Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Time for a change of place and a smile

Writer and humorist Barry Cryer OBE has been an important contributor to British comedy for over half a century. Having written for many leading comedians, he lately worked the after-dinner circuit reminiscing about good old days of live theatre and radio comedy. Cryer mentions that as a young man, he failed out of Leeds Univesity because of the outbreak of the Second World War:
"WWII happened 16 years before, but it upset me deeply."
The following story comes from a 1999 performance Cryer recorded for the BBC Radio's series 'That Reminds Me.'  The series is running weekly now on BBC Radio 7, my favorite source for classic British radio comedy.
During the second world war, our lads were in Norway's near-arctic conditions. They had this short Sten gun, which was notorious for freezing up and jamming overnight, due to the sheer cold.  One of the lads took a certain product, from a company that supplied a social service . . . and stretched it over the barrel of the Sten gun overnight. In the morning, he peeled it off the barrel and the gun fired first time. This became a legend that went right up the chain of command. It reached Winston Churchill himself. He sanctioned that the company would manufacture an 18 inch model for this express purpose, on two conditions:
"One, they are clearly marked 'Made in Britain' and two, 'Medium Size'."
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1 comment:

  1. I can relate. I am a "medium" myself.

    ReplyDelete

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