“We’ll never run out of ideas,” Bill Morancy would often exult after he’d complete taping the cable television show, “Talking About Movies,” for Onion River Public Access in Montpelier, Vt. It was a characteristic expression of joy at the prospect of sharing his enthusiasm with the world at large.
He didn’t run out of ideas, but sadly, Bill ran out of time. He died on Monday, Dec. 28, just two months after a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. He was 70.
Bill was one of the Montpelier area’s distinctive personalities, and one of its greatest appreciators. He often said that these last 10 years of his life were his happiest. Besides co-hosting the show, he had been a clerk at Bear Pond Books, the projectionist at the Savoy, a contestant at storytelling events, and a concessionaire with Circus Smirkus, and he was the curator of a popular Sunday-morning film series, “Talking About Movies.” He had close friends, meaningful work, and the sense that he was contributing to a vibrant community.
Bill was a native of Pawtucket, R.I., of French-Canadian and Irish heritage. After an unsatisfying stint in the white-collar world (law and insurance), he moved to Martha’s Vineyard, where he worked at a variety of jobs: video store and bookstore clerk, baker, surveyor, movie projectionist, and house painter. He spearheaded a successful effort to establish a community radio station, WVVY, that is still thriving.
He first became acquainted with central Vermont in the mid-1990s when he rented a house on Nelson Pond in order to escape the intense summertime invasion of Martha’s Vineyard. Later, when it came time to leave the Vineyard, he thought of Montpelier and its welcoming atmosphere. We are all richer for that decision.
One of his close friends commented this week, “Those of us who were near enough geographically to support Bill in his final month were struck by the variety and range of all who enjoyed and were affected by his personality and affection for film, adventure, good conversation, culture, and play.”
A springtime memorial service is planned. Bill asked that those who would like to give a gift in his name send donations to a fund for furthering of film culture in Vermont. Make checks out to the “Bill Morancy Film Fund” and send to Rick Winston, Box 32, Adamant, VT 05640.
(Many of 150-plus “Talking About Movies” shows are available to watch online at Vimeo.com/talkingaboutmovies/videos).