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Old Mother Riley Was A Man You Know

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Arthur Lucan, a well known music hall comedian managed to become one of the UK’s most popular film stars during the late 1930′s and 1940′s thanks to a series of pantomimish movies in which he played an old lady washer woman called Old Mother Riley.

Lucan’s wife Kitty McShane, co-starred in almost all of his movies as Old Mother Riley’s daughter Kitty. In real life the pair were both fond of a drink or three and their rows became the stuff of legend, Kitty determined to keep Lucan on a tight leash and Lucan determined to break free whenever he could.

The movies themselves remain great fun, for many years popping up in re-runs during school holidays. They are defiantly low budget – mostly made by northern B-movie specialists Butchers but put together with a certain degree of skill.

By 1952 Lucan and Old Mother Riley’s career was pretty much over and the final mother Lucan made was a strange mish-mash indeed in which the washerwoman tangled with a vampire played by Bela Lugosi also in the twilight of his career.

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Old Mother Riley Headmistress.

The movies were
1937: OLD MOTHER RILEY
1938: OLD MOTHER RILEY IN PARIS
1939: OLD MOTHER RILEY MP. OLD MOTHER RILEY JOINS UP
1940: OLD MOTHER RILEY IN BUSINESS, OLD MOTHER RILEYS GHOSTS
1941: OLD MOTHER RILEY’S CIRCUS
1942: OLD MOTHER RILEY IN SOCIETY
1943: OLD MOTHER RILEY DETECTIVE
1944: OLD MOTHER RILEY AT HOME
1945: OLD MOTHER RILEY HEADMISTRESS
1947: OLD MOTHER RILEY’S NEW VENTURE
1949: OLD MOTHER RILEY’S JUNGLE TREASURE
1952: MOTHER RILEY MEETS THE VAMPIRE


Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.

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