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Policemen, ducks, explosions and cookery

So, I've got this gadget now, and I plug one end of it into an old VCR, and another end into the computer, and I can watch old video tapes again. I like this gadget. It opens up whole new worlds of geekery, and has been reintroducing me to things on tape that I'd forgotten I had. Some of these things are good, some are bad, some are just baffling. Why do I have an entire episode of Neighbours on tape? I have never watched Neighbours. I suppose I may have taped it for my sister, but why that led to me keeping it for the next nine or ten years, I have no idea. Or longer. There was Paul and identical twins, but he thought they were just one person. I could probably look it up on an episode guide or something, if I cared. So anyway. Naturally I have decided that the entire internet needs to know what I find on my old VHS tapes as I abandon them. I'm just naturally kind like that.

It's a fun gadget that's making all this possible. It's white and has a button on it, although I don't think the button actually does anything (actually it's meant to take screencaps, but if you breathe on it, it takes thirty thousand screencaps, that you can't stop with violence or magic, and then crashes. So it's best not to touch it at all). It's nice that it's got a button, though. And plugging it into the VCR doesn't quite work as the leads are wrong, so this requires adaptors and switchery. And then the gadget thing doesn't process sound properly, which requires extra leads circumventing it, and being plugged in elsewhere, all culminating in improvisation and another adapter. Technically this may mean that the gadget isn't quite doing its job properly, but I don't mind because leads! adapters! improvisational hook-ups! I quite like playing with plugs and cables, may have been my point.

Anyway. I think the VCR was a little surprised. I haven't spoken to it since I stopped having a television in around about 2005, so it was a bit cross about being woken up so suddenly, and having things poked into it. It hasn't eaten any tapes, though, which is nice. I wish that my stereo had been that considerate. It was a bit blurry to begin with, and has refused to play anything that was recorded in LP, but I guess that's fair enough. LP was rather a pointless detour in recording technology. Turn your three hour tapes into six hour ones! You won't be able to watch the recordings three weeks later, and you'll probably never be able to use the tape again, but it'll be a good idea for a little while, honest.

But I'm straying from the point. Ironside, that was my point.

I love Ironside. I've been taping it on various visits to BBC1 since around 1987, and although most of my older episodes seem to have been on one of the tapes that went mouldy, I do still have a few. Ironside ran from 1967 to 1974, so it brings a whole exciting world of fashion with it, as well as the plots and characters. And now, thanks to having converted my episodes to DVD, I have screencaps! You're excited, I can tell.

This is one episode that particularly delights me. Actually it's only part of an episode, that appeared unexpectedly between two different recordings, but I've saved it anyway, because it's Ironside. Or technically it isn't, as he isn't in it. It's Ed. What it is, basically, is Ed saving the world dressed in my mother's old sun chair. And a pair of flares. Ed is the best cop ever.

Ed and his amazing fashion sense. Let me show you them.

Meet Ed. Ed is Ironside's protégé. When he grows up, he's going to be just as grumpy and fierce as his boss, but for now he's still allowed to smile. And wear the most appalling clothing ever shown on television.

Let's just look at that in full. It appears to be some sort of yellow and brown, psychedelic paisley item. I suppose I should be grateful that we were saved the extra torture that there would have been had it had sleeves. Ed, what were you thinking?!

Fortunately for San Francisco, the appalling clothing doesn't stop him from being good and heroic, as he sets out to save the world by taking flight. In this pose, he neatly shows off how he's twinned his hideous vest with flares and cowboy boots. Well, I suppose it's more interesting than tights and a cape.

He then nearly causes a major incident by swinging from a fire escape. In flares. If that leg had swung another couple of inches to the right, we'd have been able to see right up them, and then I suspect that BBC1 might have got into trouble. This may have hampered Ed somewhat in his efforts to save the world.

Anyway, the recording ends just after that, so I don't know what he was saving the world against. He clearly succeeded though, as last time I checked, the world was still here. And so are more episodes of Ironside. Sadly the outbreak of tape mould seems to have done for my copy of the episode when Ed goes undercover wearing a Village People moustache, which is a crying shame. Looking on the bright side, I do still have the episode guest starring Desi Arnaz, though. In terrible quality, with frequent screen-rolling, but I kept it anyway, as it's Desi Arnaz. Desi Arnaz and Ed. And a duck. If that isn't the best pitch for a detective show ever, I don't know what is. Indeed, here are Desi and Ed now (with duck off screen):

I know, you can't really see them all that well. You can see that Ed's wearing rather an unfortunate tie, though. In this episode, Desi Arnaz plays a doctor who likes to investigate murders as a sideline. Sort of like Dick van Dyke, but with bourbon instead of rollerskates. The dastardly killer tries to stop his investigation, but fortunately Ironside and Ed and a local pregnant duck are on hand to save the day.

Here's Desi and a glass of something. I can't see what, but it's probably moonshine:

And yes, I know that you can't see him very well either. I wouldn't have bothered keeping such a chewed up episode, except that Ironside only gets shown on ITV3 now, and they always edit it. Editing Desi Arnaz is just wrong.

Changing the subject almost completely, and just because there can never be enough things exploding...

A different episode this, where Ed, on the run, blows up Ironside's customised truck in order to escape. Actually he doesn't blow it up as such, he just lets it run off a cliff, so that the bad guys (police actually, but still bad guys - what is it with small town sheriffs?!) will think he's dead. For some reason, as soon as it tips over the edge of the cliff, it bursts into flame. Cars on TV love doing that. It's like they commit suicide by exploding whenever they're pushed over a slope. Real life cars refuse to follow suit, sadly (or not sadly, I suppose, if you happen to be inside one). Ed was dressed sensibly in this episode, which may explain things. Dressing sensibly is the kind of thing that leads to cars exploding.

Dressing sensibly. Do not do it. It is bad for vehicular survival.

So yes, day one of tape investigating was Ironside day. I am in mourning for the lost tapes though, as not only did they have extra Ironside-age, but also that must have been where Hudson & Halls were residing. Hudson & Halls were one of the joys of my younger life. They had a cookery show on after Ironside on a Monday afternoon in the eighties, and I discovered it quite by accident when a recording over-ran. I hate cookery shows, and I certainly didn't like them any more when I was twelve, but Hudson & Halls were different. They weren't chefs, for one thing. They were just two blokes who decided that they were going to do cooking on television. (They were from New Zealand, and they don't have much television out there, so you're allowed to do things like that, probably). Then they moved to London, and were brilliant. They were gay, and probably the first proper gay couple I ever saw. Secretly gay, apparently, although clearly no good at all at keeping the secret. I didn't even find out until years later that it was supposed to have been a secret, which rather illustrates how successful it wasn't. Hudson had grey hair and glasses, and one of the sharpest tongues on television, and Halls had white hair, and was very camp and cheerful. Everything I ever needed to know about cooking, I learnt from Hudson & Halls. Which probably explains a lot.

I have never cooked whilst flirting outrageously, however. I always leave that to the professionals.

Hudson & Halls. Irrefutably the only cooking that television has ever needed.

And now if you'll excuse me, I have further recordings to investigate. I can almost hear the internet holding its breath through sheer excitement.


( 2 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )
Apr. 19th, 2012 11:06 am (UTC)
Just LOVE this entry!
There was kind of a church bazar taking place later in this episode. Ironside bought something there, but not even the genial detective found out what it was. I suppose this explains where Ed got his clothing: It was another leftover from the previous bazar.
Apr. 19th, 2012 07:00 pm (UTC)
Re: Great!
That's a very good theory!
( 2 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )

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