Britain's Most Loved and Best Comedy Double Act

Fame in a Night for 13-Year-Old ‘Max Miller’

1939 Article

Ernie and Jack Hylton

Young Ernie
Fresh oop fra’ Yorkshire this week, a 13-year-old boy made a surprise debut on the London stage – his first professional appearance – in “Band Waggon” at the Princes’ Theatre last night.

His name is Ernest Wiseman, but, said Mr. Jack Hylton, introducing him, “he’s going to be famous; so we’ll call him Ernie Wise.”

This 4ft-and-a-bit singer and dancer had not been announced to appear.

He came on without a sign of nerves, full of Yorkshire cockiness, sang – in a voice that made microphones unnecessary – “I’m Knee-Deep in Daisies” and “Let’s Have a Tiddly at the Milk Bar,” cracked a pair of North Country jokes, and did a whirlwind step dance, with terrific aplomb and efficiency.

Ernie is a sort of Yorkshire Max Miller, tilts his battered bowler over his eye, has a wicked wink.

He is the son of a railway porter from Ardsley, who taught him a few dance steps when he was three, and a mother who plays the piano.


Most of his astonishing technique was picked up from films and touring comedians.

Off stage he gives an even better performance. He has been in London only since Tuesday, but nothing daunts him.

“Any brothers and sisters? Aye, two of each. They’re all younger than me,” he grins, “I’m the gaffer.”

“Who’s looking after me?” he slaps his chest and winks. “I can look after myself.”

He lives between Leeds and Wakefield. “Isn’t Wakefield the prison where they play cricket?” someone asked. “Aye.” He comes back without hesitation. “but warders always win!” But star or no star, he will have to go to school on Monday in London.

Our thanks to the Jack Hylton Archive for allowing us to use this article.

© Jack Hylton Archive 1939

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