|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
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.