At long last I found ‘Uncle Howard’

Have you ever had that niggling little memory which has lost a piece of itself in that labyrinth we call the mind? It’s only a tiny bit missing but it makes all the difference to what you are trying to remember.

I retrieved one of those bits tyesterday and I had been hunting for it for years.

It belongs to the story of my tour round England with Sooty, Sweep, Harry Corbett and various other people and puppets.

Considering the tour was just over seven months, less than one per cent of my life, I do seem to have lingered rather a long time over it and in the next few days I will have to draw that part of my story to a close, but not today.

My last mention of the tour described how we had become like a family in the fortnight at Harry’s place in Dorset. We all had our parts to play and our backstage roles as well as front of house.

The only member of the group not initially forming part of the family was the guest artist, Howard the escapologist. He did not join us until the day we booked in at the first theatre (and no, I still can’t remember where it was).

Other than his act, which he had obviously rehearsed (as he was an escapologist one would hope he had rehearsed everything), he was required for the UV sequence to ensure the appearance of the genie – a football painted in UV paint with a menacing stare, set on a cane frame draped in fluorescent material.

Fortunately he was quick on the uptake and after an hour before lunch he had the routine off to a T and at the first performance that day he managed to move the genie around the stage without bumping into Lawrence and myself who were each operating two giant butterflies.

As I have mentioned previously I remembered his name was Howard, which as it happens is also the name of one of my nephews but he appeared on the scene later, and that he was an escapologist. In my mind I could picture him but for the life of me I could not remember his name – until today.

So, ladies and gentlemen and all my other readers, let me introduce you to:


Howard is the gentlemen seated between two Butlins Redcoats at the Bognor holiday camp early in 1974. He was the resident compere known as Uncle Howard.

He is also the man seen hanging upside down from a crane in the middle of Nottingham, could be in the 60s or 70s.

There we go, I finally found that missing piece which helped me find Uncle Howard.

We’ll round off the tour soon and look at my next steps outside the cosy world of journalism.

Published by Robin

I'm a retired journalist who still has stories to tell. This seems to be a good place to tell them.

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