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The day pop legend Gladys Knight blew me a kiss in Las Vegas 150 150 mhamer

The day pop legend Gladys Knight blew me a kiss in Las Vegas

Jimmy Cricket's Lancashire Evening Post column

Jimmy Cricket has been remembering the one and only time he went to Las Vegas – where a music legend blew him a kiss!

In his Lancashire Evening Post column for April, the well-known comedian, 70, recalls his visit about 15 years ago to the United States city of Vegas, famed for its gambling and endless entertainment.

Having entertained passengers on the flight across the Atlantic, Jimmy says he and Mrs Cricket went to see Gladys Knight in concert.

Known as the “Empress of Soul”, she is an American singer–songwriter and actress. She is best known for the hits she recorded during the 1960s and 1970s with her group Gladys Knight & the Pips, which also included her brother and two cousins.

Jimmy says in his column: “At the end of her set, Gladys walked along shaking hands with any members of the audience that went to the front of the stage.

“With a bit of coaxing from Mrs Cricket, I made a bee line towards the great lady. Unfortunately I didn’t quite get the timing right. As I thrust my hand towards the stage Gladys moved on. I missed her hand by a second. As my outstretched hand stood suspended in mid-air in the full glare of the spotlight, I felt the eyes of the whole audience was up on me.

“Then just before she disappeared into the wings, Gladys looked over to notice what had happened and, in a moment that is forever etched in my memory, she blew me a kiss!”

* Jimmy is appearing at the Lyndene Hotel in Blackpool every Wednesday and Saturday until the end of May.

Keith Harris: ‘Great showman – we salute you’ 150 150 mhamer

Keith Harris: ‘Great showman – we salute you’

Jimmy Cricket appeared on Keith Harris’s holiday laughter show (with Orville and Cuddles) at the Royal Opera House in the summer of 1982

Jimmy Cricket has been paying tribute in his latest newspaper column to ventriloquist Keith Harris, who died last month.

Keith, who, with his puppet duck Orville, became a regular feature of Saturday night TV in the 1980s, was 67.

He entertained generations of children with his sidekick Orville, a bright green duck who wore a nappy and spoke in a high-pitched voice but couldn’t fly. He also gave life to the popular puppet Cuddles the monkey, whose catchphrase was ‘I hate that duck!’

In addition to fronting The Keith Harris Show on BBC One, he (and Orville) gave private performances at birthday parties for Prince William and his brother Harry, at the request of Diana, Princess of Wales.

His 1982 single, Orville’s Song, was a top five hit, selling more than 400,000 copies.

In his May column for the Preston-based Lancashire Evening News, Jimmy says: “Most ventriloquists that are successful discover one dummy that tickles people’s funny bone, but Keith was blessed with two.

“In 1983, holidaymakers were still visiting our summer resorts en masse and Keith’s show was a sellout from start to finish.

“Keith Harris – you weren’t just a superb ventriloquist, you were a great showman and producer.

“We salute you.”

Johnny Vegas to also feature in film 150 150 mhamer

Johnny Vegas to also feature in film

Johnny Vegas is appearing in the Womble film

Famous actor and comedian Johnny Vegas is to appear in the Womble movie, which is being filmed on location in North Wales and also features entertainer Jimmy Cricket. 

St Helens-born Johnny is well known for his appearances in the hit ITV comedy drama Benidorm and also for popping up in adverts for tea brand PG Tips with a stuffed puppet monkey!

His addition to the cast is another major coup for the people behind Womble the movie, as it also includes top comedian Jimmy, 69, who will play himself as a talent contest judge.

The film is about a man called Aloysius Rupert Womble (played by actor and comedian Tom Spencer), who is in his 30s and living with Asperger’s Syndrome in a typical seaside resort town.

Children and adults affected by Asperger’s Syndrome have difficulty with social interactions and exhibit a restricted range of interests and/or repetitive behaviours.

Aloysius’s dream is to become a stand-up comedian. The film is a week-long snapshot of his life as he goes through the trials of living with a cognitive disorder, while dealing with the injustices forced upon him by society and parts of his community.

Over the seven-day period he prepares for the biggest night of his life – a talent show in his local pub.

The film will feature songs from the Beautiful South’s former lead singer Briana Corrigan and American Pie star Thomas Nicholas, as well as a string of original songs written by songwriters especially for the movie.

