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Neville King

Blue Collar Rat

Water Rat register Number: 628. Initiated into the Order on 13 June 1965.

Proposer: Terry Cantor. Seconder: Kenny Cantor.

Of the hundreds of ventriloquists who entertain us with their dummies, the majority of the inanimate partners are cheeky and jolly characters. To the best of my knowledge only Neville King ambled onto the stage with a battered suitcase from which he fought to extract a grumpy and almost sinister creature known generally as the Old Man or Grandad. In Neville?s hands and with his brilliant wit the two of them had audiences doubled-up with laughter with in minutes of appearing.

Neville is said to have started his career in ventriloquism as a youngster, after asking his parents for a baby brother. He made his first public appearance at the Radford Methodist Church harvest festival where he sang, accompanied by a Charlie McCarthy-like doll bought for him by his father. The character of the Old Boy was inspired, according to his first wife June, by ?a boozy old man we met outside a Sheffield pub?.

In 1964 he joined the TV show 'The Black & White Minstrel Show' and stayed with them for 18 years. In 1965 he was one of the chosen few to appear in the Royal Variety Show and two years later was back at the London Palladium before Princess Margaret at a Royal Gala.

Neville entertained the troops for the Combined Services Entertainments in Ireland, South America, Cyprus and Germany. He did five world tours and worked in Johannesburg, Canada, Malta and Tasmania as well as the Sporting Club in Monte Carlo.

Neville was married twice and is survived by his wife Joan and Shane, his son by his first wife.

Secretary to the Trustees, John Adrian
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