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The Lion and Alpert*

My mother has passed this on to me from the Oldie:
Memory Lane - John Miles

60 years ago I used to frequent the old Hackney Empire music hall on a Saturday night… I was there when an act came on comprising a husband and wife and a lion. The woman rushed on to the stage dressed in an apology for a leotard, pretending to be chased through the jungle by the lion. The lion was visibly reluctant and had to be pushed on to the stage. When she pretended to swoon, the lion wandered over and stood over her. Her husband, dressed as a hunter and obviously drunk, stumbled on and pretended to whip the lion. By now the animal had started to growl and tug at the wife’s leotard with his toothless jaws. After a few squeaks for help from the woman, the curtains were drawn to a chorus of boos and ribald suggestions from the audience.

The next act was Spike Milligan and his jazz band, who were well received. After a while the band members were distracted by something going on behind the curtains. Milligan had a look and immediately requested they be drawn open. The audience could now see the husband drunkenly hitting the lion in a vain attempt to get it off his wife. Meanwhile the lion was trying to tear off her leotard in an attempt to get at the raw meat she had hidden beneath it to get the animal interested. The struggle was getting desperate because the meat was intended for the couple’s dinner and the lion was equally determined to have it.

The audience were in an uproar. Eventually the stage hands tied a rope around the lion and started to drag both it and the woman from the stage. Spike Milligan seized his chance, jumped astride the lion and was dragged off with it, shouting “Tally ho!” and playing The Post Horn Gallop on his trumpet. It was generally considered to have been the best act seen there for a long time.

* I apologise for this spectacularly tenuous mild wordplay, justified only by the presence of a trumpet in the story.



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Mar. 1st, 2010 05:41 pm (UTC)
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