David Parkin takes the bus down memory lane

“FRANKLY, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

“I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.”

“You don’t understand! I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I could’ve been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am.”

“Here’s looking at you, kid.”

“I love the smell of napalm in the morning.”

“Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”

“All right, Mr DeMille, I’m ready for my close up.”

“Arthur, where’s the baby?”

All iconic lines from some of the most famous and celebrated films in movie history.

What do you mean you’ve never heard that last line?

It’s Olive’s plaintive cry when the motorbike and sidecar her and husband Arthur and their young son are riding in to a holiday camp splits and she ends up in a river with her glasses misted up.

If you’ve not seen Holiday on the Buses, I’d highly recommend it.

It came to mind after the news that Anna Karen, who played the frumpy, frustrated housewife Olive died this week.

I attempted to explain the premise behind the sitcom On the Buses to my godson, who is a postgraduate student, this week.

(Well, we were at a Derby County match, so what else did you expect us to do?)

Suffice to say that it doesn’t sit well with today’s woke young people.

Like it or loathe it you can’t dispute the popularity of On the Buses.

It was totally panned by the critics when it launched on television in 1969 but garnered audiences of up to 16 million people during its seven series.

It also spawned three spin-off films: On the Buses, Mutiny on the Buses and Holiday on the Buses.

“Arthur, where’s the baby”, is a line from the final film, Holiday on the Buses, in 1973, or so I was told by a housemate in my student digs in Huddersfield.

He used to utter it regularly after we decided that one of our fellow students looked a bit like Olive from On the Buses.

She was always trying to drag men back to her room, with varying degrees of success.

Another memorable scene from the film is when Olive decides to don a negligee and remove her spectacles as part of a plan to seduce her workshy husband Arthur.

But she takes a wrong turn out of the holiday camp chalet and ends up in bed in the chalet next door with a burly holidaymaker played by Arthur Mullard.

Now don’t tell me that’s not classic comedy?

Catch it on ITV4 sometime soon.

The death of Anna Karen in a fire at her home in Ilford aged 85 brought plenty of tributes and obituaries.

She was born in South Africa – as was Sid James, who she appeared with in Carry On Camping – and became a great friend of Barbara Windsor.She appeared in the well known scene where Babs is exercising outside her tent and her bikini top falls off and, defying gravity, flies straight into Kenneth Williams’ face.

Later, when Barbara Windsor was playing pub landlady Peggy Mitchell in soap opera EastEnders, Karen appeared as her sister, the formidable Aunt Sal.

But it is as Olive, Stan’s long-suffering and much put-upon sister, that Anna Karen will be best remembered.

And if you thought I was taking the mickey by putting one of her lines from Holiday on the Buses in a list of classic film quotes then think again.

The first On the Buses film, released in 1971 and starring Karen, Reg Varney and Bob Grant as bus driver and clippie Stan and Jack, Doris Hare as Stan’s Mum and Stephen Lewis as the hapless Inspector “Blakey” Blake, didn’t do half badly at the box office.

In a year when the biggest film releases included Get Carter, Diamonds Are Forever, The French Connection, Dirty Harry, Shaft, Bedknobs and Broomsticks and Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, it beat them all, grossing more at the box office than any other film that year.

If you’ve never seen it, the plot revolves around the idea by Blakey to solve a staffing shortage by recruiting women drivers.

Heaven forbid!

Stan, Jack and their workmates are outraged at this affront to their masculinity and launch a campaign to undermine the scheme.

The only quote from the film referenced in the international film database IMDb is the following:

Blakey: “What’s the matter with you, can’t you drive? Eh? Oh my god, look what you’ve done! Quick, get in that cab, pull away, quick! Hurry up!”

Vera: “I can’t! There’s spiders in my cab!”

Blakey: “Spiders? I don’t care if you’ve got ants in your pants! You get in that cab and pull away quick!”

They just don’t make them like that any more.

And that’s probably where my godson and I would agree.

Have a great weekend.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top