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Eric’s Funeral

On Tuesday July 6, 2021, family and friends gathered to bid farewell to Eric in the chapel of The Charterhouse in London. It was an appropriate setting for Eric’s funeral as The Charterhouse had been his final home. It was a place where he not only thoroughly enjoyed living, but also found peace and contentment. The chapel was decorated with some of Eric’s fabulous stage costumes.

Eric arrived to the strains of Ethel Merman singing There’s no Business Like Show Business, and one of the capes which he had worn as Zee was draped over his coffin. The service was officiated by The Reverend Canon Ann Clarke, who had become a good friend of Eric’s at The Charterhouse and had administered the Last Rites to him.

After the opening prayers, Shane Collins read messages from friends who had been unable to attend before paying his own moving tribute to his dear friend, who he fondly recalled as “a man of simple tastes – caviar and champagne!” Shane’s eulogy was followed by a reading of Henry Scott Holland’s Death is Nothing at All by Kevin Phillips.

Death is Nothing at All

Death is nothing at all
I have only slipped away to the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
That, we still are.

Call me by my old familiar name.
Speak to me in the easy way
which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

Laugh as we always laughed
at the jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me.
Let my name be the word
that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effect.
Without the trace of a shadow on it
.

Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was.
There is unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind
when I am out of sight?

I am but waiting for you.
For an interval.
Somewhere. Very near.
Just around the corner.

All is well.

Brother Sue Payn then read John 14.1-6.

Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling-places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.’ Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Cannon Ann next shared her own fond memories of Eric, “a very, very special man,” and read David Harkins’ poem He is Gone.

He is Gone

You can shed tears that he is gone
or you can smile because he has lived.

You can close your eyes and pray that he will come back
or you can open your eyes and see all he has left.

Your heart can be empty because you can’t see him
or you can be full of the love you shared.

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember him and only that he has gone
or you can cherish his memory and let it live on.

You can cry and close your mind,
be empty and turn your back
or you can do what he would want:
smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, Eric left the chapel to applause and Pilot’s It’s Magic.

Farewell, dear friend, you shall be forever in our hearts.

– Andi Brooks

 

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Eric’s Obituary in The Stage

The Stage has published a very nice obituary for Eric by Obituaries Editor Michael Quinn. You can view the original article at www.thestage.co.uk/obituaries–archive/obituaries/eric-lindsay

 

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Funeral details for Eric Lindsay

The funeral will take place at 12.00 noon on Tuesday 6 July, 2021 in the chapel of The Charterhouse, Charterhouse Square, London, EC1M 6AN

Due to Covid, numbers are sadly very restricted and prior notice is required. Any persons wanting to attend are asked to contact the executors in advance via this website.

Efforts will be made to livestream the funeral and details will be posted here, should this be possible. If it is not, a film of the event will be available subsequently.

No flowers. Donations in lieu to The Charterhouse. Cheques should be made payable to “Sutton’s Hospital in Charterhouse” and sent directly or c/o the funeral directors, F A Albin & Sons, Arthur Stanley House, Culling Road, London, SE16 2TN.

 
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Posted by on June 29, 2021 in Eric Lindsay, The Charterhouse

 

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Eric Lindsay’s French Adventures

In which one mystery deepens and another is solved!

Over the last week, I have been working on tidying up Eric’s blog where the formatting had gone a little strange in a few places. As I expected, I often became distracted and found myself instead re-reading his many adventures. One thing which caught my eye was Eric’s mention of the time he spent in France sometime in 1949/1950. In From Actor To Zee: An Interview With Eric Lindsay, an interview which I did with Eric in 2012, he said that he was invited to France by Henri Marchal after the French director saw him playing Dude in a matinee performance of Tobacco Road at the Playhouse Theatre in London in 1949. Eric recalled that he went to France after a post-West End tour of the play. During his time in France, he made two films, Metro Pigalle, a kitchen sink drama in which he played a character called Roland, and Antoine and Antoinette, a period drama. I recalled that I had tried to research the films without success back in 2012. Eric had admitted that his memory was not so reliable and the films may have had other titles. As new information is always popping up on the Internet, I decided to try again.

