Monday 20 April 2015

Carry On, Jack?

I love the Carry On films without exception. Well maybe all except England...and Emmannuelle...and maybe Columbus. Ok, so they weren't perfect. Like the actual films, there were some of the Carry On cast I preferred over others.

For example I was always disappointed if a Carry On didn't feature Joan Sims, Peter Butterworth or Kenneth Williams. However, the combined talents of the other regular cast members normally meant the disappointment was short lived. There was one member of the cast in particular who unfortunately I never really enjoyed. I know Jack Douglas was a seasoned performer in other areas of comedy, but for me he never really fitted in with the rest of the Carry On team. 

Although some count him as a main team member I have always seen him as a supporting actor, coming in as he did just as the popularity of the Carry Ons was starting to wain. While he provides decent support to Kenneth Williams in Carry On Dick and gets to "play it straight" in Emmannuelle, I quickly grew tired of his twitching "Alf" act in the other films. As his roles in the series began to get bigger, we saw less of the likes of Peter Butterworth and Joan Sims while actors like Patsy Rowlands never really got the star billing they deserved.

I think part of my issue with Jack is that he joined the films at a time when perhaps the best of the series had passed. Maybe I therefore link him with the inevitable decline of my favourite comedy films. I also think he provided an unsatisfactory stop gap for the hole left by Jim Dale when he moved on from the Carry Ons in the late 1960s. Jim's role as the handsome, athletic romantic lead was never really filled after his departure which was a great shame. 

We had the likes of Julian Holloway, Richard O'Callaghan, Kenneth Cope and later Patrick Mower, but none of these actors really captured the spirit of our Jim. Douglas also came into his own after the departure of series favourite Charles Hawtrey which was a wrench for many of us devoted to the Carry Ons.

Perhaps I am being unfair, I don't know, but in my opinion Jack Douglas just didn't fit in with the Carry On series. What do you think?

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