My movie debut – as a dream maker 150 150 mhamer

My movie debut – as a dream maker

Jimmy Cricket's column in the Lancashire Evening Post

Jimmy Cricket says he is looking forward to his role as a talent show judge on his  forthcoming silver screen debut.

But the famous veteran entertainer insists he will not be like Simon Cowell in The X Factor, telling readers of the Preston-based Lancashire Evening Post in his monthly column he will be a “dream maker, not a dream breaker”.

Womble, one of the biggest independent movies to be made in North Wales, is being shot over the summer and will be set for release in 2016.

It is about a man called Aloysius Rupert Womble (played by actor and comedian Tom Spencer) who is in his 30s and living with Asperger’s Syndrome in a typical seaside resort town.

Children and adults affected by Asperger’s Syndrome have difficulty with social interactions and exhibit a restricted range of interests and/or repetitive behaviours.

Aloysius’s dream is to become a stand-up comedian. The film is a week-long snapshot of his life as he goes through the trials of living with a cognitive disorder, while dealing with the injustices forced upon him by society and parts of his community.

Over the seven-day period he prepares for the biggest night of his life – a talent show in his local pub.

Jimmy says in the Lancashire Evening Post: “Hopefully, the film will be shown in 2016 at the Cannes Film Festival.”

‘Man in wellies & battered hat saves the day’ 150 150 mhamer

‘Man in wellies & battered hat saves the day’

Jimmy Cricket's latest column in the Lancashire Evening Post

Jimmy Cricket has been reminiscing about the era of the comedy song and how he hopes he has helped keep it alive.

In his latest column for the Preston-based Lancashire Evening Post, the famous entertainer recalls “the many comedy and novelty songs that used to permeate the airwaves in the 50s and 60s”.

He adds: “Commercial radio stations all have playlists now. This means they only play songs that appeal to younger audiences , which companies who advertise with them deem to be possible customers. That’s how the commercial radio stations make their money.

Jimmy Cricket's Light & Shade

“However, you can still hear comedy and novelty songs on BBC radio stations, especially on their request shows.

“However, fear not dear readers.

“Just when you thought the comedy song was a footnote in the history of popular music, along comes the man in the wellies and the battered hat to save the day!

“Yes, my new CD called Light & Shade contains gems like ‘my budgie’s been tweeting for years’ and ‘I got blotto when I thought I’d won the lotto’.”

Light & Shade was officially released on 1 February and is available for £6 at www.jimmycricketshop.co.uk and at Jimmy’s live shows.

In the inside sleeve, Jimmy talks about the history behind the CD, which features a mixture of serious and comedy songs.

‘It was like the club circuit in the 1970s & 80s’ 150 150 mhamer

‘It was like the club circuit in the 1970s & 80s’

Jimmy Cricket appeared in the St Pat’s event at the Freckleton Sports and Social Club

Jimmy Cricket felt like he had gone back in time when he performed at a Lancashire venue recently.

The St Pat’s event featured famous entertainer Jimmy alongside the comedian Tony Jo at the Freckleton Sports and Social Club, just outside the city of Preston.

It was a fund-raiser to raise money for the cancer unit at the Victoria Hospital in Blackpool.

The event, which was held on a Sunday afternoon, was packed to the rafters.

Jimmy is performing more and more on a Sunday afternoon and is finding they are a popular time for people to attend a live event.

He said: “What made this afternoon even more enjoyable was that the atmosphere was more akin to the club circuit back in the 1970s and 1980s. I was very impressed with the set-up at this venue in Freckleton.”

Jimmy Cricket appeared in the St Pat’s event at the Freckleton Sports and Social Club

The time I nearly met a footballing legend 150 150 mhamer

The time I nearly met a footballing legend

Jimmy Cricket talks about how he nearly met the late Sir Tom Finney in his latest Lancashire Evening Post newspaper column

Jimmy Cricket recalls in his latest newspaper column the time he nearly met a footballing legend.

The well-known comedian says in the Lancashire Evening Post that he was asked to do the corporate entertainment a few years ago at Deepdale, home of Preston North End for whom Sir Tom Finney made 473 competitive appearances, scoring 210 goals.

Tony Jo, a friend and fellow comedian, said during the evening that he would go and get Sir Tom so Jimmy could meet him.

However, Sir Tom was not feeling too well and had to go home early.

Jimmy recalls: “My big moment to meet a remarkable man and footballer, who had done so much for his home town of Preston, had gone.”

Sir Tom, who scored 30 goals in 76 appearances for England, died 12 months ago aged 91.