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Modern Times: 1950s to The Present Day


Lex McLean

By Gordon Irving

Pavilion Theatre Alexander McLean Cameron (1908-1975), born in Clydebank, Dunbartonshire, graduated from touring in concert parties to emerge as the popular comedian Lex McLean after varied fortunes in small theatres in Scotland. He had once earned a modest living as an itinerant musician, playing the clarinet, saxophone and accordion on the streets of Belfast. Back home again, the venues he played ranged from open-air bandstands at holiday towns such as Girvan, Ayrshire, to the many variety halls in central and west Scotland. The job of comedian, while requiring an expertise in music and presentation, was so low in estimation to his own family that he told his mother he was away on business as a commercial traveller.

After successfully entertaining at troop shows, his first entry to the inner circle of show-business came in the 1940s at the Empress Playhouse, Glasgow. He achieved full prominence in 1955 when he succeeded Tommy Morgan (1898-1958) at the city centre Pavilion Theatre, Glasgow, winning a steadily increasing following with packed audiences up to 1971.

Wearing a red cloak and top hat, or a flat cap and baggy trousers, and with a smirk on his face, he would offer comedy lines with a double meaning; "Keep it bright, keep it bright!", he would smile. The media dubbed him "Sexy Lexy", but his material was passed by the Lord Chamberlain and Glaswegians queued in their hundreds to enjoy him. He died on 23 March 1975.

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