Britain's Most Loved and Best Comedy Double Act

Ed Sullivan Appearences

Feature from 2010

Being mugged

Xylophone playing
24th March 1963

Third appearance and Eric kicks off with a gag about preferring American girls, maybe as a subtle way to get the audience on their side. It gets a laugh, so maybe it wasn’t a bad idea.

Instead of staying with the pace though, they slow it down again as they prepare for their routine with some scene setting dialogue. The audience fall quiet, a distinct difference from the UK where people know what ever is coming will be funny and maintain a low giggle/hushed titter.

The Judo routine begins well but as Eric demonstrates his skill over and over again, the audience drop off again instead of getting into it.

As the routine progresses and Ernie comes at Eric with a pretend knife, the audience at last warm up, even breaking into applause when Ernie reveals ‘I’m left handed.’

The routine, very similar to the one used in The Intelligence Men film, continues with sporadic laughter, mainly during the slap-stick segments, and again applause when Ernie, seemingly getting all the gags, pretends to shoot Eric as he lays on the floor.

Slap-stick again brings the audience alive as Ernie beats Eric with a handbag and punches him, causing Eric to fall through the scenery to end the routine.

As with previous appearances, the speed up – slow down style with long sections of dialogue and now jokes is still a mystery to the American viewers. One day they’ll catch on I’m sure.

Back To Episode Index

4th August 1963
Eric and Ern may have, by now, either got used to the way things work or just didn’t care and went for bust. Whatever reason, this performance was the best one so far.

The routine which involved them playing the xylophone, not only went down well with the audience, but it seemed Eric and Ern enjoyed it too.

The routine involved a lot of important timing as the actual sound from the xylophone was being played off stage by, presumably, a professional player.

Ernie runs through the tune (Monti: Csardas) quickly with Eric trying to get his go, but as Ernie states; “Where were you?”

Second try and Eric gets his chance, but obviously fluffs it (as he is actually playing at this point).

Third try and Ernie sets up the gag by telling Eric he knows where there is another D", as the one of the xylophone is dead. When asked by Eric where, Ern smiles and tells him; “That’s my secret.”

This is obviously for the American audience; a typical British audience would have got the point without this last line based on Eric’s expression.

The routine continues with the audience now waiting for the punch line. It seems the trick is to tell them there is a joke on the way before delivering it – this way they know when to laugh!

Sadly it does work, as they play the tune through to the end and the audience applauds the performance, missing the joke as Eric hits the last D" and nothing happens.

More setting up the gag follows until at last the punch line, the last notes are played by Ernie, tapping Eric’s face with the hammers. The build up pays off.

More xylophone playing and they drop into a variant of the slapping/bells routine where various parts of Eric’s body produces a different note. Despite a missed queue by the player, the audience appreciate this, and Eric closes the routine with a huge mallet.

Much better all round than the ones before, and things are looking better for the boys.

Back To Episode Index

© 2010

You may also like:

Piccadilly Palace
In the US, the last ATV series, Two Of A Kind, was called Piccadilly Palace.

Going to America
Eric and Ern decide to try their luck in America, but things did not go to plan.

Eric and Ern Abroad
How were Eric and Ern seen abroad, and was it all that bad?

The Palladium Show - Toronto
The official program for the Palladium Show in Toronto that Morecambe and Wise appeared in.