April 10th 1982
Eagle interview – Cannon and Ball
Comedy double-acts always come up with the most unlikely names. Little and Large changed
from plain Syd and Eddie some 10 years ago, Recently, a duo called Cheese and Onion has emerged, but Eagle is certain that the most popular double-act in show-business in 1982 will be Cannon and Ball.
Everyone knows you as Cannon and Ball now, but were there other names to begin with?
“We started out as a singing duo called the Shirrell Brothers,” says Bobby Ball, the one with the twitching legs. “Then we changed to the Harper Brothers. Daft, really, because we aren’t related – except by friendship – and we were getting absolutely nowhere as singers.”
So how did the final name change come about?
“We were working in northern clubs and doing far more comedy than singing,” puts in Tommy Cannon, “but the Harper Brothers was a nothing name on a bill – we could have been jugglers! Trouble was, we couldn’t think of a good name – so we sat down and just ‘threw’ names at each other until I said Cannon, and immediately Bobby shouted Ball. It still sounded silly, but the more we repeated it, the better it sounded!”
Britain has always produced top comedy acts like Morecambe and Wise, The Two Ronnies and Little and Large. What makes Cannon and Ball different?
“Well, like all acts, we struggled in the early days,” says Bobby, “but suddenly we seemed to arrive’ at the right time. We admire all the other double-acts, but we’ve copied no one. Our act is an extension of our friendship. We just go on stage and talk to each other!
It sounds simple, but what about the catch-phrases – and the scruffy suit, the braces and the shaking legs?
“Again, nothing was ever planned,” adds Tommy. “But right from the start, Bobby could extract sympathy from an audience with his expressions, the shaking leg – which he swears is caused by nerves – and the twanging braces. My involvement in the act as his ‘protector’ began when we first met. As a welder, he was always in trouble, but I’d look after him. That has been transferred to our act.” Bobby joins in: “I started shouting ‘Rock on, Tommy’ years ago, because Tommy really is a great singer. When he asked me to smarten up and get a good suit, I went to Oxfam and bought the one I still wear! It has never fitted me, so I have to wear braces to keep the trousers up,”
You both admit to still being big kids. Does that include reading comics, too?
“Comics reading comics sounds like a gag,” they say, “but today’s publications can’t really be called comics. There is so much to read, as in EAGLE, which is great for big school-kids like us. What more can we say, but…Rock on, EAGLE!”
April 2nd 1983
Personalities Plus – Cannon and Ball
A COUPLE of crazy coppers are about to go out on the beat this Easter. . . and they are none other than everybody’s favourite comedy duo, CANNON AND BALL! Tommy and Bobby are making their debut on the silver screen as policemen, in a new film called The Boys In Blue.
A gang of international art thieves are on the loose but they take on more than they bargain for when they come up against Bobby as a real bobbie and Tommy with a truncheon. The boys might well make P.C. stand for Practically Crackers, and we somehow doubt that the course of justice will run smoothly . . . but it should be very funny! The film goes on general release over the Easter period.
And watch out for a couple of sneak previews of the film when Tommy and Bobby star in an Easter Special from LWT on Saturday, 2nd of April.
The theme song from the film, also called The Boys In Blue, has been recorded by Cannon and Ball and released by the Music For Pleasure record company. And thanks to them, we have 25 copies of the single to give away free. If you’d like to try for a copy of the record, just send us a postcard with your name and address on the back, telling us the name of the P.C. who plagues Sgt. Streetwise in his adventures. Also tell us the names of your two favourite stories in EAGLE. Send your postcards to EAGLE/CANNON & BALL FREEBIE, at our usual address. The first 25 correct cards pulled from our postbag on Friday, 8th April, will receive a single. Don’t get caught out – send your card in right away, and thanks again to the people at MFP!