I Saw That!

One woman's opinions about popular entertainment.

My Photo
Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Amateur boxing coach, Christian (but not so heavenly-minded that I'm no earthly good) singer, writer, self-defense advocate, childfree. feminist www.smartwomenboxingtraining.org

Friday, March 30, 2007

"The Benny Hill Show" (1969-1989)

Born Alfred Hawthorn Hill, Benny Hill was one of those comedians that people either liked or didn't like. A lot of women disliked Hill, accusing him of being sexist due to the content of many of the jokes on his long running TV series in the United Kingdom. American audiences were introduced to Hill via re-runs of his shows from the 1960's and 1970s, but the comedian had shows on British television since 1955, starting on the BBC, before moving over to Thames Television.

Benny Hill was the master of naughty innuendo, often giving the audience an innocent, but knowing look after a joke. He was a rotund, cherub-faced guy, who could do many characters and many accents. He did a pretty good American accent, as evidenced in a sketch "Murder On The Omaha Express" where Hill impersonated TV detectives (Kojak, McCloud, Cannon, Ironside) that were popular on American television at the time.

His shows consisted of filmed and taped sketches and clever, comedic songs. Hill skewered social norms, history, celebrities, political trends, movies, etc., using camera effects and music. Sometimes, things did veer into bad taste. A buxom woman, sitting on Hill's lap in one sketch, remarked, "I always give tit for tat." Hill eyed her chest and exclaimed, "Tat! Tat!" The comic would appear in blackface on ocassion (and sometimes his cast would, too) and use an exaggerated African-American accent. There was a sketch, however, where Hill played a pastor talking with an African man, in what seemed a condescending manner. A camera trick then made it appear that the African man was white, and Hill was African, making Hill's character look like the underhanded, foolish person the pastor really was, while pointing up similiarities between both men.

The comedian also appeared in films such as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1969) and The Italian Job (1969). The band Genesis used Hill in a music video for their song "Everything She Does" (1986).

Benny Hill died of a heart attack at his home in 1992. Many rumors swirled around about his personal life, including a claim that Hill was quite the playboy. But he kept his professional and personal life separate, up to the end.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home