Coconuts and Pythons…

I just realized that this is a rather significant week for me as a Monty Python fan.

It was 39 years ago, on June 8, 1975, that I drove to Carnegie Theatre, accompanied by my pal Steve Wolf, for the Chicago premiere of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

It was also the first–but hardly the last time–that I would be up close and personal with a Python.

Graham Chapman and Terry Jones were appearing in person at the theatre, so there was no way I would miss it. We were there several hours early, and were rather close to the front of the line. The theatre was giving out free coconuts to the first few hundred people in line, and we didn’t want to miss out. I also wanted to make sure I would be as close to Graham Chapman and Terry Jones as possible.

When they opened the theatre, we grabbed our coconuts and rushed to the front row. Perfect seats for seeing the two Pythons up close (although not necessarily the best seats for watching the movie, as we soon found out).

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The theatre manager came out and introduced Graham and Terry, who came out to riotous cheers and applause, talked to us a bit, and then took a few questions. I came forward and presented the two of them with a pair of carved coconuts to commemorate their Chicago visit (which, although I never asked, I’m sure were immediately deposited in the dumpster behind the theatre).

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It didn’t matter. Steve snapped a picture of me with the two of them, and I was delighted (though in retrospect, I’d have foregone the knotted handkerchief I was wearing). Nevertheless, it would be, as they say, the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

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