TOO NAKED FOR THE NAZIS
THE TRUE STORY OF WILSON, KEPPEL & BETTY
Wilson, Keppel and
Betty. They sound like a firm of solicitors and look like a bunch of
Tutankhamenís hieroglyphs that suddenly fancied a boogie. To many they
are the epitome of the bizarre speciality act, shuffling through silver
sands during the golden era of British variety. They inspired Morecambe
and Wise, Legs & Co, the Chuckle Brothers. But what do we know about
the Englishman and Irishman who clog-danced round America, returned home
with two fezzes and a Cleopatra from Kansas, and proceeded to walk like
three Egyptians? Precious little.
Until now. This
lovingly pieced together story of their lives, onstage and off, reveals
for the first time the flirtatious Irish dandy with the dicky ticker,
the scruffy Liverpudlian party animal, and the teenage tearaway turned
tap-shoed temptress who abruptly changed career and became a frequently
outspoken war reporter. Their dancing outraged Hermann Goering; years
later, in Nuremberg, Goering performed while Betty wrote the reviews.
Alan Stafford has
ransacked dusty attics, thumbed crumbling newspapers and buttonholed
countless experts and colleagues to discover the trioís hidden past.
Heís unearthed rare photos, and movies that were presumed lost. And
heís tracked down and interviewed three women from the long dynasty of
Wilson and Keppelís subsequent Bettys.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
When not obsessing over skinny sand dancers
and sexy showgirls, Alan Stafford writes for comedy performers such as
Mitchell & Webb, Punt & Dennis, Jones without Smith, Sue without Mel,
two-thirds of the Goodies and both the Two Ronnies (25 years apart).
He has scripted radio documentaries for Lee Mack (about Sid James),
Jimmy Carr (about Kenneth Horne), Toby Jones (about the movie Peeping
Tom), Barbara Windsor (about two skinny sand dancers and a sexy
showgirl), and an epic seven-parter for Tony Hawks, concerning comedy
characters who are talked about but never turn up.
His attempts at serious drama have featured Bill Nighy being sworn at in
sign language and Matt Lucas auditioning vacuum cleaners. He is
currently transforming thousands of puns and smutty gags into a
non-Booker-prizewinning novel. Alan used to find it impossible to write
about himself in the third person, but now Iíve totally got the hang of