Like his previous outings, film success crept up quietly behind Stanley proving - as if we didn't know - that he could hack it in the visual medium as well as he did on radio.


Not exactly the world's largest portfolio he'd readily admit, but one that undeniably hit a few peculiarly British zeitgeists along the way.


Fun at St Fanny's

Further Up The Creek

Inn For Trouble

Carry On Regardless

Hair of the Dog

Press For Time

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang


Fun at St Fanny's (director: Maurice Elvey, 1956)

Stan's first appearance on film came through Cardew 'The Cad' Robinson who had heard his work on Radio Ruffles. Robinson had developed his 'Cad' character through his St Fanny's scripts for 'Worker's Playtime' and it was now making its big screen debut in this, a sort of St Trinian's 'scam' farce co-starring and co-written (with Anthony Verney, based on a story by Peter Noble and Denis Waldock) by Fred Emney.


Emney plays the headmaster of a boarding school which can claim a fortune if only they can get Robinson, a student and the legitimate heir, expelled.


Stan played an Art Gallery guide amongst a cast that also featured Gerald 'Billy Bunter' Campion, Peter Butterworth and a young Ronnie Corbett. top


Further Up The Creek (director: Val Guest, 1958)

This fairly swift follow up to the same year's 'Up The Creek' had Val Guest at the helm once more and David Tomlinson reprising his role as naive naval commander Lieutenant Fairweather. This time, the luckless ship featured in 'UTC' had been sold off and Fairweather had to complete the delivery, not knowing that bosun Frankie Howerd (taking up the character played by Peter Sellers in the previous film) had sold tickets on the ship for a luxury cruise.

Stanley (above right, with Tomlinson) appears in a brief scene as a railway porter asking 'simply' whether Tomlinson wants his bags in the back of a taxi. You can hear a clip of the 'exchange' on the Audio page.


The cast also included British comedy repertory regulars Lionel Jeffries, Thora Hird, Shirley Eaton, Sam Kydd, Michael Ripper and good old Esma Cannon. top


Inn For Trouble (director: C M Pennington-Richards, 1960)

Another short cameo by Stan (below left) as a local farmer giving directions (!) in this tale of a provincial couple (David Kossoff, below right, and Peggy Mount) who inherit a country pub, unaware that the Lord of the Manor is nicking their trade by giving his own home brew away free.

Directed by the man in charge of 'Scrooge' (the '51 Alastair Sim version), 'Tom Brown's Schooldays' (1951) and the original '1984' (1956), other cast members neatly employed were Leslie Phillips, Will Hay sidekick Graham Moffatt, Charles Hawtrey and what must have been a very early appearance by one Edward Woodward. top


Carry On Regardless (director: Gerald Thomas, 1961)

Variously described (in 'Carry On' terms) as a hotch potch or a milestone, 'Regardless' was the fifth in the series and the first to not hang its theme on a specific profession ('Sergeant', 'Nurse', Teacher' and 'Constable' being the previous four), relying more on a series of sketches based around Sid James's 'Helping Hands' agency. 


And it did have - at least in British comedy terms - a stellar cast. Not only regulars James, Kenneth Williams (below left), Charles Hawtrey, Joan Sims and Kenneth Connor, but also Liz Fraser, Fenella Fielding, Bill 'Compo' Owen (below centre), Ed 'Skippy' Devereaux, Molly Weir, Norman Rossington, Nicholas Parsons, boxer Freddie Mills, Patrick Cargill (excuse me while I draw some breath...), David Lodge. Joan Hickson, Esma Cannon, Sydney Tafler and the brilliant Jerry Desmonde.

And, of course, there was Stanley (above right) playing a fairly fulcral part as the landlord of the building that houses 'Helping Hands' and a character described in Robert Ross's exceptional Carry On Companion as 'the linking force' for the film.


You'd have thought that Stanley's particular skill would have sat nicely as a regular gag in amongst the Carry On crew but this is his only outing in the long-running franchise. When I asked him why he didn't do any more, he said he felt that the team was fairly tight knit and came across as a bit of a closed shop - a feeling, he said, that the late Bill Owen shared at the time as well. 


Looking at the film again, Stan's bits with James and Williams are much better played and much more fluid than the pieces shot with just him straight to camera, which are a bit edgy and unsure at times and you get the feeling that there must have been some better takes somewhere on the cutting room floor. In any case, there are some great reaction lines from Sid and Kenny:


KW (to Sid, as Stan storms out after his first meeting): "Was that a job? What did he want?"

Sid: "A new set o' teeth, by the sound of it!"


After Stan's third failed attempt to tell Sid that the lease was up and he was selling the building, Williams, the HH polyglot, steps into translate:


KW (hearing Stan for the first time): "I understand! He 'Gobbledygooks'!"

Sid: "I don't care what he eats!"


This gives Williams the opportunity to slip in a few bits of his own version of Unwinese and also sets the film up for its ensemble finale - the agency can earn themselves a 99-year lease if they do up a derelict property that Stan's just bought. Needless to say it all goes terribly wrong but hey, luckily Stan did want it demolished anyway!


"Carryokus!" top


Hair of the Dog (director: Terry Bishop, 1961)

Hmmm, Don't know an awful lot about this one, apart from it being a story about a beardy commissionaire who causes a strike at a razor manufacturing company. Somewhere in this unlikely plot, Stanley plays a vicar.


Other notables involved include Barbara Windsor and John Le Mesurier and the film was directed by Terry Bishop, who also directed the 'William Tell' and 'Danger Man' UK TV series. top


Press For Time (director: Robert Asher, 1966)

The genius that is Norman Wisdom plays an incompetent reporter - whose grandfather just happened to have been Prime Minister - covering the parochial goings on in the fictional seaside town of Tinmouth.

One of his first jobs is to cover a local council meeting but unfortunately he comes across Stanley as Town Clerk Mr Nottage and his attempts at accurate note taking are completely buggered.


Stanley also appears in a second scene (above) attempting to deliver a welcoming address at the opening of a new housing estate, while Wisdom goes about unintentionally demolishing virtually everything around him. (audio clip)


While not quite reaching the comic zenith of Wisdom's earlier films, it's still a good old laugh and his stunned reactions to Unwinese are priceless. top


Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (director: Ken Hughes, 1968)

This is probably the most high profile film Stanley ever made. As such, he had quite a few interesting things to say about it so I've given it its own page here. top