Saturday 16 March 2024

Post 501 - A non-animated gramble


Welcome to The Grambler, the most ill-informed blog you are ever likely to see.

Stewart was an amazing person - A wonderful husband, a fantastic brother, a loving son and an adored uncle. He was also a brilliant friend and colleague and is missed by so many people. His family are determined that his death will never be in vain and are doing their part to beat bowel cancer for good. We are fundraising for the Bobby Moore Fund which is part of Cancer Research UK and specialises in research into bowel cancer. If you wish to donate to the fund, you can via The Grambler’s Kick Cancer’s Backside (

If you haven’t already done so, please read the article which appeared in the Daily Record and learn from Stewart’s story that you must never be complacent. It makes grim reading for us, his family, even though we were beside him throughout his ordeal, or battle; call it what you will.

Stewart began writing The Grambler when he was between procedures and hoping for some form of recovery. He loved all aspects of football and was a lifelong Motherwell supporter. His wish was that The Grambler should continue after his death and I have been happy to oblige. Read on and enjoy


Story Time...

Whatever happened to the live action remakes of old cartoons? They seem to have disappeared of late. There was a time when they were the staple product of the Hollywood studios. Who can forget Casper, The Flintstones, Scooby Doo, Popeye, Inspector Gadget, George of the Jungle, et al? I know I can.

It was a particularly popular way to make a film without putting too much thought into it back in the 1990s. Strangely, it's a genre that has, apparently, disappeared, unless you count all these nonsensical super hero type films that proliferate these days. They are based more on comics (or graphic novels as anyone who reads such childish matter would call them).

Perhaps Peter Rabbit and Paddington fall into that category as well, except they weren't graphic novels; they actually featured some words.

When did this lifting of cartoons and making live action films begin and why am I wittering on about them?

I'll answer the second part, later but the first part? I would suggest that the first was the 1932 film based on the Little Orphan Annie newspaper strip cartoon; itself beginning in the New York Times on 1924. It even spawned a musical which was made into a film back in 1982.

After that, it seemed that superheroes were what young cinemagoers wanted. Who can forget the Saturday morning kids' cinema superstar, Flash Gordon character which kept children glued to their seats (although that might have been chewing gum) long after their release dates of 1936 to 1940? Gordon, he of the flashness, first appeared in comic form in 1934. The character also got a revival when a film was made in 1980. You probably know the two most famous words in that film spoken, or should that be shouted, by Brian Blessed, 'GORDON'S ALIVE!'

Of the most popular superhero characters you would have expected Batman or Superman to be next to feature on film, but they didn't appear until 1943 and 1948 respectively. And they have been made ever since. No the next biggie on live action film was none other than Captain Marvel in 1941, a character that was only revived as recently as 2019.

Of course, all of the characters thus far mentioned provided pure escapist fun and it has been cited that the reason for their success was down to the USA's need for that escapism back then. It was, after all, a period when the world first went through what was known as the Great Depression followed swiftly by the worst war the world had yet seen. Who could blame them for wanting a bit of out and out nonsense to entertain them?

Back to the world of syndicated comic strips, the next of the comedy type was one called Li'l Abner ( I'm not sure why there is an apostrophe placed where it is) which was released in 1940. A musical version was released in 1959. I'm guessing it was a rather popular character, but probably only in the USA because Abner was a simple-minded, gullible country bumpkin from the deep syuth (trans: south). The comic strip ran from 1934 right through to 1977.

Any road up, why am I telling you all of this? Well, there is another comic-strip-based film series that is due for a reboot, in my opinion. After all, many of the characters already mentioned have been made into films in the more modern era. So why not Blondie? Who, I hear you ask. Blondie, the 1930 comic strip character after whom the 1970s beat combo fronted by Debbie Harry took its name. It is a cartoon series which is still running 94 years on and formed the basis of 28 films produced from 1938 to 1950. It is undeniably popular so why has no film mogul thought to produce any new movie in 74 years?

