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When Comedy Was King

Known throughout the civilized world [ie everywhere bar Fleetsbridge], comic genius Edward Alwys-Learing is best remembered as [a] the inventor of the imperfect limerick and [b] the perpetuator of the naughty postcard when it was, according to deltiologist Del T Olyjst "well past its sell by date". On this the 70th Anniversary of his appearance before Corfe Mullen Magistrates we publish the following tribute:

IMPERFECT LIMERICK #27 [From The Book of Imperfect Limericks Vol XVI [1946]

There once was a woman from Crete

Whose puppies were always in heat

They attracted attention

[Through their shape and dimension]

Even though she always tried very hard indeed to be disceet.

Historical Note: Edward Alwys-Learing visited Crete in 1937 as part of the Dorset Expeditionary Force sent there to quell the Sphakiot uprising. He accompanied the soldiers as official Poet in Residence and penned several comic rhymes as well as an epic poem "In the broken steps of St Paul". Sad to say the "verse" above is the pick of the crop as far as his Cretan efforts are concerned.


Alwys-Leary prided himself on catching the public mood, but often missed by a mile.

Historical Note: Edward Alwys-Learing was an inveterate scribbler of one liners which he honed at poetry readings throughout Dorset between about 1946 and 1962. He occasionally livened up his performances with illustrations of his jokes [it helped, he later recalled, some audience members to "get them"] and from this he developed a small but lucrative business in smutty postcards. In this respect he followed in - but added little to - a noble tradition started by fellow Dorsetian Donald McGill-Knightly.

The innate superiority of McGill-Knightly's work is self evident in these examples, even though not all are by him. The last proves the point that there is little new under the sun. The joke, often attributed to an dissolute Irish footballer, was clearly invented many years before.

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