Saturday, 21 April 2012

Guys, Dolls and safe deposit boxes...

(So I got up early and bit the bullet! If this post passes the test of both readers, I'll stay with Blodger. If it doesn't I'll stand on the nearest roof and shout what I want to say... )

Anyway, what I wanted to mention, is about an old hero of mine. Back in the late seventies, while I was still studying for something or other to better myself in something or other, Mrs Scrobs kept calling for me to come and watch this programme, because it was hilarious!

Now a story goes with it, as you might have guessed! (getting used to Snodger 

Back even further than then, we'd avidly watched a programme on a wheezing old black and white television, called 'The Hanged Man'. All the details are recalled here....)

Just the other evening this week, over a subliminal tincture or three, we were wondering if we could ever get these programmes on DVD, well, Youtube was showing all sorts of things, so some bright spark could easily record them, and sell the old episodes to citizens like us.

It took only a short twiddle on the keyboard to uncover this marvellous clip!

Back then, just before 'Turtle's Progress', was being aired on TV, I was working in London, and one day, was wandering through the old labyrinthine walkways under Waterloo, (now covered with a round, odd-looking cinema). It used to be a smelly old place, with both human and structural dereliction in full evidence, so the wanderings usually took on a bit of speed, to get away into the fresh air.

In one of the grey concrete alleys, I suddenly arrived at a large commotion, with bright lights, and lots of people rushing about looking agitated and looking into cameras, and talking into microphones. It was an outside crew, filming part of a 'gangster' series, so I learned from another chap watching what was going on. Because it was the first time I'd ever seen this sort of excitement, I stayed and watched too.

The scene was of two actors, hiding behind a wall, and jumping out on two other men, who were sauntering along. It wasn't a long scene, but I still remember my future hero, Razor Eddie, jumping out, with clear intent on bodily harm, and doing a hand-chop down on one of the saunterers. The chop understandably stopped short of the man's neck of course, because this was, after all, a film, but it was frighteningly realistic, and seeing the shadow of Michael Attwell, looming behind that long brown overcoat, is something I'll never forget!

Of course, from then on, I didn't stop telling Mrs Scrobs what I'd seen, and so all studying for whatever I was studying for, was placed on hold, while all the hilarious episodes of Turtle and Razor Eddie unfolded. The highlight was of course, the programme with the scene I'd watched, (which only lasted for a few seconds), and again, Mrs S had her ear bent for several hours about what I'd seen!

Fast forward a few years - my work was then based in North Acton, and I may have mentioned before, we used to go to 'The Castle' pub on the corner, next to the BBC rehearsal rooms. I lived in the same village as Peter Childs, who was Insp Ronnie Rycott in 'Minder' back then, and Peter was often in our local at home, enjoying the craic, as we all did. I saw him once in 'The Castle', and he immediately hauled me over to meet everyone, there, mostly household names, and of course the landlord.

As you may see in the Youtube clip, my big regret is that the one man I'd always wanted to meet wasn't there that day, and of course, it is bad manners to just barge into a man's conversation with his friends when he was there, so I never did meet him! His son, Jake, has kindly replied, and I do hope that we'll see more clips of these guys one day!

And why, both of you ask, did I mention 'The Hanged Man' earlier?

Well, I only found out a couple of days ago, that John Landry (Turtle), had made his name with such a good performance as a small-time crook in that series, that they based the whole new programme on him and his strong man and weren't we the lucky ones to see all that, as I re-discovered what a fantastic singing voice Michael Attwell had, especially as he was the star (Sky Masterson) in 'Guys and Dolls', which is based on yet another all-time hero of mine, Damon Runyon!

Update... This was the intro to the series, and on hearing the first few bars, I'd chuck the text book down and tear downstairs for an hour of great entertainment...




9 comments:

lilith said...

Scrobbers! Somehow missed all this at the time.. Love the way he puffs on a cigarette whilst singing!

rvi said...

Like Lils,I too missed all this as I was estivating (that's French for enjoying myself whilst gagnant une croute) on the continent during those years. However, I do seem to vaguely recall from my very earliest days a Sunday morning programme on the steam radio in the parlour called "Breakfast with Braden" and his wife Bebe Daniels, but cannot recall one scintilla of an iota of what any of them were about. Probably a fore-runner of Esther Rantzen, except of course he was Canadian I believe.

Re filming. I was once seated in a pavement cafe in Paris waiting for a mate to turn up, whilst across the road somebody was making a film. The scene was of a waif like woman coming out from a house, down the three or four steps to the pavement and walking slowly and moodily away. I am not sure what she was doing wrong - probably not moody enough for your typical French movie - but the director made her do the scene about 15 times before he declared himself satisfied. Then they all piled their lights and cameras etc on to the back of their lorry and drove away. I never knew what film it was and I am sure I never saw the finished version either.

Now that both your readers have turned up and made your weekend, you can retire to the conservatory and catch up with all that studying you missed.

PS: Despite whatever faffing about it is that you have been doing with your blog, from this end there appears to be no difference! However, the second link led my computer (3 times, so I gave up trying) to a request from your host to open my own site - something I have no intention of doing - so there jusht might be shome little mishtake there.

Scrobs... said...

Lils, it was such a great series! It is actually available on DVD, so Mrs S and I are going on the streets to save up for it...

I've popped in an update at the end, with the intro music, and first few seconds which explain the whole plot so well...

Scrobs... said...

Ha ha ha Reevers! So we'll never know which little French ditty you starred in eh...Ooooh yes, they all say that...

The Blogger interface has changed, and I had to download Google Chrome to make it all work again. I use Chrome on my work PC, but Mrs S prefers IE9, but it's all sorted now, and in fact, the new interface is better...

Sorry you're getting the ads though, I think this is Google's way these days; just ignore it!

electro-kevin said...

The chap has (had ?) class. An easy going manner.

I've bumped into lots of famous people and never remembered their names or even that they're famous.

I've just kind of gone "Hi ! Haven't seen you for a while ..." before realising that I don't actually know them, at the point that it occurs to me that their faces are familiar in a distant 'colleague at work' sort of way and I've greeted them .

Scrobs... (on another PC) said...

Had unfortunately Elecs. Died far too soon!

Talking of meeting well-known people, I went to a lunch where Michael Portillo was speaking , and during a visit to the gents, bumped into him washing his hands.

All I could mutter was something banal like 'We meet in the strangest of places', which is so thick, I still squirm when I remember it, which is right now.

*squirm*

Unknown said...

Can't access links at work and still no service at home but, I remember mum and dad making sure they were home on a friday night for Starsky and Hutch. The American stuff seems so passe now but the english stuff is still watchable. Look at 'Get Carter'. A bit more gritty and realistic than the Hollywood fare. Except the scenery in Crossroads *ahem*

Unknown said...

That was Philipa by the way. Soz.

Scrobs... said...

Hiyaaaah Pips!

Signs of revival, and good for you Gal!

'Get Carter' is up there with my top ten films, but being so old, I can also easily remember Starsky and Hutch, and the red car with the white stripes...

'Crossroads' was always a joke, with Amy Turtle (or was it Tortoise) spluttering her lines...

If you can get to a PC, Pips, always email me if you want!