The Prologue

The Early Years

Frankie was born Francis Alec Howard (he later changed the spelling) in York, England on 6th March, 1917. He was the son of a soldier in the 1st Royal Dragoons regiment of the British Army, and a factory worker. He lived at 53 Hartoft Street, York until he was 2 and a half years old when his family moved to 19 Arbroath Road, Eltham, London where he grew up.

As a child he was torn between his two main ambitions. To join the Church (his mother was very religeous) or to become an actor. After appearing in and producing his own amateur productions, he decided on becoming an actor. He was recommended to RADA (Royal Acadamy of Dramatic Art) in London for an interview. This did not go as planned as Frankie's nerves overcame him by the time his audition came and he became a stuttering wreck on stage. He left the RADA building feeling that he had messed up his big chance and never returned.

After this, he decided to try his hand at being a comedian. It was the 1930's and most of the London Music Halls would put on a Talent Night where amateurs could appear in a short act of their own. Frankie tried monologues he had written, impressions and jokes. His early attempts did not get many laughs.

On 3rd September, 1939 Frankie was conscripted into the army to fight in the Second World War that was being fought in Europe.

To be continued...