Frankie VAUGHAN (1928-1999)

This Is Your Life Big Red Book
  • The first subject to appear as the guest of honour on both the American and British versions of This Is Your Life

programme details...

  • Edition No: 277
  • Subject No: 279
  • Broadcast date: Wed 15 Apr 1970
  • Broadcast time: 7.00-7.30pm
  • Recorded: Tue 14 Apr 1970
  • Venue: Caesar's Palace, Luton
  • Series: 10
  • Edition: 21

on the guest list...

  • Jimmy Tarbuck
  • Stella - wife
  • David - son
  • Susan - daughter
  • Leah - mother
  • Myra - sister
  • Phyllis - sister
  • Carol - sister
  • Paul Arnaud
  • Julian Oakley
  • Bernie Winters
  • Neville Goodridge
  • Hugh Brown
  • Mr McDade
  • Ted McLean
  • Mr McCullum
  • Mr McCuster
  • Hetty King

production team...

  • Researcher: unknown
  • Writer: unknown
  • Director: Margery Baker
  • Producer: Robert Tyrrell
  • names above in bold indicate subjects of This Is Your Life
related pages...

Frankie Vaughan

second tribute

A Song For Life

it's the singer not the song

Life Second Time Around

surprised again!


the show's fifty year history

This Is Your Life

The Daily Mail profiles the programme's history

Bernie Winters

Frankie Vaughan This Is Your Life Frankie Vaughan This Is Your Life Frankie Vaughan This Is Your Life Frankie Vaughan This Is Your Life Frankie Vaughan This Is Your Life Frankie Vaughan This Is Your Life Frankie Vaughan This Is Your Life

Photographs of Frankie Vaughan This Is Your Life

Frankie Vaughan's biography

Joseph Lynch recalls this edition of This Is Your Life in his book, Frankie Vaughan, The Man and his Music...

Frank was taken by surprise by Eamonn Andrews when he approached him with his big red book for This Is Your Life.

He was even more surprised when five young men entered the stage. They had been gang leaders from Glasgow's Easterhouse. One former gang leader wanted to say how grateful he was for the help that Frank had given to all the young people of Easterhouse.

The help they had received had enabled him to sort out his life. He said "Nobody else came, Frankie was the only one. We did not know what we were looking for. Frankie was one of the lads. He brought plans and had a youth club put up". Needless to say, Frank was very touched to hear this, it meant a great deal to him.

Roy Bottomley This Is Your Life book

Scriptwriter Roy Bottomley recalls this edition of This Is Your Life in his book, This Is Your Life: The Story of Television's Famous Big Red Book...

Frankie Vaughan holds a Life record - he is the only star ever to have appeared as guest of honour on both American and British versions of the Life. Ralph Edwards pounced in Hollywood when the young singer from Liverpool arrived to make the film Let's Make Love - with Marilyn Monroe. Eamonn Andrews caught him in cabaret at Caesar's Palace, Luton, where we made the programme.

Gus Smith biography of Eamonn Andrews

Gus Smith recalls this edition of This Is Your Life in his book, Eamonn Andrews His Life...

In the mid-fifties, Frankie Vaughan was playing the Theatre Royal in Dublin for a week, along with comedian Harry Worth, when he was introduced to salmon fishing in the River Boyne, near Drogheda.

'I fished every day - it was wonderful,' he recalls, 'and before the week was out I caught this magnificent twenty-five pound salmon which I decided to bring back with me to England.'

Eamonn Andrews had heard about Frankie's success as an angler and invited him as a guest celebrity on What's My Line? After the panel had guessed his name and occupation, Eamonn said, 'I gather you caught a fish in the River Boyne the other day and it weighs twenty-five pounds and is fourteen inches long?'

Frankie: 'No, no, it's much longer than that.'

Eamonn: 'That's impossible.'

With that, Frankie opened a large box and brought out the salmon and proudly showed it to Eamonn. 'It was a good gag,' he remembers, 'and Eamonn thought it very funny.'

Frankie Vaughan regarded Eamonn as his friend. He had come to admire his boxing commentaries and sometimes they discussed the sport. 'I found him very knowledgeable about boxing,' he says. 'Around this time I had been introduced by Bessie Braddock in my native Liverpool to a young black fighter, Hogan Kid Bassey. Bessie convinced me he was going to be great. I mentioned his name to Eamonn and he showed a lot of interest in him. He was also interested in my work for boys' clubs and once told me he had belonged to a boxing club in Dublin and placed real value on well-run clubs for boys.'

