Eric Morecambe memorabilia brings back happy memories....
Our antiques expert Allan Blackburn looks at collectables championing a comedy legend.
"I always take my wife her morning tea in my pyjamas. But is she grateful? No. She’d rather have it in a cup.” I can’t claim credit for these immortal lines from King of comedy and local hero, Eric Morecambe
It’s very fitting to be celebrating what would have been Eric’s 95th birthday this week, as we can probably all agree with comments made by a centre visitor recently, that comedy helps us get through difficult times.
Why seek autographs, photographs and concert memorabilia from a favourite comedian? Perhaps a link to that moment of magic, it’s also spawned a healthy secondary collectables market for performers from the age of classic variety and stage.
Keeping it local, John Eric Bartholomew honed his teenage act in talent shows at the Winter Gardens in Morecambe. He is said to have loved Morecambe so much, he took the town name for his stage name. He returned to the Winter Gardens in glory after forming the classic double act with Ernie Wise in 1946.
Perennially popular, Eric and Ernie autographs start around £30, with signed photographs, magazines and programmes rising to well over £100. At the top end, a 1969 signed 7” of the duo singing ‘Bring Me Sunshine’ is worth thousands to serious fans.
I had the absolute pleasure of meeting and spending time with Eric back in 1962. I was 14 years old and my parents and I holidayed in Great Yarmouth and that year Morecambe and Wise were doing their summer season there.
They were staying in the same hotel as us. During the day, the test cricket was on the TV and for two days Eric and I stayed in the hotel lounge fixated on the match. A self-confessed cricket fanatic, Eric didn’t miss a moment and we went out for ice cream in the break and chatted. I can honestly say he is one of the nicest, kindest men I have ever had the pleasure to meet. When it was time for me to go home, he signed a photo for me and (before you ask) no, it’s not for sale.
These books are among a collection of Eric Morecambe memorabilia which arrived in the centre since reopening, priced £5-£10, the signed postcard is £50.
As we look forward to live comedy returning, hopefully soon, with canny collecting you can strike all the right notes, and in the right order!