Feldman visits the area
MARTY Feldman, the zany comedian with the bulging eyes, was welcomed back to Luton when he arrived at the airport for a film shoot in November 1970.
For the famous funnyman had lived in Cutenhoe Road as a child and attended Tennyson Road School.
Marty, who suffered from Graves’ disease and was left with hugely protruding eyes after an operation, was born in the East End of London, the son of Jewish immigrants from Kiev.
He spent his childhood in Luton after being evacuated from the capital during the Second World War. The pictures on this page show Marty after he returned to make a comedy film for BBC TV, described as “a light-hearted look at package holidays”, 41 years ago.
The Luton News reported that “viewers will see him slide down conveyor belts meant for luggage, turn the customs hall upside down and generally create chaos”.
During a break in filming, he told a reporter that he was probably Luton’s most badly behaved old boy.
“It wasn’t long before Luton decided it had had enough of me,” he said.
“I wasn’t a model pupil. After I played truant from Tennyson Road School they expelled me.
“To be fair to the school, I didn’t play truant for just a day. I wanted to see Danny Kaye in the film Up In Arms at the old cinema in Gordon Street – so I stayed away from school for a week. After all, I wanted to see the film more than once.”
As a child, Marty said, he never dreamt of becoming a comedian.
He added: “I wanted to play football for Luton Town instead. I used to be down at the matches cheering the team on for all I was worth. Every one of the players was a hero to me.”
Marty had lots of aunts and uncles in Luton. One of them, Ethel Miller, was living at St Michael’s Crescent when he died, aged 49, while he was filming the movie Yellowbeard in December 1982. He suffered a heart attack in his hotel room in Mexico City.
Mrs Miller said her nephew’s condition which affected his eyes resulted from a fall from an apple tree.
“He was always up to mischief, forever telling jokes and that sort of thing. He inherited the gift from his father, Mossy,” she said.
Marty Feldman is buried near his idol, Buster Keaton, in the Garden of Heritage at Hollywood Hills Cemetery.