Britain's Most Loved and Best Comedy Double Act

Strike a New Note

Feature from 2021


Spelling error
For many Morecambe and Wise fans, collecting memorabilia is a lifelong hobby. Some items take a lifetime to find, some are just pure tat, but worth a laugh. Theatre programs are an easy one to get into and there are many to choose from online.

Surprisingly one of the easiest to get is one of their earliest: Strike a New Note. This was a show that Eric and Ernie joined in 1943 and ran from 18th March 1943 to 15th April 1944. It was put on at the Prince of Wales theatre, London.

Strike a New Note was a variety show put on by George Black. Eric and Ernie auditioned for him and were hired as extras in the show and not as a double act. There were though on standby if the shows second comedian, Alec Pleon, was unable to perform.

As the show was constantly evolving, sketches added and removed it is no surprise that the program changed many times. At the time of writing, we are aware of five different programs. Some are of collector's interest, some not so much. Unfortunately, it is not possible to know the exact order of the programs but we can make some educated guesses. The programs also show a regular change in the supporting cast and sketches. By looking at these we can best guess the which programs are close to each other.

Program 01
The first half shows Ernie starring with Alec Pelon in a sketch called "Careless Talk".
Eric and Ernie are in the end of the first half sketches and the second half sketch "The Saga of Susannah".

Program 02
Has the same cast as program 01 both shows Eric and Ernie in the first half sketch.
The "Careless talk" sketch now only lists Alec Pleon and "The Saga of Susannah" is still in the second half.
It is possible that these 2 programs could be the other way around. As we will see, the "Careless Talk" sketch continues to only list Alec Pleon, so it would be reasonable to conclude that the supporting cast listing were removed to allow anyone to star in it at a moments notice.

Program 03
There has been a few supporting cast changes. Eric and Ernie are still in the first half sketches. The "Careless talk" sketch only lists Alec Pleon and "The Saga of Susannah" is still in the second half.
The difference is a spelling mistake. Eric's name is mis-spelt in the first half. It is spelt Morecombe. This is not the first spelling change Sonny and Sonnie for example.

Program 04
Eric and Ernie continue to star in the first half sketches. The "Careless talk" sketch only lists Alec Pelon again and "The Saga of Susannah" has been removed from the second half all together.

Program 05
Eric appears on his own, there is no mention or Ernie in this program. This will have been after 27th Nov 1943 as this was when Ernie turned 18 and got his call up papers. Eric continued to perform in Strike A New Note after Ernie left.

It is reasonable to assume that there may be more variations of this program out there. We will continue to look for them!

© 2021

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Programmes and Magazines
As Eric and Ern travelled around doing shows in many towns and cities, they had to have programmes for the public to purchase. They also appeared various magazines and TV guides. Here are a few examples.