My first avenue of research was the director, Henri Marchal, but I could not find a film director by that name. My first thoughts were that the name was either misspelt or that he may have been a producer or even an agent, but all inquiries drew a blank. I concluded that Eric had misrembered the name, so I turned my attention to the films themselves.

Eric during the filming of the mysterious Metro Pigalle

I started with Metro Pigalle, but could find no film made during the period under that name. Searching for films with “Pigalle” in the title, I found a possible candidate. 56 rue Pigalle, directed by Willy Rozier, was released in March 1949. It seemed too early, but I checked it anyway. There was no mention of Eric in the credits, but as an unknown in films both in the UK and France, it was possible that his role could have been uncredited. However, when further delving revealed that the film was shot from May 10 to July 25, 1948, I had to rule it out. I widened my searched by looking for all films released in France up to 1953 with “Pigalle” in the title, but found no other candidates. I was left to assume that Metro Pigalle was either a working title for a film eventually released under another title or perhaps it had been filmed around the Pigalle métro station in Paris, which had caused the confusion in Eric’s recollection.

Eric had some lovely stills from Antoine and Antoinette, a period drama set during the French revolution. I thought this film would be much easier to find. A quick search online found a film called Antoine et Antoinette! My joy immediately evaporated when I saw that it was a modern-day comedy made in 1947! As there were stills, I knew that the film Eric appeared in existed, but what could its real title have been? All further research drew a complete blank, so I decided to give up for the time being and returned to re-reading the interview.

A promotional photo for Antoine and Antoinette

After almost one year away in France, Eric struggled to re-establish himself as an actor back in England until landing the role of Renfield opposite Bela Lugosi in the 1951 UK revival tour of Dracula. When the tour ended, six months later, Eric returned to the typical life of a jobbing actor. Periods of work were punctuated by non-theatrical jobs to make ends meet while trying to secure a new role. While “resting”, he worked as a salesman for non-slip floor polish at the Ideal Home Exhibition and a ladies hairdresser. In 1955, he decided to use the money he had saved from the Dracula tour to open the Heaven and Hell coffee bar in Old Compton Street in Soho with Ray.

Even though the coffee bar was a big success, Eric continued acting both in the theatre and on TV. He only mentioned the title of one show he appeared in on TV during this period – The Adventures of the Scarlet Pimpernel. The Scarlet Pimpernel! The French revolution! Could this be the source of the stills? I quickly looked up the show, and there it was! Broadcast on January 24th, 1956, Antoine and Antoinette was the 15th episode of the series. One of the first dramas to be shown on ITV, which had only begun transmission in London the previous week, the eighteen episodes of The Adventures of the Scarlet Pimpernel were broadcast from September 28th, 1955 to June 22, 1956. Originally planned to run for thirty-nine episodes, the show starred Marius Goring (May 23, 1912 – September 30, 1998) as Sir Percy Blakeney/The Scarlet Pimpernel and featured future Doctor Who Patrick Troughton (March 25, 1920 – 28 March 28, 1987). Perhaps best remembered for his role as Conductor 71 in A Matter of Life and Death (1946), Marius Goring had previously played the Scarlet Pimpernel for fifty episodes in a radio adaptation from 1952-53.

Eric as Antoine with Greta Watson as Antoinette

In the Antoine and Antoinette episode, Eric played the role of Antoine with Greta Watson (June 4, 1931 – February 16, 2000) as Antoinette, his bride-to-be, but that is all I am going to tell you about it because the whole episode is available for you to watch in wonderful quality below. It is a real joy to see Eric so young and handsome. It is a mystery as to why he was unable to fulfil his ambition of working in films because he looks fantastic in front of the camera. But, as he said himself it was just “the luck of the draw and my face didn’t just fit.” I wish I could have found this before Eric passed away. I’m sure that he would have got a real kick out of seeing it.

Patrick Troughton (left) as Sir Andrew Ffoulkes

Eric (far left) in a courtroom scene

As for Eric’s adventures in French films, we’ll just have to keep digging. If anyone reading this has any information, please do let me know. But for now, sit back and enjoy this wonderful episode of The Adventures of the Scarlet Pimpernel. – Andi Brooks

 

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Farewell, Dear Friend!

