Telly Savalas Visits The UK
October 22, 2015 11:56 AM   Subscribe

In one of the more ill-conceived marketing stunts of the '70s, Telly Savalas visits Birmingham. Telly visits Aberdeen. Telly visits Portsmouth.
posted by veedubya (76 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
 
It's almost like he was there!
posted by chococat at 12:11 PM on October 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


Who dubbed ya, baby?
posted by mattdidthat at 12:13 PM on October 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


My boss grew up in Birmingham so I was glad to see this to find out he's been lying this whole time. It's not a grim industrial town. It's MY KINDA TOWN. Wait until he sees this!
posted by janey47 at 12:19 PM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


This is the view that nearly took my breath away. [grey skies and grim buildings]

I know this isn't an AskMe, but Telly, have you considered therapy?
posted by uncleozzy at 12:21 PM on October 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


God bless Telly Savalas, champion of bald men everywhere.
posted by grumpybear69 at 12:23 PM on October 22, 2015


He doesn't sound very excited about Aberdeen.
posted by ikalliom at 12:25 PM on October 22, 2015


I really do love this corny music, though.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:26 PM on October 22, 2015


Telly visits your bedroom.
posted by griphus at 12:30 PM on October 22, 2015 [10 favorites]


"I visited the West Midlands motorway control unit..." did you Telly? Did you really?
posted by sobarel at 12:30 PM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


'Two million a year use its modern rail terminal' aka Birmingham New St... Perennial winner of Worst Railway Station in Britain polls.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:34 PM on October 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


THANK YOU GRIPHUS!
posted by grumpybear69 at 12:35 PM on October 22, 2015


These are pretty tasty. Poor Telly kinda lost his panache after Kojak, I think. It was a typecasting tragedy IMHO.

He was an excellent actor, and I loved his performances in old WWII movies. He was awesome as the psychopath in The Dirty Dozen and triple-amazing in Kelly's Heroes. Who else could shine out in a cast that included Clint Eastwood, Donald Sutherland, Carroll O'Connor, Harry Dean Stanton, Stuart Margolin and Don Rickles? Don Rickles! Only Telly. Here's one for you, Big Joe!

These shorts would fit in nicely on the MST3K club watch nights (hint, hint, JHarris). Just sayin.
posted by valkane at 12:36 PM on October 22, 2015 [7 favorites]


And here's Telly at the 1977 Mardi Gras (where he was Grand Marshall of the Krewe of Hestia, as I recall). It's still possible to buy Telly doubloons and let me tell you they are awesome.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:36 PM on October 22, 2015


My favourite comment from a visitor during the seven years I spent in Brum was "It's a nice looking city if you are facing in the right direction"
posted by srboisvert at 12:37 PM on October 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


I...what...this is amazing!

Simply amazing.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:37 PM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


On the other hand, not even an IRA bomb could scratch the Brutalist majesty of New St's signal box.

I also used to know someone who worked in one of those high rise offices in central Brum during the late 70s / early 80s... said it was the worse building they ever worked in, freezing during the winter and boiling during the summer.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:40 PM on October 22, 2015


I choose to believe.

I choose to believe that he did visit those places, and walk those streets, before making these films.

That his feet did walk upon England's mountains green. That in England's pleasant pastures, he was seen!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:41 PM on October 22, 2015 [11 favorites]




Well, Muhammad Ali did a 1971 tour of Tesco supermarkets, including my local in Stretford where a near-riot ensued, to promote Ovaltine ("I am the greatest...and so is Ovaltine") so I suppose anything is possible.
posted by sobarel at 12:46 PM on October 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


The footage for Telly Savalas Looks at Scarfolk, sadly, has been lost.
posted by delfin at 12:46 PM on October 22, 2015 [6 favorites]


As is "Telly visits Innsmouth."
posted by griphus at 12:52 PM on October 22, 2015 [10 favorites]


Perennial winner of Worst Railway Station in Britain polls.

