Sir Norman Joseph Wisdom, OBE (1915 - 2010) was raised in extreme poverty and by the age of 11 he ended up in a children's home in Deal from which he ran away. He left school at 13 and was later made homeless after disagreements with his father and apparently walked to Wales to join the Merchant Navy in 1929. He later also worked as a coal miner, waiter and page boy.
Wisdom enlisted into the army as a drummer boy and, in 1930, was posted to Lucknow as a bandsman. The army helped him gain an education, he learned to play the trumpet, the clarinet, to ride horses and become the flyweight boxing champion of the British Army in India.
It was while performing a shadow boxing routine in the army gym, which brought so much amusement to his officers, that Wisdom discovered he had a talent for entertainment. He then began to develop his skills as a musician and stage entertainer and he first patented his persona as "The Successful Failure".
Wisdom's debut as a professional entertainer was working as a straight man to magician, David Nixon, where he adopted his trademark dishevelled look of tweed flat cap with upturned peak, an over-tight suit and a squint tie. The same year Wisdom appeared on TV and was soon commanding enormous audiences.
Steve's talk will describe Norman's rise to fame and fortune and include facts about his appearance on a film, where Norman "helps" a magician on stage!
Covering all of the UK including Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Lancashire and Norfolk
Steve's way of telling the story kept us all enthralled
"The Norman Wisdom talk was enjoyed by young and old. It was a fascinating trip through this much-loved personalities career and brought to life by magic and pictures. Steve's way of telling the story kept us all enthralled, and we would, without a doubt, ask him back. It was a delightful evening that everyone is still talking about."
Gill Hingham - W.I President
Born of a family of magicians, Jasper Maskelyne was a successful stage magician in the 1930s and 1940s, who, during the last war, was alleged to have been drafted into MI9, a secret department of the British Military Intelligence.
Harry Houdini is probably the world's most famous magician and escapologist. Born Erik Weisz in Budapest in 1874 he moved to to The States with his family in 1878.
David Nixon was the best known magician in the UK in the 1960s and 70s and one of the most popular personalities on British televison. Nixon was the inspiration for Steve Short's career as a professional magician.
Using photographs and video clips Steve will bring to life the story of how these two great comedians met to become Britain's best ever double act.
The world's most famous double act, Laurel & Hardy, started during the early Hollywood period of American cinema. Englishman, skinny Stan Laurel and the plump American, Oliver Hardy
I went to the doctor; he said "I'd like you to lie on the couch". I said: "What for?" He said: "I want to sweep the floor." .