Compo's matchbox

Maggie Jones

Well-Known Member
#1
Can anyone tell me or give a guess as to what was in Compo's infamous matchbox that was so awful? I've never seen it discussed- maybe I've missed it if it has been mentioned, so apologies if it's been raised before here on the forum, but it intrigues me every time I see it- and the mind boggles as to what seems to be so disgusting - especially to women!
 

Adrian Morris

Well-Known Member
#2
My first guess was it could have been a scab. Compo talked now and again about when they were kids in school about having scabs on their knees.
My second guess would be it was a cockroach. Compo pulled a flower off it's stem (in the Cafe if I recall correctly) and put it into the matchbox saying something like 'There you go darling'. Which gave me an impression it was something live.
 

RickAns

Well-Known Member
#3
I'm not sure, Maggie. I have tried a few internet searches in the past to try and find out what it might be. Most have said that what is inside has never been truly revealed to keep a mystery about it. Many guessed it was some yucky looking insect. Which might be why the ladies scream.

Clegg seems to smile and crinkle up his nose at it and say Ahhhh as if it is cute. Which I think is more for Compo's benefit because he seems to chuckle at that. I believe in one episode Compo puts a small piece of lettuce in the box for it. In another episode he may have even put some grass in the matchbox at one time. Compo also used a matchbox to put a creepy crawly in for the Trial by Trousers episode.

edit
I see Adrian typed while I was typing about Compo feeding it a flower which may have been one of the things I was thinking about.
 
D

Deleted member 617

Guest
#4
When I first went to the Last of The Summer Wine exhibition, I saw the matchbox and I asked the man who worked there and he said that Bill Owen took that secret of what was in the matchbox to the grave :(
 

Adrian Morris

Well-Known Member
#5
My ultimate thought on the contents of the matchbox is that it was empty. The actors and actresses just had to imagine what was in there to get the reaction the scene needed. It was left to the viewers imagination what was in there. I remember a couple of times Compo showed Clegg the contents. One time Clegg was disgusted. The other Clegg had a slight grin on his face as if it amused him.
 

maltrab

Administrator
Staff member
#6
My ultimate thought on the contents of the matchbox is that it was empty. The actors and actresses just had to imagine what was in there to get the reaction the scene needed. It was left to the viewers imagination what was in there. I remember a couple of times Compo showed Clegg the contents. One time Clegg was disgusted. The other Clegg had a slight grin on his face as if it amused him.
In one episode in the pub, the matchbox was upside down when Compo opened it, and yes it was empty
 

Sarkus

Well-Known Member
#8
In a previous discussion of the matchbox it was noted that there were novelty matchboxes sold that had a variety of things in them. This included things that were meant to be disgusting or shocking. It seems to me this is the most likely explanation. I do not feel that Compo carrying around a live insect would be consistent with the many times we see that Clegg has a soft spot for insects and insists they be handled with care. A dead insect could be a potential alternative, but a dead local insect would not likely cause the reactions we see even from Clegg or Wesley, which is mild disgust.
 

RickAns

Well-Known Member
#13
Imagine my surprise as I was watching this nice video a lady put on youtube about her mini walking tour of Holmfirth when about 10 minutes in she mentions being an extra in an episode. The one where Compo has to deliver a message to Marina at the store. He whips out his matchbox to the women in line and this lady is one of the ones who got to see in it. She says they were to act like it was a spider or something and scream.

I felt I had to share the video in an attempt to help clear up a mystery to those of us who had wondered about Compo's famous matchbox. Kudos to the lady and thanks to her for sharing her Summer Wine experience :). Even if we can never fully know for sure the truth of the matchbox I think it is a great gag that they put in the show.

edit - I do not know why it looks like there is no video in the thumbnail, but it does play fine for me. I can try to find another link if need be.

 
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