It's much nicer now
posted by brilliantmistake at 12:53 PM on October 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


Now I demand:

Peter Firth visits Joliet

Peter Firth visits Slidell

Peter Firth visits Bakersfield
posted by Chitownfats at 12:54 PM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Peter Falk visits Cincinnati

Peter Falk visits Cleveland

Peter Falk visits Indianapolis
posted by valkane at 12:56 PM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


posted by valkane [Telly Savalas] was an excellent actor, and I loved his performances in old WWII movies. He was awesome as the psychopath in The Dirty Dozen and triple-amazing in Kelly's Heroes.

He was fantastic as the stepfather in the "Living Doll" episode of The Twilight Zone--he was scarily hostile but you couldn't help sympathizing with the poor dude!
posted by mattdidthat at 12:59 PM on October 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


Best I can do for you is a Philip Glenister visits Knoxville.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:00 PM on October 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


Gilbert Godfried visits Shreveport.

Gilbert Godfried visits Little Rock.

Gilbert Godfried visits Waco.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 1:02 PM on October 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


And don't forget, he was Blofeld, once. Once.
posted by valkane at 1:03 PM on October 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


Was there ever a Kolchak/Kojak crossover?
posted by griphus at 1:04 PM on October 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


Telly Savalas doesn't visit the Titanic; Telly Savalas brings the fucking Titanic to him.
posted by entropicamericana at 1:04 PM on October 22, 2015


Peter Graves visits Bruges

Peter Graves visits The Ukraine

Peter Graves visits Slovakia

(oh wait, I think I'm just watching old episodes of Mission: Impossible))
posted by valkane at 1:05 PM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


I wonder if they took the Player's Club card in Aberdeen.
posted by not_on_display at 1:10 PM on October 22, 2015


Roger Moore visits Camden
posted by not_on_display at 1:13 PM on October 22, 2015


Charles Bronson visits Hershey, PA.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:14 PM on October 22, 2015


Somewhere is a picture of me and my family with Telly's likeness at Madame Tussaud's in London. Would have been...1977 or 78 I think.
posted by emjaybee at 1:15 PM on October 22, 2015


Vin Diesel visits Den Den, Tunisia. (Vin Vin in Den Den.)
posted by octobersurprise at 1:20 PM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


'Two million a year use its modern rail terminal' aka Birmingham New St... Perennial winner of Worst Railway Station in Britain polls.

They've now slapped a massive new shopping centre of top of New Street, and called it "Grand Central". I want to sick up in my own mouth every time I hear that. Naming a shopping centre on top of you own main station after one of the most famous railway stations in the world seems so astonishingly deluded I don't know where to start. It's like the Birmingham Mail running its annual "why Birmingham is better than London" feature. The very fact that anyone tries to argue it demonstrates that it's false.

Birmingham is a weird place. Parts of the city and its culture are genuinely fresh, odd and engaging, but the "second city" inferiority complex preventing it from accepting its own regional identity tends to distract from that in favour of cheap imitation of genuine large metropolises.
posted by howfar at 1:21 PM on October 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


Kojak was a great favorite of Queen Elizabeth, if the tabloids of the time were to be believed. And I'm willing to believe that they were.
posted by BWA at 1:24 PM on October 22, 2015


Peter Graves visits Bruges

Peter Graves visits The Ukraine

Peter Graves visits Slovakia

(oh wait, I think I'm just watching old episodes of Mission: Impossible))


No, you're watching MST3K.
posted by JanetLand at 1:25 PM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


You're saying it's the Toronto of England?
posted by clawsoon at 1:25 PM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Christopher Walken visits Walla Walla.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:26 PM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Following the Up next links in Youtube I ended up watching "Toughest Pubs in Britain 3" and they too visited Aberdeen and Portsmouth. "I would recon that Portsmouth is probably the toughest town in the country. It's the unsung hero of hard towns. Everyone's hard in there. You wouldn't even want to fight the women in Portsmouth."
posted by ikalliom at 1:31 PM on October 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


Birmingham is a weird place.

Lived in and around Birmingham a couple of times during the late 80s / 90s... the last time I was there the transformation from grotty Brutalism to Post-Modern whatever was just starting to kick-in and well I kinda missed the old place already.