Maybe now is the time. I was watching a footy match between Manchester City and Liverpool. [Hang on; that's a bit of a leap from film to football. - Ed.] It is indeed, but bear with me on this. It struck me when I watched a certain Belgian player leaving the field that, should he ever wish to pursue a career in show business, he would make a prefect candidate to play Blondie's husband, Dagwood Bumstead. See if you agree...


Kevin De Bruyne


Dagwood Bumstead




Birthday honours...

Let’s move on to the birthday honours, shall we? Were any famous or not so well-known individuals born on the 9th of March? Of course there were. Here are some that even I have heard of.

Ernest Bevin 1884 - Politician.

Vita Sackville-West 1892 - Writer and gardener(?)

Eric Woodburn 1894 - Actor. Dr. Snoddie in Doctor Findlay’s Casebook.

Colin Thackeray 1930 - Entertainer. At 89, he was the oldest winner of Britain’s Got Talent.

Brian Redman 1937 - Racing car drivey bloke.

John Howard Davies 1939 - Child actor and later TV director and producer. Oliver Twist in Oliver Twist (1948).

John Cale 1942 - Musician. Have a clip. Here’s Night Crawling.

Robin Trower 1945 - Musician. Have a clip. Here’s Bridge of Sighs.

Alexandra Bastedo 1946 - Actress. Sharon Macready in The Champions.

Jim Cregan 1946 - Musician. He features on this,  Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me). Jim’s the one in the bunnet.

Chris Thompson 1948 - Musician. He took care of lead vocals on this, Blinded by the Light.

Neil Hamilton 1949 - Politician.

Bill Beaumont 1952 - Rugby bloke.

Martin Fry 1958 - Musician. Have another clip. Here he fronts ABC on Be Near Me.

Robert Buchanan 1961 - Actor. Ronnie in That Sinking Feeling.

Gary Holt 1973 - Fitba guy.

Katherine Parkinson 1978 - Actress. Jen Barber in The IT Crowd.

Stacey Dooley 1987 - TV presenter.

Now then, what about the 16th of March?

Clive Morton 1904 - Jobbing actor. Commander Rogue in Rogue’s Rock.

Henny Youngman 1906 - Comedian.

Campbell Singer 1909 - Actor. Henry Burroughs in The Newcomers. 142 credits on IMDb.

Norman Wooland 1910 - Actor. Simon Maxie in Cover Her Face.

Eric McKellar-Watt 1920 - Sausage maker.

John Addison 1920 - Composer. He wrote this rousing film score for Reach For The Sky.

Victor Maddern 1928 - Jobbing actor. One of those faces that cropped up a lot in 60s and 70s TV shows and films. He appeared as Ernie in 39 episodes of The Dick Emery Show. 185 credits on IMDb.


Victor Maddern - He of the ‘lived-in’ face.

John Leeson 1943 - Actor. You may not know his face but, if you were a fan of Doctor Who, you would recognise his voice as that of K9.

Peter Cleall 1944 - Actor. Eric Duffy in Please Sir! and its spin-off series The Fenn Street Gang.

Graham Cole 1952 - Actor. P.C. Stamp in The Bill.

Cliff Lazarenko 1952 - Darty bloke.

Jimmy Nail 1954 - Actor, singer. Oz Osbourne in Auf Wiedersehen, Pet. He also had a couple of hits. Here’s one he had with Mark Knopfler, Big River.

Trevor Harrison 1957 - Actor. Eddie Grundy in The Archers.

Matthew Bannister 1957 - Broadcaster.

Denise Black 1958 - Actress. Hazel Tyler in Queer as Folk.

Jennie Eclair 1960 - Comedienne.

Jerome Flynn 1963 - Actor and sometime singer. Bronn in Game of Thrones. Here’s a toon he recorded with Robson Green, White Cliffs of Dover.

Mark Carney 1965 - Money man.

Andy ‘The Hammer’ Hamilton 1967 - Another darty bloke.

