Fade to black …
Yet another limerick-as-eulogy. That’s three in fairly quick succession; a bit worrying!
Anyway, for UK moviegoers during the 70s, 80s and 90s there was really only one credible film critic on TV. That was, of course, the recently deceased Barry Norman who solo presented the BBC’s review show from its inception as Film 72 through to his end credit on Film 98. (Clapperboard, hosted by Chris Kelly and aimed at children, was not a direct challenger to the primacy of Bazza’s show).
Norman was always fair in his reviews even if he personally disliked the actor whose film he was discussing, but I’m not so sure he was as well-balanced when he was utterly captivated by one. There was a fair number of the former with whom he went toe to toe, stars such as Charlton Heston, Robert De Niro, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis; at least one of whom he walked out on after being made to wait interminably (Madonna); and another, an inebriated John Wayne, who apparently called him a “goddamn pinko liberal f****t” for laughing aloud at him during an interview in which Wayne called for the US to consider bombing Russia as a reaction to the Vietnam war.
In truth Norman rarely appeared starstruck, although he did have a bit of a love-in with Tom Cruise and was wholly beguiled by Michelle Pfeiffer. I can still recall his reaction to her flirtations during a Film 92 Special and it’s hard to believe his protestations that he didn’t really have a crush on her (his wife appeared not to believe him either). It was just so funny to watch him almost drool as he interviewed her.
And so to his tag line. Although his doppelgänger on the satirical puppet show Spitting Image often referenced his supposed catchphrase “… and why not?“, Norman himself credited the impressionist Rory Bremner with conceiving it and, although it was not his creation, and something of a myth that he regularly used it, he did later borrow it as the title of his autobiography.
Anyway, both Michelle P and his catchphrase inspired this week’s limerick:
Michelle made you blush on the spot
When it seemed that you’d quite lost the plot.
‘Twas not hard to decipher
Your thoughts on Ms Pfeiffer,
But as you said once yourself: “And why not!”