Jack Good

Born in Greenford, Middlesex on August 7, 1931, boyish-looking, bespectacled Jack was a producer at 16. At Trinity Grammar School, Wood Green he founded the Dramatic Society and produced Twelfth Night and Othello. Out of school hours, he studied acting at the London Academy of Music and Drama and soon after reaching Oxford, became president of the Balliol Dramatic Club. 1955 found Jack appearing in The Queen And The Rebels at London's Haymarket Theatre, and the following year, he teamed up with producer Trevor Peacock (Drumbeat compere and Boy Meets Girl script writer) to present a double-act at the famous Windmill Theatre. A far cry from Shakespeare at Oxford! That year was also important for two other events...Jack's marriage to German student Margit Tischer, closely followed by his appointment as trainee-producer at BBC television. On February 16, 1957, he produced 6.5 Special for the first time - the initial milestone in a success story that has led Jack to become one of Britain's most outstanding and respected television producers.

Fired by the BBC, following a disagreement over the format of 6.5. Special he moved to ITV in 1958 where he produced the Oh Boy! show.     ITV replaced Oh Boy! on 12 September 1959 with Boy Meets Girl, produced by Good, with Marty Wilde as the resident star. Boy Meets Girl finished on 5 March 1960 and Good was given a new show called Wham! on 30 April. Keith Fordyce was the resident disc-jockey with other regulars such as Billy Fury, Joe Brown, Jess Conrad and the Vernons Girls. Wham! ended on 18 June. Meanwhile, Good produced Billy Fury's debut LP 'The Sound Of Fury' and records for other hit-makers of the day including Karl Denver and Jess Conrad.

He continued to promote rhythm and blues and went to the United States in 1962.  In 1963 Good produced Around the Beatles and was involved in numerous similar projects with other artists such as the Monkees. Using his own money, he produced a pilot show for the American market - after no interest in it was forthcoming, he gave up and returned to the UK. A year later, the tape of the pilot show was shown to a TV boss, who asked to see Jack. This pilot show gave rise to Shindig which was broadcast in the U.S. on September 16, 1964. It was actually an episode of Ready Steady Go with the title changed but after some time, Jack fell out with ABC executives and walked out. The show could not survive without Jack's dynamic influence and it was cancelled in January '66.      

In the late sixties he orchestrated Catch My Soul, his rock interpretation of Othello in which he also starred as the Moor, but a try at reviving a fast-paced show like Oh Boy! in 1980 - Let's Rock was a flop. 1991 saw his autobiographical stage musical Good Rockin' Tonight feature in the West End. He went on to produce the stage musical, Elvis.

September 26, 2017.

Just a few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to attend a screening of a "found" episode of Oh Boy!  Its charismatic producer, Jack Good, wasn't there -- to nobody's surprise -- since he has seldom appeared in public since ending his TV career several years ago.  However, despite his old age and occasional bouts of ill-health it still came as a shock to learn of his sudden death.

The DJ and presenter, Pete Murray, did attend the Oh Boy! screening, and he described Jack as the best ever producer of TV pop music programmes. Pete didn't work with Jack on Oh Boy! but he certainly did on many episodes of the BBC's Six-Five Special, which Jack also produced, and it's hard to argue with his opinion.

I have only seen three episodes of Oh Boy! but that's enough to appreciate Jack's genius of capturing pop music as it was in that era. Many other TV pop shows have followed but none have matched the sheer excitement of singers and groups playing "live" on Oh Boy!, with the innovative camera work and lighting helping to create 25 minutes of non-stop action.

Jack worked on other pop music shows after the premature ending of Oh Boy!, such as Boy Meets Girls, Wham!, and, for US TV, Shindig!. All of them were good shows but never quite reached the levels of Oh Boy!

He also produced stage musicals, such as Oh Boy!, Elvis the Musical and Catch My Soul (loosely based on Othello), with varying degrees of success.

In later years he appeared to lose interest in TV and after becoming a Roman Catholic, lived something of a nomadic life in New Mexico where he also painted.

More recently he returned to the UK and lived on his son's farm in Oxfordshire. It is understood he died after a fall at home.  RIP, Jack, thanks for all the memories.

Geoff Leonard.

Read 51261 times Last modified on Friday, 29 September 2017 20:36
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