Andy Dunlop 1972 - Musician. Guitarist with Travis. A clip? Indeed. Here’s the band’s biggest hit, Sing.

Theo Walcott 1989 - Footy bloke.

Ivan Toney 1996 - Footy bloke.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin 1997 - Footy bloke.



I’ve received a letter...

Dear Gramblin Fry,

We did enjoy your band ABC and it was so nice to hear a track by them. Perhaps you could help us by telling us what your first top 20 hit was.

Yours alphabetically,

T. S. Arnott, E. Nuff.





Gramble time...

How did our last bet with Bordalkes fare? We won... We really did... Really... Nae kidding. How much, I hear you asking. The grand sum of £3.12 back from our £2.20 stake. Woo hoo! What happened? Read on.

Huddersfield vs Leeds - Away win

Result - Huddersfield 1 Leeds 1

Ooh! ’It the bar!

Patrick Bamford salvaged a point for Leeds United in a feisty West Yorkshire derby against 10-man Huddersfield Town.

Bamford slid in the equaliser midway through the second half as persistent Leeds pressure finally broke stubborn Town resistance.

Leeds’ Crysencio Summerville hit the post in the closing stages.

The Terriers scored in first-half injury time when Michal Helik knocked the ball home on the rebound from close range. However, a deserved red card for captain Jonathan Hogg for a second yellow card left Town playing the entire second period a man down - and they were unable to hold firm.


Birmingham vs Southampton - Away win

Result - Birmingham 3 Southampton 4


Southampton had to twice come from behind before beating 10-man Birmingham City with a winner six minutes into added time.

Birmingham led through Koji Miyoshi before Adam Armstrong cancelled it out, only for Jay Stansfield to restore the hosts' lead.

Inside the space of seven second-half minutes, David Brooks, architect of the visitors' first goal, then scored the second equaliser. Che Adams put Southampton in front for the first time - and home defender Dion Sanderson was sent off for a challenge on Will Smallbone.

But, although Juninho Bacuna levelled on 77 minutes after Stansfield had hit the post, Saints had the final word when, from a headed Taylor Harwood-Bellis knockdown from a 96th-minute corner, Joe Aribo found the bottom left corner from close range.


Plymouth vs Ipswich - Away win

Result - Plymouth 0 Ipswich 2


Mickel Miller's volley for Argyle that was blocked on the line was the best effort of the first period.

But Ipswich upped the intensity after the break as Kieffer Moore twice went close before Conor Chaplin fashioned the opener as his deflected shot wrong-footed Argyle keeper Conor Hazard.

Moore sealed the points as he lashed in after a corner was flicked on, before Miller hit the post for the hosts.


Shrewsbury vs Blackpool - Away win

Result - Shrewsbury 0 Blackpool 2


Goals from Karamoko Dembele and Hayden Coulson secured Blackpool a 2-0 victory at Shrewsbury.

Shrewsbury went close when Tom Bloxham sent a first-time cross into the box, but Dan Udoh's diving header was kept out by Dan Grimshaw.

Blackpool were then awarded a free-kick in the 40th minute, from which George Byers' header looped over the Shrewsbury backline but found the hands of keeper Harry Burgoyne.

Three minutes later, the Tangerines opened the scoring when Coulson received a pass in the box and cut the ball across goal for Dembele, who fired past Burgoyne at the back post.

Shrewsbury went close just before the hour mark when Udoh sent a low cross into Jordan Shipley, who fired over from just inside the box.

But Blackpool doubled their advantage in the 84th minute when Dembele's cross found the unmarked Coulson, who headed home.


Colchester vs Stockport - Away win

Result - Match postponed


Not a bad week, I suppose. Three out of four isn’t so bad. What has The Grambler randomly selected this week?

