Impending Death on the Way to See Captain Fortune
When I look at this photo of my school friend Carol and myself I can't believe we're in the city that day to go and see Captain Fortune. We looked older (with regard to today's teenagers) than one would expect, to be going to see a kid's T.V. show host. Yet here we are, before seeing that mythical figure.
This has to be 1960 I have entries in "The Commonwealth Industrial Gases Limited" diary which states outings into the wider world with Carol .January 1960. Monday 4th . "Guess who arrived at my place, Carol Edwards, and asked if I'd go to the pictures with her on Wednesday said yes. After about half an hour we made up our minds to see "Big Circus" at the Esquire. Home Carol went and inside I went to watch T.V. till bed time.
T.V. was by then firmly established in our world.
On the day Carol and I went to see Captain Fortune it was definitely a BIG event! Two teenage girls let loose in the big smoke heading for Anthony Horderns the wonderful store whose intricate faηade reminded me of the equally elaborate icing on my Aunt Em's multi-tiered wedding cake. Along with that, Anthony Hordern's motto "While I Live I Grow" was firmly established as important to my developing ethos . Not to forget its delicately decorated Christmas windows over-brimming with snowflakes which announced other worlds beyond beaches and sunburn.
Yet here we are Carol and I now within Hordern's portals and heading towards the doors of one of its iron-clad lifts with an operator, no doubt a woman with a fierce expression and accommodating voice, encouraging bodies to place feet on tenuously shifting floors. I hated lifts! Except for their Victorian aesthetics, but once encaged entrapped, one inhabited a world of taught and shuddering ropes echoing my worst nightmare The lift was stuck between floors impending death on the way to see .. Captain Fortune! My shiny face in the photo-booth piccie belies any semblance of the terror I felt. I definitely didn't want to die visiting my favourite T.V. personality (outside of Mickey Mouse Club) and harbouring dreams of being a "Mouseketeer"} CAPTAIN FORTUNE!
CAPTAIN FORTUNE remains the open hearted mythical sailor who inhabited a dreamscape of possibilities beyond suburbia where one entertained a life of absurdity of wayward and benevolent acts and adventures into shipwrecks of good and bad fortune. I managed t get his autograph now manage to recall a glimpse of the joy felt at seeing him surrounded by countless kids in "real life" and now it seems that CAPTAIN FORTUNE was to bring more god luck my way than I could have guessed : by the way of a treasured friendship with one of his daughters, Kathie Herbert, and with meeting his grandsons. How could I imagine then that one day I would tell my story to Kathie, that her father was my childhood T.V. hero and that I could show her my little schoolgirl autograph book with his signature.