Sunday, 14 April 2013

THE MARK OF A GENTLEMAN: AN ENCOUNTER WITH PETER CUSHING


Our thanks to our friend, Joth Gambold for this lovely story of his encounter with Peter and for sharing the rare image of his ticket! Thank you, Joth :)

"I was very fortunate in attending an interview with the wonderful Mr Cushing in Canterbury in 1987 as described below:

I was a resident in Faversham in 1986 (I taught in Sittingbourne) and my late parents came to stay. I suggested that I take them to Whitstable to be ‘by the sea’ as it were. My lovely Mum absolutely adored Peter (although she hadn’t seen many of his movies) and while driving along the high street she suddenly shouted out that Mr Cushing was riding his bike next to us and, blow me down’, so he was. It made hers and my day.

We popped into a fish restaurant for a meal and I noticed that a small poster on the door of the ‘cafĂ©’ said that your wonderful resident was going to talk at St Edmunds School Hall in Canterbury to raise money for Canterbury Hospitals. I couldn’t resist and popped along on the Sunday evening to see one of my all time Hammer film favourites.

Peter came onstage with a walking stick saying that he had fallen off his bike in Whitstable. I wondered if it might have been caused by fright at a middle aged fanatical woman screaming his name some weeks before.

The evening was glorious and a contented audience left the hall to be greeted by an exhibition of Mr Cushing’s exquisite watercolour paintings and designs painted onto silk scarves. He was sitting signing copies of his first autobiography so I paid for it and stood in line to get the signature of my hero.
 
A young lady was standing just behind me and when it came to my turn, I turned to her and asked the girl if she would like to go first which she did. I then stepped forward and was shocked when Peter awkwardly stood up and took my hand saying to me, “ I would like to shake the hand of a gentleman”.
 

I almost passed out!

I enclose a scan of the ticket from that evening, still in my possession and kept in the signed book.

Over the years I have continued to tell this tale to friends as I believe that the passing of Peter ‘closed the door’ to his type of charm and gentleness. I know this to be true since anyone who talks of him says exactly the same. Look at Stephen Fry’s mention of him on an old episode of ‘QI’.

I just thought that it would be nice to pass on this tiny incident from the huge array of stories about the late, great man."

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