The Twelve Chairs – tape 323

After Love and Death yesterday, here’s another film with which I frequently mix it up. It’s Mel Brooks’ The Twelve Chairs, a film also set in Russia, although this is post-revolution Russia. An old woman, on her deathbed, reveals that she sewed her diamonds into the upholstery of one of her dining chairs before the revolution. Her son-in-law, Ron Moody, goes in search of them.

Ron Moody

Along the way, he is joined by Frank Langella, back when he was a heartthrob.

Frank Langella

And Mel Brooks, who used to be his servant.

Mel Brooks

Also after the jewels is the family priest, Dom DeLuise, who found out about the jewels when the old woman made her last confession.

Dom DeLuise

Diana Coupland, from Bless This House, appears as well.


Diana Coupland

And she’s not the only familiar face from 70s UK sitcoms – here’s Nicholas Smith, Mr Rumbold himself from Are You Being Served.

Nicholas Smith

The film is basically a broad farce, and naturally, the protagonists are foiled at every turn. But it has some fun, and the locations and production looks great for a film which presumably didn’t have a huge budget. Some of the crowd scenes are really busy with lots of people in period costume.

After this, there’s a short film in a season called Christmas Crackers, a polish animation called Gwozdz. It’s like a communist version of Morph.


After this, recording continues with an episode of Countdown. In dictionary corner is Carol Thatcher (with ‘dictionary lady’ Julia Swannell). Thatcher seemed almost surprised when the camera cut to her, and seemed very nervous. Check out those shoulder pads.

Carol Thatcher and Julia Swannell

There’s a whole episode here.

Recording stops just after the episode ends.


  • Ever Ready Gold Seal
  • DuPont SilverStone
  • Audace
  • trail: Films for Christmas
  • Sandeman’s Port
  • Ariel
  • Tweed
  • Shloer
  • Dishwash Electric
  • Royal Bank of Scotland – nice animation, looks suspiciously like the Brothers Quay

  • Sekonda
  • Emva Cream
  • Audace
  • Old England Cream Sherry
  • Flash Liquid
  • 7Up
  • Simplicity
  • Woolworth’s – Lindisfarne
  • British Coal
  • Hall Mark
  • Piat d’Or
  • Stone’s Ginger Wine
  • Interflora
  • Dishwash Electric
  • Milk Tray
  • Woolworth’s – Five Star
  • Sekonda
  • Tweed
  • DuPont SilverStone
  • Sandeman’s Port
  • trail: The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickelby
  • Ariel
  • Sinutab
  • Ever Ready Gold Seal
  • The World of Survival
  • trail: 42nd Street
  • Tweed
  • Fiesta kitchen towels
  • Interflora
  • VW
  • Cream
  • 7 Eleven
  • trail: Keeping Love Alive
  • Just Brazils
  • Milk
  • TCP
  • Daz

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