Eric Lindsay

November 13th, 1929 – June 18th, 2021

I awoke on Saturday to the sad news that our very dear friend Eric had passed away. Strangely, he had been on my mind as I lay in bed the night before and I intended to write to him in the morning. I had no idea that he had taken ill four days earlier and been admitted to the Royal Free Hospital, where he stayed until peacefully heading off on his final adventure.

I first met Eric on August 3rd, 1997 when I interviewed him for a Bela Lugosi biography I was working on with my friend Frank Dello Stritto called Vampire Over London: Bela Lugosi in Britain. Eric had the distinction of being the last actor to play the role of Renfield opposite Lugosi during the 1951 UK revival tour of the stage play of Dracula. They toured the length and breadth of the UK together for six months, during which time Eric received rave reviews. While researching the book, I had no idea which, if any, of the cast of Dracula were still alive or where they were, so I started a letter-writing campaign to try to track them down. One day I answered the phone and a voice said, “My name is Eric Lindsay. I understand you are wondering if I am alive or dead. I am happy to inform you that I am very much alive.” Once I had convinced Eric that I wasn’t a lunatic, we arranged to meet for an interview. I travelled down to London from my home in Bath to meet him in his flat, where he very kindly and patiently answered my many questions for a whole afternoon. He became so energized that he frantically paced the room acting out the scenes from his life. It was a magical private one-man show. At the time, I had no idea that it was the beginning of a friendship that would last for over 23 years.

After the interview, Eric would phone me almost every week to have a chat about the progress of the book and life in general. When I moved to Japan and he to Thailand, we kept in touch by letter and email. Although he had not met them at that point, he never failed to send birthday cards to my son and my wife. My son especially looked forward to the Christmas cards Eric sent to him every year.

I forget exactly when it was, but there came a time in the 2000s when the effervescent Eric that I knew appeared to evaporate. He became very frustrated with the inactivity of his life and the growing limitations imposed by age. By then fully retired, he simply didn’t have anything to keep that wonderfully creative mind of his occupied. I suggested writing his life story, but he dismissed the idea. He said he didn’t have the ability to write and that no one would be interested in reading about “an old fart like me!” Undeterred, I persisted in trying to persuade him to put all of those marvelous adventures down on paper, but Eric wasn’t having any of it! Then, out of the blue, he came up with the idea of us writing a vampire novel together – he would write whatever came into his head and I could tart it up. As you can imagine with Eric, his idea for “The Reluctant Vampire” wasn’t for some flowery gothic tale, but something “a little pornographic and dirty” set in the coffee bars of Soho. We spent some time throwing ideas back and forth until Eric wrote the first couple of pages. It might have been wonderful, but the project ground to a halt right there because while we had been discussing ideas for the novel I had continued to pester Eric into recording his many adventures. He didn’t have the patience to write his biography, so I suggested blogging as the perfect medium for writing down his adventures as and when he felt like it. Again he repeatedly rebuffed my efforts. He had mastered email, but blogging was a step too far.

Being ever bit as stubborn as Eric, I was determined to get him to set down his memories. So I offered to set the blog up for him and keep it going until he no longer needed my help. I think more to shut me up than anything else, he eventually agreed and we finally got this wonderful blog up and running in 2012. Despite his initial skepticism, Eric soon became a passionate blogger, leaving the idea of the novel to fade away. It was really rewarding to see how much pleasure the blog gave him, not only in sharing his priceless memories, but also in how it helped to reconnect him with so many friends from throughout his life.

I last saw Eric in October 2016 when he visited Tokyo. Despite the many things to see and do in Tokyo, he didn’t do any sightseeing. He just wanted to spend the time with my family, especially as his visit coincided with my son’s 14th birthday. We had an all too brief, but wonderful time with him. After he moved back to England and settled into life as a resident of the Charterhouse, Eric was enthusiastic about showing me around his new home when I was next in England. I would dearly have loved to have had the opportunity to see him one last time, but fate conspired against us.

