When I blogged about Network’s launch of their Blu Ray boxed set of remastered Supercar episodes, I mentioned a childhood memory of a scaled-up, ‘life sized’ vehicle making an appearance at a curtain call of ITV’s Sunday Night at the London Palladium. At the end of the weekly variety show all the acts would stand on the stage revolve behind waist-high letters spelling out its name. The revolve would turn and the stars would wave as they passed before the audience like a cupcake selection. On the week in question, Supercar featured as the centrepiece. A couple of days ago, Derek Foote added the comment:
I have been looking for a long time to find anybody who can remember the full size Supercar. I still remember quite clearly the Sunday it was loaded on to the wagon to take it to the London Palladium. My dad helped to make it and on occasion I would go with him to the workshop and help. Mind you, I was only ten at the time so just how much help I gave him is questionable.
There was a problem with it on that day as the plan was for it to drive on under its own power. It had a electrical motor and a battery but for some reason they couldn’t get it working in time. They had to push it out of the workshop, and I was lucky enough to sit in it while it was being pushed.
On the night they put it on the rotating part of the stage and with all the smoke it looked like it was moving on it own. At the end of the show it was, as you said, put on the elevated section. I often wonder what happened to it. At least I still have the photo that my dad took of me standing in front of Supercar.
Of course, I had to ask to see the photo. And with Derek’s permission, here it is.
When I asked Derek if his father was a professional prop maker, he replied:
My dad’s name is Richard but everybody called him Dickie. He was a panel beater for Rolls Royce Mulliner Park Ward division in Willesden North West London and later when they closed the willesden factory down and moved to Hythe Road at White City London..
The main Rolls Royce factory was at Crewe where they built the standard Rolls. Mulliner Park built the non standard Rolls, Corniche, Corniche Convertable, and Camargue; they also took a standard Rolls and cut it in half and converted it to a long wheelbase model. They made the all-aluminium hand-built Phantom along with all the royal cars used by the Royal Family. That’s what my dad worked on.
He was the second longest serving employee there at just over 44 years. He was beaten to the number one spot by 3 months.
It was a friend of a work colleague who was working on Supercar full time that contacted my dad and explained that they were struggling to meet the delivery date for the London Palladium. So my dad worked evenings and weekends for quite a while until the time that it went off to the theatre.Derek Foote