Category Archives: Puppydog tails

Johnson’s London Dictionary: Trafalgar Square

TRAFALGAR SQUARE (n.) Large piazza that doth remind gallic peoples just who once ruled the waves.

Dr. Johnson’s London Dictionary for publick consumption in the twenty-first century avail yourself on Twitter @JohnsonsLondon

Test Your Knowledge: February 2023

The Mousetrap has recently celebrated 70 years in the West End, and it’s been announced that it will finally make its Broadway debut this year. How much do you know about this iconic play? As before the correct answer will turn green when it’s clicked upon and expanded to give more information. The incorrect answers will turn red giving the correct explanation.

1. The Mousetrap was originally written as what?
A bedtime story for a niece
WRONG It was originally a BBC radio play, written as an 80th birthday present for Queen Mary, wife of King George V, and broadcast in May 1947. It is the world’s longest-running theatrical show.
A birthday gift for a queen
CORRECT It was originally a BBC radio play, written as an 80th birthday present for Queen Mary, wife of King George V, and broadcast in May 1947. It is the world’s longest-running theatrical show.
An activity for a long train journey
WRONG It was originally a BBC radio play, written as an 80th birthday present for Queen Mary, wife of King George V, and broadcast in May 1947. It is the world’s longest-running theatrical show.
2. Which acting couple appeared in the original cast?
Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor
WRONG Husband and wife couple took a 10 per cent stake in the production in exchange for part of their salaries. Richard Attenborough said of it: “Foolishly I sold some of my shares to open a short-lived Mayfair restaurant called the Little Elephant and, later still, disposed of the remainder to keep the 1982 film Gandhi afloat.”
Richard Attenborough and Sheila Sim
CORRECT Husband and wife couple took a 10 per cent stake in the production in exchange for part of their salaries. Richard Attenborough said of it: “Foolishly I sold some of my shares to open a short-lived Mayfair restaurant called the Little Elephant and, later still, disposed of the remainder to keep the 1982 film Gandhi afloat.”
Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh
WRONG Husband and wife couple took a 10 per cent stake in the production in exchange for part of their salaries. Richard Attenborough said of it: “Foolishly I sold some of my shares to open a short-lived Mayfair restaurant called the Little Elephant and, later still, disposed of the remainder to keep the 1982 film Gandhi afloat.”
3. Which language has not been used in turning The Mousetrap to film?
English
CORRECT According to the company set up by Agatha Christie: ‘The contract terms of the play state that no film version can be made until the West End show has been closed for at least six months, and since it is still running, no official film has been made.’
Russian
WRONG According to the company set up by Agatha Christie: ‘The contract terms of the play state that no film version can be made until the West End show has been closed for at least six months, and since it is still running, no official film has been made.’
Bengali
WRONG According to the company set up by Agatha Christie: ‘The contract terms of the play state that no film version can be made until the West End show has been closed for at least six months, and since it is still running, no official film has been made.’
4. The Mousetrap was the first to place an advertisement at which venue?
Lord’s Cricket Ground
CORRECT In 1961, The Mousetrap made history by being the first advertiser of any kind at Lord’s when it was promoted on a cricket scorecard.
Wimbledon Championships
WRONG In 1961, The Mousetrap made history by being the first advertiser of any kind at Lord’s when it was promoted on a cricket scorecard.
Arsenal Football Club
WRONG In 1961, The Mousetrap made history by being the first advertiser of any kind at Lord’s when it was promoted on a cricket scorecard.
5. Who was given the rights to the play?
Christie’s grandson
CORRECT Agatha Christie gave the rights to the play to her grandson Mathew Prichard as a 9th birthday present.
Christie’s dogs
WRONG Agatha Christie gave the rights to the play to her grandson Mathew Prichard as a 9th birthday present.
Christie’s husband
WRONG Agatha Christie gave the rights to the play to her grandson Mathew Prichard as a 9th birthday present.
6. A charity performance is credited with what occurrence?
An actors’ strike
WRONG In 1959, the London cast put on a production for 300 prisoners at London’s Wormwood Scrubs. Fifteen minutes before the final curtain, warders discovered two inmates had escaped mid-performance.
A jailbreak
CORRECT In 1959, the London cast put on a production for 300 prisoners at London’s Wormwood Scrubs. Fifteen minutes before the final curtain, warders discovered two inmates had escaped mid-performance.
A local by-election
WRONG In 1959, the London cast put on a production for 300 prisoners at London’s Wormwood Scrubs. Fifteen minutes before the final curtain, warders discovered two inmates had escaped mid-performance.
7. The Mousetrap takes its name from an earlier play by which writer?
George Bernard Shaw
WRONG The suggestion to call it The Mousetrap came from Christie’s son-in-law, Anthony Hicks. In Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, ‘The Mousetrap’ is Hamlet’s answer to Claudius’s inquiry about the name of the play whose prologue and the first scene the court has just observed.
Oscar Wilde
WRONG The suggestion to call it The Mousetrap came from Christie’s son-in-law, Anthony Hicks. In Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, ‘The Mousetrap’ is Hamlet’s answer to Claudius’s inquiry about the name of the play whose prologue and the first scene the court has just observed.
William Shakespeare
CORRECT The suggestion to call it The Mousetrap came from Christie’s son-in-law, Anthony Hicks. In Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, ‘The Mousetrap’ is Hamlet’s answer to Claudius’s inquiry about the name of the play whose prologue and the first scene the court has just observed.
8. On an occasion such as cast changes, a cake is ceremoniously cut with a sword. What shape does it take?
The murderer
WRONG The cake is in the shape of a ticker counter that keeps track of the number of performances.
Agatha Christie
WRONG The cake is in the shape of a ticker counter that keeps track of the number of performances.
A ticker counter
CORRECT The cake is in the shape of a ticker counter that keeps track of the number of performances.
9. What was the play’s original title?
Three blind mice
CORRECT First broadcast on 30th May 1947 under the name Three Blind Mice starring Barry Morse, the story drew from the real-life case of Dennis O’Neill, who died after he and his brother Terence suffered extreme abuse while in the foster care of a Shropshire farmer and his wife in 1945.
Of mice and men
WRONG First broadcast on 30th May 1947 under the name Three Blind Mice starring Barry Morse, the story drew from the real-life case of Dennis O’Neill, who died after he and his brother Terence suffered extreme abuse while in the foster care of a Shropshire farmer and his wife in 1945.
The cat and mouse
WRONG First broadcast on 30th May 1947 under the name Three Blind Mice starring Barry Morse, the story drew from the real-life case of Dennis O’Neill, who died after he and his brother Terence suffered extreme abuse while in the foster care of a Shropshire farmer and his wife in 1945.
10. One actor has appeared in every production, in what form?
In a picture on the mantlepiece
WRONG The late Deryck Guyler provided the pre-recorded voice of the newsreader in the first act and the same recording is still used today.
As the newsreader on the radio
CORRECT The late Deryck Guyler provided the pre-recorded voice of the newsreader in the first act and the same recording is still used today.
Their image on a newspaper’s front page
WRONG The late Deryck Guyler provided the pre-recorded voice of the newsreader in the first act and the same recording is still used today.

