Saturday, September 03, 2011

John Joe Mahockey

I was looking through some old photos and came across this one which Jack Cruise (1915-1979) gave me in 1954. He even inscribed it personally on the reverse. I was only 10 and the thrill was enormous.

Jack and his "troupe" used to "do" Butlins for the summer season at the time. Butlins was great. You paid (well your parents paid) up front at the beginning of the holiday and then everything was "free" after that, treasure hunts, paddle boats, competitions of all sorts, all under the strict but friendly supervision of the Red Coats.

Jack's shows were ideal. They were funny and they were cleaner than clean.

Butlins was magic. The only disappointment in my time there was Hopalong Cassidy. The actor William Boyd had become completely identified in young minds with this fictional cowboy character. Boyd was Hopalong Cassidy. So when he was scheduled to appear at a campfire in Butlins, during his short visit to Ireland, we were ecstatic.

On the appointed night, we waited, and waited, and waited. But he never appeared. There were rumours of an excess of hospitality at a Croke Park function earlier in the day. A hero utterly destroyed for ever in the eyes of those eager young campers.

But back to Jack.

In later life, a stage director told me that Jack was a ruthless performer. He claimed the stage as his own and dare one of his troupe, even inadvertently, upstage him, even for a moment...

But none of that was evident to this young camper at the time. And Jack turned up every night and the show went on and it was a great show.


  1. With sincere apologies to any inhabitants of Ballyslabberdashamuckery who haven't yet emigrated.

  2. That's on the road between Ballygobackwards and Kilymadoolish isn't it?
    (And appropriately the wordl verification was "truluth" - almost the truth.)