Aug 06


FT + Popular124 comments • 9,029 views

#250, 25th May 1968

No connection between Ms Smith and Mr Puckett is implied, of course.Girls ‘turning out to be’ underage was doubtless a very real concern for your gigging rock star of the 60s and 70s, though I suspect a don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy would be closer to the truth than Gary Puckett’s horrified self-denial. Puckett lays out the classic Lolita defense – grown man no match for deceitful nymphet with her skirts and make-up and “come-on look”. There’s something breathily weak, tearful almost, about Puckett’s vocals on the verse which makes the whole thing sleazier: his struggling for control is all too convincing. The sleaze has a strong setting: Puckett’s songwriters were highly regarded and the chorus especially is the sort of thing I might find myself bellowing along to in the pub, leaving me with a feeling of nervous shame the next day. A good match of content and effect, then.



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  1. 31
    punctum on 7 Mar 2011 #

    I must remember to add “sense of humour” to your file. They tend to leave out things like that. Very important.

  2. 32
    Jimmy the Swede on 7 Mar 2011 #

    Cheers, Marcello. But I’m certainly not going to climb into a crate with that Estonian bird again. Man I had a dreadful flight. And in the end I didn’t even go anywhere. Bloody Fotheringay!

  3. 33
    wichita lineman on 8 Mar 2011 #

    As in Sandy Denny? How did she get dragged into this?

    One thing I’d say about G Puckett is that he has a phenomenal, expressive voice, could’ve been up there with Neil Diamond or Elvis in the 70s as a quality big ballad singer, and was ill served by a bunch of singles that sound great individually but were ALMOST IDENTICAL; the result was that the UK and US were thoroughly tired of him by mid ’69.

    Album tracks like the heartbreaking, regretful Then And Now do him justice. (Without having the records handy, I’m not sure which producer/A&R man stuffed his career).

    ps I do have a real picture sleeve of this which I can lend you if you want to keep Jeffrey Epstein apologists from the door. Just saying.

  4. 34
    punctum on 8 Mar 2011 #

    As in Sandy Denny? How did she get dragged into this?

    Don’t worry, WL. It was a good idea and you did your best. I’ll stress it in my report.

  5. 35
    Jimmy the Swede on 8 Mar 2011 #

    Thus Leo is off the hook.

  6. 36
    wichita lineman on 8 Mar 2011 #

    I haven’t got a clue what you’re on about… I feel like Lex trying to get his head round the Steve Milliband “gag”.

  7. 37
    Jimmy the Swede on 8 Mar 2011 #

    WL – Well, let’s see here. Ah, yes. When you enter an arts and crafts competition, don’t go all Turner Prize on us. Just do a picture of Beardie like everyone else.

    Never purchase a tapestry off on old lady from the same village unless you really want to hang it in your own home.

    Never take a watch off a guy in Poland, who isn’t really in Poland.

    Never try to outswim a former Olympic Bronze medalist.

    But do count the chimes of Big Ben.

    OK? If not, MC, I’m sure, will be happy to be less oblique. But first I’d bet you could do with a decent drink.

  8. 38
    punctum on 9 Mar 2011 #

    In the mid-nineties when I lived in Stamford Brook, my next-door neighbour was Kevin Stoney!

  9. 39
    Erithian on 9 Mar 2011 #

    I’m with you on this Wichita, and I’m glad you said so first. Now that Eric Cantona has said the seagulls and trawlers thing was nonsense, I’m not trying to understand these two…

  10. 40
    punctum on 9 Mar 2011 #

    Don’t worry, Erithian. You’ll be cured. No more bad dreams. If you have so much as a nightmare, you will come whimpering to tell it to me.


  11. 41
    Erithian on 9 Mar 2011 #

    Anywhere you like as long as you arrive back here in the end.

    (Wichita – I thought as much, they’re going all Prisoner on our ass again.)

  12. 42
    wichita lineman on 9 Mar 2011 #

    Ah… that had crossed my mind, but I still didn’t get a single reference (sad face). Now, if it had been the Avengers…

  13. 43
    Jimmy the Swede on 12 Mar 2011 #


  14. 44
    wichita lineman on 12 Mar 2011 #

    Now Peter Wyngarde would have made for a very intreeguing Popular entrant.

