Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Benny Hill

I'm a big fan of British comedy, and one of my favorite British comics was Benny Hill. When his tv show was syndicated in the U.S., it was on a local NY station every night for several years in the early 1980s.

I didn't know that Benny Hill's shows in England were originally one-hour specials, and they were cut and compiled into half-hours for distribution in the U.S.

I obtained Mr. Hill's home address in London in the summer of 1981, and wrote him, telling him how much I enjoyed his shows. In addition to requesting an autographed photo, I inquired about two of his cast members, whose names I did not know. He replied with this post-card sized photo, and this handwritten note on the back.

Unable to find addresses for the cast members I'd inquired about (Rita Webb and Jackie Wright), I wrote to Mr. Hill again, asking if he would pass along my request for photos to them.
He replied with this note, dated September 13, 1981:
"Dear Mr. Cappello,
I am sorry to have to tell you that Rita Webb died last month.
Jack Wright tells me that he never sends photos. I don't think he has any. But by all means write to him personally if you wish.
Yours sincerely, Benny Hill"
He also sent this signed 8x10 photo, a pose with some of his famous 'Hill's Angels'. The inscription reads: "To Bill, NOW will you practice?!! Yours, Benny Hill"

I did write a letter to Mr. Wright but never had a reply.

Here are a couple of pictures of the other two names mentioned: Rita Webb (as a bride), and Jackie Wright.


Anonymous said...

Here you can hear Benny Hill's Theme music put to a car chase.

ACcountryFan said...

I'm a fan of Benny Hill's, too! Although the DVD releases of his Thames programs (1969-1989) happened to be sold as a complete collection for a hefty price I've opted to purchase a couple of the disc's individually. I have a lot of the VHS tapes, too, but no longer have a functioning VCR. I never corresponded with him or anything. I simply like his style of comedy...from all time periods in his career. I cringe every time I see any negative criticism directed his way...especially if the criticisms are rooted in gossip, ignorance, and have a dose of smug condescension.