Johnson’s London Dictionary: Tube Challenge

TUBE CHALLENGE (n.) A pursuit by subterranean stagecoach that doth enter every coach halt within the capital whilst timed by chronometer.

Dr. Johnson’s London Dictionary for publick consumption in the twenty-first century avail yourself on Twitter @JohnsonsLondon

They’re big, red and back

Hands up all those who remember fondly travelling in a Routemaster. Well, the last one seen in London was on Sunday, 29th September 2019, when Transport for London abandoned any pretext to showcase London’s heritage and stopped the Number 15H Route between Trafalgar Square and Tower Hill.

Now a new kid is on the block, or several blocks, which runs from Cab Road at Waterloo close to the station’s main pedestrian exit, buses then turn left into York Road over Westminster Bridge, around Parliament Square and up Whitehall to Trafalgar Square and Pall Mall with a right into Waterloo Place ending in Regent Street for Piccadilly Circus. Buses return via Haymarket. The timetable allows 20 minutes from end to end, with 14 stops. The operator is London Buses running every 15 to 20 minutes between 09:00 and 17:00, charging £5 an all-day ticket for as many rides you’d like that day.

The excuses Transport for London gave for curtailing their heritage routes, you could talk your pick: not well used, losing money, not step-free or accessible for wheelchair users, oh yes! there’s a pandemic on didn’t you know?

Who is the service aimed at? Firstly Oyster Cards, Travelcards and Concessionary Passed aren’t valid, only contactless and if you insist – cash. Clearly, they have missed the summer tourist season, and the open platform can be draughty in winter, surely there can only be a finite number of anoraks – sorry enthusiasts.

Apparently, they expected the service to start in July, but protracted discussions with TfL, Westminster Council and the Department for Transport over various demands regarding, among others accessibility, delayed the launch.

Whatever Prime Minister we have at the moment ensuring Sterling is approaching parity with the Dollar, London could be flooded with tourists. With London Buses employing enthusiastic staff and passing many of the ‘must see’ spots in London, I can see them making inroads into the existing tourist bus routes.

London Buses could have found a viable business model, and I wish them well. May I suggest employing tour guides on board – possibly retired London cabbies?

Johnson’s London Dictionary: Lambeth Palace

LAMBETH PALACE (n.) Residence that doth house the premier Anglican Prelate, that is neither a palace, nor in Lambeth but Vauxhall.

Dr. Johnson’s London Dictionary for publick consumption in the twenty-first century avail yourself on Twitter @JohnsonsLondon