On one of the odd days I managed to escape from ‘The York’, I let the train take the strain and hit the “Comedy Trail”.
You won’t find this trail in any guide book... yet! It exists only in my imagination, but perhaps our tourism chiefs could instigate it.
Let me explain. Morecambe has a great tradition of comedy – Eric Morecambe, Thora Hird, Albert Modley to name a few. Even Victoria Wood has lived in the town, with many others treading the boards of our theatres. Imagine then if we had a place to honour this great comedy legacy.
Just across the bay, in Ulverston, they have managed to pay homage to their greatest son, Stan Laurel, and his partner, Ollie, with both a statue (like our Eric) and a newly housed museum. I visited the original exhibition many years ago.
Then it was housed literally in a house!
It wasn’t too user friendly and you did get that sort of claustrophobic feel as you were packed together for a guided tour.
All that has changed as it is now situated in half of the town’s Roxy cinema – very apt! You can easily move around the galleries, exploring the life of Stan and Ollie and checking out the hundreds of items of memorabilia on display.
There is a bar and refreshment area and, of course, you can sit in renovated cinema seats and watch old movies.
I used the coastal train route to get to Ulverston and, thankfully, the weather was clear. The view back across to Morecambe was stunning. “Join the comedy trail from Eric to Stanley,” or something like that, could be the slogan. It’s not rocket science and should not cost too much to set up.
Watching a young lad laughing hysterically as a fat man from Ulverston and a thin man from Georgia, USA, acted out a polished slapstick comedy routine from 80 ago makes you feel it could work here with Eric, Ernie and the others.
You just have to ask yourselves – is there the will and the ambition to do it in Morecambe?