If you like Anancy stories, learn about the real Anancy Man", Maas Ran.
Maas Ran or Ranny Williams, was a comedian and he performed in the theatres in Jamaica as Brer Anancy and other folk characters.
He was born on October 26, 1912 in Colon, Panama but his mother was a Jamaican. Ranny Williams and his family returned home to Jamaica in 1918 when Ranny was six years old. Maas Ran started to perform on stage when he was 17 years old, reciting poems in concerts presented by his mother who was a music teacher
Ranny, along with his sister Luna and brother Roxie, would perform comic skits. One day Roxie, who could give a lot of jokes was not able to perform and so their father asked Ranny to fit in for him.
It was then that the family realised that they had another talented comedian. You see, it was real fun to have a family who could make people laugh and forget about their problems for a while. Ranny would tell jokes of how Anancy played tricks on his friends.
Soon Ranny Williams was famous. He was introduced to National Hero, Marcus Garvey, who had created an entertainment centre and was looking for a chorus dancer. This was Ranny's first professional job. He soon became a comic actor.
Ranny wrote skits, musical comedies, and plays. He performed with Miss Lou (Louise Bennett) for the first time in 1942 in the pantomime "Bluebeard and Brer Anancy." Miss Lou and Maas Ran were a team in almost every pantomime after that and they would highlight Jamaican folk tales.
Ranny Williams was loved by everyone and was greatly missed by Jamaicans when they heard of his passing on August 11,1980 at the age of 67. He died from a heart attack in Canada, where he was performing in the play "Operation P" When Maas Ran died, it was said that he was shouting, as though he were on stage, "The show must go on". Maas Ran was a fine actor and a great man. His spirit lives on, as the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre named after him continues to encourage Jamaica's creativity in the Arts.
14 “A Fl WI HERITAGE” JIS 1996