The Fun Factory

The Fun Factory

Chris England

Language: English

Pages: 288


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

The Fun Factory is set in the golden decade before the Great War, when the music halls were the people's entertainment, before radio, television or cinema, and bigger than all of them. Arthur Dandoe is a gifted young comedian trying to make his way within the prestigious Fred Karno theatre company. Determined to thwart him at any cost is another ruthlessly ambitious performer – one Charlie Chaplin. Things turn even nastier when Arthur and Charlie both fall for the same girl, the irresistibly alluring Tilly Beckett. One of the two rivals is destined to become the most celebrated man on the planet, with more girls than he can shake his famous stick at. The other. . . well, you'll just have to read this book – his book. It could have been so different.

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It was a variation on rolling with a punch, really. A really hefty-seeming collision, but nobody got hurt. The Power was with me again by this time, and I saw the whole thing in every detail. The ball. Billy’s big tree trunk of a leg telescoping out. Myself, leaping, flying through the air. Billy’s boot, not disappearing behind the ball, but rising up and over it. Myself, puzzled as I flew unstoppably towards him. Billy’s boot, with all his considerable weight behind it, crunching into my

two along the way. I thrust them at the giant, who grasped them with child-like glee, and then obligingly carved me a way out of the mob. “Just one thing,” I added, once we’d made it to a little bit of open space at the edge of the rally. “Do you know a ship called the Dover Castle?” The giant’s brow creased in a mighty frown. “I don’t know it, no…” “Right. I see. Oh well, I’d best be off…” “But,” he went on. “If it’s a Castle, it’ll be one of the Union-Castle Line, they’re all the Something

the ballrooms and the dining rooms and the viewing platforms like kids in a sweet shop. No, a sweet factory. If this was indeed to be the start of a new chapter in my life, then I could hardly wait to read the rest of the book. As the time to make steam approached, we got word that Alf had scurried back to the railway station in a cab to see if Charlie was on the last possible train from London, but I didn’t give that possibility much thinking time. There was too much else to see, and stewards

upon verifiable historical fact he is invariably accurate – considerably more so than his contemporary managed in his 1964 autobiography, at any rate. Indeed, this memoir covers a period very swiftly – one might almost say, dismissively – dealt with in that other volume, and seems to have been written in response to it, in the spirit of setting the record straight. Readers can judge whether or not Dandoe is to be believed regarding more personal matters. In editing the papers, I have confined

and plumed helmets, had congregated to watch the world go by. And you could get good old British Bass Ale there too. It was like a vision of Heaven. We ventured into the theatre to get a flavour of the entertainment, which was as different from a night at an English music hall as champagne is to ale (although, as I say, you could get ale). Women, women, dancing girls, flesh, quivering, wobbling, girls, moving or in teasing tableaux as far as the eye could see. In one number the dancing girls

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