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Arthur Treacher

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Arthur Treacher
Treacher in 1968
Arthur Veary Treacher

(1894-07-23)23 July 1894
Died14 December 1975(1975-12-14) (aged 81)
Years active1926–1970
Virginia J. Taylor
(m. 1940)

Arthur Veary Treacher (/ˈtrər/, 23 July 1894 – 14 December 1975) was an English film and stage actor active from the 1920s to the 1960s, and known for playing English types, especially butler and manservant roles, such as the P.G. Wodehouse valet character Jeeves (Thank You, Jeeves!, 1936) and the kind butlers opposite Shirley Temple in Curly Top (1935) and Heidi (1937). In the 1960s, he became well known on American television as an announcer/sidekick to talk show host Merv Griffin, and as the support character Constable Jones in Disney's Mary Poppins (1964). He lent his name to the Arthur Treacher's Fish and Chips chain of restaurants.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • A fragment from "Thank you, Jeeves!" 1936
  • The Real Reason You Don't See Arthur Treacher's Around Anymore
  • Arthur Treacher's Fish & Chips Commercial (1976)
  • Arthur Treacher's Fish & Chips - "The Godfather" (Commercial, 1977)
  • Who is that Lady?Jean Rogers!


Personal life

Treacher was the son of Arthur Veary Treacher (1862–1924), a Sussex solicitor; his mother was Alice Mary Longhurst (1865–1946). He was educated at a boarding school in Uppingham in Rutland. In 1940, he married Virginia Taylor (1898–1984).[1]

Acting career

Treacher was a veteran of World War I, serving as an officer of the Royal Garrison Artillery; his father had served with the Sussex Volunteer Artillery before Treacher's birth. After the war, he established an acting career in England, and in March 1926 went to New York as part of a musical-comedy revue named Great Temptations. He was featured in the 1930 Billy Rose musical revue Sweet and Low.

He began his movie career during the 1930s, which included roles in four Shirley Temple movies: Curly Top (1935), Stowaway (1936), Heidi (1937), and The Little Princess (1939). The movie scenes were intentionally scripted to have the 6' 4" Treacher standing or dancing side by side with the tiny child actress; for example, in The Little Princess they sing and dance together to an old song "Knocked 'em in the Old Kent Road".[2]

Treacher filled the role of the ideal butler, and he portrayed P. G. Wodehouse's valet character Jeeves in the movies Thank You, Jeeves! (1936) and Step Lively, Jeeves! (1937). (Wodehouse, however, was unhappy with the way his work had been adapted, and refused to authorize any further Jeeves movies.[3]) Treacher played a valet or butler in several other movies, including Personal Maid's Secret, Mr. Cinderella, and Bordertown. He was caricatured in the 1941 cartoon Hollywood Steps Out.

In 1950 Treacher had a program on WNBC Radio in New York City. As a disc jockey he played and commented on recordings of music by Gilbert and Sullivan on the show.[4]

Later years

During 1961 and 1962, he and William Gaxton appeared in Guy Lombardo's production of the musical revue Paradise Island, which played at the Jones Beach Marine Theater.[5][6] In 1962, he replaced Robert Coote as King Pellinore (with over-the-title name billing) in the original Broadway production of Lerner and Loewe's musical play Camelot, and he remained with the show through the Chicago engagement and post-Broadway tour that ended during August 1964.

From the mid-1950s on, Treacher became a familiar figure on American television as a guest on talk shows and panel games, including The Tonight Show and The Garry Moore Show. In early 1961, Treacher appeared in episode 463 of the TV game show I've Got a Secret in which he rode a horse on stage. In 1964, Treacher was cast in the role of Constable Jones in the hugely successful Walt Disney movie Mary Poppins. That same year, he played the role of stuffy English butler Arthur Pinckney in two episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies. Pinckney mistakenly believed the hillbillies were the domestic servants of the family by whom he was hired, while the hillbillies believed Pinckney was a boarder at their Beverly Hills mansion.

Treacher and Merv Griffin on Griffin's CBS talk show, 1969.

He became even better known to American television audiences when talk-show host Merv Griffin made him announcer and occasional bantering partner on The Merv Griffin Show from 1965 to 1970 ("...and now, here's the dear boy himself, Merrr-vyn!"). In 1966 Treacher and Merv Griffin recorded an album together under the soubriquet 'Alf & 'Alf entitled Songs of the British Music Hall. When in 1969 Griffin switched from syndication to the CBS network, network executives insisted that Treacher was too old for the show, but Griffin fought to keep Treacher and eventually won. However, when Griffin relocated his show from New York to Los Angeles the next year, Treacher stayed behind, telling Griffin "at my age, I don't want to move, especially to someplace that shakes!"

During this period of latter-day popularity, Treacher capitalised on his name recognition through the use of his name and image for such franchised business concerns as the Call Arthur Treacher Service System (a household help agency) and Arthur Treacher's Fish and Chips. The restaurants became very popular during the 1970s and increased to nearly 900 outlets, although in interviews Treacher would refuse to confirm or deny that he had any ownership stake in the company. (Only one free-standing Arthur Treacher's was still in existence by 2022, located in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.[7] Several attached Arthur Treacher's franchise locations are still operating out of Salvatore's Pizzeria locations in Rochester, New York[8] and one continues to operate out of the Twin Oaks Convenience Store in Pomeroy, Ohio[9]).

Treacher died at the age of 81 due to cardiovascular disease.



  1. ^ "Arthur Treacher". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  2. ^ Arthur Treacher and Shirley Temple Wotcher! Knocked Em' in the Old Kent Road on YouTube
  3. ^ Taves, Brian (2006). P. G. Wodehouse and Hollywood. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company. ISBN 978-0-7864-2288-3.
  4. ^ "Treacher Disk Series For WNBC Cut for Only $1,300". Variety. 12 July 1950. p. 21. Retrieved 3 September 2023.
  5. ^ "Theater: Straw Hat Shows – Marine Theater, Jones Beach, LI". Life. 16 June 1961. p. 23.
  6. ^ Jones Beach Lifeguard Corps. "Forum pages".
  7. ^ "Ohio's last Arthur Treacher's celebrates 50th anniversary". 30 June 2022. Retrieved 13 September 2022.
  8. ^ "Arthur Treachers Rochester NY | Salvatore's Pizzeria". 12 November 2017.
  9. ^ "Arthur Treacher's Fish & Chips in Pomeroy , OH".

External links

This page was last edited on 10 November 2023, at 21:39
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