While the name Charles Hawtrey may not ring a bell for many modern moviegoers, it should sound familiar to Beatles fans. John Lennon famously prefaced the track "Two of Us" with the non-sequitur, "I Dig a Pygmy by Charles Hawtrey and the Deaf Aids! Phase One, in which Doris gets her oats!" Though the meaning of the phrase and the reason for its inclusion on the song is unclear, Lennon was reportedly a fan of Hawtrey, whose participation in the immensely popular "Carry On" series of broad English comedies garnered him recognition the world over throughout the '60s and '70s. Despite a multimedia career spanning stage, radio, and television, it was with Hawtrey's bizarre and eclectic performances in "Carry On" that he found fame. A wiry figure with a knack for delivering dialogue directly to the camera, Hawtry proved a favorite in the series, appearing as a cornucopia of typically squirrely characters in over two dozen films in the franchise. His last "Carry On" performance proved to be in "Carry On Abroad," after which a salary dispute and growing concern over his alcoholism forced producers to boot him off the project, and consequently into early retirement. Embodying his eccentricities as much off the screen as on, Hawtrey was said to sometimes speak in utter gibberish in public so that only close friends could decipher his meaning.
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