I remember when The Man From U.N.C.L.E. first started it was broadcast in the UK on BBC 1 on a Thursday night at 8 pm. That meant it was a quick rush home from choir practice, which itself followed straight on from my piano lessons. Thursday nights were busy then.
The Man From U.N.C.L.E. theme tune is very hard to recall. It always gets overwhelmed, at least in my head and also in those of other people of my acquaintance, by the one for Mission Impossible – a show which took over that Thursday night slot from The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
The first episode’s opening with explanatory introduction:-
Captain Pugwash was a cartoon precursor to Sir Prancelot (see last week) and featured a similarly bumbling lead character in the shape of the eponymous captain of the ship The Black Pig.
Strictly speaking this isn’t a sixties piece since Captain Pugwash first appeared on television in the 1950s. However my folks didn’t get themselves a television till 1960 so as far as I’m concerned it belongs firmly in the 60s.
There is an urban myth that the cartoon series was a repository of filth/sexual innuendo. This is NOT TRUE.
The cabin boy was called Tom not Roger, there was no seaman Staines and it was Master Mate with an M not a B. The Sunday Correspondent and The Guardian both had to pay libel damages for printing this misconception.
The jaunty signature tune is apparently called The Trumpet Hornpipe.
The Adventures of Sir Prancelot was a cartoon series – each episode lasting only five minutes – first broadcast in 1972, about a bumbling knight who sets out on a crusade and of course gets into scrapes. As I recall it the one who always pulled his irons out of the fire was his minstrel whose voice narrated the episodes.
The minstrel of course played a stringed instrument – from the pictures it may be supposed to be a lute – and Sir Prancelot’s (but also the minstrel’s) theme tune was a belter.
The programme was broadcast at 5.55 pm, just before the early evening news. I can remember rushing home from University in order to catch it. (No iPlayer or DVD box sets in those days. No videos even.)
I’m changing the arbitrary rules on this category again with this one.
The Flashing Blade was a French TV serial (Le Chevalier Tempête) set in the 1630s during the War of the Mantuan Succession which the BBC broadcast in children’s slots in the late 60s, repeating it several times ending in the 70s.
It was dubbed into English – somewhat atrociously, which added to its charm.
The thing is, though, it was curiously watchable and benefited from a catchy theme tune which had driving guitars and drums similar to Joe Meek productions of the early 60s.
I can’t remember much more about it but this website claims the final episode was never dubbed into English.
According to Wikipedia the theme song was called Fight and was released as a single by “The Musketeers” in 1969.
The title to yesterday’s post was, of course, an allusion to an advertising slogan used by Barr’s, the Scottish soft drink manufacturers, to promote Irn Bru, which outsells Coca-Cola in Scotland. Barr’s use of their Scottishness is astute. I have posted their High School Musical parody before.
Irn Bru has had a few slogans, starting off in a comic, The Adventures of Ba-Bru and Sandy.
The two best, however, are undoubtedly, “Made in Scotland From Girders” and “It’s Your Other National Drink.”
The last is doubly appropriate since the first national drink – whisky – has unfortunate side-effects (hangover) for which Irn Bru is widely thought to be a sovereign cure.
And it does contain iron – at least as a compound – in the form of ammonium ferric citrate.
Here is their parody of The Snowman, which showcases some iconic Scottish landscape features. It’s just a pity the boy treble doesn’t manage to roll the “r” in Irn enough. (I’m not sure he rolls it at all, in fact.)