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Obit: Hubert Gregg (1914-2004)

DigiTrad:
HITLER (Has only got one ball...)
HITLER HAS ONLY GOT ONE BALL (2)


Related threads:
Hitler Has Only Got One Ball (58)
(origins) Origin: lyrics to Colonel Bogey (71)
Hitler's genitals (31)
Lyr Req: Bawdy ditty - Skeeter on my Peter (51)


Steve Parkes 30 Mar 04 - 11:16 AM
el ted 30 Mar 04 - 11:19 AM
GMT 30 Mar 04 - 11:27 AM
pavane 30 Mar 04 - 02:00 PM
breezy 30 Mar 04 - 02:15 PM
Geoff the Duck 30 Mar 04 - 02:17 PM
Lanfranc 30 Mar 04 - 04:49 PM
Roger the Skiffler 31 Mar 04 - 02:56 AM
Flash Company 31 Mar 04 - 04:24 AM
Steve Parkes 31 Mar 04 - 05:20 AM
Steve Parkes 31 Mar 04 - 07:53 AM
GUEST,Sandra 01 Apr 04 - 03:35 PM
GUEST,R. Partington 04 Apr 04 - 06:26 AM
GUEST,kenny 15 Apr 04 - 11:33 AM
GUEST 24 Jun 11 - 03:27 PM
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Subject: Obit: Hubert Gregg
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 30 Mar 04 - 11:16 AM

My hero Hubert Gregg died on Monday at 89. His best-remembered song is probably Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner, but he may not thank me for revelaing he also wote the rude words to Colonel Bogey, which I'm sure made a big contribution to the war effort in WWII.

Here's the BBC's obit, and theres a lot more on the 'Net if you Google for his name.

I've just learned the whole of I'm going to get lit up when the lights go up in London, so it will make a decent tribute. It anticipated a night of drunkenness in the capital - provoking a protest in the Commons. Lady Astor (a US ex-pat), asked if this was "the disgraceful way Britons were going to behave" and Prime Minister Winston Churchill replied he was confident "we shall celebrate a victorious peace in a way worthy of the British nation." Another kind of fitting tribute!

Steve


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Subject: RE: Obit: Hubert Gregg
From: el ted
Date: 30 Mar 04 - 11:19 AM

Thank you for this thread. Mr Gregg's stories of his old singing days before the last war were lovely. I was a regular listener to his radio show.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Hubert Gregg
From: GMT
Date: 30 Mar 04 - 11:27 AM

I didn't know of him but it seems I knew his music.

What a legacy to leave behind.

Gary


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Subject: RE: Obit: Hubert Gregg
From: pavane
Date: 30 Mar 04 - 02:00 PM

Sorry to hear that.

I listened every week (during the series), when driving home from London to Wales on Friday evening. He played a wide range of music, usually interesting.

(Recently I seem to remember - was it Bing Crosby, Bob Hope & Judy Garland singing a saucy parody of Goodnight Irene?)


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Subject: RE: Obit: Hubert Gregg
From: breezy
Date: 30 Mar 04 - 02:15 PM

'a song once written is immortal'

geo -papa


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Subject: RE: Obit: Hubert Gregg
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 30 Mar 04 - 02:17 PM

I also used to listen to Thanks for the Memory on Radio 2. It's a few years back now sice I last heard the programme, bur it used to be a relaxing selection of "light" music.
Quack!
Geoff the Duck.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Hubert Gregg
From: Lanfranc
Date: 30 Mar 04 - 04:49 PM

The list of Obits is getting too long for comfort.

Hubert Gregg seemed to have been around forever, I only knew him through the "wireless" and records, but his gentle, old-world demeanour and fund of anecdotes was a frequent source of entertainment. He was one of the last people around who always referred to a week as a "sennight" - an affectation, perhaps, but one that inspired affection.

Farewell, old trouper!

Alan


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Subject: RE: Obit: Hubert Gregg
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 31 Mar 04 - 02:56 AM

Thanks, Steve, hadn't seen a press obit. I confess, I thought he was already dead! (Mind you, people say that about me when they see me!)

RtS


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Subject: RE: Obit: Hubert Gregg
From: Flash Company
Date: 31 Mar 04 - 04:24 AM

I remember Tommy Handley & Jack Train singing a version of 'I'm going to get lit up' as follows, singer indicated by initials at beginning of line:-

(JT)I'm going to get lit up when the lights go up in London
(TH)I seem to have heard that kind of sentiment before
(JT)I'll be feeling doubly frisky
(TH)Did you say a double Whisky?
(JT)My dear sir when the peace breaks out I'll drink the Bay of Biscay!
(TH)It's going to be a simply marvellous occasion
(JT)I'll be lit up then and so I think will you
(TH)Too true! I'll be pickled as a parrot
(JT)Did you say a glass of claret! Well thank you sir, I don't mind if I do!

All the great names are going an who will replace them?

FC


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Subject: RE: Obit: Hubert Gregg
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 31 Mar 04 - 05:20 AM

I've got Billy Cotton's version in my little cupboard-under-the-stairs, with Bill and Breezy (no, not that one!) cross-talking about what they were going to do when the war was over ("I'm going to tear down all those black-out curtains!"). Only one verse, sung straight and reprised after the "comic" bit in an inebriated manner. Made a big impression on me when I first heard it at the age of nine.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Hubert Gregg
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 31 Mar 04 - 07:53 AM

From The Daily Telegraph:

Hubert Gregg, who died on Monday aged 89, was one of the most steadily successful theatrical all-rounders of his generation; a broadcaster and light comedian, a soundly trained Shakespearian actor, a shrewd director of comedies and thrillers and a composer of hundreds of songs - including Maybe It's Because I'm a Londoner and I'm Going To Get Lit Up When The Lights Go Up In London - he could turn his hand to almost anything.

