Saturday, May 19, 2012

HENDRA AND ULLETT mash Hamlet and Sonny & Cher

Tony Hendra's already on this blog; he impersonated John Lennon on "Magical Misery Tour," the musical parody based on Lennon's shockingly frank Rolling Stone interviews done at the time of his primal scream therapy and first album.

Actually, Tony began satirizing the rock world much earlier. After working with John Cleese and Graham Chapman in the "Cambridge University Footlights Revue," the pudgy blond teamed with dark-haired straight man Nick Ullett. They recorded "To Be Or Not To Be, Babe" a spitting satire on the pretentiousness of the folk-rock movement. Hamlet's soliloquy got jangled by music that tweaked The Byrds, Dylan and Sonny & Cher.

Thanks to the popularity of "The British Invasion," Hendra and Ullett turned up on "The Ed Sullivan Show," though not on any show The Beatles were on. Their routine on American baseball was very funny and they managed to get an album released in America (ok, on the London Records label). The liner notes were credited to (if not actually written by) Jackie Mason: "…It's an amazing thing how all the [British] Entertainers are taking over in this country: The Beatles, Anthony Newley, Tessie O'Shea, and now Hendra and Ullett. We used to send Bundles to Britain. Now they're coming over here and making their own bundles!"

The album includes "To Be Or Not To Be, 1964" recorded live. You get this as well as the original "To Be Or Not To Be Babe" single. Neither the single nor the album made bundles for Hendra and Ullett. Hendra worked at both the National Lampoon and Spy magazine, wrote a history of edgy comedy ("Going Too Far') and ghosted George Carlin's autobiography.

Nick found success working at the J. Walter Thompson ad agency, but returned to acting in the 80's. In 1986 he married Jenny O'Hara. At the time of Hendra & Ullett's recording career, Jenny was a young actress hoping for a hit in Allan Sherman's Broadway musical "The Fig Leaves are Falling." She later co-starred on "My Sister Sam" with Pam Dawber. O'Hara and Ullett have appeared together on the soap opera "As The World Turns," and last year on stage in Los Angeles, in the play "Bakersfield Mist."

To Be Or Not To Be, Babe

To Be Or Not To Be, 1964

No capcha codes or dumbass ads for video games and bogus dating services, or demands that you pay premium to join a sleazy Eurotrash "cloud" run by some fat Kim Dotcom wannabe criminal who wants to rip off artists for their own profit.

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