Alton Douglas

Alton DouglasAlton Douglas, born 22 Jan 1938 in Birmingham, was registered as Douglas John Price , the son of Sidney Neville Price (died 19 Aug 1948), a motor pressing inspector, 6th child of Tom Price and Lucy Crutchley, both of Shrewsbury, who had 16 children, and of Dorothy Margaret Price, nee Pipe, (born 17 Dec 1900 in Wolverhampton), daughter of Richard Pipe and Emily Withington.

Alton is a broadcaster and author who has appeared in virtually every major theatre in the U.K. and was responsible for hundreds of television warm-ups. He is the voice behind several cartoons and children's toys etc. He was educated at Saltley Grammer School.

Alton Douglas has been well known in the Midlands for many years as a radio entertainer and a television presenter of such shows as "Know Your Place". In recent years his carefully planned researched pictorial books on Midland themes have generated sales of over 300,000 copies, and earned him a loyal following. Each book contains between 350 and 400 illustrations, carefully captioned, and presented in a standard A4 format.

After spending his National Service as a trombonist, with the band of the 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards, he played in local bands for some time before forming his own group. In order to present something different from the average dance band he began to break up the sets by telling the occasional joke. In time it became a natural progression for him to become a full-time comedian. Over the years he played Dame in panto, Principal Boy opposite Helen Shapiro, appeared in summer shows (including a spell as Principal Comic with the world famous 'Fol de Rols') and played most of the major cabaret venues and theatres in the U.K. (appearing with Paul Daniels, Vera Lynn, Roy Hudd, Frankie Vaughan, Edmund Hockridge and many more). He also acted as warm-up comic for over 1,000 TV shows including 'The Golden Shot', 'The Peggy Lee Show', 'Some Mothers Do 'Ave Em', 'Terry and June', 'New Faces', 'Lunchtime with Wogan', 'Up the workers' and "Are you being served?". Over the years he has acted in training videos, recorded voice-overs for hundreds of radio commercials, been the voice behind several cartoons and children's toys, written showbiz columns and reviewed jazz records and shows and appeared in such TV programmes as 'Angels', 'Seconds Out', 'Crossroads', 'A Soft Touch', 'Muck and Brass', 'The Golden Shot', 'The Knockers', 'The Original Alton Douglas', 'Nights at the Swan', 'Watch This Space', 'The Barmaid's Arms', 'Open University', 'Property Rites', 'Big Deal', 'Newshound', 'Murder of a Moderate Man' and 'The Bretts'.

In 1979 he was asked to host the BBC Midlands TV inter-town quiz series 'Know Your Place' and, as writer and quizmaster. By the time the third series had ended, he had discovered a hole in the market - there did not appear to be any books concentrating on the Midlands during the 2nd World War.

'Birmingham at War Vol 1' (published by the Evening Mail) came out in 1982 and was an immediate success.This was followed by another three war books and the idea was then developed to cover a longer span of time. Most of the following books show events over a 100 years or more and they are mainly pictorial, with lots of ads, newspaper cuttings and posters.

Alton, working with his wife of 35 years, Jo, nee Ward, along with Dennis Moore, (ex-RAF/retired Bank Manager) do all the distribution. In fact, they have carried so many boxes of books into shops - over 450,000 to date - that Jo and Alton have had to have osteopathic treatment for neck and back injuries!

He suggests I read more in his biog, The Original Alton Douglas! --- Which I have now done, and it is a good read!




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