Second Picture: Windy Blow at home as David Cecil entertain the local children
David Cecil or Charles Cole are not a name from the 1950’s that immediately come to mind but if I mention the Children’s Television silent clown, Windy Blow, who sculptured balloons I am sure most of you will say ‘Ah! Yes, I remember him now’.
David Cecil was a pioneer of British film cartoons, but it was much later in life that he became known as television's first balloon act, twisting balloons into animals birds and other shapes.
In fact way back in the 1950’s, no TV variety show was complete without Windy Blow, the pram-pushing clown who made animals out of balloons and never spoke a word.
It is true he did appear on the TV in the 50's as a clown but his career was vast. In the early 1940's he was a renowned cartoonist and film footage can be found on the British Pathe Web site under his cartoonist stage name of Charles Cole. But it was as Windy Blow that he made his name a household word, so much so that his son Windy Blow junior also went on to perform on TV in 1977 in the magic circle. He was very involved in show business and was secretary of the British Actors Equity Union during the 1970's
It was Windy Blows lung power that saved his life and won Dave Cecil a regular TV date. But there was a time when Windy Blow, the clown who blew up three hundred balloons every show - and had just started a series of regular spots on B.B.C. Television - could not blow out a match. Ten years earlier, as a soldier with one lung he had only a year to live, the doctor threw him a packet of balloons as he lay in a hospital bed. "Have a go!" he said, "Might do some good. Stick at it!" Dave Cecil stuck at it but it was a long time before he could blow up a single balloon. When at last he managed it he began to shape balloons to amuse other patients. He made swans, giraffes, dogs and silly hats. He decided then that if he lived, he would make his living by blowing up balloons on the stage.
Windy Blow, the silent tramp-clown known and loved by children everywhere made his stage debut in 1952. His young audiences loved him and loved to take part in the act and win a balloon toy to take home. He appeared on Children's TV in August, 1953, and was in the first TV Music Hall of 1954. "I get through eighteen gross of balloons every week," he said "and my wife, Blanche, and I have had to start a small balloon factory in the garage behind our flat in Finchley. When I was in hospital, the man in the next bed gave me the formula for making balloons. I would have liked him to help in our factory, but he didn't recover."
Windy Blow only spoke once in public - at a party given by U.S. servicemen. He had given some balloon toys to a little Negro girl. As she returned to her seat some white children deliberately burst them. "Windy saw red! He'd never spoken before, but he said something then. He called that little girl back and made every toy he knew - especially for her. As she went back to her place a second time, she handed nearly all of them to the white children!"
The Cecil's flat was always swarming with the neighbours' children, who knew him simply as "the man inside Windy Blow". "Uncle Windy” as he was known was never short of eager young pupils wanting to learn how to model balloons.
But how did Windy Blow conduct his act? The balloons were all blown up to a certain size, depending on the room temperature – the blowing knack utilising the skill that Windy learned while developing his one surviving lung whilst in hospital after losing the other lung at the Anzio beach-head. David Cecil was born in 1910 and died in the eighties.
So folks of you go, get a packet of balloons and start modelling.
Stay in touch,
Melvyn reminds me of two of the coach companies that operated from Southsea Sea Front in the 1960’s. Who remembers ‘Rambler’ and ‘Shamrock’?
If any Manor Court weekly readers know the whereabouts of the following names please email me STEVETIMMS9@AOL.COM
David Costick, Rex Whistler, Roger Lillywhite, Michael Macari, Michael Hawes and Malcolm Smith.
News and Views:
The Fortunes have announced that they are to join The Searchers, Gerry and The Pacemakers on next year's Sixties Gold tour.
On this day 29th July 1960-1965.
On 29/07/1960 the number one single was Please Don't Tease - Cliff Richard & the Shadows and the number one album was Elvis Is Back - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was Rawhide (ITV) and the box office smash was Psycho. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68 and Burnley were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 29/07/1961 the number one single was Temptation - Everly Brothers. The top rated TV show was Harpers West One (ATV) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £13.25 and Tottenham Hotspur were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.The big news story of the day was No Hiding Place (AR).
On 29/07/1962 the number one single was I Remember You - Frank Ifield and the number one album was Pot Luck - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Lawrence of Arabia. A pound of today's money was worth £12.89 and Ipswich Town were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 29/07/1963 the number one single was Confessin' - Frank Ifield and the number one album was Please Please Me - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Great Escape. A pound of today's money was worth £12.64 and Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 29/07/1964 the number one single was A Hard Day's Night - Beatles and the number one album was A Hard Day's Night - Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Dr Strangelove. A pound of today's money was worth £12.24 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 29/07/1965 the number one single was Mr Tambourine Man - Byrds and the number one album was The Sound of Music Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Sound of Music. A pound of today's money was worth £11.69 and Manchester United were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.