Although they are completely forgotten today, the Poluski
Brothers, Will and Sam, were one of the top double-acts in the period
immediately preceding the first World War. They continued performing
into the early 1920s - Sam, the straight man, died in 1922 and Will
They used many of the techniques familiar from later double-acts -
the 'interrupted act', where the straight man is trying to recite
something and the comic gets in his way; and the argument where the
straight man would be trapped into agreeing with the comic and then
correct himself - can both be heard on the recordings.
They were also knockabout comedians using a good deal of physical
comedy. Sam was tall and well-dressed, while Will was short and
eccentric. He would ask Sam questions and then hop around the stage
shouting 'He can't do it!'; he had a routine where he wrestled
spectacularly with himself (an idea reworked fifty years later by
Graham Chapman of the Monty Python team), and they also used
a pantomime camel to great effect.
In these two recordings it is possible to hear foreshadowings of
Flanagan and Allen, and Morecambe and Wise. The humour is very basic
by today's standards, but is put over with tremendous energy and
mp3 file (1MB)
The Village Blacksmith (Columbia
mp3 file (1.1MB)
recorded October/November 1911.
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