Writer Erika Ritter
Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann
Not only do I think your launch of your online literary
salon is a great idea, I am doubly attracted because of your invocation of the
great Tony Hancock and his eponymous TV show of the late 50s--perhaps even into
the early 60s?
You and I grew up in different places, Linda, before we
wound up at McGill at more or less the same time in our late teens and early
20s. But clearly there was a common element in our childhoods, in that joint
appreciation of Hancock. CBC was the ONLY network available in Saskatchewan,
even in the late 50s, and so we were all pretty much hostage to its offerings.
Luckily for my mother (who shared my passion) and me, the network got hold of
Hancock's Half Hour and showed those episodes--some of them again and again,
which was also fine with my mother and me.
Who can forget Hancock's saggy, saturnine face in a bunny
costume he was forced to wear while working as a toy store clerk--until he was
outed by a child shrieking in a very English accent, "You're not Uncle
Bunny! Uncle Bunny is good and kind!"? What about the missing final page
of the murder mystery "Lady, Don't Fall Backwards," which Tony and
his ever-amiable sidekick Sidney James tried to track down? And, of course, as
you've observed in your post, Linda, Hancock's astute observations and loud
laments about many aspects of life, including the circular necessity of knowing
the word you want to look up in the dictionary before you look it up.
This comment of mine is mainly intended to wish you bon voyage
and bonne chance with the launch of the online salon--as well as offer a quick
thank you for assuring me that Tony Hancock lives on for you as he does for me.
Erika Ritter is a novelist, playwright,
essayist and broadcaster, whose published works include: “Automatic Pilot,” a
Chalmers-Award-winning play; three collections of essays: Urban Scrawl, Ritter in Residence, and The Great Big Book of Guys: Alphabetical Encounters with Men; a
novel, The Hidden Life of Humans; and
a non-fiction work, The Dog by the
Cradle, The Serpent Beneath: Some Paradoxes of Human-Animal Relationships,
shortlisted for the Writers Trust Non-Fiction prize in 2009. www.erikaritter.com.