The Team of Nervo and Knox

Nervo and Knox were a British music hall team who later made their mark on radio, film and television. Teddy Knox (1896-1974) was originally a juggler who started out with his brother in a duo called “The Cromwells”.  Jimmy Nervo (1898-1975) was a third generation circus performer who started out on high wire at age 8, and then went into music hall as a juggler. His stage name seems to evoke “Nerve”, i,e., courage (probably meant humorously).

The pair teamed up sometime prior to 1922, for that year they came to the States that year to appear the Broadway revues Pins and Needles (1922) and the Ziegfeld Follies of 1922 and 1923. In 1926, the year they starred in a DeForest Phonofilm, performing a song called “The Love of Phtohtenese” (i.e. “Hot Knees”). Acrobatic and eccentric comical dancing was a key part of their act. Other films they appeared in as a pair included Alf’s Button (1930), Skylarks (1936), and It’s in the Bag (1936, directed by William Beaudine).

In 1931, Nervo and Knox became part of a larger comedy troupe called the Crazy Gang, whose core members also included the team of Flanagan and Allen, and the Scottish double act of Charlie Naughton and Jimmy Gold (although others subbed with them from time to time). For three decades this comical sextet performed live as venues like the London Palladium and the Victoria Palace, and in films like O-Kay for Sound (1937), Alf’s Button Afloat (1938), The Frozen Limits (1939), Gasbags (1941), and Life is a Circus (1960). The Crazy Gang’s last appearance was a 1962 British TV special.

To learn more about vaudeville, circus and music hall, please see No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, and for more on classic comedy please read Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube.