"Thus open the gates of paradise."

In this issue
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Bob Homme

06 Apr 2002

Jerome, Friendly, and Rusty

Unless you've been under a cultural rock for the last 30 years, you know who Friendly, Rusty, and Jerome are. The Friendly Giant was for many, a slice of childhood in a 15 minute segment. I remember watching the opening and closing sequence on the family black and white TV when I was so young that memory is suspect. The show started with a castle drawbridge being lowered, then the front doors being opened. It's reversed for the closing, and as night falls over the castle, a full moon rises, and a cow jumps over it. The castle was a model; the chains that worked the drawbridge were real, and as a six year old, I was fascinated by them. How did they work? Was there a Meccano motor inside, or was someone playing out the links of chain by hand? Not that it mattered, but that mystery held my attention every time.Years later, after the show had been cancelled, I heard on CBC radio that Bob still had the castle at his home. The armchair that two could curl up in (and the rocking chair for those who like to rock) are, I think, in the CBC museum in Toronto, alongside one of Friendly's outfits and an early prototype for Rusty (if memory serves).

Strangest Friendly Giant-related memory: seeing an interview with Rod Coneybeare, the voice of Jerome and Rusty. There he was, doing a man-in-the-street stand up, talking about something -- I'll never remember what because I was so startled to hear the voice of Jerome the giraffe coming out of his mouth. That wasn't a put-on voice; that's pretty much exactly his normal speaking voice.

Bob Homme (Friendly) died last week If you have a soprano recorder handy, give yourself a rendition of "Early One Morning" and just try not to think of that great big boot.