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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 May, 2003, 14:05 GMT 15:05 UK
R.I.P. 1950s Bingo Calls
1950s BINGO CALLS have had their last shout, after stubbornly outliving many of their peers. While post-war stalwarts National Service, Teddy Boys, the BBC Light Programme and antimacassars all disappeared from British life, bingo calls from the era grimly held on.

However, the final fatal blow to these aged and increasingly irrelevant veterans was dealt by Jennifer Lopez's bottom.

Jennifer Lopez and her bottom
Come back Danny La Rue
As the game of bingo attempts to attract younger players, "J-Lo's bum" was deemed a more fitting rhyme for the number 71 than the traditional "bang on the drum".

"My task was to find reference points from 2003 society and culture which would have a much greater meaning to the British public today," said Charlie Blake, the man who came up with the new calls for use at the Butlins holiday camps (themselves inextricably linked to the 1950s).

So farewell to Tom Mix (6) - a star of silent era Westerns; Danny La Rue (72) - a popular drag artiste; and Jump and Jive (35) - a dance step.

In their place come Gareth Gates (8) - runner-up in Pop Idol; Ali G (30) - spoof home counties gangsta; and Jimmy Choo (32) - cobbler favoured by the girls from Sex and the City.

Other calls have expired because they could not keep up with modern social change.

For instance, which bingo caller in this day and age could pick the 16 ball and shout "never been kissed"?

Who, given the current pensions crisis, would dare bellow "stop work" when 65 comes up?

Like Sir Cliff Richard, some of the 1950s bingo calls have proved well able to adapt and thrive despite the passing decades. Number 10 has traditionally been named after the occupant of 10 Downing Street.

So while the 1950s deferential "Her Majesty's Prime Minister, The Right Honourable Sir Anthony Eden's den" has gone, "Tony's den" is alive and well - for the moment.

No flowers.


Your tributes

I recently called a bingo session and came up with Hans Blix - 26
Xan Phillips, UK

He's in heaven, number 11. Goodbye to you, 22. RIP, 33. There's no more, 44. No longer alive, 55.
Craig Laycock, UK

Apparently, in South Africa, they use "AK" 47!
Mark, UK

Dropping the old bingo calls? Big mistake. (28)
Andrew P, England

How about "WMDs - all the threes" (33) ?
James Upton, UK

I suppose they'll be making cinemas out of old bingo halls now.
Howard, M., Finland

Avril Lavigne - 16.
Girls from tATu - 62.
Elton John - 71.
Chris Bramwell, UK

Apples and Pears - Stairs (308)
Have I missed the point here?
James Bisto, United Kingdom

None of these rhyme (79).
John Gregor, UK

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SEE ALSO:
J-Lo gets bingo call-up
05 May 03  |  Lincolnshire



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