He had started out as a "deb's delight" in films and West End plays, but his heart came to rest in an era just before his own when the art of song and dance on stage and screen was at its zenith. Thus he was best known for the several long-running BBC radio programmes of musical nostalgia in which, week by week, he led the listener through the history of popular music.

Gregg had a microphone manner that was engaging, confident and amusing but without the slightest hint of gush. Hubert Gregg Says Thanks for the Memory ran for three decades (latterly on "Wireless 2", as Gregg preferred to call it) and became something of an institution. His recordings, wrote Sheridan Morley in The Daily Telegraph, sounded "wonderfully as though they are his own old 78s being played slightly too fast on a wind-up gramophone".

Yet however eccentric, his programmes were always backed up by Gregg's encyclopaedic knowledge of popular music. "I'm blessed with total recall," he would explain, "except about where I left my umbrella."

Hubert Robert Harry Gregg was born on July 19 1914. He was educated at St Dunstan's College and the Webber Douglas School of Singing and Dramatic Art. In the early 1930s he combined working as a BBC announcer with spells in repertory, which included a season of Shakespeare at the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park, playing the title role in Henry V.

During the war Gregg served in the ranks of the Lincolnshire Regiment, and while on leave in 1944 he composed Maybe It's Because I'm a Londoner. It took, he later recalled, just 20 minutes to write. The best known version of the song is by Bud Flanagan, although it has been recorded by Arthur Askey (a Liverpudlian), Danny Kaye, Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster and the Omsk Siberia Choir (who sang it in Russian).

In the 1950s Gregg turned his hand to directing Agatha Christie thrillers for the stage, and for seven years from 1953 he was the director of The Mousetrap, "until I couldn't bear to look at it any longer". In 1980 he published Agatha Christie and all that Mousetrap, a memoir of this period. He had, however, little affection for the author, whom he later described as "a mean old bitch".

In 1958 he played opposite his second wife, Pat Kirkwood, in the musical comedy Chrysanthemum (Prince of Wales). He also wrote light comedies, touring in two of them, Villa Sleep Four and The Rumpus in the mid-1960s, after which he joined the Chichester Festival company in 1968 and 1969 for a number of productions, including The Cocktail Party, The Tempest and The Rivals.

His numerous radio programmes included a musical version of Three Men in a Boat and, from 1980, a biographical theatrical series, I Call It Genius and I Call It Style. He also appeared in a number of feature films, including In Which We Serve and Doctor at Sea, and was a sometime chairman of the BBC's Brains Trust. In addition he published two novels, April Gentlemen and To Bed, Evangeline!

Dapper and elegant even in old age, Gregg - who fathered his third child at the age of 68 - attributed his sprightliness to ginseng and his third wife's cooking. He always regretted not having attended university and, at the age of 82, he studied for a degree with the Open University. He was scathing at any suggestion that he should retire. "Stop working?" he said in 2000. "Who can afford to stop working with this bloody government? Good God no!"

Gregg married first, in 1943 (dissolved 1950), the actress Zoe Gail, with whom he had a daughter. He married, secondly, in 1956, the actress Pat Kirkwood, from whom he was divorced in 1979. In 1980 he married Carmel Lytton, who survives him with their son and daughter.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Hubert Gregg
From: GUEST,Sandra
Date: 01 Apr 04 - 03:35 PM

I knew Hubert Gregg personally in the 1970's. He was then in his 60s and I was in my late 20s but he had such a youthfulo personality the age difference wasn't a problem.

I didn't even know who he was until I was at his flat one day and heard him on the radio - he had chosen this way to tell me just exactly who he was as I was too young to remember most things he had done.

He had an enormous zest for life (it came as no surprise to me that he married a much younger wife third time around - and coincidentally another member of his family had a girlfriend with a similar age gap so there must have been something in the genes!) and I remember him with great pleasure.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Hubert Gregg
From: GUEST,R. Partington
Date: 04 Apr 04 - 06:26 AM

I first came across Hubert on "Wireless 2" (or was it still the old "Light Programme" then?) in the mid 1960s when he presented "A Square Deal". The music he played shone like a beacon amid the dross that seemed to be infesting everywhere else. I have listened to him whenever I can ever since and once had a request played by him. I feel that his death has robbed me of a dear old friend even though we never met and he would not have had a clue who I am. I am sure that there are many other "old friends" out there who also will be mourning his loss. We shall not see his like again.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Hubert Gregg
From: GUEST,kenny
Date: 15 Apr 04 - 11:33 AM

I NEVER LISTENED TO HIS PROGRAMMES OR KNEW MUCH ABOUT HIM OR HIS MUSIC.BUT EVEN SO, PEOPLE LIKE ME SEEM TO HAVE AN AFFINITY WITH PEOPLE LIKE HUBERT .WHEN HIS LIKE PASS, IT'S SAD ,BECAUSE SOMETHING THAT CAN NEVER BE REPLACED, ALSO DIES.


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Subject: RE: Obit: Hubert Gregg
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Jun 11 - 03:27 PM

Hello Steve,

I'm researching "Colonel Bogey" and I'm wondering if there's any supporting documentation that Gregg authored "Hitler Has Only Got One Ball" (or any claim that he made doing so). Any information you can provide is appreciated!


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