"Everybody's saying that television is here to stay. I don't know.
The hire purchase company is taking mine back tomorrow!"
Big Bad Mouse at the Opera House, Liverpool
Ian Mcardle recalled this great story
Eric Sykes and Jimmy Edwards were appearing in this play and Tommy dropped in on the pair at the Adelphi Hotel bar. Eric and Jimmy's curtain-up time drew near, and they had to leave, but not before they had concocted a most outrageous plan. Tommy would make a surprise appearance on stage with them. The audience were thoroughly enjoying a most unusual play, when out of the wings strode the genial funnyman, looking around as if he had made a slight mistake - wrong theatre, wrong time, even wrong city!! 'Sorry,' rumbled Tommy, 'wrong theatre.' The audience was in hysterics.
'Never mind. I'll show you a little trick,' he said, and took a piece of rope from his pocket, flicked it, looked disappointed, shrugged his shoulders and said, 'Ah well! that trick never does work. Bye.' He then proceeded to walk off stage. Eric waited for the laughter to die down, gave a little cough, and went on with, 'Right. Where are we?'
After a Royal Command Performance Tommy was intoduced to Queen Elizabeth II
"Do you think I was funny?" Tommy asked.
"Yes Tommy," replied the Queen.
"You really thought I was funny?", Tommy asked.
"Yes of course I thought you were funny" said the Queen.
"Did your Mother think I was funny?" Tommy asked.
Queen, "Yes, Tommy...we both thought you were funny."
"Do you mind if I ask you a personal question?" Tommy asked. Her Majesty.
"No, ........." replied the Queen, "...but I might not be able to give you a full answer."
"Do you like football?" asked Tommy.
"Well not really" said the Queen.'
"In that case, ..." said Tommy, "....do you mind if I have your Cup Final Tickets?'"
A friend of mine worked at the old Allinson's night club in Liverpool as a bouncer. Tommy was engaged there for a week and it was sold out. After his final performance of the week Tommy went to the bouncers to talk to and thank them for there help during his engagement. "Thanks boys," he said, "Have a drink on me." and shook my friends hand firmly and pressed an object into his hand. My friend assumed it was a fiver. A tip perhaps for his good work during the week. It was a tea bag!!!
In March 1977, at a Variety Club lunch in honour of Tommy's 30 years in showbiz, He stood up in front of 400 guests. On cue, each one of them reached into their pocket and pulled out a fez which they stuck on top of their heads. Tom looked at them all for a moment, then, without saying a word, reached into his own pocket, pulled out a fishermans cap and put it on. The whole place fell about.
An unbelievable story
In Exeter, believe it or not, they refused to honour Tommy. The Civic Society bosses turned down a chance to put a Blue plaque on Tommy's childhood home. Chairperson Hazel Harvey said, 'Tommy Cooper just came and went. We go for more cultural people - like the man who wrote Onward Christian soldiers.' 'Mmmmm and what was his name again?
Barry Cryer, recalled this
A marvellous story about Tommy when he was doing his Army service. He was on sentry duty and he fell asleep standing up by the side of his sentry box. He literally went and he opened half an eye and in front of him was his Commanding Officer and the Regimental Sergeant Major. And Tommy thought .... oh and then closed his eyes and then he opened his eyes once again and said, 'AMEN.'
Robert Agar-Hutton, UK
Many years ago I was an accountant and one of our clients was a large menswear shop in Shaftesbury Avenue, London. Whilst visiting the client to do their annual accounts I was regaled with the tale of how Tommy Cooper had been in recently to buy a suit. He tried the suit on and turned to the staff who were attending him and said 'Do you mind if I take it for a walk around the block' - 'Of course not, Mr Cooper' was the reply... At which point Tommy 'magically' produced a small block of wood, placed it on the floor, walked around it and said 'I'll buy it' - Exit Tommy with suit and staff in stitches.
Eric Sykes, recalled
We were making a film together and had decided to meet in a pub near the studios at noon. "So noon comes and goes and there's no sign of Tommy." The pub is beginning to fill up and Eric, who is a stickler for punctuality, is getting very annoyed. It's now 12.15 and Eric is telling the producer that when Tom does arrive he's going to get a very big piece of Eric's mind. At 12.45, the pub is totally full by now, the front door swings open and standing there is Tommy Cooper wearing a bowler hat and a pair of pyjamas...he walks up to their table and says, "I'm sorry I'm late. I couldn't get up."
Steve Barclay, UK Pantodame (Left)
I was about 14 and went on stage with Tommy to help with a trick with rope through my jacket. This was in Torquay and Peter Hudson was helping ...through the mayhem Tommy and Peter were laughing up stage, and the trick REALLY went wrong. Tommy did a cod faint, and when he was down I heard him say to the band in the pit "Play us off quick." They did and that was the first half over. I went in his dressing room, and got a signed cartoon and a pen saying STOLEN FROM TOMMY COOPER. Last year I did a show called Funny Guys and used that very same dressing room. Small world I loved him, I was working with Danny La Rue at Weston-super-Mare and Tommy's widow came to see us.
Graham Wetton, incident at Qatar customs hall 1983
The actual incident didn’t involve Tommy but he thought it was hilarious.
Tommy’s contract stipulated an air-conditioned limousine from the airport to the hotel. I had an old Suzuki SJ40 with no roof or doors. Knowing that Tom was a practical joker, the intention was to turn up at the airport and tell him that the Suzuki was a Japanese air-conditioned limousine. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to collect the Suzuki before he arrived.
We had booked him into the Doha Sheraton as the hotel didn’t have a bar. Ordinarily, we booked people into our own (Qatar General Petroleum Corporation) SSBQ (Senior Staff Bachelor Quarters) at the Falcon Club (the Senior Staff Club) where the entertainment happened and which had the only legal bar in Qatar. Based on what we had heard, we opted to put the two Tommy’s and the road manager (Kevin) in the Sheraton (away from the bar).
A chap called Chris Thornton and I, went to meet Tom at the airport in the days of the old airport when it was possible to see into the customs hall. He came through in a loud sports jacket accompanied by Tom Junior. We said “welcome to Doha, how was the show in Abu Dhabi?" To which he replied “Dunno, didn’t see it,” and carried on walking. The driver from the Sheraton took over and we waited for Kevin the Road Manager.
In the customs hall, we saw the customs official going through Tommy’s trunks (full of tricks). He was pulling out the plants that bush out when released and the counter was getting to look like a jungle.
Then we saw Kevin juggling 3 balls, the customs official clap his hands and wave Kevin through with the trunks.
Apparently, the customs were searching, found the balls and asked Kevin what they were to which Kevin replied “balls”. Unperturbed by this response, the customs official said “but what for” at which point Kevin (who was a bit of a juggler) proceeded to juggle the balls. This delighted the customs official who clapped, put the customary chalk cross on the trunk and waved Kevin through.
Tommy thought that it was hilarious when he found out.
The material that he had the magic cloak made out of was only used on stage as a frame for doing the “left leg up, right leg up, both legs up routine”. Everyone was convinced that he was hiding behind the screen when the curtains opened to the “I’m in the dressing room”.
He was a true gentleman, we were on annual leave and witnessed his collapse at the Palladium when he passed away. I understand that Tom Junior has also passed away.
We looked after many entertainers playing at the Falcon Club and will always remember Tommy.
The other thing I will always remember was being down in the “Souq” with Tom O’Connor and his road manager Tony Birmingham. Tom had bought a suitcase and Tony was trying to sell it to women in black abbayas……with a Jewish accent?