been wanting to write to you for some time, but I couldn't find an
address. Now that I've discovered that you and Robin Skynner wrote
Life and How to Survive It for Methuen, I've decided to take
a chance on this one (it's either that or another Saturday afternoon
spent in the bowels of Pattee Library, where I usually get sidetracked
and start photocopying pictures of the Bonzo Dog Band or coming up
with ideas for radio shows or looking up articles in the periodicals
now I'm skipping out on production time for the Rubber Chicken
Comedy Closet, a weekly show on the campus radio station. But
we're only putting together a "Best Of..." show, anyway
(our way of convincing the station manager not to drop our show or
feed us to the Federal Communications Commission, a.k.a. The FCC Thought
Police, before we get back in production after semester break).
writing to you because I want to express my grief and concern at Graham
Chapman's death. Last semester was a tough one for me, because the
news hit hard and crushed a lot of hopes. The Penn State Monty Python
Society, of which I'm the secretary, had been planning since last
year to bring Graham Chapman here to speak. Our president had contacted
Graham's manager, Don Epstein; and though we had a pittance of a treasury,
we intended to grovel at the feet of the university until we raised
the cash. I was a little more excited than most, because he'd come
here in 1983 and given an interview to WPSU. I had every confidence
that I could get one with him (I'm executive producer of an eclectic
program called Before the Dawn). I'd even gone so far as to
plan what I would say.
Chapman will stay in my thoughts, though I suppose the pain will deaden.
From what I know of him, he was a caring man with a lot of talent,
verve, and spontaneity. I wish I could have met him. And I want you
to know that my thoughts are with you, and I wish you all the strength
of the millions of people who love you.
of Graham Chapman, the Python Society sponsored a lot of events last
fall. The night he died we held a three-hour wake that started with
us crying and ended with us singing morbid Tom Lehrer songs, climbing
in the windows, turning over couches, setting the chandeliers swinging,
and hopping around on one foot singing "Let it Be."
theme in the Homecoming Parade was "Always Look on the Bright
Side of Life," and we dressed up as some of his better-known
characters and sang the theme song, amidst other silliness.
a Great Ides- of-October Mystery Event (which we'd been planning for
some time) and opened it with a candlelight vigil on the steps of
Old Main, since it was bright daylight. I said a few words, first
in my normal voice and then in a high squeaky one, and most everyone
else took their turn. Meanwhile, we collected for the American Cancer
Society, in memory of Graham Chapman. We continued the fundraiser
throughout Homecoming and collected about $80.
did a three-hour Before the Dawn show on Monty Python's Flying
Circus, with a section on Graham Chapman.
you don't mind this extremely long letter (I'm even more long-winded
in person). I know you must get a lot of mail, and you probably don't
even get a chance to look at most of it; but if you happen to read
this, please write back to me. It would matter a lot to me, to know
that this reached you and that you read it.