Although deeply saddened by Eric’s passing, I am consoled that during his final years at The Charterhouse he seemed to find a contentment which had perhaps been missing since the loss of his beloved partner Ray Jackson in 1989. Eric didn’t realise his wish of passing away on October 25th, the date Ray passed away, but they are finally reunited.

Throughout the highs and lows of his life, Eric achieved so much, but I think that his greatest achievement was to simply be a wonderful human being. He enriched the lives of so many people, earning in return their fierce loyalty. He will truly be missed by us all. Happy trails, Eric!

– Andi Brooks

 

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Bobby Ball R.I.P. A Tribute to a Great Comic and Clown.

I have been deeply saddened by the sudden death of Bobby Ball from the Covid-19 Virus.

During my wonderful career as Zee of “Zee & Co” Ray and I had the great pleasure of working with Cannon and Ball as special guest star in their “Christmas Show” at the Adelphi Theatre in Coventry in 1981-82.

This was when Cannon and Ball were at the peak of their career. They were Famous ! Famous ! ! Famous ! ! !

Before that we had the honour of appearing as guest stars with Jack Jones, the American Singer in the “Cannon and Ball” T V Special from the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London.

Some of the know-it-alls from the Magic Circle had told me that Cannon and Ball were very difficult to work with, just as they had told me that I shouldn’t be surprised if I was paid off after the first night when I was booked at the London Palladium for the panto “Dick Whittington” because they didn’t really like Magic Acts at the London Palladium. Well we played there for 14 weeks! Shows you what the know-it-alls at the Magic Circle knew! They were wrong! Oh, so wrong! No wonder, I don’t bother to go there any more!

Bobby and Tommy were two great gentlemen. Bobby, who I became very friendly with, was so easy easy to talk with, and usually every evening I would spend time with him before the show just chatting away about the days events. He had a great charm and a wonderful sense of humour. You could tell that from the charismatic charm that he had on stage.

He will be sadly missed by Yvonne and Family and also Tommy, who will be lost without him.

My sincere thoughts are with you all.

Love, Eric

Rock on, Bobby!

You’ll soon have them roaring with laughter up there!

 

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Quote

Colin Tolworthy

A friend in need is a real friend indeed.

This is an homage to my friend Colin Tolworthy.

On the 19th of April, 2020, my friend Colin Tolworthy died of the COVID-19 virus at the UCLH in London.

How we became friends over a period of 9 months is a mystery?

Eric, friends with a Canon! Very strange! But they say that ‘God works in strange ways’ and he certainly did a good job on me.

From the very first moment that I took my place at breakfast at “The Charterhouse” and had passed the Inquisition, from the other 3 Brothers at the table, Colin just gave me a smile and a nod to just ignore it all. He was dressed in his Cassock, so I gathered he was off somewhere to perform a service. One of his favorite places, was the St. Alban’s Church at 18 Brooke St. Holborn. Unfortunately he was not able to attend my Baptism, which was ordained by the Reverend Robin Isherwood, preacher of “The Charterhouse”. on the 23rd of December, 2019, or my Confirmation, which was ordained by the Retired Bishop of Kensington, Michael Colclough, on the 11th of February, 2020, in the Chapel here at Charterhouse.

What an occasion! It was the first time a Confirmation had taken place in the Chapel at Charterhouse. Not bad for a new boy !

My Confirmation by the Retired Bishop of Kensington Michael Colclough.

Colin had such a busy schedule. But the following day when he took the service in the Chapel at Charterhouse, he gave me the most exquisite beautiful Gold Leaf Bible. Something I will treasure for ever, and something I use every single day in Chapel.

I would find little presents at my place at mealtimes, handkerchiefs, and books and such, all from Colin. Knowing that I’d lived in Thailand for a while, he would suggest inviting me to a Thai Restaurant for a dinner. Little knowing that I had had Thai Food, till it was coming out of my ears. Still he wasn’t to know that, and he meant well!

We finally went to a new Thai Restaurant that he had found, so we thought we would give it a try. Well! the nearest it had come to Thai Food must have been the bag of Rice that it had bought at the Supermarket! The food was UGH!

