This one is inspired by recent events, namely the picture of Dave Gilmour's son swinging from a flag on the Cenotaph. Twitter was alight with amusement and disgust in equal measure. The thing that disturbed me most was that a Cambridge history student claimed not to know what he was swinging from. The act itself reminded me of nothing so much as a charming routine devised by the French humorist Robert Dhery in the 1950s, and made popular over here by the Crazy Gang in their Victoria Palace revue Jokers Wild. Dhery and company came over for the 1984 Royal Variety Performance and revived the routine, which I present for your delectation here. If there was anything this skilful or delightful on the bill at this year's show, I'll eat any one of my many hats. Over to Denis Norden for some excellent context:
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
Following a request on The Mausoleum Club, here is a brief clip from 14 June 1991 (ignore the Aston) showing Cliff Michelmore unplugging a Link 110 television camera, thus closing the BBC's Lime Grove studios. The sequence is not quite what it seems. The archive listing for the show makes it clear that it was pre-recorded earlier that afternoon. It's still a rather affecting moment, though.
Thursday, December 09, 2010
In the days before viral marketing and the Internet, how did the TV moguls promote their best and brightest shows? By postcard. And here's one of them, a charming little notelet sent to movers and shakers to alert them to the return of ABC TV's summer replacement for ATV's Sunday Night at the London Palladium, hosted by the erstwhile brothers Weinstein from the stage of the ABC Theatre in Blackpool. I went round the building before they turned it into a nightclub. There were still camera cable junction boxes on the stage walls. Now where are the photographs I took?
Wednesday, December 08, 2010
In which I break cover and make a cameo appearance, holding the first advent calendar item from the ganderbag sent by an anonymous well-wisher. Yes, folks, it's a Daybreak mug, which I hope to use for many a day without breaking it. It's a special limited edition. One each for every viewer. You've been a wonderful audience, I'm here all advent, tip your waitress and try the stuffing.
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
I couldn't leave Johnny Carson and the Tonight Show behind without offering this clip up for your delectation. I've probably linked to it before, but what the hell. Here's one of the world's greatest guitarists with one of the world's greatest TV house bands - the NBC Orchestra - building a heap big new encampment around Cherokee. I'm only a drummer, but friends who play the tuned instruments tell me that this number is a bugger of the first water. They talk of it in terms of a wartime bombing raid ("We only lost eight men on the middle eight of Cherokee last night"). Walking out and taking his seat in the time it takes the band to play its rip-roaring intro (and how classy and nonchalant is that?) Johnny McL begins a little stiffly stating the theme on this one, but once his solo starts, he's away. Would that all musical interludes on chat shows were this gobsmacking.
Monday, December 06, 2010
Continuing the Letterman/Carson theme from yesterday, here's the close of that tribute show, with Doc Severinsen, Tommy Newsome and Ed Shaughnessy from the Tonight Show band playing Johnny's favourite song 'Here's That Rainy Day'.
Sunday, December 05, 2010
Today's window opens on the Ed Sullivan Theater (sic) in New York in 2005, on the night when David Letterman was paying tribute to his mentor, Tonight Show host Johnny Carson: