Dave Willis (1895-1973)

Dave Willis (1895-1973)

This collection includes photographs, presscuttings and programmes

Early appearances with his conjuror brothers, then an engagement as a 13 year old chorus boy in the Theatre Royal Pantomime led to concert party appearances for Dave Willis during the First World War. He then worked in cine-variety until his breakthrough came in the early thirties when he got regular work in pantomime in Glasgow. A genial, slightly bemused style of comedy characterised his 'little' man style of comedy; as well as performing a series of diverting comic songs, he was a master of comic mime and movement, peopling an empty stage in such classic sketches as 'The Lonesome Lancers' where he danced a whole set and conjured up all his partners. His best loved solo was 'In my wee Gas Mask' as 'the nicest looking warden in the A.R.P.' He convulsed wartime audiences night after night. In his dressing room, Dave passed the time by painting on the lids of cigar boxes.

His son Denny is a star in his own right, a master of comedy and mime.

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