As he got to know Eamonn better, he grew to enjoy his company. 'Eamonn had a nice, charming manner that got through to you. One didn't feel afraid of talking to him, and one trusted him. He was accepted in show-business as one of us. Often you find that media people and show-business people are afraid of one another, but one never felt this with Eamonn. He was the ultimate all-rounder in my eyes - writer, radio broadcaster, and television presenter.'

Like Eamonn, Frankie Vaughan had made it during the fifties. His big break came when he auditioned for impresario Val Parnell and was booked for a tour of the famed Moss Empire theatre circuit - the same circuit that Eamonn Andrews had toured with Joe Loss and his Orchestra. In 1953, Frankie made his movie debut when he landed a small part in the comedy Ramsbottom Rides Again. Soon afterwards he began a highly successful cinema association with Anna Neagle and Herbert Wilcox. Soon he became the first British singer to top the bill at Las Vegas. But today he likes to recall one of the truly outstanding moments of his career, when he became the subject of the American version of This Is Your Life, and presenter Ralph Edwards handed him the red book.

Later, he would mention the experience to Eamonn Andrews. 'Like me, Eamonn found the advertising that punctuated the hour-long show ridiculous. But it was for me a very moving experience, and in showbiz terms, a very important programme. It was, if you like, an American version of a Royal Command Performance and was counted one of the top programmes in the States.' They flew in from England his relatives, friends and show-business friends, but Frankie disliked the show for one reason only - he cried like a baby for much of it. After the show he said to himself, 'That's it. I'll never have to bother about the programme again.'

Watching This Is Your Life presented by Eamonn Andrews prompted him now to draw comparisons. While he agreed that Ralph Edwards was the more professional, there was no doubt in his mind that Eamonn added an extra dimension. He had his own way of getting people to talk; he avoided hogging the limelight - and the 'mike' - and managed to make the show his own. To Frankie Vaughan, the show was identified solely with Eamonn, and in his view he was a great success. It didn't worry him that This Is Your Life could be over-emotional or sentimental. As far as he was concerned it was refreshing television and brought to the screen the lives of a wide variety of people, sometimes people with extraordinary stories to tell.

Since his Life had already been screened in America, Frankie Vaughan felt that he was secure in England and that Eamonn would not consider him as a subject. He was wrong. It was Eamonn's own idea to surprise him, and when he did so in Luton's Caesar's Palace night spot, Frankie's astonished response was: 'Nonsense! My Life has already been done, Eamonn.'

Frankie had been in the recording studios for most of the day and when he went home for a short break he was surprised to find the children back from school. When he enquired, his wife Stella told him that they were going to a party. After that, he didn't take any more notice. In the afternoon he returned to the studios to complete the album. That evening when he arrived at Caesar's Palace for his cabaret show, he saw television cameras around the place. 'I was told they were doing a promotion for the night club,' he recalls. 'I knew that Eamonn Andrews had some connection with the club and was expected to pop in for a while to ensure that everything went right.'

That night, when he was on stage with his band, the V-Men, and was finishing his big number, Give Me The Moonlight, Eamonn jumped onto the stage. Frankie was amazed. He snapped, 'Cut it out, Eamonn, I'm not finished yet.'

Eamonn interjected, 'Can I just stop you here, Frankie?' 'No, you can't, I'm not finished yet.'

Frankie was still arguing with him when Eamonn suddenly said, 'This Is Your Life, Frankie Vaughan!'

A look of disbelief swept over the singer's face. At that moment, Eamonn whispered to him, 'Don't worry, Frankie, it's going to be a happy affair.' Now, as Stella held her husband's hand, he felt it was a very happy event. Paraded before him were his sisters, his children, show-business friends, including his close friend, Jimmy Tarbuck. Frankie would say later, 'This programme was a much happier one for me than my American Life, because Eamonn was my friend.'

Series 10 subjects

Des O'Connor | Bobby Charlton | Harry Driver | Twiggy | Honor Blackman | The Beverley Sisters | John Fairfax | Henry Cooper
Jackie Stewart | Jimmy Savile | Arthur Dooley | Wendy Craig | Tony Jacklin | Charlie Cairoli | Richard Evans | Alfie Bass
Jack Good | Joe Mercer | Ronnie Corbett | Colin Milburn | Frankie Vaughan | Lorna Ridgway | Val Doonican
Johnny Speight | Reg Varney | Harold French