A former choreographer has described the “wonderful memories” which came flooding back after spotting herself in The Gazette’s Lost Archives.
Barbara Thornley, 76, from Marton, was featured in a photo dancing with famous entertainer Eric Morecambe on the beach during a promotional photo shoot for the Morecambe and Wise summer show in the resort in 1959.
Mrs Thornley, who also sang in the show under the name Babette, is seen in Eric’s arms while fellow performers and production staff pose for a game of beach cricket – with Ernie donning a pair of wicket-keeping gloves for the snap.
Mrs Thornley only noticed the photo after it was pointed out her by a friend who had seen it in The Gazette’s new weekly Lost Archives pull-out which features every Friday.
All photos we use are from original glass plate negatives – many not seen in print for more than 50 years
Barbara said: “It brought back a lot of memories, it was wonderful to see it again.
“We’d been rehearsing very hard and the photographer came before we did a television broadcast there. There was quite a gang of us.”
The show was entitled Let’s Have Fun and ran on Central Pier throughout that summer.
Mrs Thornley, now 76 and living on Moss House road, remained firm friends with the duo after the show’s run.
She said: “Eric and Ernie were really lovely guys. “I got married in 1959, they came to my wedding and presented me with a beautiful silver cigarette box. They were nice guys and their wives were very friendly too.”
Mrs Thornley added: “I had a strange career because the last two theatrical works I did were for Lancashire Police in the 1970s at the Winter Gardens.
“Sadly most of the people I remember have either died or left Blackpool now.”
What we had to say...
A Gazette review from May 16 1959 called the performance of the pair’s Central Pier show ‘a talent-packed show of laughter, lyrics and leggy lovelies’.
It added: “Eric Morecambe, with his air of innocent vacuity and willingness to please is the perfect foil for the bland, tolerant, worldy-wise Ernie Wise and the perfect vehicle for the misunderstandings and innuendoes that get the laughs.”
Their partnership lasted from 1941 until Morecambe’s death in 1984.
They have been described as “the most illustrious, and the best-loved, double-act that Britain has ever produced”.
In September 2006, they were voted by the general public as number 2 in a poll of TV’s Greatest Stars.
The winner os that particular ITV title was David Jason.