The fact that it's basically one massive sprawl of urbanization from Coventry all the way up to Wolverhampton with many towns and cities between absorbed into greater Brum gives it a very Ballardian edge city aspect to the place but the best bits used to be absolutely bostin.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:34 PM on October 22, 2015


Jeff Bridges visits Weed, CA.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:47 PM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


'Two million a year use its modern rail terminal'

This caught my attention too, because just before that, he says the Birmingham population is one million, so I thought to myself, "Everyone in town only rides the train twice a year?"

I mean, I know it doesn't work like that, but, you know.....
posted by valkane at 1:56 PM on October 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


noooo ikalliom the stapling beer mats to each others heads cannot unsee
posted by yoHighness at 2:01 PM on October 22, 2015


'Two million a year use its modern rail terminal

I don't know the figures for the 70s. At this point the footfall through New Street is about 40 million annually. So it's a bit of a shame the renovation wasn't more focused on improving accessibility to and along the platforms, rather than tapas bars and a massive John Lewis.
posted by howfar at 2:17 PM on October 22, 2015


Johnny Depp visits Oldenburg, Stade and Bremerhaven...go on...
posted by Namlit at 2:20 PM on October 22, 2015


Did not Kojack and Columbo have adventures in London, featuring that trite shot of a sign* saying "Scotland Yard"? All those other 70s TV detectives did.


* I assume that sign is enjoying Hollywood back-lot retirement, collecting royalties.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:30 PM on October 22, 2015


I saw this years ago and was convinced it was a double, or that there had been a Harold Baim FPP but google says no. I remember it as I have a mate from brum, and we talked about it after I sent him a link to it. He talked about some of the places in the video he remembered visiting when he was young.

Strange, there must be a word for the feeling that something is a double but it turns out not to have been posted before.
posted by marienbad at 2:45 PM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Nope. Apparently it even moved to the new New Scotland Yard building in 2012.
posted by biffa at 2:47 PM on October 22, 2015


Strange, there must be a word for the feeling that something is a double but it turns out not to have been posted before.

That's got to be a Deja Blue, right?
posted by jimmytransistor at 3:14 PM on October 22, 2015 [7 favorites]


posted by valkane [Telly Savalas] was an excellent actor, and I loved his performances in old WWII movies. He was awesome as the psychopath in The Dirty Dozen and triple-amazing in Kelly's Heroes.

He was fantastic as the stepfather in the "Living Doll" episode of The Twilight Zone--he was scarily hostile but you couldn't help sympathizing with the poor dude!


He was also great in King & I. And Westworld. Not to mention ST:TNG and Pulp Fiction.
posted by Frayed Knot at 3:45 PM on October 22, 2015


I know, kinda mean. But I couldn't resist
posted by Frayed Knot at 3:45 PM on October 22, 2015


The Birmingham video was mentioned in the this post, which was about a much more flattering snapshot of Brummie life, but swiftly derailed by other underinformed people voicing their opinion without leaving the US.

The establishing shot of the Telly Savalas video is very much a scene from my childhood, too, being of the street I used to walk to school along. Belle and Sebastian played the whole video at their most recent gig in Birmingham, at the sedate but beautiful Symphony Hall. It was good to see it on the big screen, with Stuart Murdoch making wry comments about it.
posted by ambrosen at 4:02 PM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


I have a question for the Brits out there - was Telly extremely popular in Britain? To clarify I like Telly but over the years I've wondered, based on continued references to Telly in UK pop culture and work like these videos, is he an enduring icon there?
posted by Ashwagandha at 4:08 PM on October 22, 2015


Telly Savalas leaned back in the leather upholstery. "I admit it. I have never Aberdeen, but by all accounts it is terrible. However, I have seen the riding mower and crate of vodka it paid for, and they are terrific."
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:11 PM on October 22, 2015 [7 favorites]


Sheffield - City on the Move appeared in the opening of The Full Monty, as a comedic contrast from the "we're a great city" boosterism to "everyone's unemployed."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:19 PM on October 22, 2015


The thing I can't forgive Telly Savalas for was The Player's Club Card, which he advertised in the mid-80s.

My grandfather had one of these accounts, and he frittered away tons of money in Vegas.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:22 PM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


These are great, thank you so much for posting veedubya!
posted by comealongpole at 4:40 PM on October 22, 2015




The Birmingham one has been posted before (slrealplayer - also, broken... so hopefully this one will get a pass). I don't think that post is where I first saw it, so I think there maybe more links to it in the bowels of metafilter.

