As Valerie and I were born on the same day (albeit 3 years apart), our birthdays were always joint affairs. For our birthday meal, we could chose whatever we wanted to eat!
Remembering that England was still recovering from the Second World War, we did not get to eat salad too often. It was a special treat! Salad was therefore our choice of a birthday meal, followed of course by cake which Mum made.
After the meal was over, and Mum had “cleaned up and put away”, Dad would get out his film (movie) projector and a small screen that he had made. The screen was probably around 24” high x 36” wide, and on the sides were silhouettes of Disney characters that he had made out of wood.
He had a few reels of silent comedies, black and white of course, which included Charlie Chaplin; Laurel and Hardy; Our Gang and Keystone Cops.
The film projector was operated manually. Dad had to turn a handle to run the film. Not only did it require a certain level of expertise to turn at the correct speed, but it also provided the opportunity to speed up, or slow down, at will. There were many giggles from Valerie and I as we watched the futile attempts of Laurel and Hardy trying to plug a leak in their sinking boat! We would have probably lost control completely as Dad increased, or decreased, the speed of the action!
Memories also include scenes of Our Gang trying to pull one of their members (Topsy) from the path of an oncoming train. The obvious despair of Topsy clearly displayed by her pigtails going from hanging down, to pointing straight up! Of course, at the very last minute, they were successful.
We would have laughed at Charlie Chaplin’s silly walk, and of course his general incompetence with just about everything.
As for the Keystone Cops? Who could ever forget those crazy chase scenes? There were so many near misses with trains, traffic, roadside objects etc. Did they ever catch their quarry? I have no idea!
We had wonderful, and memorable, birthdays!