' Vernon Corea, Livy Wijemanne and Jimmy Barucha were instrumental in highlighting my first song
" Kiss Kiss Kiss " on Radio in Sri Lanka.The song was recorded with Mary Marshall and a group I formed called the Kandyans.
All Sri Lankans, the group consisted of Mano Chanmugam, Percy de Silva and Anura.The producer of the record was Dennis Preston
who later had that great number one hit with Acker Bilk " Stranger on the Shore" . He became the hero of the fifties and sixties
British Traditional Jazz revival. It was Vernon who picked up on the publicity and when I came back to Sri Lanka the song
was already making waves on Radio Ceylon of the time.
Vernon became more than the Radio Journalist to me. He was to become a friend, not only he, but
his entire family. I remember the hours spent with them in their home in Maha Nuga gardens in Kollupitiya. The friendship
picked up again when the family moved to London . Vernon now had become the ' international ' broadcaster with the BBC. The
stature he had received was no bar to his personality. He was still the same, friendly and always ready to help.With pleasure
I write this little piece in memory of Vernon.....'
-Sri Lanka's international musician and TV Producer
'Mr.Vernon Corea was a veteran broadcaster in Sri Lanka who had contributed immensely for the progress of our Institution,
the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation.... '
Deputy Director-General (Audience Research)
Director English Service
Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation
I have such fond memories of Vernon and I working together from mid-1963 to
mid-1964 on Radio Ceylon's Saturday morning
children's program, "Kiddie's
Korner." On the program, I was known as "Uncle Craig" or "Craig
I would join in and read stories, sing songs like "Gilly,
Gilly Ossenfeffer, Katzen-Ellen-Bogen-By-the-Sea" "Tickery,
Tickery Leea" and
other fun activites.
We even spent several weeks putting together a playlet called "The Necklace
of Truth" ...and had children participate in the various parts on the program.
As a member of the first Peace Corps
group to come to Sri Lanka, in 1962, I
had first been assigned to Dharmaraja College, in Kandy, then to Thurston
Colombo. Upon moving to Colombo, I met Vernon when he was
Commercial Services Director for R.C.--May 30, 1963 (according
to my old
diary). We recorded my first episode on Thursday, June 6, 1963 and our
second episode on Friday, June
We hit it off immediately. What wonderful days those were. I always looked
forward to Fridays
or Saturdays from then on...when we would record our shows
On Saturday, September 7th, 1963, we began
recording the children's program
at 12:30 p.m. for a new broadcast time of 4:15 p.m (instead of the usual
Parents had been writing to Vernon, saying that they would like us
to come on the air at a later time so that "the whole
family can listen." As
3:30 seemed to be nap time for many children, they wanted us to change the
time for everyone
A warm greeting and a friendly smile always came from Vernon. In fact, I
don't ever remember him
in a bad mood. Always cheery, even when things might
not be going quite right.
Also fond memories of appearing
on the "You Call the Tune" show on May 26th,
1963 with Shirley Perera interviewing me. That's how I first got asked
consider the Kiddie's Korner show with Vernon.
I also want to mention that I still hold a souvenir "keepsake"
the July 6th, 1963 broadcast of "Two for the Money." Vernon invited me to
sit in on the broadcast
and be a judge for the show...held at Radio Ceylon's
Studio 6, that evening. The studio audience was packed to the
In a surprise move, just before the broadcast began, Vernon announced the
birthday of a 73 year old contestant--and
that "Uncle Craig" from Kiddie's
Korner would lead in the singing of the Birthday Song to her. It was a
to me, too.
When "Uncle Craig" was mentioned, about 20 children in the audience gasped
happy gasps and one boy
stood up and said, "I see you on the radio!" Vernon
and I were both delighted. The audience roared with laughter.
asked me to lead the children in singing the "Gilly, Gilly" song. It was
such a fun evening.
ticket reads "The Commercial Service of Radio Ceylon, in association with
Harischandra Mills, Ltd., invite YOU to the
most exciting Quiz Show on the
"TWO FOR THE MONEY."
Inside the fold-out ticket is an ad for Sal Bar
Milkiest--Silkiest wash! The genuine Sandalwood Soap for genuine
with pictures of the product it says, "Firm Family
Favourites From the Friend of the Family."
On the inside
flap the ticket reads,
1. Be in your seat by 7:15 p.m.
2. No smoking in
3. This ticket admits ONE of our valued customers to the show
Children under five are not permitted to enter the Auditorium
5. The show is on 6 JUL 1963 at
7:30 p.m. at Radio Ceylon Studio 6.
On the back cover of the fold-out ticket it says:
* Coconut Oil
* Kurakkan Flour
From the ultra-modern factories of the friend of the family
HARISCHANDRA MILLS, LTD.
One of the most difficult requests anyone has ever made of me, was when
Vernon requested that I record a 30 minute tribute of condolences following
the death of President John F. Kennedy--shortly
after the assassination. It
was all I could do to "hold it together" while I read the sad messages that
come in from all around the world. But Vernon was there to help me get
through it all.
I tried to get in
touch with Vernon several years ago, but could not track
him down. We were in London in 1993. I only wish
I'd known he was there,
then. I feel so sad that all these years passed without being able to tell
him how much
I appreciated his friendship. There were many good times and
good food we shared together (including my favorite
food like stringhoppers
and other Sri Lankan goodies).
It has been said that "...laughter, joy and kindness are
the herbs to gladden
the heart and delight the soul." That being the case, Vernon had a special
that spread around the world. His kindness brings tears to my
eyes, even today--thirty-eight years later.
United States of America
I have so many special memories of dear Vernon but I suppose the one that will stand out the most and linger the longest
was our first meeting in the Renuka Hotel (on Galle Rd.) when we started working out the details for the contract between
SLBC and TWR. We were alone in my room and your Dad said, "Mr. Mial, I want you to know that I am a believer in Jesus
Christ !!" Needless to say, this was the last thing I had expected to hear from an "offical" at SLBC.
a spiritual bonding process between Vernon and me as we prayed together and asked our Lord to guide us in working out the
Well, needless to say, I could go on and on. Your Dad and I met several times after you all moved
to the UK and I think perhaps the last time I saw he and your Mom was when they visited TWR in Chatham, New Jersey.
Wonderful memories of a wonderful brother in Christ.
Trans World Radio
United States of America
|Kiddies Korner on SLBC played
|Gilly Gilly Ossenfeffer Katzellen Bogen by the sea