Six more sleeps till "the big day", and somehow, despite all my efforts, I'm not feeling "Christmassy" in the slightest. I'll be blaming recent real-life events for that, but am still endeavouring to get at least a BIT festive. This might help:
Yeah, a pantomime! The Hoot pantomime no less. I've talked about Hoot before, and I'll be talking about it again - it's far too good a comic to be as neglected as it is. It was completely left out of the otherwise excellent Classics From The Comics (it's not even mentioned on the cover), and last year, when DC Thomson put out a book collecting several pantomime-themed stories from their archives, Hoot was left out once more.
In my ongoing heroic quest to right such wrongs, here's the whole thing, in full...
Exciting stuff, eh? That bit where everyone flies in to save the day only to be unceremoniously vaporised? All the more impressive is that (apparently) Steve Bright did this whole comic himself. Peter Gray says that he did anyway, and he knows his stuff. Obviously drawing his own characters (Super Fran and Want-A-Job Bob), but ghosting everyone else as well - Barrie Appleby, Ken Harrison, Robert Nixon, and to an unbelievably-convincing level, David Mostyn (Snackula) and John Geering (Dogsbody).
And you know what? Because Christmas is a nostalgic time of year (in that it was ALWAYS better when you were younger), here's something else. The Hoot pantomime was Babes In The Wood, which just happens to be the first pantomime I ever went to (or so my memory tells me), way back in... 1990. Yes. So here's the nice-looking programme from that very show, along with a few interesting bits from within:
A nice start with the cover there, combining two favourites into a whole. What challenges await and so on. Here's your usual programme stuff - a list of who's in it:
Ooh, him off Neighbours! And one of the Nolans too. Smashing. Here's the "forthcoming attractions" bit - I definitely remember going to see Rainbow. The thing with Zippy and George and Bungle.
And a puzzle to keep the kids quiet. NONE of those differences could escape the keen eyes of me and my brother:
Really, I wouldn't've bothered scanning (or even keeping) this programme were it not for the OTHER puzzle pages, done by a mysterious pair called Annie Butcher and Ken Meharg. Just LOOK at these things!
I can't remember anything at all from the actual pantomime, but these images have stayed with me my whole life - a show outperformed by its programme? Seems that way. Just thought they were worth sharing with the world.
And here's an advert from it, from when a Curly Wurly was about five feet long: