Friday

Week 22 : Text : Obituary of Comedian Frankie Goldmund

BELOVED COMEDIAN BITES OFF MORE THAN HE CAN CHEW

Frankie Goldmund 1883 - 1920

The heart attack of stalwart prat man, Frankie "Fat's" Goldmund has sent shock waves through his wide circle of friends, fans and patissiers. Tributes of flowers and cured meats have been arriving at his Salisbury home all week since his brief yet rapid rise to stardom was cut short under circumstances police would only describe as "unsavoury".

From a young age the portly Goldmund was a figure of fun, attracting the taunts of his schoolmates, including his three lean brothers and one wan sister, who ensured that the jibes continued long into the night. Goldmund later reflected that he was indebted to his siblings for driving him out of home and sought to repay them for all the seconds they had missed out on when they were young by supplying each of their respective families with chefs and perpetually stuffed pantries.

By puberty Goldmund had grown accustomed, indeed afflicted by a need for, constant attention, however derisory, and decided to focus his natural ability - to draw from the mildest company a litany of abusive fat jokes - into becoming a comedian. Yet whilst his capacity for humiliation was prodigious, he himself lacked any comedic ability and it would be many years spent touring various circus's as the resident "Human Blimp" or "World Man" (for which position he refused to have a depiction of the globe tattooed indelibly upon his naked flesh, thus saving his career) before he would realise his ambition to have a sandwich named after him at the Actors' Cafe in Oxford University, the highest distinction bestowed by that institution's comedic elite. The "Gold Mouth" is composed of three layers of buttered toast interspersed with fried eggs, sardines and gravy and stands as tall testament to his wide acclaim.

His big break came late in life and quite by accident. Whilst employed by Quincey's department store as their resident Saint Nicholas for the Christmas sales period of 1915, Goldmund worked long hours without the customary half-hourly repasts that helped keep him in jolly good form. Famished, he began grazing upon the fairy floss the endless train of children who sat upon his lap brought with them. Seeing this, several impatient children sought to jump ahead in the cue by offering Saint Nick a bite of their candy, a temptation the swooning Goldmund could not refuse. Soon the orderly procession of hopeful schoolboys and girls, eager to have their wishes fulfilled, degenerated into a feeding frenzy as they rushed to satisfy Father Christmas's insatiable appetite for mince pies, candy canes and anything else they could lay hands on from the shelves and hampers on display. When Reginald Quincey himself broke up the mob of infants he revealed at the storm's centre a Santa who seemed made up in blackface for all the chocolate smeared upon it, and sprawled across a pile of candy boxes and wrappers. The crowd of parents assembled to witness this occurrence at first stood aghast but soon erupted into laughter. One of them was film producer Arnold Stack, and there and then the character of Uncle Orrville was born. Their first film together, Uncle Orrville Eats Christmas, a recreation of the events of that December day, was an instant hit.

Yet despite his quickly expanding body of work and international popularity Goldmund was never satisfied. He was aware of his own inadequacies as a performer and knew that his success derived exclusively from his audiences' disgust and fascination rather than from his skill. His relationship with Stack grew increasingly strained. In the middle of shooting their last film together, The Many Mischiefs of a Summer Holiday, Goldmund walked out mid-take of the closing scene in which the children all laugh at a suffocating Orrville after he has sipped the chilli tea they have brewed up for him. The next morning Goldmund was discovered dead in the filmset kitchen, having boiled the week's exposed filmstock a la pasta spaghettini and served it up to himself with napoli sauce, parmesan and a bottle of Bordeaux. When the cast and crew arrived promptly at 9 to commence the day's shooting they believed Goldmund to be performing and burst into uproarious applause at the spectacle.

The Crown's Coroner shall announce his verdict as to whether Goldmund's demise was by suicide or misadventure on Monday 8th.

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