Game - Result - Odds

Barnsley vs Cheltenham - Home win - 4/5

Reading vs Cambridge - Home win - 4/5

Shrewsbury vs Carlisle - Home win - Evens

Wycombe vs Northampton - Home win - 3/4

Lincoln vs Bristol - Home win - 8/11

The bets have been placed - Ten 20 pee doubles plus a single 20 pee accumulator. If the results go as predicted by The Grambler, the Bobby Moore Fund will be richer to the tune of a whopping


A little bit more whopping than last time.




Teaser time...

Yay! How did you get on with the five teasers set last time? Here are the answers.

1. Who am I?

I was born in Aachen, Germany in 1999. An attacking midfielder, I began my senior career at Bayer Leverkusen before moving to Chelsea for a fee of around £62 million. I moved to my current club, Arsenal, for £65 million. I have been capped for Germany 42 times.

Answer - Kai Havertz

2. Which Brazilian has scored four goals in a Premier League match?

Answer - Gabriel Jesus

3. Which Premier League side has drawn the most games so far this season?

Answer - Brighton & Hove Albion

4. Which Mexican player has made the most Premier League appearances?

Answer - Chicharito (158)

5. Which Scottish football stadium can accommodate the most spectators?

Answer - Celtic Park

They were easy, weren’t they? Shall we have five more for this week? Why not...

1. Who am I?

I was born in Bradford in 1991. A right-back, I began my senior career at Newcastle in 2009. Though I spent five years at the club, I played only eight games for them and was loaned out to six other clubs during that time. I then signed with Wigan playing only 13 games in my time there. Again, I was loaned out to another club. In 2015, I moved northwards to join my current club. I was appointed captain in 2018 and have now played over 300 games for them.

2. Who was the first non-English manager to win the English Football League Cup?

3. Which English Championship side has drawn the most games in the current season?

4. Who is Fulham’s current club captain?

5. Which club plays its home games at Ainslie Park?

There you have it. Have fun trying to work that lot out. As always, try and answer them before shouting out Hey Googly, Syria or Alexis. Please feel free to pass on the link to your pals so that they can enjoy The Grambler’s footy teasers too.




Remember the serious message...

As usual (at the risk of repeating myself), I remind you of the main reason for continuing to publish this blog – to raise awareness about bowel cancer. If you have any bowel problems, don’t be fobbed off with the line that you are too young for bowel cancer to be a consideration. Just point your doctor in the direction of (the already mentioned) Never Too Young | Bowel Cancer UK




Please, take a few minutes to watch an informative little video from Mersh (a great friend of Stewart’s).

Click on this link: The amount quoted is miles out of date. The total raised for the Bobby Moore Fund now stands at...





And Finally...

And finally, Cyril? And finally, Esther, I am indebted to a Ms. J. Eclair who celebrates her birthday and provides us with a few thoughts to end this week’s edition...

I am very short-sighted, and if I don't like a situation I take my glasses off.

I might be needy, competitive and desperate but it's far better than being wet.

A good fart joke makes me bawl with laughter, so will somebody farting. And the word 'poo.' You can't beat a good poo joke.

My older sister is bossy, my brother is a stirrer and me - well, I am perfect!

I'm the least spiritual person in the world. I can't even abide a smelly candle. I know it's meant to make me relax, and that immediately makes my hackles rise.

I'm a schizophrenic mix of wannabe glamourpuss and absolute slob, and my style is very much magistrate-meets-barmaid.

There should be more booing in shops and restaurants and places like that when the service is bad. If you've had a poor breakfast in a hotel, you should put your knife and fork down and boo.

After graduating from flares and platforms in the early 1970s, I started drama school wearing a pair of khaki dungarees with one of my Dad's Army shirts, accessorised by a cat's basket doubling as a handbag. Very Lady Gaga.

I think my siblings sometimes have to defend me within their social circles - they are both barristers.

I am best viewed from a distance... and at night.



That’s all for this week folks, but remember you can read the musings of The Grambler every week (well, most weeks) by going to the blog at where you can also catch up on any previous editions you may have missed.


Happy grambling.


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