You might be thinking, and believe me I can understand it if you are, what have Cillit Bang, Doctor McCoy and the launch of Thunderbird 3 got in common? Well it is simply this; together they are three small mysteries that have annoyed me for a while and in the case of Thunderbird 3, a very long time. Please read on . . .
A cleaning company has just created a new household cleaner. It works in the kitchen: It works anywhere! It washes away dirt and grime so what should we call it?
INTERIOR. DAY. A PLUSH HI TECH MARKETING OFFICE. A MEETING IS IN PROGRESS. AT THE HEAD OF THE TABLE IS THE HEAD OF MARKETING. HE ADDRESSES THE GROUP OF EAGER YOUNG MARKETEERS.
HEAD OF MARKETING.
Ladies and gentlemen, you know all about the product. We are getting ready to sell to the public as soon as possible. We already have contracts to sell to the major stores and supermarkets, all we need is a name!
YOUNG STAFF MEMBER #1
What about Flash? It cleans your kitchen in a flash and-
HEAD OF MARKETING.
Good but that name has been used already!
YOUNG STAFF MEMBER#1
YOUNG STAFF MEMBER #2
What about Super Clean. It’s no ordinary cleaner: it’s a Super Cleaner!
HEAD OF MARKETING.
Not bad but I’m looking for something really special.
YOUNG STAFF MEMBER #3
I know I’m new here (COYLY) But what about Cillit-Bang!
FACES FALL ALL AROUND THE TABLE. SOME STAFF MEMBERS HOLD THEIR HEADS IN THEIR HANDS. OTHERS OPENLY MOUTH ‘OH MY GOD!’
HEAD OF MARKETING.
That’s brilliant. Just what we want.
THE WHOLE OFFICE APPLAUDS.
OK, that’s just a fantasy, just an idle musing that came to me a few weeks back under the hot Lanzarote sun while I pondered about whether to take another dip in the pool. The thing is though, why did they really call it Cillit-Bang?
Doctor McCoy in Star Trek
I have always been a fan of Star Trek, well, the original one anyway. You know the one, Captain Kirk, Mr Spock and Doctor (Bones) McCoy. (Proper Star Trek, not those wishy washy Next Generation people!) Kirk was played by William Shatner, Spock by Leonard Nimoy and McCoy by DeForest Kelley. DeForest did you say? Yes, DeForest, that was his name. I’ve often wondered how he got a name like that, perhaps it was something like this;
INTERIOR. DAY.THE SCENE:THE SUBURBAN HOME OF THE NEWLY WED KELLEYS.
You know, we ought to think about names, there’s not long to go now.
Yes, you’re not wrong. Remind me, when is the little one due?
Well, my due date is January 20th.
Well, what about Woodrow, you know after the President?
MRS KELLEY (WITH HARDLY A HINT OF ENTHUSIASM.)
Well, only a suggestion.
Edward is a thought. I’ve always liked Edward.
Edward? Edward Kelley? Don’t know, Edward Kelley. Sounds a bit ordinary . . .
We could name him after you, Ernest David.
Yes but then he’d be Ernest David Kelley Junior. I’ve always hated that junior stuff! I want something memorable, something that invokes, you know, the forest or something.
The forest? What are you on about?
Well, remember that time in the forest when we were camping and we both, you know . .
Oh my giddy aunt! I’ve never heard anything like it in my life!
Look, let’s be straight; we once did it in the forest. So what? Couples have to do it somewhere, it’s only natural. In fact, tell you what, what about Deforest?
Deforest? Are you bonkers? Are you out of your tiny mind?
It’d be a private joke, you know, me and you against the world and we’d always remember that special time. You know, when we did it in ‘de forest!’
Are you on mind altering drugs or what? I was reading only the other day they reckon that by the 1960’s mind altering drugs could destroy western civilisation. Sure you’re not on them already?
OK, so what have you got?
So Ernest David is out?
OK, DeForest it is but I want it with a capital F.
It’s a deal!
The Launch of Thunderbird 3.
Did you ever watch Thunderbirds, the 1960’s sci-fi show? I’m talking about the original, not the 21st century computer animated version, because something has been annoying me ever since I first saw the show as a schoolboy, and it’s this:
Alan, as you probably know, is the pilot of Thunderbird 3, the space ship, and Thunderbird 3 launches from underground, blasting off right through the circular opening of the Round House. Now to access the craft, Alan sits down on the settee in the Tracy Island main house. His Dad, Jeff Tracy, flicks a switch and Alan and the settee drop down into an underground complex. OK? With me so far? Well this is where the problem arises. As Alan and the settee drop down on a sort of hydraulic pole, just behind him we see another settee, being pushed up towards the lounge on another hydraulic pole, where it pops into the vacant slot where Alan’s settee was moments earlier. However, as Alan’s settee is going down on the first hydraulic pole, and the alternate settee is on a second hydraulic pole to his rear, there is no way that second settee is going to pop into the vacant slot left by the first. Also, what if Alan was watching TV when the call came in and he goes off on the departing settee with the remote control? It could be halfway to trajectory insertion when Jeff wants to switch over to Sky Sport and he says, “Who’s got the remote?” Not only that, imagine if Alan was on his way to an emergency launch which came in while Grandma was in the kitchen making everyone a cup of tea and a slice of toast?
THE SCENE. INTERIOR. DAY. TRACY ISLAND LOUNGE.
This is a job for Thunderbird 3.
OK Dad. Ready for launch.
Off you go Alan.
Bye Dad, tell Grandma I’ll have a brew later.
Look Alan, those tea bags don’t grow on trees you know. We have them imported from the UK.
Gee whizz Dad, never thought of that. Only thing is, that rocket on collision course with the sun, don’t you think that has to take priority?
Well . . . Sometimes I fancy an extra cuppa anyway so I guess I could always finish yours off. Hot diggedy dog Alan, you’re right. Off you go and I’ll sort your brew out.
JEFF PRESSES A SWITCH AND THE SETTEE DROPS AWAY ON ITS HYDRAULIC POLE INTO THE CAVERNOUS SECRET WORLD BENEATH THE TRACY HOME.
Right, that’s that. Think I might have a gander at Sky Sports. Where the heck is the remote? Grandma! Grandma! Where has the old biddy got to? Bet she’s got the damned remote, she’s always watching daytime TV.
JEFF GOES OFF STAGE RIGHT TO LOOK FOR GRANDMA.
GRANDMA ENTERS STAGE LEFT WITH A TRAY OF TEA AND TOAST.
Jeff! Alan! Now where have those two got to? Where have they moved the settee to? Sure it used to be just hereeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
Yes, when you look closely, that Thunderbird 3 launch procedure is a major health and safety issue!
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