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The Show Must Go On


I would like to thank a very wonderful Michael Craword fan,   Marie Collins for sharing with us her wonderful stories which inspired this section.  Thanks to her we can all share in these wonderful tales.. 



This little tale happened when Michael took ill and had to be hosptalised.

Michael took ill six months into the run Of Phantom of the Opera in London. He collapsed with a hiatus hernia  and had to be hospitalised. His understudy   Steve Barton did one performance  during which he injured his leg. Michael heard this  the next morning  in his  hospital bed.  As Steve was a dancer Michael felt going again that day he might do himself permanent damage  which could end his dancing career.  So he signed himself  out of hospital against all medical advice. 

He had to tank up on coffee before the show to counter the effects of the sedation he had been under in hospital.  Despite the fact he was in  considerable pain he did the matinee *and* evening performance but by then he was bleeding internally and had to be taken straight back to hospital.   It was reported that he collapsed exhausted between the two shows yet a member of the audience was quoted as saying, "you wouldn't have known he was ill his voice was magnificent it never
wavered" The extra day gave the 2nd understudy time to prepare so Steve Barton was saved from performing on the injured leg.

According to the press The ONLY thing that bothered Michael about  the whole thing was not that his doctors were angry with him, not that  his family were angry with him, not that he had set his recovery back  days but that he discovered before the evening show he had done the  whole matinee performance  wearing his hospital identity bracelet on his wrist!!!

by Marie Collins

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Follow Up Tale

Just to follow up a little on the "hospital tale". Although Michael did himself no good by putting himself through those two performances he did save Steve Barton from having to perform on the injured leg.

The 2nd understudy had a day to prepare and was able to go on when Michael returned to hospital.

One little quote you might find interesting from the Theatre Manager after Michael got through the two performances. He said " I cannot understand how the b*****y h**l he has done it. He should be in bed. He has a terrific reputation for never missing a show but this caps it all.  The man is a law unto himself. When I announced that he had released himself from hospital the audience went wild. There is a terrific wave of affection for him and he is being swept along on it."

The newspaper report followed this quote with the information that "Michael collapsed exhausted between performances".

And finally they reported that members of the audience were rapturous in their praise of the star. One said " You wouldn't know he was ill - his voice was magnificent. It never wavered once. It was a truly wonderful performance".

by Marie Collins

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Michael always had an ambition to fly.  When the series of Some Mothers   Do 'Ave 'Em was coming to an end he had an idea.  He suggested  that   in the final episode Frank take a flying
lesson. Of course being Michael the flying in the episode had to be for real and he had to do it himself. 

He took flying lessons and qualified for his pilots licence in seven or eight   weeks.  In the episode for anyone who has not seen it  Frank's instructor gets knocked unconscious while they are in the air and Frank has to take control.   Frank/Michael is seen at the controls flying upside down and doing  a full loop as well as other stunts.  Quite something for a new pilot!  Only Michael would have gone to all the trouble (and risk) he did to make it authentic as well as very, very funny.

by Marie Collins

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