Recently, my mother told me about a New year’s Eve tradition in which my German relatives partake. At some point during the evening, they watch a sketch called Dinner For One (also known as The 90th Birthday) and laugh their collective asses off. It seems that they are not the only ones enjoying this brilliantly done bit of British physical comedy. This sketch is known as a New Year’s Eve tradition in many countries other than Germany including, Australia, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, the Netherlands and South Africa to name but a few. Ironically, it never really took off in Britain. Sadly, it has yet to take off in North America, but I hope to remedy that, in some small way, by showing it here. Dinner For One was originally written for the theatre in the 1920’s and first filmed for television in 1963 as a one shot/take 18 minute sketch. That it was done in one take without an edit just serves to make it that much more brilliant. So, without further ado, may I present, Freddie Frinton and May Warden in the original black and white version of Dinner For One in English with introduction by Heinz Piper in German (the sketch begins at the 2 minute 23 second mark).
The sketch was so popular that there have been many versions performed along with several parodies, most notably (and recently) one in which the heads of Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy are superimposed upon those of the original actors’ and the dialogue deals with the Euro zone Debt Crisis. In 1999 German television station, NDR colorized it, presumable to bring it more up to date.
I hope you enjoyed this bit of proof that, yes Germans do have a sense of humour after all.
Here’s wishing you and yours a prosperous New Year with a picture from last year’s New Year’s blog.
3 thoughts on “A New Year’s Eve tradition”
It’s a huge tradition in Austria too. They can’t believe we’ve never heard of it in Britain. Then again, most Austrians have never seen The Sound Of Music.
Thanks for the memories. My dad loved Freddie Frinton in Dinner for One – thought he was the funniest thing he’d ever seen. But he was an Aussie, and it was shown on HK television way back in the day. Got to the UK and… *crickets* Happy New Year to you!
yep. it’s on TV in Australia every year and my elderly father wouldn’t miss it (I think he waits all year in anticipation).
Hello Cassie above – I am 65 and have (happily) not seen TSOMusic either.