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y separately published work icon A Man Called Mo single work   biography  
Issue Details: First known date: 1973... 1973 A Man Called Mo
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  • Research into the Nat Phillips and Roy Rene partnership (Clay Djubal, 'What Oh Tonight', 2005) demonstrates that this biography contains significant errors pertaining to Rene's early career (including the Stiffy and Mo partnership), and shows marked bias towards his role in the company at the expense of Phillips's (Chapter 6). Parsons' account needs to be treated with circumspection because his knowledge of Rene's career prior to 1936 is almost exclusively secondhand. As the author admits on page 39 of A Man Called Mo, he did not meet Rene until that year (and some four years after Phillips had died). Furthermore, his recollections were written more than forty years after the Stiffy and Mo partnership ended, and also after several decades as one of Rene's script writers.

    While much of the information in this biography prior to 1928 is erroneous it has nevertheless become one of the principal sources of information used by historians and social/theatre commentators since its publication in 1973. As a consequence it has helped establish several myths regarding Stiffy and Mo - notably that Rene was the principal comic and Phillips the straightman (and hence the assumption that Phillips' role was a relatively minor one). A survey of reviews, articles and interviews from the Stiffy and Mo era (1916-1928) clearly demonstrates, however, that Phillips' was regarded by his contemporaries as the company's leader. Indeed, up until at least 1922 the troupe was invariably billed or referred to as Nat Phillips' Stiffy and Mo Company. Phillips was also widely regarded as one of the Australian variety industry's leading directors and writers, and a comic of high repute - certainly Roy Rene's equal.

  • For further information concerning the Stiffy and Mo partnership see : 'Giving the Public What They Want', an interview with Rene and Phillips published in the Theatre in January 1919 (pp3-4).

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Melbourne, Victoria,: Heinemann , 1973 .
      Extent: xi, 174p.p.
      Description: illus.
      ISBN: 085561031X
Last amended 24 Mar 2017 11:41:25