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Arthur, Stan & Olive

The post on the new Watsonian Enfield INT650 combo got me thinking about sidecars. The very first thought that entered my head were the sidecar sequences from British 1960s and 70s sitcom, On The Buses.

For any non-UK followers (or younger readers) I'm not sure if this comedy travelled like its contemporaries, Are You Being Served? and The Benny Hill Show, but it was hugely popular in the UK at the time the country only had three TV channels, and none of them transmitting for 24 hours a day. The storyline was centred about a group of work shy bus drivers, bus conductors, their families and love lives.

It made its actors huge stars, and the whole nation knew the characters' names, and the catchphrase, 'I'll get you, Butler'.

Conversely, it can't have done a lot for the image of the sidecar...

Straying into Off-Topic territory, the aforementioned Butler, Stan Butler, was played by Reg Varney. That's him on the back of the combination in the clip above, looking after his pregnant sister, Olive, in the chair.

Varney was chosen as the first person, anywhere in the world, to withdraw money from the very first ATM, automated teller machine. The date was 27 June 1967, and the actor was chosen by Barclays Bank, to withdraw £10 in £1 notes from the Enfield, North London, branch 'hole in the wall'. It looks like he did it in a natty cardigan. The three Barclays management look the very embodiment of 'suits'.

1 Comment

Jan 09, 2023

Thank you, that's absurdist perfection.

I vaguely remember On The Buses so it was being rerun in New Zealand where we had 2 channels. And ATMs have been around a lot longer than I would have thought.

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