Music Hall Memories: That Time comics writer Tim Quinn met Eartha Kitt

Eartha Kitt as Catwoman
Eartha Kitt as Catwoman

Comic writer, publisher and raconteur Tim Quinn has had one of the most colourful careers I know, much of it documented in his biography, Argh! from MIWK Publishing. Here’s just one of his amazing stories, from his time as a stage hand in Leeds… and his encounter with Catwoman actress and singing sensation Eartha Kitt…

POWER

The year is 1970. I’m such an innocent, just seventeen, walking down the stairs from the Flys to the Green Room at the World Famous City Varieties Music Hall in Leeds.

On a window ledge at the bottom of the stairs sits Eartha Kitt, dressed in Victorian yellow silk.

She is looking up the staircase. She is looking up the staircase into my eyes. Directly into my eyes. Eartha Kitt is looking directly into my eyes. The Universe has come to a sudden stop because Eartha Kitt is looking directly into my eyes and she won’t stop. There are twenty-four steps to climb down and her eyes don’t blink or waver.

I have to make you understand the full shuddering impact of that moment in my life. I was raised a Catholic in the 1950s being sent to the nuns at age four, followed by an eternity under the iron fist of the Irish Christian Brothers (“We will instil a fear of God in your child”.). There had been only boys at my school. No girls.

And certainly no Eartha Kitt.

When I tell people my Eartha Kitt story, I always pause at this point so that they can say: “Go on. What happened next?”

I then take up the story. Her eyes followed me all the way to the kettle across the Green Room. When I turned from pouring myself a cup, she was still staring directly into my eyes. Pause. “And then what?”

Nothing.

She was called on stage for a performance in the BBC’s Good Old Days TV series and I retreated back to the Flys.

“Not much of a story,” say my listeners. Maybe not to them and maybe not to you. But to me, as I type these words, I am transported effortlessly back 48 years to share a passionate moment in Time with the one and only Eartha Kitt. And I know for a fact that despite what she sang and how she was dressed on that occasion, she was no old-fashioned girl.

Eartha Kitt, Catwoman, looked directly into my eyes and stayed there for the rest of my life. That, Simon Cowell, is Star Quality. And that was one super strong woman.

Tim Quinn

Tim Quinn – writer, publisher and more – is the genius behind the FAB4000 project that he created with Russ Leach, inspired by Jayne Massey and her seeing eye dog Witney who feature in the stories. Ken Dodd  recently gave his support to the project, and Tim is working on the latest edition for the Merseyside charity, Liverpool Heartbeat – www.liverpoolheartbeat.com. The comic is due out in the next few months Find out more on Facebook. You can find Tim online at mightyquinnmanagement.com

Eartha Mae Kitt was an international star who gave new meaning to the word versatile. She distinguished herself in film, theater, cabaret, music and on television. Miss Kitt was one of only a handful of performers to be nominated for a Tony (three times), the Grammy (twice), and Emmy Award (twice). The official web site dedicated to her and her work is at http://earthakitt.com

John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a "freelance comics operative", working as a freelance editor, as Creative Consultant on the new Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years. His credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel UK and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines. He also edited STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics, including Team M.O.B.I.L.E. and The Beatles Story. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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