Sunday, 16 April 2017

REMINISCING REPOST: 'HULLORERR CHINAS' - THE DAY I MET THE LEGENDARY RIKKI FULTON...



U.S. filmgoers may recall him in supporting roles as sinister KGB
officer MAJOR PRIBLUDA in GORKY PARK and Dr. GEDDES in
LOCAL HERO, but to Scottish audiences, RIKKI FULTON was a gen-
uine comedy and acting legend.  Not only in his own right, but also along-
side another giant of TV and theatre, JACK MILROY, in their alter-
egos of FRANCIE & JOSIE, the work-shy Glasgow layabouts.

Back in the merry month of May, 1982, I had the good fortune
and great privilege of meeting Rikki Fulton in JOHN MENZIES (when
said establishment was situated near the bottom of Glasgow's Buchanan
Street, across from FRASER'S), and, for all those interested in learning
how your humble host managed to rub shoulders with the great man
himself, I shall now recount exactly what transpired.

I'd just stepped out of the lift on the ground floor, having been
in the record & book departments on the first, when I spied a familiar
figure leaning on the counter at the stationery section.  "Rikki Fulton!"
I gasped (more to myself than anyone else) in sheer disbelief at seeing a
principal member of showbiz royalty mingling with mere mortals.  (I was
only 23 at the time, so can surely be forgiven my youthful exuberance.)
Rikki Fulton, whom I'd seen in The FRANCIE & JOSIE Show on TV
back in the 1960s, right in front of me - in the actual, living, breathing,
pulsing flesh.  I'd thought such figures used servants or emissaries
for menial tasks like shopping, but apparently not. 


He appeared to be writing something and, thinking he was signing
an autograph, I approached (having calmed down a tad) and meekly
asked if I, too, could have his autograph.  "As long as it's not on one of
these!" he said without missing a beat, smiling and indicating the cheque
to which he was applying his name.  Clearly my cue to laugh at his witty
and apropos remark, but I was still too stunned at seeing him in person
to respond with appropriate appreciation for his quick-thinking, ad-
libbed riposte, so merely stood there like a fart in a trance.

I got a scrap of paper from the girl serving him and, smiling in the
most friendly manner, Rikki asked my name.  "Gordon" I managed to
stammer.  I'd regained my composure somewhat by the time he handed
me the note inscribed "For Gordon, Rikki Fulton", so I thanked him
then said:  "Sorry to have bothered you".  "Absolutely no bother at all"
was his warm and genuine response before moving toward the exit.  No
minders, no entourage - just an ordinary, everyday guy out shopping.
Of course, in truth there was nothing ordinary or everyday about
him - the man was a showbiz titan and comedy genius.


I still have that piece of paper, tucked safely into the sleeve of
my FRANCIE JOSIE LP by GOLDEN GUINEA.  (Yet available
on CD on ELM Records CDELM4123.)  And whenever I recall that
moment, a warm glow comes over me at the thought of it.  Rikki Fulton
was the epitome of the perfect gentleman;  kind and gracious to a stum-
bling, bumbling, starstruck fan and treating me as though I were doing
him a favour.  I'll tell you, a lot of so-called celebrities in any sphere
 you care to mention could learn something about how to behave to
the public from the legend that was - that is - Rikki Fulton.

2 comments:

Colin Jones said...

I've never met anybody famous but I was once having a meal in a Chinese restaurant and a big car passed by carrying Princess Diana who was visiting the local area. And a few years ago the staff at a local museum were stunned when Goldie Hawn dropped in unannounced ! There was also a concert by Donny Osmond in the grounds of the same museum but I didn't attend.

Kid said...

There was a lot of puppies at that Donny Osmond concert, CJ - he loves them. Released a song about it back in the early '70s.

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