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Stanley Baxter Picture Show, The (1972)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

Episode 4, tx. 29/10/1972

Backstage, an actor dressed as Richard III vocalises with perfect clarity. On stage he recites the 'Winter of Our Discontent' soliloquy with a speech impediment.

Benny Pill sings a smutty, innuendo-heavy ditty, 'The Largest Joke Book in the West.'

A rockumentary follows the life of rock star Elfin Nolan. In the studio, he rehearses with his band and then revisits his childhood home. Interviewed, he denies that he wrote a song in under ten minutes - it was thirty. After a montage of images, including a baby, warfare and a pair of buttocks, he recalls his triumph at the Royal Festival Hall and subsequent MBE. Over live concert footage of him whipping his piano, Elfin explains why he wears a toilet chain as a belt. He finds solace in painting but worries about the future. A voice-over explains that a few days later Elfin accidentally strangled himself with a microphone cable; his record sales have soared.

A man and woman finish playing tennis. The woman tells her girlfriend the man complained about her bad breath. Her friend is sympathetic until she passes out from the stench.

Veteran film director Howard Spitz is the guest on film programme Kinema. Extracts are shown from his career. In Voices, a generation gap film, a son and father argue over the son playing his rock music. 'What Katie Didn't' is a $300,000 commercial with Katherine Hepburn making dinner for her husband's boss and his wife. While chopping vegetables, Hepburn's voice-over parodies Suddenly Last Summer. The guests enjoy the meal and wonder what her secret was - beef cubes. They are shocked, as they have just eaten trifle. In Spitz's 1940 Royal Navy tribute The WAAFs Shall Not Have Them, Lieutenant Standish and his wife are picnicking on a cliff top. The Lieutenant's Number One arrives to bring him back to the frigate. Left alone, the Standishes say their goodbyes without looking away from each other. He keeps looking until he falls backwards over the cliff edge. In Peculiar Girl, a singing Barbara Stridand hijacks a bus at gunpoint, changes to other modes of transportation until, arriving on a roof top, she uses a TV aerial to fire a note to Mr Arnstein on his boat. Jumping on a broomstick, she flies over London and lands in front of a picket line, where she finishes the song with the pay-off line.