I have made a video of my grandfather, forgotten Brummie comedian Frank Cardoe, performing his song “Someone Stuffed a Crumpet up me Trumpet”:
The pictures in the video of him in front of audiences date from various performances in the 1950s.
I’m guessing the performance bug bit Frank at an early age- he is one of the children (dressed as a girl, for some reason) in the following picture:
He started as a professional performer in concert parties (also called ‘Pierrot Parties’) in the 1920s. To be honest, I’m not too sure which one he is in the following couple of photos (I’m guessing he’s not the girl in these, however):
Following this, he was half of a long-standing comedy double act, Cardoe and Ivan, throughout the 1930s. No pictures are known to exist of them, unfortunately; only a couple of posters and concert programmes:
By the 1940s, he was a solo performer and popular enough- in Birmingham at least- to be billed as “Frank Cardoe – nuff said” and “Birmingham’s own comedian”.
Here are a couple of Wartime benefit concerts he performed in at the Aston Hippodrome:
* * *
Frank would perform several times a week in various venues in Birmingham and the Black Country, all the while holding down a full-time job with Yates Seeds.
The audio we have is from some time in the mid 1950s and forms part of the only known recording of his act, the rest of which is below:
The Only Job He Ever Had (Stand-up routine)
My Name is Frank Cardoe (Song)
It was recorded- by chance- at a hospital charity benefit, at about the same time as he turned down a serious offer for TV work from London Weekend Television on the grounds that he didn’t want to spend time away from his family (a wife and two young daughters), down in “that London”.
I have previously written about Frank, and how Cardew Robinson came to re-record ‘Someone Stuffed a Crumpet up me Trumpet’ (under somewhat dubious circumstances) here.
Apart from the recording and the pictures, there is a scan of some of Frank’s ideas for jokes as he jotted them down (he only performed his own material, something that was pretty rare at that time):
Sadly, Frank died rather prematurely in 1970, just a month or two before my sister was born. A photo of him shortly before he passed away, shows a relaxed and happy soul, sitting in a deckchair in the garden, enjoying a rare bit of English sunshine: