The Ascot sketch by The Crazy Gang
Photography by Houston Rogers
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London
This photograph shows The Crazy Gang in their 1959 show Clown Jewels. It is a skit on the famous black and white Ascot scene designed by Cecil Beaton for the musical My Fair Lady which was the current box office hit in London. By this date, the comedians who made up the gang – the three double acts Bud Flanagan and Chesney Allen, Jimmy Nervo and Teddy Knox and Charlie Naughton and Jimmy Gold, sometimes joined by “Monsewer” Eddie Gray - had been together for 27 years and were all aged between 60 and 72. They had been threatening to retire for years, but kept being persuaded to do one more show. Their shows were made up of sketches in which the gang appeared as different characters. Many of the reviews agreed that the Gang's jokes were old, corny and frequently terrible, and yet irresistibly funny, because of the charm of the performers. They were favourites of the Royal Family, and the Queen and Prince Philip made a surprise visit to the show.