Eric Morecambe would have been 90 years old on May 14th 2016. The Morecambe born comedian, who died in 1984, is a hero to millions including myself as president of the Eric Morecambe Appreciation Society.
It’s hard to imagine Eric at 90 and wonder what he would do to celebrate his 90th birthday? My guess would be that he might have visited Morecambe and eaten some shrimps, looked at his statue and had a pint with his cousin “Wiggy” Threlfall at his old local, The New Inn in Poulton Square. Eric was and still is the cream of comedy. You can’t not smile when you see or hear him, he’s infectious.
Coming from lovely Morecambe which still retains its magic, was it any wonder that this naturally gifted funny man would one day make his mark publicly and end up setting a record viewing figure of 28 million people along with his comedy partner, Ernie Wise? Eric was a comic genius, still is. Voted comic of the century. He has never been bettered and never will be.
I can remember the excitement on hearing the familiar “Bring Me Sunshine” theme, knowing that Eric would be walking on. It’s only when researching about his life that I appreciated how much hard work went into him getting where he was. There wasn’t any X Factor back then, you didn’t become famous overnight. It was hard graft to make yourself known, more so when you were a northern comic. They reached the top of the ladder and couldn’t have gone any higher and that has to be admired. Don’t just take my word for how great a comic he was. The ultimate accolade was surely the statue of Eric first of all being erected in his memory and secondly and more spectacularly being unveiled by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
On the eve of the statue unveiling we organised a show in tribute to Eric, and we could have sold the tickets three times over. A night we shall never forget. Eric brought a smile to everyone’s face and I hope his birthday on May 14th gave you the opportunity to remember and smile once again.
My thanks go to Dave for remembering an iconic figure of our time, a comic genius who left us nothing but laughter. The theme “Bring Me Sunshine” is still played at the Globe Arena, Morecambe before every football game and brings a smile and sometimes a silent tear to the eye. I only ever met the great man once and that was coming out of a shopping mall in Florida where I greeted him with the words, “Good afternoon Mr Bartholomew, what a lovely day”. Needless to say he stopped and chatted and couldn’t quite believe that we were from Morecambe.
An anonymous figure presents the Bell’s Scotch Whisky Manager of the Year award in 1975 to Ron Saunders, manager of Aston Villa. Raymond Miquel, chairman of Bells is pictured in the centre.