Some people have lost more than the plot: a bizarre tale of British cinema

John Ward with some Malcolm Hardee Awards for Comedy

A couple of days ago, I blogged about mad inventor John Ward’s memory of his neighbours listening to Billy Connolly records in their back garden.

John Ward was not always a mad inventor. He followed other interestingly varied career paths before he settled on designing things like the musical frying pan, the yo-yo safety net and the Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards.

In my eyes, he has always been a potential lookalike for Mr Pickwick, but, in his erstwhile youth, John was a projectionist for the ABC cinema chain.

“It was a poorly-paid job,” he tells me. But there were occasional incidents which lifted his heart slightly.

The cinema had a doorman/bouncer called Harry ‘Rocky’ Coles.

One day, as John and Rocky were locking up the cinema and about to go on their lunch break, John tells me, “a chap came up and asked in some strange speak if anygoddy lad flound any flause teethtif.

It transpired that, during the previous night’s screening, this man had taken his false teeth out to “rest them” (his phrase) and placed them on the edge of the next upturned, unused seat.

When he got home, he realised he had left what he called his “eating teeth” at the cinema.

So John and Rocky took the man to the cinema’s lost property box to see if his dentures had been found by the cleaners.

In the box were nine sets of dentures. The man proceeded to try each and every one by sticking them in his mouth and chomping up and down.

“It was like he was having a test drive,” says John. “And, after a moment or two, when he found the right denture, he started to talk like Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady!… Rocky and I stood amazed by the change from gibbering idiot to well-spoken thespian and I held myself back from saying By George! He’s got them!

As the relieved man left the cinema, he looked at John and Rocky and said: “Thankyou. They’re not the teeth I lost last night, but they do fit rather lovely.”

And then he walked off.

John swears this story is absolutely true.

The thing I find bizarre is not that the man walked off wearing the wrong dentures but that, when he arrived, there were nine unclaimed sets of false teeth which had been left in the cinema.

Although I should not be surprised. The London Transport Lost Property Office has, in the past, had three dead bats, a vasectomy kit, a jar of bull’s sperm, a theatrical coffin, a park bench and a 14 foot long boat.

I do not know if or how they verified it was bull’s sperm.


Filed under Comedy, Eccentrics, Movies

3 responses to “Some people have lost more than the plot: a bizarre tale of British cinema

  1. The ‘other’ nine sets of assorted teeth was not unusal by any means – they used to keep stuff like that for approx. six months and then sling whatever was there as the ‘box’ was but a certain size and fitted in a ‘certain’ place in the cleaner’s cupboard. One of the more unusual/bizarre items was a glass eye (one of) and oddly, nobody came to claim that ( brown in colour by the way..) and it was only on one of the cleaners enquired – as you do – as to how you could tell if it was a right or left one.. There were no reports of a cyclops visting our humble cinema at that time which wouldm have mucked up any ideas as to showing films in 3D..

  2. If anyone wants to contact John Ward direct, then see above…
    He can also be contacted via his website
    … via the email quoted there:

    • Yes, we also do afternoon teas and coffee plus we don’t bite either!
      Regards, John Ward – a.k.a ‘Elvis Presley Look-A-Like’ ( I am sure if he were alive today, he would look like me – or close..)

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