Dave Prowse sadly passed away today. A true giant at 6 foot 6 inches tall, the man who famously played Darth Vader in the Star Wars Films.
As a young kid I remember him as the Green Cross Code Man. He taught us how to cross the road at a safe spot, and to stop, look and listen before we stepped off the kerb.
Another claim to fame was recorded at The Fleece and Firkin brew-pub in Bristol in the mid 1980’s.
The brew-pub concept was a novelty in those days. Real ale was a niche product and the majority of drinkers chose lager over anything else. However The Firkin chain had a unique selling point and that was the head splitting brew called “Dog Bolter”.
The Fleece was always a lively place, it had a big open bar and was part of the circuit of boozers you would stop in on a night out with the lads.
Today the pub has evolved into an excellent music venue and the walls are decorated with tour posters of the bands that have played there.
Back in the day the walls were hung with honours boards displaying names of those people who had drunk a gallon of Dog Bolter. It seems crazy now drinking 8 pints of high strength ale in a session, just to get your name written up on a wooden board.
There were not many names up there. A list of people where one name stood out, as it was the only one with the successful completion time written next to it.
I cannot remember the time written up there, but it must have been a record breaker. The person who drank the quickest gallon of Dog Bolter was, you guessed it, Dave Prowse.
Jim Bowen’s death was announced today. He was an absolute legend and loved by millions.
I wrote about the TV show Bullseye in a previous post a few years ago as it was something that I had rediscovered.
Cheers Jim I salute you!
I love the Challenge Channel on Freeview Channel 46. It broadcasts repeats of Bullseye on a regular basis, often back to back. There are plenty of shows to choose from as 15 series were produced. It is great!
The host, Jim Bowen (voted the Most Popular Game Show host last month in an online poll) is a proper legend. Bullseye was his show and it is great to look back and re-live those memories of Sunday tea time viewing thirty years ago. After all as Jim says “You can’t beat a bit of Bully.”
A classic episode was witnessed the other day. In the final round the first couple were a bloke, who had a delicious Bobby Charlton hair cut (circa 1972); we are talking proper comb-over job. The other contestant was in fact his daughter. In total contrast she had a mass of blonde hair, styled in a tightly permed mullet. Not a great style combo, but both were pretty handy dart throwers.
Fair play, they did well and won the best part of £600 in the quiz rounds. They then went on to scoop a shed load of stuff on Bully’s Prize Board, namely a washing machine, a toasted sandwich maker, a hostess trolley and an telephone answer machine. This last high-tech device was the size of a shoe box.
Happy with their winnings the leading pair declined the offer from Jim to gamble their prize haul and go for the Star Prize. They had a great result in terms of cash and prizes won, so it seemed a prudent move not to blow the lot in a dash at the Star Prize.
In these situations whenever the first pair of contestants decline the chance of trying for the Star Prize, the second pair of players are invited back to have a go at the big win. So up step Kevin and Jack from Barrow in Furness. They previously managed to win £550, which probably could pay the price for a terraced house in their home town back then. Consequently they were not tempted to wager their cash, that they could hit 101 or more with 6 darts.
So here was a rare event, up steps the the third couple with a chance of something big after being knocked out in Round 1. Steve and Trish had not had a great day so far and had only managed to win to £80 earlier in the show. That was all they had to hand back to Jim and gamble with in order to have a pop at the Star Prize.
The Star Prize was always not to be sniffed at. It could be a decent long haul family holiday, or a brand new car hidden behind a big, red velvet curtain in the TV studio.
This prize would not be revealed till the end of the show, but it was a “no brainer” decision to make for this last couple. They had to go for it. Throw 6 darts and get a combined score of 101 or more. Job done.
Trish looked like she could hold her own in a bar fight, truth be told. She gritted her teeth and bowled up to the oche and proceeded to chuck 22 with her 3 arrows. Not a great start, but she was the “non-dart player”, so all was not lost.
Up steps hubby Steve, the so called dart player, who hits treble 19 with his first dart and lands on single 16 with the next. This means that with Trish’s score of 22 added to his two darts things are looking great.