Anyway, I really came here to share pictures of Clint Eastwood hanging out on Smallbrook Queensway in 1967.
posted by Helga-woo at 4:46 PM on October 22, 2015


Thanks, Helga-woo. I think I first saw this on here and then later on B3ta.

The Baim Collection website.
posted by marienbad at 4:59 PM on October 22, 2015


"The thing I can't forgive Telly Savalas for was The Player's Club Card ..."

But all was forgiven with the Players With Yourselves Club Card! Who loves yourself, baby?
posted by jpolchlopek at 5:02 PM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


I remember in South Africa having a 'Kojak' brand cherry lollipop; must have been 1978 as I was in Port Elizabeth with my, dad picking up our household goods he'd had shipped back from England.
posted by Flashman at 5:13 PM on October 22, 2015


Birmingham is a weird place. Parts of the city and its culture are genuinely fresh, odd and engaging, but the "second city" inferiority complex preventing it from accepting its own regional identity tends to distract from that in favour of cheap imitation of genuine large metropolises.

It'll be interesting to see how HS2, the planned high-speed railway line to London, will change this. Perhaps the centre of Birmingham will become a dormitory suburb of London, with the locals being displaced to its own satellites (Wolverhampton, Dudley, and such) to make room for well-paid Londoners who nonetheless can't afford anywhere inside the M25. Or, if not, perhaps the presence of this link will cement its status as a satellite city of London, sort of like Brighton or Watford (or like Brooklyn was to New York before it got amalgamated into it), rather than a metropolis in its own right.
posted by acb at 5:35 PM on October 22, 2015


I thought time travel would be easy. Now I have a headache.
posted by vrakatar at 5:44 PM on October 22, 2015


I could tell ya one thing about Telly, and that's that the groovy title track from his album Who Loves Ya Baby was a mainstay of every disco/funk oriented mix-tape that I ever made.
posted by ovvl at 5:45 PM on October 22, 2015


You're saying it's the Toronto of England?

Having grown up just outside of Toronto and having lived in Birmingham I think I can pretty reliably refute Birmingham being the Toronto of England. It is more like the Hamilton or Cleveland of England.
posted by srboisvert at 5:50 PM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've wondered, based on continued references to Telly in UK pop culture and work like these videos, is he an enduring icon there?

Telly is the Jerry Lewis of the UK.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 6:13 PM on October 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


His nephew was in my year at school and played Mr. Bumble in the drama class's production of Oliver!
posted by brujita at 9:08 PM on October 22, 2015


I remember catching a clip of the Aberdeen film on an episode of In Bed With Me Dinner and getting hyper because it featured wee old fishing village where I grew up. I waited years for youtube to be invented and some more years for someone to upload it and then was delighted to discover that my old house was shown. It's here with the yellow bench and lovely pointing (both the work of my dad).

That house keeps popping up as a kind of architectural Forrest Gump. Though not shown directly, the pavement directly outside it and the wee garden wall are where the lovely Tilda Swinton and John Gordon Sinclair share a moment in John Byrnes BBC drama Your Cheatin' Heart.

Alfred Eisenstaedt also took some time out from photographing iconic kissy moments and nazis and visited Aberdeen to immortalise my next door neighbours (and my mum's pychedelic sunlounger).
posted by gnuhavenpier at 3:42 AM on October 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


Brian Blessed Visits The Lost Gardens Of Heligan.

I shall not rest until this comes to pass.
posted by Devonian at 6:48 AM on October 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Telly Savalas asks, "If a picture paints a thousand words, then why can't I paint you?"
posted by jonp72 at 9:09 AM on October 23, 2015


And he does it again. Why does he do this to us?
posted by Namlit at 1:46 PM on October 23, 2015


I've lived in Portsmouth the last couple of years so that was great, thanks for posting!

Out of the many words I would use to describe the council offices at Guildhall square in Portsmouth, "magnificent" definitely isn't one of them...
posted by fortythieves at 2:40 PM on October 23, 2015


« Older "a very fundamental, biological need to be liked"   |   They're coming to get you, Elizabeth Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments