Friday, 29 January 2010

VHS of Hamlet's Greatest Ads

Hamlet Cigar Compilation of Adverts 1992 Part One

A rather elaborate fluff-around-the-ears compilation of the best of the iconic Hamlet TV adverts to grace Britain's screens since the 1960's, which made light of historical and obscure/eccentric characters getting themselves into a sticky and embarrassing situation. This was a VHS release, hence alot of padding out from some comedy sketches, "funny moments" from the late Willie Rushden. Set in the "Hamlet Hall of Fame", Rushden presents in multiple guises as visitor and narrator, present this show showcasing a chronological history of Hamlet ads. The script is embarrassingly unfunny, Rushden, when appearing as the coated-up visitor to this Hamlet museum, we see him mixing with disappearing/imaginary character like a man in a fancy dress rooster costume and a young pretty woman. Don't ask me why!

Despite the fact, that smoking is now a much scorned leisurely luxury, people still look back at the Hamlet ads with much appreciation. The famous ad campaign would emphasise the man, down on his luck, having "just one of those days", but forget about all you're troubles, as you have a nice relaxing and calming cigar. The choice of using an modernised piece of Bach's "Air on a G String", composed by Frenchman Jacques Loussier, adds a powerful boost and changing factor tothe advert, for that feeling of relaxation and it's rather like taking a seat back for a moment in time from your everyday strife of life. There were some rather controversial versions of the ad on ground of touchy subjects for some, such as a British soldier armed with a rifle meeting a German soldier in the trenches, also armed. The 2 sit down together smoking Hamlet in the end. Ah, and also before the ads get under way, we see a spoof of what goes on behind the scenes at Hamlet in producing an advert, starring Adrian Edmondson, of "Bottom and "The Young Ones" fame.

Their were some great ads from the series, but one of the best regarded ones is the advert featuring Scottish actor Gregor Fisher, as one of his comedy sketch characters "The Baldy Man", who has a very iffy strand of hair, that he obsessively grooms, to somehow, someway, hide his awkwardness of being bald. In the famous ad, is a re-taken sketch from "Naked Video", a popular sketch show, where he just cannot get a good photo taken in a passport photo booth, thanks to bad timing and a dodgy stool. The expression on his face when he smokes the cigar is pretty funny too.

Willie Rushden came to fame as a co-founder of the political satire magazine "Private Eye", that is still running today. He appeared and hosted his own satire shows and an light entertainment show in the 1960's on radio and TV in the UK and Australia, but most notably appeared in political sketch show That was the Week That Was in 1962-1963, doing an impression of then-Prime Minister Harold MacMillan, which wasn't dared to be performed before. You may know Rushden for his voice, as he is the voice behind the whole cast of claymation children's series "The Trap Door" on CITV. Rushden died in December 1996 at the age of 59, from a heart attack.

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