I told Colin that I would take him to a French Restaurant in Upper St.Islington called “La Petite Auberge” as I’m sure he would like it, and it was very French. He loved it, and told me that he couldn’t wait to take his friends there. We had become such firm friends.

Of course, he wouldn’t let me pay. He was always like that.

So it was agreed that if he always paid for the food, I would buy all the tickets to the Theatre. He enjoyed the Theatre enormously. So I got us tickets for “End Game” at the Old Vic, for the 10th.March, and we were going to have lunch beforehand at the Union Jack Club at Waterloo.

Unfortunately Colin was ill that day. So I just would’nt go without him. I gave the tickets away. I had also booked for the Musical at the Dominion Theatre, “The Prince of Egypt” for the Matinee, and I promised to take him afterwards to Joe Allen’s Restaurant for dinner . This time it was my treat, I was definately going to pay. It just didn’t happen. So I let the tickets go again.

April 6th, the night before complete Lock Down at “The Charterhouse”, I had dinner with Colin, just the 2 of us. But he told me he was in no mood for talking, and he had a terrible dry cough. That was the last time we saw one another.

To meet a very good friend and to lose him so quickly, is a hard thing to bare.

But at least I had the honour of knowing him for 9 short months. So I must count myself lucky.

COLIN TOLWORTHY RIP. GOD, BLESS YOU!

My Confirmation on the 11th of February, 2020, in “The Charterhouse Chapel” by the Bishop of Kensington Michael Colclough, with the Reverend Robin Isherwood, who performed my Baptism.

Robin Isherwood handing me my Confirmation  Candle

With the Master of The Charterhouse, Ann Kenrick OBE

An Eulogy to my Very Dear Friend ,”The Reverend Canon Colin Tolworthy”

 
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Posted by on June 3, 2020 in The Charterhouse

 

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The Caronavirus Pandemic

Today, is my first Post in my blog a year to the day. Then I wrote about the devastating fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral. How shocked and saddened I was by the tragic news. How could such a terrible thing happen? But now we, the whole world is threatened by this dreadful Virus, that can claim the lives of thousands, and knows no boundaries. So until a vaccine is found. One is put into Lock-down, we should do as we are told and stay in Lock-down. It is for our own safety and the safety of many others. I have nothing but great admiration for our NHS Service, the Doctors. Nurses. the volunteers and helpers, who put their lives in danger every day, as they try to help and save the sick. They have been let down terribly by our government, by the lack of protective gear and equipment. The New Nightingale Hospital was built in 2 weeks. Then surely the Government could “get their finger out” and manufacture protective clothing for these brave people. Until an antidote is found we are on Lock-down. Let’s stay on Lock-down and stop moaning, and behave like the brave Nurses, Doctors, Volunteers and Helpers in the NHS. Take heart everyone, an antidote will be found, after all every Research Chemist throughout the world is working at it. But until, that day comes. Think positive it’s got to end some time, and lets just put up with it for the time being!

My London blog, as I’m now back in London for good. Will start again very soon. I’ve got a lot of explaining to do!….

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

Cathedral, “Notre-Dame de Paris”. Ablaze!!!

“Our Lady of Paris” on the Ile de la Cité.

By now you must have gathered that I love France, especially Paris.

The Ile de la Cité is usually referred to by Parisians as the center of Paris. As well as being surrounded by the river Seine. Notre-Dame de Paris, which is also called “Our Lady” is still in use today by the Roman Catholic Church for Sunday Mass. Not only does Notre-Dame capture the heart of just the Catholic Church it also includes every Religion, even the most Agnostic person cannot be moved by its Majestic Gothic Architecture and History. This is the way I remember her, and now I am suddenly saddened, shocked, and devastated!

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This is the way I remember Notre-Dame from the 1950’s to early 60’s.

Few travelers and tourists visiting Paris, France, realize the famous Cathedral, Notre-Dame de Paris is actually situated on an island. I recall sitting at one of the many Restaurants there on the Ile, when I was filming “Metro Pigalle” I think it must have been the late 50’s. I was taken there by my actor friend Roland Bourdin brother of the famous Lise Bourdin, actress and model, and one time girl friend of Prince Aly Khan.

