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Gotta be my favorite...

24.  Fred Karno Jr. (actor)

        Date of birth (location): 27 July 1891, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire

Fred Wescott, better known as Fred Karno, transformed the music hall by creating a riot of laughter out of chaos, originating the custard pie in the face.

The poor lad who left Nottingham for a tough apprenticeship as an acrobat in Victorian show business rose through flair and persistence to be one of the greatest impresarios and showmen in the world.

The British Army sang songs about him and his name was often mentioned in the House of Commons to describe a muddle somewhere.

Fred Karno's Army, meaning a chaotic outfit, became enshrined in the English language.

"We Are Fred Karno's Army" was sung to the melody of "Aurelia", otherwise known as "The Church's One Foundation", by Samuel S Wesley, 1864.

We are Fred Karno's army,

We are the ragtime infantry.

We cannot fight, we cannot shoot,

What bleeding use are we?

And when we get to Berlin

We'll hear the Kaiser say,

"Hoch, hoch! Mien Gott, what a bloody rotten lot,

Are the ragtime infantry."

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Fred Karno - the stage name of Frederick John Westcott (March 26, 1866 - September 18, 1941) - was a theatre impressario.

Among the young comedians who worked for him were Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel. These were what was known as "Fred Karno's army", a phrase still occasionally in use in the UK.

He went bankrupt in 1926.

His houseboat, the Astoria, on the Thames at Hampton, Middlesex, is now used as a recording studio by Pink Floyd's David Gilmour.


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  • 2 years later...

I remember my mum going on about," It's like Fred Karnos army in here" never did know what she meant.

By the way which D.O.B. is correct?

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