A FLAVOUR OF FOGEL
Unassuming and brimming with ideas, Alf Fogel combined a surreal sense of situation with a rich vein of Yiddish humour.
One of his classic scenes had a man lying on a railway line, clutching a salt beef sandwich.
“My wife and children have left me, my business has gone mechulla,” he moans to his friend. “But why the salt beef sandwich?” — “You can starve waiting for a train.”
The Teitlebaum File starts with the phone ringing as Fogel reclines, feet up, watching Match of the Day or, at least, listening to the signature tune.
Picking up the receiver, he intones: “This is a recorded message. The cheque is in the post,” then drops it and returns to his TV screen.
On Michael Freedland’s radio programme, You Don’t Have To Be Jewish, he dreamt up a Purimspiel stetl set in rural Hertfordshire. Its community life included an overworked midwife (“I’m too busy, I don’t deliver”), the Sheitel Express service and, best of all, the village hunt.
“We don’t sound a hunting horn. No, we use a shofar. One tekiah and we’re off.”
“You hunt foxes?” asked interviewer Freedland.
“Nah. You catch a fox and what do you get? Perhaps a fox collar. No, we hunt chickens. You get a lovely meal and lots of soup.”
There was just one snag: “The shochet. He gets his kapote caught in the reins and keeps falling off.”