hardy’s catchphrase “Well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into!” is still widely recognized.

Prior to the double act both were established actors with Laurel appearing in over 50 films and Hardy in over 250 films. Although the two comedians first worked together on the film The Lucky Dog (1921), this was a chance pairing and it was not until 1926, when both separately signed contracts with the Hal Roach film studio, that they began appearing in movie shorts together. Laurel and Hardy officially became a team the following year in the silent short film Putting Pants on Philip (1927). The pair remained with the Roach studio until 1940, then appeared in eight “B” comedies for 20th Century Fox and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer from 1941 to 1945. After finishing their movie commitments at the end of 1944, they concentrated on stage shows, embarking on a music hall tour of England, Ireland, and Scotland] In 1950 they made their last film, a French/Italian co-production called Atoll K, before retiring from the screen.

In total they appeared together in 107 films. They starred in 40 short sound films, 32 short silent films and 23 full-length feature films, and made 12 guest or cameo appearances, including the recently discovered Galaxy of Stars promotional film (1936).A common comedy routine was a tit-for-tat fight. Their silent film Big Business (1929), which includes one of these routines, was added to the Library of Congress as a national treasure in 1992. Notable Laurel traits included crying like a baby while being berated and scratching his hair when in shock. On December 1, 1954, the team made their only American television appearance, surprised by Ralph Edwards on his live NBC-TV program, This Is Your Life. The works of Laurel and Hardy have been re-released in numerous theatrical reissues, television revivals, 16mm and 8mm home movies, feature-film compilations, and home videos since the 1930s. They were voted the seventh greatest comedy act in a 2005 UK poll by fellow comedians. The duo’s signature tune, known variously as “The Cuckoo Song”, “Ku-Ku”, or “The Dance of the Cuckoos”, played on the opening credits of their films. The official Laurel and Hardy appreciation society is known as The Sons of the Desert, after a fraternal society in their film of the same name.

Charles Addams (Addams Family)

The American cartoonist Charles “Chas” Samuel Addams was born 7 January 1912 in Westfield, New Jersey. His father encouraged him to draw from an early age, and Addams did cartoons for the Westfield High School student literary magazine, Weathervane. He attended Colgate University in 1929 and 1930, and the University of Pennsylvania, where a fine-arts building on campus is named after him, in 1930 and 1931. In front of the building there is also a sculpture of the silhouettes of Addams Family characters. He then studied at the Grand Central School of Art in New York City in 1931 and 1932.

In 1933 he joined the layout department of True Detective magazine, where he had to retouch photos of corpses that appeared in the magazine’s stories to remove the blood from them. Addams complained that “A lot of those corpses were more interesting the way they were.” His first drawing in The New Yorker ran on February 6, 1932 (a sketch of a window washer), and his cartoons ran regularly in the magazine from 1938, when he drew the first instance of what came to be called the Addams Family. He remained a freelancer throughout that time

The Addams Family, were known for their particularly black humour and macabre antics and The Addams Family television series began after David Levy, a television producer, approached Addams with an offer to create it with a little help from the humorist. All Addams had to do was give his characters names and more characteristics for the actors to use in portrayals. The series ran on ABC for two seasons, from 1964 to 1966. and also became the basis for two two animated TV series, three motion pictures, and a Broadway musical. Addams was “sociable and debonair,” and was described by a biographer as “A well-dressed, courtly man with silvery back-combed hair and a gentle manner, he bore no resemblance to a fiend.” Addams was a bit of a lady’s man and was also friends with Greta Garbo, Joan Fontaine, and Jacqueline Kennedy.

Addams sadly Passed Away on September 29, 1988 at St. Clare’s Hospital and Health Center in New York City, having suffered a heart attack while still in his car after parking it. An ambulance took him from his apartment to the hospital, where he died in the emergency room. As he had requested, a wake was held rather than a funeral; he had wished to be remembered as a “good cartoonist”. He was cremated and his ashes were buried in the pet cemetery of his estate “The Swamp”.