LOL Peter Ustinov

The key is to have a brilliant opening and a brilliant closing, and keep them as close as possible.

For many years I used to entertain public speaking seminar audiences with that quotation by Peter Ustinov; but I stopped when too many of my audience looked at me blankly, not having a clue who Peter Ustinov was (he died in 2004). That’s when I started suspecting I was getting old. I had the suspicion confirmed when, for the purposes of this posting, I started searching not only my own books but also the internet for the quotation in order to get the wording precisely correct. I couldn’t find it anywhere. The nearest I got was a similar observation by George Burns, and that was about sermons. (George Burns was – oh never mind, he died in 1996.)

So either I got it wrong all that time, or I am so ancient that I’ve become an incompetent searcher for quotations.

At any rate, for a little Christmas entertainment both for those of us who remember him and those who never had that benefit, here is his contribution to the ITV “An Audience With …” series. It dates from 1988. For me it might have been the inspiration for the acronym LOL.

Stand by to see what a great many celebrities looked like thirty years ago.

He’s unquestionably the finest raconteur I’ve ever seen. 

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