Then, coincidentally, I happened upon Nash's "Coincidence Files" blog entry, where he invited others to add their own coincidence anecdotes. Oooh, spooky.
So, here goes... In about 1968, one of the kids at school (we were in 4th Class) had a great issue of "The Flintstones" comic, which featured the introduction of The Gruesomes family (ie. Weirdly, Creepella and little Goblin, and their pet, Schneider the spider), who move into the same street as the Flintstones and the Rubbles. I'd only recently seen an episode with these characters on TV, and we had immediately realised that the prehistoric Gruesomes were an obvious satire on the live action series, "The Addams Family", which had begun airing in the same US TV season as "The Munsters" (1964). Weirdly Gruesome was very reminiscent of Gomez Addams, Creepella was like Morticia, and Gobby was rather like Pugsley. (Weirdly and Creepella were also uncannily similar to comedy/singing duo, Sonny & Cher!)
Now, 1968 was about about six years before any schools or public libraries had photocopiers, so if another kid had a comic you coveted, but was unwilling to agree to a trade of precious merchandise, then there was really no way you were ever going to own that particular comic. "The Flintstones" were really big in Australia in 1968; we all pestered our Mums to buy only Nabisco's "Weeties" for breakfast, as the pop-up Flintstones trading cards were only available as premiums in that cereal.
I convinced my friend, Vito, to lend me the comic for a few days/weeks, as its "origin" storyline really intrigued me. My young aunt had just left high school and was teaching herself to type, so I asked her if she'd consider using the comic as typing practice. I supplied her with a coil-bound stenographer's pad someone had given me and asked her to type up the speech balloons, leaving a few spaces for pictures.
I hadn't considered that the pages had to be torn from the binding to be inserted into the typewriter, and I also hadn't realised my aunt would only put one comic frame's speech bubble per sheet of paper. Therefore, Janice ran out of pages in no time, and had to supply a second steno pad (of slightly different dimensions) to complete the script. Although I was really grateful that she'd actually completed the bizarre task I'd set her, the end result meant that there were now hundreds of drawings needed! Needless to say, after one or two drawings, my enthusiasm petered right out, and the pile of unbound papers eventually ended up forgotten on the bottom of the toy box.
So, anyway, last month I visited that same aunt, now living in Nowra. It was a long-promised return visit, as January 1976 was the last time I'd been down her way! I entertained her with many anecdotes about the good ol' days, but she was often amazed that my brain remembered such obscure things in great detail. Our conversations meandered off on tangents often and, although I'd planned to mention the wacky typing assignment I'd given her in 1968, the topic got changed several times more and I didn't ever get to that story.
That very afternoon, I ended up in quaint little Mogo on the way home. And, in that same second hand bookshop I blogged about this morning, there it was... a hardcover picture book for just $4.00: "The Flintstones Meet the Gruesomes" (1965). Strange, but true. And a bargain at any price, I reckon.
The Flintstones Meet the Gruesomes
By the way, one of the first times I ran dry on ideas for blog entries, when I first started blogging, I threatened to tell a very different, weird coincidence story, and I don't think I've ever gotten around to writing it up - mainly because it's genuine "Twilight Zone" material, and still spooks the hell out of me - but maybe I'll write up that one as well...