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Author Topic: Charles Hawtrey  (Read 208 times)
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chuffer
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« on: March 03, 2017, 00:34:20 AM »

Taking a walk round the streets of Deal this week I remembered to take my camera because the last time I did I saw one blue plaque

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Craggs
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« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2017, 16:48:50 PM »

Just spent a little while reading different accounts of Charles Hawtrey's life and death.  I was expecting to find nice accounts of a well respected star of stage and screen - but that doesn't appear to be anywhere close to the truth.

A biography of Hawtrey was written by Wes Butters and released in 2010.  It was titled "Whatshisname, The Life and Death of Charles Hawtrey" and reached the No 1 selling biography on Amazon.  The book was reviewed and then featured in The Sunday Express and reading the article was an eye opener - it opens with

"On the front wall of 117 Middle Street, an 18th-century smuggler’s cottage close to the seafront at Deal in Kent, is a blue plaque commemorating a household name. “Charles Hawtrey 1914-1988 – Film, Theatre, Radio and Television Actor Lived Here,” it reads – giving the impression that one of the town’s most famous past residents is a source of local pride. Nothing could be further from the truth. “It’s 22 years since he died and the landlord of the local pub will not have a photo of him behind the bar because the customers will not stand for it,” says Wes Butters, the former Radio 1 DJ who organised the plaque in 1998 and has now written the first comprehensive biography of the man remembered by millions for his mild-mannered comic persona in the Carry On films.  “They hate him, and it’s understandable" .......

To read the full review and article - the link is :

http://www.express.co.uk/expressyourself/169058/Charles-Hawtrey-The-Carry-On-clown-who-hated-everyone

A basic internet search on Charles Hawtrey results in quite a few other accounts which show him in a similar light.   I still like the old Carry On films - finding out something different about one of the cast won't make me change my opinion, I'll just think differently when I see the next one.  I still think he was a very good actor.
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Man of Kent1
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« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2017, 22:58:06 PM »

He was, indeed, a most unpleasant little man and I had personal knowledge of what he was capable of through a younger member of my family back in the early 1970's. 
When I finally found out where he was living I went down there to confront him but, fortunately for him (perhaps even for me!), he was away working on a film for several weeks.
The strange thing is that when I was a member of a local history site a few years ago his name cropped up in a post and I expressed my opinion about this man in no uncertain terms, and was roundly condemned by some other members!
It seems that he is still regarded as a charming, 'harmless' individual by some people in Deal!
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Man of Kent1
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« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2017, 23:04:11 PM »

I should mention that when I last saw the house it was painted pink!
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Man of Kent1
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« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2017, 22:47:33 PM »

I have now read the 'Express' article and all I can say is that, based on my own, personal knowledge of the situation and Hawtrey's behaviour, that, if the article is accurately reported and edited, the author is guilty of a number of inaccuracies including an inability to even get a name spelt correctly!
The author also failed to mention that Hawtrey had been in bed with a young man when the fire broke out in his home, the youth managing to escape via a window leaving Hawtrey to his fate.
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Craggs
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« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2017, 07:34:20 AM »

MoK

I posted the link to the Express article as it appeared.  It was one of a number that I could have selected - I  only chose that one as the book went to No 1 in the Amazon biography list.  Your comments, personal involvement and local knowledge hold a lot of weight and I absolutely respect what you have said - and also your attempt at summary justice !

Since 'chuffer' made the initial post and you posted your replies I have read quite a bit about Hawtrey and his off-screen behaviour.
 
There are quite a few other articles about Hawtrey, as I'm sure you and other readers are well aware. A number of them are clearly just 'cut and paste' but there are a few which do stand out, mainly extracts from books, which detail his life - especially in and around Deal.  Most are not complementary and even those written with a degree of sympathy or respect find it hard to camouflage his behaviour and social standing, or lack of it.  There is an underlying theme in most of these articles that indicates the media knew what he was like but didn't want to publish anything detrimental about him while he was still, in the general public's view, a popular entertainer.

The episode of the fire and the young male rent-boy is interesting.  Some accounts state that the two went to bed leaving a cigarette burning in an ash tray by the sofa which started the fire.  Other accounts state that the rent-boy deliberately started the fire because Hawtrey refused to pay him  !!!
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Man of Kent1
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« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2017, 09:07:47 AM »

Thanks for your kind comments, Craggs!
As some of you have probably guessed, I was related to one of Hawtrey's victims and was attempting to deal with a very difficult situation which had arisen between Hawtrey, supposedly an adult, and a naïve young person who suffered for the rest of his life from the problems he experienced because of that creature and who sadly killed himself in 1998 having only just got married a few months before.
He was a very unhappy chap.
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MichaelBully
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« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2017, 22:01:44 PM »

Fascinating thread, and sorry to hear what happened to a member of your family MoK.

Just had a look at 'Whatshisname, The Life and Death of Charles Hawtrey'  on 'Amazon UK' and seems to be selling at quite a respectable price , but looks like never made it to paperback.

Yes I admit to like some 'Carry On' films but after reading the Kenneth Williams' diaries some time ago realise that there was a darker side to all the camp facade as it were.
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