A literary meditation by Jacques Stewart – this time cunningly presented as a rerun. It’s summer time after all…
A famous episode of Hancock’s Half Hour is “The East Cheam Drama Festival”. Hancock, Hattie Jacques, Bill Kerr and Daniel Craig Sid James grapple “Look Back in Hunger” and “The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven and the songs that made him famous” and, titweepingly magnificently, “Jack’s Return Home.” In a coruscating exposure of the zeitgeist, poverty-stricken Joshua (Hancock) and wife Martha (Hattie) are menaced by landlord Jasper Stonyheart (Sid). It’s complex. Their son Jack is presumed dead – impaled by “the Zulus” – but Martha claims she insured his life, so all is well. Inopportunely, Jack (Bill) returns home, penniless. So Martha shoots him. ©BBC Worldwide, amongst others (prob’ly).
Hancock: Aha, me old darlin’, you’ve shot Jack.
Hattie: Yes, and I took out a policy on you as well, so watch it.
Hancock: Wait a minute, I have a surprise for you. For thirteen years, you have thought I am Joshua, your husband.
Hattie: Well, aren’t you?
Hancock: No; stand back while I take my wig off. There…
Hattie: Good heavens! Frederick!
Hancock: Yes, Frederick. What do you say to that, Jasper Stonyheart?
Sid: I’m not Jasper, I’ve been wearing this wig and pretending to be Jasper. This is who I really am. There!
Hancock: Good heavens! Jonathan!
Sid: Yes, Jonathan. I didn’t trust either of you, especially you, Martha.
Hattie: And you were right not to, Jonathan, for you see, I am not Martha!
Hancock: Not Martha?
Hattie: No! There, now do you recognise me?
Hancock: Gad! It’s Gladys.
Hattie: Yes, Gladys, the girl you wronged.
Hancock: Then who pray is the poor wretch we’ve killed?
Bill: Fear not! You didn’t kill me! I was saved by my silver cigarette case. There! Do you not recognise me without the wig?
Sid: Yes, I should have guessed – Ronald!
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