    A friend of mine somehow got his phone number in the nineties and just for the hell of it called him up. The phone rang and rang, and just as my friend was about to put the phone down, Mr Wyngarde picked up and said, in his ripest Jason King, “There you are.”

  15. 45
    Jimmy the Swede on 12 Mar 2011 #

    As a matter of fact, WL, Wyngarde has been discussed already by myself and a few others, including, inevitably, my Rt Hon Friend the punctum of the Green Dome, back in the midst of time but I’m blessed if I can remember where. We, of course, considered the cottage industry et al and the fact that Jason King was accepted at the time as an inveterate womaniser and that one naturally assumed Peter to be the same. It’s only with hindsight and looking back on those old shows that the truth becomes apparent. King was as camp as Butlins and to see him flopping over some of the lovliest girlies of the period is now, frankly, comical. But when all is said and done, Peter Wyngarde was a fine classically trained actor. He made two brilliant appearances in The Avengers, firstly as the manic misogynistic Cartney in “A Touch of Brimstone”, an episode understandably remembered most for it’s closing stages and then as Kirby in “Epic”, which I always felt may have been an inspiration for Vincent Price’s character in “Theatre of Blood”. For Prisoner groupies like me and the Scottish lad, Wyngarde also appeared as Number Two in one of the very finest episodes of the series where he dished out a severe beating to Number Six in every sense of the word, as well as revealing to everyone what a prize prawn the supposed hero could be at times.

    I agree that Wyngarde would have made a wonderful Popular entrant, although perhaps “Young Girl” may not have been a judicious choice. Perhaps “I Pretend” would have fitted better.


  16. 46

    This is where the FT search function sends you if you enter “Peter Wyngarde

  17. 47
    wichita lineman on 12 Mar 2011 #

    Gosh, thanks men. So many Wyngarde refs – and I’m curious to know if Tom uncovered much more “late-60s, highly-ornamented ‘progressive pop’”!

    My other PW story. A friend of mine went for lunch with him and said he was vegetarian. “Oh really?” purred Mr Wyngarde. “I’m 50% vegetarian, 100% bisexual.”

  18. 48
    Jimmy the Swede on 13 Mar 2011 #

    Inevitably, Peter also turned up in The Saint in an episode called “The Man Who Loved Lions” in which he played a bloke who… er… well, loved lions. I think they all ended up dressed as Roman gladiators, right up Wyngarde’s strasse obviously.

    Also in the memory bank is an ad he did for a deodorant:
    Wyngarde face to camera
    Voiveover: “Peter Wyngarde smells…”
    Peter looks outraged
    Voiceover: “…GREAT with Right Guard!!”

    As Jason would have put it: “Fancy!”

  19. 49
    punctum on 14 Mar 2011 #

    Wyngarde as Number 2 was a scream. Caked in mascara, doing his meditative karate chops, without the Jason ‘tache and looking alarmingly like the younger Alan Rickman. Couldn’t find his “The Pink Prisoner” sketch on YouTube or similar but it is out there somewhere and is a hoot.

    Here’s what I had to say about his one and only album some while back:

    He still does plan a sequel to the record, this time concerning guns and shooting (as in the sport).

    Speaking of “Checkmate” and Paddy Mac in general: what was it with Number 6 and his attraction to older women? Georgina Cookson, Rosalie Crutchley, Nadia Gray…

  20. 50
    Mark G on 14 Mar 2011 #

    He didn’t feel comfortable cavorting with the dollybirds, being a married man, etc.

    Annette Andre was the closest Paddy Fitz got to a dollybird (physically, I mean), but she was the watchmaker’s daughter so….

    (punchlines ad infinit, obv)

  21. 51
    Jimmy the Swede on 14 Mar 2011 #

    Well, the Number 6 thing with women was always most odd. Even when one brushes aside Paddy Mac’s well-known reluctance, indeed refusal, to get into a serious clinch with any of his female co-stars (something which of course ruled him out of playing Bond) Number 6 was clearly never interested in getting his leg over. I would therefore dispute MC’s contention that he was attracted to older (indeed any) women. Of the three examples he gives, the homely Rosalie Crutchley, admittedly under the influence, persues him relentlessly and 6 is disinterested to the point of rudeness towards her. A different story emerges with the far more appealing Nadia Gray, who he does clearly take a shine to, only for her to betray him. With Georgina Cookson (she does also briefly appear in “A, B and C”), things do get rather interesting. Her character, Mrs Butterworth, is very sexually charged but our hero just doesn’t see it. I recently wrote a pastiche on this episode, which very crudely mocks this relationship and Number 6’s (ahem!) habits in general. It’s completely barking, perhaps, but underpins the fact that Georgina is a horny old gal clearly on offer and Number 6 demurs. When she ultimately emerges as Number 2, after 6’s comical return to the Village, he should have leapt on her like a cat with the birthday cake playing a central role in the proceedings. But he just turns away and stares out of the window. Strange lad.

    The there’s the small matter of Angela Browne but I’ll think I’ll stop now.

  22. 52
    punctum on 14 Mar 2011 #

    The end scene of Many Happy Returns got edited:

    Mrs Butterworth: “Many happy returns!”

    #6 grumpily pulling the curtains.

    Mrs B: “Now come on big boy, you know there’s no way out of here so howzabout some high-falutin’ rumpy pumpy then?”

    Cue Benny Hill-style chase around 6’s pad. 6 escapes through the door, stopping only to pat Angelo Muscat on the head in rapid strokes.

    God bless Ms Cookson, still with us and now in her nineties.

  23. 53
    Jimmy the Swede on 14 Mar 2011 #

    Yes, that’s how it should have finished. And “A Change of Mind” could have ended happier for #6 too when a hypnotised #48 asked him “Was there anything further?”

    Obviously there was a Benny Hill element in “The Girl who was Death” as well but all the sexual stuff was coming from the lovely leggy Sonia. Once again #6 simply didn’t see the red light. But then again it was only “a blessed fairytale”, I suppose.

  24. 54
    Snif on 15 Mar 2011 #

    Oi, what about Jane Merrow as No 24 in “The Schizoid Man”…there was even a mental link between them.

  25. 55
    Jimmy the Swede on 15 Mar 2011 #

    That’s a good call, Snifmeister. Jane Merrow was a right little darling but the relationship between her and Six was apparent from the opening shots. It was uncle/niece and nothing else and was soon swallowed up anyway by the power of the main storyline. Alison’s contrition at the end was out of pure regret for her betrayal rather than the fact that she wanted some upsy-downsy with Pat.

    There was also never anything happening between Six and Annette Andre beyond merely teaming up to stop her ludicrously overacting dad from blowing up Number Two. Sparks between them there came none.

    Same deal with Norma West, another definite, if rather robotic, piece of eye candy. Denise Buckley’s maid was even more tempting but dear old Pat just had constant rows with her instead of getting down to business.

    Look, let’s just nail this here and now. If the part of Number Six had been cast to Sid James, the entire history of popular arts in Britain would have been altered.

  26. 56
    wichita lineman on 15 Mar 2011 #

    Sir Sid James, as I like to think of him.

  27. 57
    punctum on 15 Mar 2011 #

    The only ways in which 6 cops off with The Ladies:

    A) When he’s dreaming about it (Katherine Kath, “A, B & C”). Dishy Number 14’s got the hots for you in real life, you damn fool!

    B) When he’s Owen MD (“Do Not Forsake Me…”) wherein he magically gains a fiancee, necks big time with Zena Walker etc…and all on the same set as “A, B & C”!

  28. 58
    Jimmy the Swede on 15 Mar 2011 #

    There was also Kathy, the good time bar gal. But Pat was under the knock-out drops again. And as soon as he revived, she died!

    Madam Engadine was indeed another mature glam. And dreaming Number Six could well have ended up as the filling in an Engadine/Butterworth sandwich and enjoyed the young French maid as desert. Typically, he didn’t. Do you think a dribbling, panting, chuckling, low-growling Sid would have passed up on all that?

  29. 59
    Mark G on 15 Mar 2011 #

    No, but wherever and whoever he was in with, the “Orange Alert” would have piped up to “innit marvellous!”

  30. 60
    Jimmy the Swede on 15 Mar 2011 #

    I wonder how old Sid would have got on against Leo in the “Decree Absolute”. Now THAT would have been darned good telly.

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