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Lise Bourdin

We were there with Jean Weber who was the leading actor of the Comedie Francaise. The three of us sat on this enchanted Ile late into the night. We went there for a light dinner after going to the Comedie Francaise to see “Poil de Carotte” followed by “Le Malade Imaginaire” in which Jean played the title role.

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Jean Weber

Roland had taken me to the Comedie Francaise, which had left me in awe with its style, tradition and beautiful way they had of speaking the French Language. All this is really another story. Just like me to digress! Forgive me, dear reader.

Back to Notre Dame de Paris.

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Notre-Dame on the Ile de la Cité

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The Ile de la Cité by Night

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The wonderful and beautiful Notre-Dame de Paris

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Notre-Dame with scaffolding for its present day restoration. Pre-fire!

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So on Monday 15th.April, 2019, I was devastated by the news of the fire that almost completely destroyed Notre-Dame de Paris.

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Notre-Dame Ablaze!

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Notre-Dame going from this, to this!!!

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Tragedy has struck, and the cherished Notre-Dame de Paris is in semi ruins. At present it is a mere shadow of its former self. But be strong you Parisians, from the ashes and the wreckage, will rise a new, more beautiful Cathedral.

Notre-Dame de Paris will never die. As you see among the debris the Golden Cross still stands. So will Notre-Dame de Paris.

So will Paris! Viva la France!

The Cross, is already a sign.

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2019 in Eric Lindsay, Notre-Dame de Paris,, Paris

 

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” The Great Thomsoni ” Dies at 84. A Tribute to Johnny Thompson.

Johnny Thompson

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The Death of a Great Magician and Friend.

Today I was deeply saddened by the news of the death of Johnny Thompson.

I consider Johnny and Pam as two of my friends, and Pamela must be lost without him.

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“The Great Thomsoni and Pam”

I first met “The Great Thomsoni and Pam” when I was starring in the show at the Scala Melia Castilla in Madrid.

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The show was on the same lines as the Lido in Paris. Including ice rink, swimming pool, lifts, in fact the lot! You name it, we had it. So as with the Lido in Paris, the star also appeared in the two main principal production numbers as well as doing my own Act. One of these numbers included an audience participation comedy number with myself and also the comedy specialty magic act on a motor bike who had a spot in the show.

Before Johnny and Pam arrived I did the number, which I used to dread with a Spanish (so called) Comedy magician who, fortunately for me, got the sack.

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Johnny and his Doves

Then “The Great Thomsoni” arrived! He was known as the Polish Magician and, low and behold, the ‘Good Fairy’ was looking down on me. Johnny and Pam were here! We rehearsed and it was like magic! I have never ever enjoyed working with another magician so much in all my life as I did with Johnny Thompson. Every night was a joy! It was such fun! He was the kindest, most generous artist you could ever wish to work with. We clicked working together from the very first moment and it just lasted. We became great friends. Their own act was a riot, with laughs all the way.

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Johnny and Pam

Most nights after the late show, Johnny and Pam would come to our apartment ,which was opposite the Scala Melia Castilla, for dinner. Ray would cook a variety of dishes, their favorite was his Roast Lamb with baked potatoes. Ray was a superb cook.

The last time that I saw Johnny and Pam was just after Ray had died and I wasn’t really good company for them. They were in London where they had just done a Gala for Magicians, and were now on their way back to Las Vegas. We had lunch together and then we went to the National Portrait Gallery. That was many years ago, but we always stayed in touch by email (very handy). Still after all those years we remained friends.
To try and describe Johnny’s act with Pam would not do him justice.

The act had starred in Las Vegas productions such as the Folies Bergere at the Tropicana Hotel and Casino and the Lido de Paris at the Stardust Hotel and Casino.

“The Great Thomsoni” toured Internationally, performing at the London Palladium, the Theatre Princess Grace in Monte Carlo, Le Cabaret at the Casino in Monte Carlo, the Casino Ruhl in Nice, France, and the Scala Melia Castilla in Madrid, Spain with me.
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Watch a Master at Work.

God Bless you Johnny! ‘Rest in Peace’

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2019 in Uncategorized