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.
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