A Viking in my Dustbin. #91. HAIRY MARY.

This was the first time I sampled the real razzle-dazzle of showbiz. I’d had some with 3*2*1, but this was more up front and out there. We were still the back-room boys and overall the showbiz bit was curiously unsatisfying and anti-climatic.
I’d been thinking that a career in film or television was what I wanted, but “Kremmen the Movie’ and the lack of lasting satisfaction after all that herculean effort really got to me.
Unknowingly, that negative feeling opened up another door within me and other opportunities, even though it wasn’t the last time I’d be
making a movie with Cuddly Ken.

Post Kremmen, the main characters from the animation team stayed together to collaborate on a number of commissions; as with 3*2*1 under my belt and a great success and now ‘Kremmen the Movie’, we were landing more t.v. titles for other television companies.
One that’s memorable was for the show O.T.T. The acronym stood for ‘Over The Top’.
The basic idea of the unscripted show, was get together a bunch of young and outrageous comedians late at night (probably drunk and stoned) and live, and mix in some crazy off-the-planet acts and see what happens. Funny, it wasn’t funny, but that’s another story. The basic idea was to be out there and extreme and that it certainly was.
It was late night anarchy aimed at drunks coming home from the pub, best viewed after ten pints and a curry, with a few cans at home to round things off.
Lenny Henry, then bursting on the television comedy scene, was the host. He was a great young black comedian, but in my opinion, wasted on O.T.T .
In an attempt to be risqué and edgy, the producers wanted a front title which suggested that something naughty could and probably would happen on the show. For some reason they had the idea that a female blow-up sex doll was the right thing for a mascot and wanted one to feature in the opening titles, which they commissioned us to design and produce (the titles not the doll). I was back again with Dusty Bin, only this time it was, ‘Busty’ Bin.
That was OK with Nigel, Andy, but as someone who’s always been embarrassed to even look at a counter display of condoms never mind hag around in the lingerie section of Marks and Spencers’ (that wasn’t me),
So we got it mail order. It arrived in a plain brown paper wrapper. We blew it up expectantly like boys at their first glimpse of a playboy centerfold.
Inflated it was the least sexy thing I’d ever seen, but we needed it to ‘model’ the animation on, so we said.
We started work; as usual and as had been the case with the Kremmen Movie, it was my job to style the characters, and come up with the ideas for the sequence and design the storyboard.
The blow-up sex doll, ‘Hairy Mary’ we called her, (use your imagination, but not too much) hung around in the room (our bedroom), which we were once again using as a ‘studio’. One day Andy said, “Where’s Mary gone?” Our blow up doll had disappeared. We both looked at Nigel, “I haven’t got her”. He said looking sheepish and suspect.
“Are you sure, you pervert?” Said Andy.
“You know I don’t have the strength to inflate her properly.” He said. He had a point. But where’d she gone?
Our flat was on the ground floor, and we had the door to the outside open with a toddler fence blocking half of the doorway.
I could never prove that this is what happened, but we reckoned that Tom, our first child, who had just graduated from toddler stage, must have thought she was some sort of balloon after wide-eyed he’d seen us blow her up. We speculated he must have decided to let her go where most balloons go, up in the air.
The day Mary went missing, it was quite windy outside. I put two and two together and asked Tom who wasn’t quite talking yet, where Mary was. But he got it and took us to the back door where he kept pointing to the open door and up to the sky shouting, “Bloon, bloon.”.
We went outside.
On the stretch of grass that did for our front garden overlooking the main road, we discovered poor Mary impaled high up in a thorn tree partially deflated, sadly hanging there by the side of the road.
In all her pink and shiny naked plastic glory, she was waving a thin pink arm with bright red nails in the breeze, at astonished motorists as they wobbled by.
We didn’t have a ladder so she had to stay there. She never did make it to stardom, but hanging from that tree on Kirkstall Road ironically she reached a different level of notoriety and fame in a way very much in keeping with the show!

A Viking in my Dustbin. #91. HAIRY MARY.

John Sunderland

New York, United States

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Post ‘Kremmen the Movie’ a short affair with a blow-up doll and a show called OTT.

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