With a total of 95, the man of the moment only has to get 6 or more with his last dart! Happy Days!
Now if you look at the board what would you do? Aim left, surely? As anything will do 12 through to 19. Virtually half the board to aim at – it is not a tricky throw at all. It is 6 or more remember, with the last dart.
Yet what does Steve hit? THREE!!!! Are you sure? A collective gasp is heard from the studio audience off camera. Single 3! Steve loses the £80 won previously and the Star Prize also slips from his grasp. Blood drains from his face. In close up you can see it has dawned on him. Yes Steve, your other half could have done better than that with one dart.
Trish slowly hands back the cash to Jim, our ever diplomatic host. It hurts, you can see it in her eyes. Mind you, it is water off a duck’s back to Jim, who puts his arms around the losing couple and bellows “Let’s see what you would have won!”
Diminutive Steve stands still, ashen faced, anticipating a beating from the wife when he gets home to Rochdale. The curtain is drawn back to reveal the Star Prize. It is a blinking speed boat as well – loving it !! Trish does not look a happy bunny!
I read Slaughter House 5 a long time ago when I was working out in Germany. In the days before ipod/phones I used to read on the tram and bus journeys to work. The book is semi-autobiographical and easy to read in terms of style, but harder to inwardly digest. The author, Kurt Vonnegut goes up in my estimation the more I find out about him. I posted a blog entry on him previously after seeing a clip of a lecture he gave on “Story Styles”.
Since then I have discovered and read two letters written at different stages of his life. One letter he typed to his family at the end of WWII and the other was sent to some high school students almost 40 years later in 2006.
Vonnegut enlisted in the US Army in 1943 and by the following year he was fighting in the Ardennes. It was here that he became a POW during the Battle of the Bulge. By 1945 he was in Germany, in Dresden to be precise.
This is the city where his book Slaughter House 5 is set. Dresden. is a place that I have been to; it is a very beautiful city with an Old Town that has half timbered houses. It has some wonderful architecture with palaces, churches and a very famous opera house. Visit Dresden today and you will see very little evidence that it was a scene of mass death and destruction towards the end of the War in Europe.
The city was the target of heavy bombing by the RAF which resulted in a huge firestorm. Vonnegut was there to see the city burn on Valentine’s Day 1945 that many of its victims simply suffocated to death. The reason for this was that the fire was so intense that its flames consumed all the available oxygen in the combustion process.
Nobody knows how many people died but it is estimated to be hundreds of thousands as the city was full of people fleeing the oncoming Red Army. When you hear about the journey that took him to Dresden it is amazing that he even got to see it all take place. Just see what he wrote here:
The things that he must have experienced, one cannot begin to imagine. It was a shocking and disturbing thing to see first hand but he dealt with it and enjoyed successful writing career.
Towards the end of his life Vonnegut was invited to come and visit their class by some New York high school students. He politely declined the invitation by sending this letter to the school. It just illustrates what an absolute diamond the man was.
The video made about this story can be seen by clicking the picture below
Some people just do things right. Kurt Vonnegut is one such man.
You can check it all here:
This web site is a great mine of information on what MPs are up to and if they really are “working for you”. “The Beast of Bolsover” gives full value to his constituents. Meanwhile my MP, the Honourable Member for Amersham (where an Oyster Card still works), regularly claimed well over Dennis’ annual travel expense totals and voted in only 69.65% of debates in the House of Commons.
Amersham Off peak Travelcard to Zone 1 costs £12.10, whilst an off peak return from Chesterfield (5 miles from Bolsover) to London with a Zone 1 travel card costs £113.
Here he is at yesterday’s Prime Minister’s Question Time on top form.
A Legend from the Old School.
I wish Dennis was my MP.
There is always someone who has more on their plate to deal with than you.
If I think like this it helps me see that half full cup.
Hats off to this young pup for his grit, stamina and determination.
Hey, I sound a bit like Alan Hansen on a Saturday night in giving that analysis!