Fittingly there was plenty of laughter at the launch of a book dedicated to the memory of the Black Country’s King of Comedy, the one and only Tommy Mundon.
The Halesowen-born comedian’s ability to ‘spread a little happiness’, was clear from the many jokes and funny stories fondly re-told by his friends, including by Angela Daniels, the writer of his new biography The Tommy Mundon story.
Addressing a packed room during the launch at the Dudley Canal Trust on Friday, Angela said: “I wanted to use as much of Tommy’s own words as possible.
“Word for Black Country word, I hope that in your mind’s ear you will hear Tommy telling the jokes.”
The book aims to help continue the legacy of the comic who sadly died in 2014 following a battle against Parkinson’s disease. The author knew Tommy for more than four decades, and explained that she had been able to gather a wealth of information, including humorous tales and photos of the much-loved comic, from around 100 contributors.
“Having known Tom for over forty years, I knew what an impact he had had on the people of the Black Country. He was the King of Black Country comedy; he had a rare talent and was loved by us all,” said Angela.
“I felt that there should be a fitting and lasting legacy to this man who had brought so much happiness to so many people. So I started collecting stories from family members, friends, fans and fellow performers who each had their own special memories of Tom, both on stage and off.”
The writer also expressed her gratitude to the Black Country Society, of which Tommy was a former president, for their help in ensuring the book became a reality.
Tommy’s family were at the launch night, having closely followed the book’s creation. His widow Val said: “It is a wonderful tribute. Angela has done such a superb job.
“And it is lovely to hear that so many people contributed. It just shows how many people knew him.”
The book is filled with memories from those whose lives the comedian touched, spanning throughout his life from childhood to his ongoing legacy.
Of course alongside all these important moments are the jokes for which he became so renowned.
At the launch fellow Black Country comedian Bev Peg also paid tribute with his own stand-up set and a song inspired by and dedicated to Tommy.
Meanwhile long-time friend of the comic and chairman of the Black Country Society James Morgan said Tommy deserved to be remembered alongside the area’s greatest icons.
“He relished his Black Country identity,” said Mr Morgan.
“We were extremely proud, some five years ago, when Tom accepted our invitation to become President of the Black Country Society. We are equally proud now to publish the story of his life and a catalogue of his jokes. There can be few people in these parts who will not look forward to reading all about, and wallow in fond memories of the Black Country’s greatest comic.
“The book contains many personal experiences about Tom, as well as a good selection of his humour and includes many photographs of the man at work as a comedian and off-duty with family and friends.
“In his beloved Black Country Tom was a real legend; those who knew him loved his humour. He was a great supporter of charity and would never refuse the offer of ‘working’ a charity gig. He was part of the ‘Black Country Night Out’ for many years, and worked full-time for Dudley Council, fitting in performances in the evening. Ken Dodd was a fan and friend of Tom’s, and Robert Plant said once: “The two best things to come out of Halesowen were me and Tommy Mundon”.
“I remember seeing Tom on a number of occasions; he had the ability to make people cry with laughter, his material, delivery and facial expressions made sure of that.”
The book’s setup and printing costs have been donated by Morgan and Company Solicitors and the Black Country Society, enabling all profits from its sale to be donated to the Mary Stevens Hospice in Stourbridge, whose chief executive Stevan Jackson also expressed his gratitude at the launch.
The Tommy Mundon Story is now on sale.