Born: November 23, 1923; Died: June 6, 2012 .
Eric Goold, who has died aged 88, was a creative driving force behind pantomimes enjoyed by tens of thousands of children, both young and old, over more than 50 years.
He was assistant finance manager at Glasgow Airport until his retiral in 1988 but was also the founder of Glasgow Airport Drama Club (now Runway Theatre Company), and author of a prolific creative output of traditional family shows (writing the book, original music and lyrics) and a huge number of original songs and sketches.
His writing had an optimistic, feel-good approach which has helped retain its appeal for almost half a century. It is estimated that something in the region of 111,000 audience members have attended an Eric Goold pantomime, many of them children enjoying their first theatrical experience.
He was born and raised in Dennistoun, Glasgow, and attended Whitehill Secondary School. His aptitude for music flourished in his teens, when he started writing material for various theatrical groups. He worked closely first with the Unity Theatre and then with Rutherglen Repertory Theatre, both as a pianist and as a contributor to musical reviews, performed in Rutherglen and in the Citizens Theatre during the 1940s and 1950s.
His first complete pantomime is thought to have been Babes in the Wood, performed by Rutherglen Repertory Theatre in the early 1940s. Around this time he wrote material for a number of performers who would later achieve popular fame in Scottish television and theatre, including Russell Hunter, John Grieve, Larry Marshall and Roddy McMillan.
Shortly after Glasgow Airport was opened in 1966, a group of employees got together with the idea of putting on entertainment in aid of local charities. Mr Goold came up with a script for an airport pantomime called Ali Babbotsinch. The show went on in the West School, Paisley, on December 15-16, 1967. Although never destined to be more than a one-off event, Mr Goold and his cast were anxious to build on their success, and after a few years, moved into the new Eastwood Theatre, Giffnock, in 1973.
With wife Jean he ran the whole operation, with him writing the scripts, music and lyrics; selling tickets; playing the piano and directing the shows and Mrs Goold making costumes and props.
Tickets were administered without the aid of computers, and patrons developed a personal relationship with the man they came to know as Mr Pantomime, who greeted them with the ever-present twinkle in his eye, and immaculately dressed in his white tuxedo at the theatre.
The Goolds always ensured they put on the best show possible, not stinting on costumes or special props which have included waterfalls, Christmas card scenes, giants, beanstalks, and real ponies for Cinderella.
In 1995 Cilla Black's Surprise Surprise TV show picked up on Mr Goold's remarkable achievements. A huge stage was erected on Brighton Beach, and professional entertainers, headed by panto dame Christopher Biggins, performed a medley of his songs.
His work was also professionally recognised in a song he wrote for the Alexander Brothers, Setting The Heather On Fire. In 2005, his favourite song, Cinderella, was selected to be the theme of that year's King's Theatre, Glasgow pantomime, and it gave him a great thrill to hear this piece performed in that magnificent theatre.
Mr Goold died peacefully at home, in Killearn. He is survived by his wife Jean, son David and daughter-in-law Miriam.
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