Now, just for a moment, I want you to forget all preconceptions about what makes great pop, psychedelia, freakbeat, etc. and spare 38 seconds of your time to listen to this, then tell me – is it not good? Could it not have been the creation of a velvet-clad band called the Purple Raindrops of Oblivion, or a single on Deram by, let’s see…maybe Marcus Sinclair & the Sugar Tree Explosion…?
OK, maybe not quite. But isn’t it groovy? As many children growing up in ‘70s Britain would have known at the time, this was the end theme from ‘The Adventures Of Sir Prancelot’, an animated TV series which was first aired in 1971 around the teatime slot (perfect for those of us who had just settled down after getting in from school but hadn’t yet started eating our Vesta Chicken Supreme). It had a distinctive look - graphic shapes and layered cut-out characters with open/shut mouths like ventriloquists’ dummies. Its creator, John Ryan, was also responsible for the similarly styled ‘Captain Pugwash’ which for some reason sticks in my adult memory more, perhaps partly because there is an apocryphal tale that it included seafaring characters with the names Master Bates, Roger the Cabin Boy and Seaman Staines; however this has since been dismissed as mere urban legend. In reality it was all perfectly innocent of course, although Captain Pugwash’s arch enemy did have the rather scary name of Cut Throat Jake, which was at least very appealing to bloodthirsty eight-year-olds.
But back to Sir Prancelot. The series followed the adventures of the eponymous heroic knight, who was also a bit of a would-be inventor, and his family and entourage (with great names such as his wife Lady Histeria, Duke Uglio and serfs Bert and Harry - although the Michael Caine soundalike minstrel, who brings us this catchy theme as well as some cool little musical interludes, remains nameless). I don’t think they got to do all that much crusading in any holy lands but they did prance about a lot - and with a fabulously neat tune like this one I might just have to replay it a few times while I do so myself.