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Huh. That’s weird.

Last night we watched a short film called A Welcome to Britain. It was a WWII film made for American GI’s, going over the basics of how to interact with war-weary Brits. Not too heavy-handed, mildly charming. If you’re inclined’ta, you can watch it for yourself here.

It was narrated by Burgess Meredith, who I don’t suppose was particularly famous in 1943. In the very last scene, he lounges in bed, pops a cigarette in a long cigarette holder and does a sort of Penguin impression. See picture. Uncle B and I both sat up and pointed and made “ook!” noises.

I wondered if maybe the cigarette holder was a Burgess Meredith ‘thing’, but no. IMDB says:

On the television series Batman (1966), he developed his grunting Penguin laugh out of necessity. Meredith had given up smoking some twenty-odd years earlier, but his character was required to smoke with a cigarette holder. The smoke would get caught in his throat and he would start coughing. Rather than constantly ruin takes in this matter, he developed the laugh to cover it up. “Actually, it was a pretty funny noise for a penguin to make,” said Meredith. “I sounded more like a duck.” Needless to say, Meredith gave up smoking again immediately after the series ended.

Which is weird. But it also says this, which is even weirder:

He was fascinated by the subject of non-human intelligence, particularly dolphins. He once believed that a dolphin somehow called to him for help in the middle of the night while he was staying at a friend’s home on the beach. He ran out and found the dolphin, caught in a net under a dock down the beach, although there was no way he should have been able to know it was there. He released it, saving its life. He believed it had made some sort of connection with him, perhaps telepathic, to call for help.

Something to think about on a Monday evening.

May 21, 2018 — 8:44 pm
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