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The Reluctant Jester [Paperback]

Michael Bentine
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

5 Aug 1993
Grandson of a vice-president of Peru, Old Etonian, RAF Intelligence officer, founder-member of "The Goon Show", creator of "It's a Square World", "The Bumblies" and "Potty Time", investigator of the paranormal, explorer, author and comedian, Michael Bentine describes the joys, absurdities and tragedies of a life of contrasts. A colourful array of characters play their part in the book: the larger-than-life Peruvian uncles, aunts and cousins who took prim, unsuspecting Folkestone by storm in the 1930s; the "bleddy" Poles in the wartime RAF who fought with great courage; the psychics who repeatedly offer evidence of extraordinary gifts; and the showbiz performers, from immobile Windmill nudes to seasoned old pros of the club circuit, stars such as Judy Garland, Danny Kaye and Julie Andrews, as well as the other Goons - and one minor star, the Bentine family's alcoholic parrot. The setting changes from Romney Marsh to London and Lincolnshire, and from the United States to Australia, and includes two visits to Peru - one of them for the first-ever Hovercraft expedition up the Amazon. Amidst the friendships and the travels, two themes predominate - the development of "my odd ability to make people laugh" and the love of family, which now includes a great-grandson.


Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Books (Transworld Publishers a division of the Random House Group); New edition edition (5 Aug 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552136530
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552136532
  • Product Dimensions: 17.6 x 10.2 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 200,244 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I don't think I ever realised what an extraordinary character and person Michael was until I read this book. I new of his work (Goons and Square World) and his children's series (Bumblies, Potty Time, etc) - but I never realised how close he was regarded by others to be a modern day Leonardo. His interests and expertise covered engineering, parasychology, astronomy, dowsing, chinese jade, victorian watercolour, combat firearm, British Intelligence, flying, sailing, the RAF... all avenues he was considered an expert in, apart from his more obvious persona as a brilliant comedy writer and performer. I'm not a great reader of autobiographies - but he is such a superb raconteur and there were extracts in this book where I laughed so much I thought I would pass out! You just can't help feeling he was a tremendous person to be with and talk to about almost anything. The world is a drearier place without him.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A STORY OF AN INCREDIBLE MAN 15 Sep 2012
Format:Paperback
Many of us are familiar with the comedy work of Mr Bentine, but this books delves deeper into his early life, and contains the fascinating story of a man who gave so much to his adopted country.

One area which is not touched upon at all is his work with the SAS and the fact that he was a major driving force in setting up the Counter terrorism unit. I believe he was the first civilian to be allowed to use the Killing House in Hereford. Queens Gate was a shining example of how well his ideas worked. Many of the old Hereford hands still raise a glass to him in salute.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a wonderful man 24 Dec 2012
By Ri
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A really great story about someone I can remember watching as a child. He brought a wonderful fantasy world into my life and its great to at last get to know him better through this fascinating book.
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