[identity profile] wotwotleigh.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] indeedsir_backup
Today I learned that P. G. Wodehouse once said he could picture Stanley Holloway playing Jeeves, particularly in a musical version (Holloway being the only "singing Jeeves" Wodehouse could accept). Most of the images floating around are of a fairly aged Mr. Holloway. However, having found this picture of him as a young man, all I can say is YES, PLEASE:



I wonder if Wodehouse pictured Jeeves having the Cockney accent that Holloway typically employed in his songs and monologues? So many unanswerable questions!

Date: 2017-03-03 12:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] haikitteh.livejournal.com
My only thought of Holloway is from his most famous screen appearance as Eliza Doolittle's dad in My Fair Lady, so this image really surprised me. He was a bit of a looker back in the day! I could definitely see him in the role of Jeeves.

I wonder about the Cockney accent, too, wouldn't it be an odd fit? I remember that Jeeves refers to Wooster as "the governor" in the only story from his POV, "Bertie Changes His Mind," and it always struck me as sort of slang-y for Jeeves. If Wodehouse conceived of Jeeves as having a Cockney accent it'd make sense, though. Interesting to speculate.

Date: 2017-03-03 04:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] servicerevolver.livejournal.com
Wow! That sure is a wonderful profile, and a wonderful profile counts for a lot in Jeeves & Wooster haha!

I agree, yes please! Great match for Jeeves. I dare say I can see his head bulging in the back with intelligence :)

Date: 2017-03-03 05:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chocolate-frapp.livejournal.com
this guy definitely looks like he'd make a good Jeeves.

Date: 2017-03-07 08:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] viianthe.livejournal.com
I have to ask - for purposes of my own curiosity towards it and how far exactly the resemblance goes - what exactly was his statement and when exactly was it said?

Because I looked it up just now and Stanley Holloway was apparently about a full 170cm in height. That's 5'7, two inches shorter than Bertie gives for Agatha (who herself is presumedly shorter than Bertie if both she and he 'run to height' the same) in The Inimitable Jeeves. If Holloway is roughly along the lines what Jeeves is or could be in full, there's a good chance he might be shorter than aunt Agatha. And that's absolutely fantastic.

Date: 2017-03-07 10:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] viianthe.livejournal.com
He was, which is why the date is important to me. It's possible Wodehouse didn't know about Stanley's height (which is rather close to mine actually lol) but it's also possible he changed his mind since we know he didn't make a specific habit of reading back on his books to check them before writing another - there's also some inconsistencies about Bertie's childhood (who he knew, when they entered the family, and whether Dhalia is an aunt by marriage or blood relation had me and my friends quite confused).

The statement about Stanley then comes after the book where Plum has Jeeves appraised as tall (1953) (assuming it was only once, I don't have the full collection just yet and had to call on a friend for that instance), which I didn't expect, I thought it would be earlier. As said friend said - "Maybe [Wodehouse] wanted [Stanley] to stand on a block". And... then came jokes about platform shoes, of course.

Very likely Plum just didn't know Stanley's true height, however. Or perhaps didn't care.

Date: 2017-03-07 10:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] viianthe.livejournal.com
I do think it was for reasons excluding height, but I still find it quite funny. I do hope the accent factored in - with the guv'nah and the niyun I'm inclined to believe Jeeves does have a cockney accent naturally but hides it or minimises it for the sake of image (servants to be seen up top like valets, butlers, footmen, and more senior sorts of maids, were apparently supposed to speak clearly and eloquently, to reflect on the household). Even if Jeeves is tall, and thus of course over 170cm, this does add to my thoughts of him being shorter than Bertie, if still only by a little.

I've read a good portion of the stories so far, and I've been marking where character appearances get described. Thus far in four out of five of the omnibuses Jeeves hasnt been called thin or tall, but likely it's all packed into the omnibus im still waiting on, hahah. The tall comment is, at least. Dark I can confirm though, I've come across that one.

I think perhaps, it means that Jeeves, despite exuding that perfect stuffed frog face for his work, is not actually that serious underneath it. A case of... resting butler face, as it were. And people likely did overlook it, because first person narration holds character bias and Bertie is prone to exaggerating much of the traits he comes across. Spode is likely not seven or eight feet tall, for instance.

Even if his face was still, its possible Jeeves's voice was fairly emotive beyond the regular indeed sirs, like in his quoting of poetry and the like. Plus the humour being missed, as you said.

A very grave man without much humour or emotional range does not, I think, upon being surprised to find a man he knows unexpectedly in the garden in the middle of the night, start talking about the stars at random.

Date: 2017-03-08 05:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] viianthe.livejournal.com
It was changed, I have the spot where he's described marked and it goes thus:
"I crawled off the sofa and opened the door. A kind of darkish sort of respectful Johnnie stood without. [...] I'd have preferred an undertaker; but I told him to stagger in, and he floated noiselessly through the doorway like a healing zephyr. [...] Meadowes had flat feet and used to clump. This fellow didn't seem to have any feet at all. He just streamed in. He had a grave, sympathetic face, as if he, too, knew what it was to sup with the lads."
Either Wodehouse changed his mind towards Jeeves' build or he just thought it was superfluous to mention and didn't right as a sentence. Or, I somehow missed another spot in the story where he's described.

Bertie does describe Jeeves as almost smiling a fair scattering of times, so the assertion that he never does is definitely false and the idea that he hides it in front of Bertie specifically is quite a strong one. Jeeves handles people as individuals (you know, as in the psychology of,) so I believe he does change his manner depending on who hes adressing, and he's more formal towards Bertie than others. My specific evidence for that actually comes from Bertie Changes His Mind.

When speaking to a parlourmaid, alone, he says the following:
"Ah! Then everything is satisfactory, eh? Where has Mr Wooster gone?" and then "Inform her that I shall be delighted. Before I take the car to the stables, would it be possible for me to have a word with Miss Tomlinson?"
In both we see his vocabulary has not diminished, but in the first, he inserts two very obvious semi-words that show how his formality has dropped when he's amongst only equals, ah, eh? He also mentions that he comes close to giving Bertie what he wants though its against his personal plan, and also says that employers are like horses and must be managed. He is, thus, purposefully strict with Bertie. When Bertie momentarily fires him in Jeeves Takes Charge, Jeeves ends a paragraph of speech with an exclamation mark - "You would not have been happy, sir!". I cannot recall any other instance of him doing so, but, well. An exclamation mark is not the mark of an unemotional man nor is it the mark of a perfectly respectful servant. But he isn't employed at that minute, so why not, really.

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