' THE BOX ' Sketch
|The verbal technique of Jimmy James found perfect expression in
the lecture on the art of potato chipping, featured in his one
Royal Variety Performance in 1953 and exposing the secrets of
a champion chipster who had managed to steer clear of occupational
"batterer's elbow" and "permanent wink", both demonstrated with
imaginary fillet and invisible splutter and quite innocent when
It was, however, in the routine with the shoebox that the individual
components were seen to work with the most perfect cohesion,
the vague otherworldliness of Woods and Conyers ( also
played by Roy Castle ) seen at its most effective. Conyer's
bumptious, "Hey, are you putting it around that I'm barmy?"
sparked off a chain of misunderstanding focused on the box he
nursed protectively under his arm. He had just returned from
the unlikely post of Colonial Secretary in Egypt where he had
been presented with two man-eating lions.
Funny Way To Be A Hero - John Fisher
Jimmy James and Eli Woods walk on stage discussing their
luck (or their lack of luck) at that dayís racing...
Jimmy: Well that were a waste of time. That Ďorse will still
be running when they get tomorrowís racing going.
Conyers: (off stage) Oy!
Jimmy: What was that?
Conyers: (entering) Oy! Have you been putting
it about that Iím barmy?
Jimmy: Why? Did you want it kept a secret?
Conyers: Now thatís not nice! Someoneís been saying
that Iím barmy.
Jimmy: Well donít blame me! (Aside to Eli) Iíll
keep him talking, you go and Ďphone the asylum. Ask them whether
theyíve done a head count lately and are they missing any.
(Eli doesnít move)
Conyers: I heard that! Youíre the one whoís been
saying that Iím barmy.
Jimmy: No Iím not. Why do you think someone wants to
call you barmy?
Conyers: Well, somebody is! And thatís not nice.
Iím a well travelled man you know.
Jimmy: Really? (Aside to Eli) I wish heíd travel right
Conyers: Oh I canít travel now, the last bus has
Jimmy: Youíve got ruddy good hearing any road! Whereíve
you been to on your travels?
Conyers: Iíve been all over Africa.
Jimmy: I canít say Iíve ever been there.
(Business Ė they all look wildly around the stage. None of
them looking in the same direction.)
Jimmy: Did somebody come on? Like I said, Iíve never
been to Africa.
Conyers: Oh, youíd love it. Iíve been to South
Africa you know.
Jimmy: Have you now? Nice people the South Africans?
Conyers: Oh yes. Very nice people. They gave me
Jimmy: Really? What did they give you?
Conyers: An elephant.
Jimmy: Did they now? Where do you keep it?
Conyers: In the box!
Jimmy: Ask a daft question. (Aside to Eli) I can see
as weíre going to be some time Ė go and get some coffee will
you, and make that Ďphone call while youíre about it.
(Eli still doesnít move)
Conyers: Iíve been to Kenya as well.
Jimmy: How interesting. Did you have a good time there?
Conyers: Oh yes. Very nice people the Kenyans.
They gave me a present.
Jimmy: You donít say. What did they give you?
Conyers: They gave me some giraffes.
Eli: B-b-black or white?
Jimmy: Oh, youíre still with us are you? (to Conyers)
Isnít that nice? He wants to know what colour the giraffes are.
Eli: N-n-no! N-n-not the Giraffes Ė the coffee! Do you
want it black or white?
Jimmy: Oh good grief! ĎAvenít you got it yet? Whatever
theyíve got! (Aside to audience) I donít like to ask him!. (To
Conyers) Where do you keep the giraffes?
Conyers: In the box.
Jimmy: Somehow I thought you were going to say that!
You canít be serious! How can you carry an elephant and giraffes
around in a cardboard box?
Conyers: I tie it up with string.
Jimmy: It gets worse. Where else have you been?
Conyers: Iíve been to Nyasaland.
Jimmy: Now thereís a novelty.
(Business as before)
Jimmy: I wish you wouldnít keep doing that! I suppose
you had a good time in Nyasaland as well?
Conyers: Oh yes. Very nice people the Nyasas.
Jimmy: Iím sure they are. Did they give you a present
Conyers: Oh yes. They gave me a lion.
Jimmy: Really? (Aside to audience) I hardly dare ask
him. (To Conyers) I suppose you keep the lion in the box as
Conyers: Donít be daft! ĎOw could I get a great
big lion in the box?
Eli: Y-y-you could ask the giraffes to shift over a bit.
Jimmy: Thatís right. You could ask the... oh youíre as
bad as him!
Conyers: No. You canít keep a lion in the box
Ė I keep the lion in a cage.
Jimmy: Now thatís a relief (Aside) I really am afraid
to ask him! (To Conyers) Where do you keep the cage?
All: IN THE BOX!!!