First on this tape, Bringing Up Baby, Howard Hawks’ comedy starring Cary Grant as a paleontologist, trying to complete his skeleton of a Brontosaurus. When I was younger, Brontosaurus was one of the dinosaurs we read about, but it turns out we were all wrong, and it hadn’t been considered a distinct species since 1903, instead being a variation on the Apatosaurus. You’d think Cary Grant would have known that. Or perhaps he was right all along, as last year, a study was published saying that Brontosaurus was indeed its own distinct species.
Grant is about to be married to his colleague, but he’s obviously not totally sold on the idea, as she seems only interested in their work. “I see our marriage purely as a dedication to your work.”
Grant has to impress a Mr Peabody, who controls a large potential donation to the museum, but he gets rather diverted by Katharine Hepburn, who seems to have a habit of picking up things that aren’t hers. First she plays Grant’s ball during a golf game, then she drives his car away because it’s the same model as hers, and later in the day she picks up another woman’s purse because it looks like hers. All of which, due to her habit of not listening to anybody, as people in screwball romantic comedies are wont to do, leads to comedy.
I really can’t tell whether Hepburn is charming or infuriating in this. I think I’m veering towards charming.
The Baby of the title is a leopard which Hepburn is sent from her brother, an explorer. It’s a remarkably well trained leopard, often sharing the frame with the actors. I’m curious about the play-fight between the dog, George, and the leopard, and what it would have taken to make them do that, but it looks real.
The plot is ludicrous, but since this is a farce, it has to be. And in the end you just go with it and have a good time.
BBC Genome: BBC Two – 1st March 1987 – 15:00
After this, recording switches to Channel 4 and more from Saturday Live. Ben Elton leads off the programme with a topical monologue. There’s someone in the audience with the most amazing high-pitched laugh.
There’s music from Erasure, who have a bit of a technical glitch. Just as I was wondering if it was a live performance, all the music cut out except for the drum machine, then, shortly afterwards, the music returned, but at a slightly different point. Ben Elton even mentions it at the end.
Next, Chris Barrie does a bit as James Callaghan.
Stavros is suffering through no smoking week.
More live music, all the way from Zimbabwe, the Bundu Boys.
Ben explains (sort of) what happened during Erasure’s set. He says the lost a microphone, the gallery played in a short section of tape, until they regained the mic and continued live. Which sounds almost like what happened, assuming that Vince Clarke’s music equipment was going through a mic rather than direct to the studio sound feed.
Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie are at the Confec ’87 awards.
Chris Barrie does John Cole, the BBC’s political correspondent. Which is actually coming live from Westminster, rather than a backdrop.
Comedy from Kit Hollerbach.
Some live guitar sounds from Gary Moore.
More comedy from Chris Barrie, doing James Bond auditions.
A bit of variety from Randolph the Remarkable.
Hugh Laurie interviews Chris Barrie as the American rocker Wayne Mellow
Ben Elton does a routine on the recent Aids Week – even mentioning the First Aids programme (although omitting to mention he was one of the writers).
Then, Erasure close the show.
After this, recording switches to Tales from the Darkside, and the story Grandma’s Last Wish. A family want to get rid of Grandma to a nursing home.
After this, recording stops, and underneath there’s some badminton. Not the commonest sport on TV. One of the players is Gillian Gilks, possibly the only famous badminton player.
This programme was presented by Richard Keys, by the way.
Recording stops just after the badminton.
- trail: Just for Laughs
- Our Price – World Party – Private Revolution
- Cream Silk
- Worthington Best Bitter
- Scottish Amicable
- Heroin Screws You Up
- Pan Am
- Mail on Sunday
- Seven Seas
- PG Tips