The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

Peter Rogers Dead at 95

Those who regularly visit this blog may have noticed that, as hopeless anglophiles, we here at If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger . . . firmly believe that the so-called 'Carry On' series represents a critical symbol of Britain's cultural might in the latter half of the 20th century; no less critical than Donald McGill postcards, or sledgehammer jokes about the Profumo affair.

With that in mind, it is with heavy heart that we report to you the passing of Peter Rogers, producer of all thirty-one features in that wondrous canon, here photographed with a recidivist 'Carry On' cast member (one who, in his published diaries, had little that was good to say about his producer . . . or anyone else, for that matter). His doggedness got him (and us) through two full decades of those pictures; his penuriousness gave them their bright and tatty look (no small part of their charm). He was 95.

As if to highlight the degree to which brutes and philistines have assumed control over our cultural lives, there is not a single notice of this passing that I can find to which we can link; save for one: A rote Obit of fewer lines than this, on something called Chortle: The UK Comedy Guide.


Update (4/15): A for-real (and very informative) Obit on Peter Rogers has at last surfaced!

From today's Telegraph

(thanks to Steve for the heads-up)


swac said...

Sad news, his work was a big part of my childhood (thank you CBC for screening it), and I still watch his films for bemusement these days.

Funny, only a week ago I was watching his non-Carry On comedy Please Turn Over (with familiar faces like Joan Sims, Charles Hawtrey and Leslie Phillips), a charming farce about a teenage girl who writes a Peyton Place-ish novel with thinly disguised versions of her family members and neighbours. I found the DVD in a bargain bin for $2.99, worth picking up if you come across it.

Here's an interview with Peter Rogers from last year, when he was thinking of reviving the series for its 50th anniversary.

swac said...

Hmm...had no idea until now that Rogers was married to producer Betty Box, whose list of achievements included making the penis transplant (and Kinks-scored) comedy Percy.

Lex10 said...

Wow. Halfway through Carry on Spying.....

Flickhead said...

I came to the Carry On films late. In time, Kenneth Williams became one of my favorite actor comedians, and I'll watch anything with Charles Hawtrey. (The two of them were magnificent in drag together in Carry On Constable.)

There were highs and lows in the series, but Rogers's devotion is unique. Few others would have remained with such a property or formula for so long.

Favorites: Carry On Cleo and Carry on Screaming.

Thanks for mentioning his death. Without this post, I probably would have never known.

Steve said...

The Telegraph has an obit up now.

swac said...

Rogers' obit hit the newswires this afternoon, here's the Telegraph version.

My personal fave is probably Carry On Up the Khyber.

And if anyone wants to buy a copy of the 1952 Hawtrey comedy You're Only Young Twice, lemme know.

idodialog said...

Maybe this is not the time, but after the first or second carry on films civilization in the UK (and Aust and NZ etc) came to an end. Every time one of those hopeless films is screened we all die a little bit. I will not accept "oh but they made us laugh" - the films sserved no purpose except repetition, jobs for hacks, and (presumably) money for Rogers.

Lex10 said...

THey're hack-errific!

Ann oDyne said...

The Guardian weighs in.

I love it that CarryOn Nurse ran in a Los Angeles cinema for two and a half years!

Simon FC said...

God bless him and all his films.
The carry-on films show an England that I faintly remember but is now gone...

Richard Gibson said...

I wasn't a big fan of the films either, we had much better series that I was much more into as a child; Margaret Rutherford in those Miss Marple films, anything with Will Hay, anything with Sellers before he went to America were shown often, along with all of the Ealing comedies. That said, they were and are for better or worse part of our cultural landscape and I am always suprised at how many people overseas like them.

For that Rogers left a very significant mark on British film history.

Stephen 'Percy' - hasn't been shown on TV for close to 20 years, love that Mini Moke and that weird early 70's feel. Should have known you'd like that because of The Kinks. Didn't know he was married to Betty Box either, iconic name here for sure.

Kreisler said...

Sorry but this is the dark side of Anglophilia.I grew up with this tat always on the TV or blocking the single screen at the local Odeon. Most of the cast members did much better stuff elsewhere (cf Kenneth Williams on Just a Minute or Sid James on Hancock) The Carry On films presaged the even grimmer period of 70s sex comedies about cabbies and window cleaners. Shouldn't be any nostalgia for any of it.