The Book of Norman

Today’s Zippy takes us us to diner of his religion, as described in its sacred text, the Book of Norman:


As it happens, these same characters have struck these same poses in this very diner before, but they had different things to say to one another.

This time it’s word play on the Book of Mormon, the name of the sacred text of the Latter Day Saint movement — with artist Norman Rockwell and singer Ethel Merman woven into the joke.

(As is standard with Zippy strips, much of the pleasure comes from startling juxtapositions and free-associated allusions and, especially, intrusions of irrelevant Zippean preoccupations: Valvoline, Ding Dongs, Lithuania, fiberglass roadside icons, taco sauce. Ocelots are, as far as I can tell, new in this world — though the polygamy appears, of course, by association with the Mormons.)

Last time around. In my 5/29/14 posting “Self-awareness and a milestone”, this Zippy strip:


In this earlier posting, the Valley Diner in question was identified (by Larry Schourup) as this one, in Millerton NY:


Bonus: a Zippean association. From Norman there are so many ways to go: real people or fictional characters named Norman; or Norma; Norman OK; and of course, the Normans, from Normandy — as in the Norman Conquest of England, in 1066.

Which brought me to Alan Ayckbourn and The Norman Conquests. Examined here in my 2/20/15 posting “Morning names: Alan Ayckbourn, Teddy Ruxpin”. Brief Wikipedia notes:

The Norman Conquests is a trilogy of plays written in 1973 by Alan Ayckbourn. Each of the plays depicts the same six characters over the same weekend in a different part of a house. Table Manners is set in the dining room, Living Togetherin the living room, and Round and Round the Garden in the garden.

The plays were first performed in Scarborough, before runs in London and on Broadway.

(#4) Cover of the DVD of the tv version (which Ann Daingerfield (Zwicky) and I enjoyed enormously)

… In 1977 the plays were adapted for television by Thames Television. Penelope Keith reprised her role as Sarah. The rest of the cast featured Tom Conti as Norman, Penelope Wilton (who had played Ruth in the original 1974 London stage production) as Annie, Richard Briers as Reg, David Troughton as Tom and Fiona Walker as Ruth.

They’re comedies of modern manners, veering between the wildly comic and the poignant.

4 Responses to “The Book of Norman”

  1. Sim Aberson Says:

    We saw the Norman Conquests on Broadway, all three in one day. One of the funniest things I’d ever seen.

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      Yes, a real tour de force. And achingly funny.

    • Robert Coren Says:

      We saw them at the Gloucester Stage Company over the course of three successive seasons. Great fun. The actor whose performance sticks in my memory is Lindsay Crouse as Sarah.

  2. The self-aware diner | Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] in my 5/9/20 posting “The Book of Norman”, I note […]

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: