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Friday On My Mind 88: The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

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:-

Later colour version, with altered arrangement:-

Reelin’ In The Years 70: Ace of Wands

Ace of Wands was a children’s TV programme, broadcast by ITV between 1970 and 1972, which had fantasy elements. As well as this, another attraction was the cracking theme tune.

The tune was released as a single, Tarot, and was performed by Andy Bown. There’s some brilliant mellotron in this.

Andy Bown: Tarot

Friday On My Mind 87: Captain Pugwash

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.

Captain Pugwash (The Trumpet Hornpipe)

Reelin’ In The Years 69: The Adventures of Sir Prancelot

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.)

They don’t make them like that any more, sadly.

Sir Prancelot

Friday On My Mind 86: The Flashing Blade

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 Flashing Blade theme tune

A Further Taste of Ireland

There is a full set of shelves in my local supermarket selling Irish products.

Irish Shelves in Kirkcaldy Supermarket

This includes for some reaon – third shelf up extreme left – Irish shortbread. Irish shortbread? On sale in Scotland? That seems a bit coals to Newcastle.

Anyway here is a close-up on the Cadbury shelf.

Irish Shelf, Cadbury's Products

Caramello, Tiffin, Mint Crisp, Golden Crisp and Snack Bars. Fair takes you back. The 95p price for a vending machine sized bar might be thought a bit steep.

I bought the Mint Crisp this week, though. As good as I remembered.


I was thinking about Cadbury’s Caramello again today and I suddenly remembered that the bar had another name, Caramilk. It had disappeared once before and was brought back under a new name.

I can’t now remember which name came first – possibly Caramilk was the one which was around in my youth and Caramello came later.

I looked up Caramilk and it seems there is a bar of this name sold by Cadbury’s in Canada, and Caramello is found in the US, Australia and New Zealand. The Wiki article doesn’t mention Ireland though.

Here’s a link to the Irish shop and its picture of a Caramello bar which looks more like the non-vending machine size I remember buying back in the day. When I looked there though it said, “Sold Out!”

Some of the images on this page (I see mine has got on there somehow; it’s about halfway down) are of the old packaging.

Blast From The Past

I hadn’t seen one of these in years. But on 20/4/13 in my local supermarket I found for sale Cadbury’s Caramello.

Cadbury's Caramello Wrapper

Caramello is much better than the more common Cadbury’s Caramel.

I remember there used to be a Caramello bar about 1½ times the size of this though these ones could be found in vending machines back in the day.

Not only was there Caramello on that shelf but also Tiffin* bars, Mint Crisps and Golden Crisps – all of which have been notable by their absence for years from British shops.

These all may be Cadbury’s Ireland products. The Caramello bears the legend, “Official treat provider to the Irish Olympic team.”

Does this mean Caramello has been available in Ireland all this time?

Cadbury’s website has no trace of these products. Lucky Irish right enough.

*I never ever consumed a Tiffin: they have raisins in them. I always feel eating raisins, sultanas or currants must be like biting into a blister. I try to avoid them all.

Irn Bru

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.)

Irn Bru: The Snowman

It Was 50 Years Ago Today

…… that the last Glasgow Tram ran along the rails.

The trams were much loved in Glasgow. Thousands turned out to watch their final passing.

There’s film of Glasgow’s trams at the Scottish Screen Archive and The Last Tram appears on You Tube.

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