George Formby's Dallas 'C' banjolele,

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Lot 123
George Formby's Dallas 'C' banjolele,

£ 20,000 - 30,000
US$ 27,000 - 40,000
George Formby's Dallas 'C' banjolele,
with impressed serial no. 2364, in shaped case, an envelope attached inside inscribed in Formby's hand Uke in D Low, also with five song titles written in pencil on a scrap of paper by Formby, Window Cleaner, Serves you right, Lampost, Blackpool Rock, Growing Lad, a set of 1940s' strings by Keech 'Made expressly for Mr. George Formby', and the original vellum

Footnotes

  • George Formby was born George Hoy Booth in 1904, in Wigan, Lancashire, the son of a successful music hall comedian. George’s early career was as a jockey but, following his father’s death in 1921, he became a music hall performer himself, drawing on his father’s material. He took up playing the ukulele as a hobby but, after incorporating it into his act, it subsequently became his trademark. His cheeky, happy, but somewhat accident-prone persona, endeared him to audiences but it was his unique musical style that really established him as a superstar of his day. His catchy songs contained lyrics which were often laden with double entendre and these were accompanied by his highly individual, syncopated style of banjolele playing. Some of his songs were deemed to be too risqué for broadcast and the 1937 composition, 'With My Little Stick Of Blackpool Rock', was banned by the BBC. His other most famous songs include 'Leaning On A Lamppost', 'When I'm Cleaning Windows' and 'Chinese Laundry Blues'.

    His first successful record had been in 1932 and a film appearance in 1934 led to a further eleven with Associated Talking Pictures, earning him what was then the huge income of £100,000 a year. He became British cinema’s top box-office draw and during the War entertained the troops in Europe and North Africa. He was awarded the OBE in 1946. He died in March 1961 following a heart attack and an estimated 100,000 mourners lined the streets too pay their last respects as his coffin was driven from the funeral in Liverpool for burial in nearby Warrington.

    The George Formby Society was formed just a few months later, in September 1961, to keep his name alive and has attracted members worldwide. George Harrison was a great fan and was a former owner of one of the three Formby instruments offered here.

    This Dallas banjolele was originally sold at the auction held at George Formby's home, 'Beryldene' in Lytham St. Annes, in June 1961. In the catalogue of auctioneers J. Entwistle & Co., it was listed as lot 449 and was purchased by Frank Formby, George's brother. Subsequent owners include William Logan, Founder-President of the George Formby Society and Alan Randall, well-known George Formby impersonator. The instrument is sold with background documentation.
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