Friday, April 28, 2006

In Memoriam John Webster

Yesterday I went to Lord's cricket ground to attend the memorial service for John Webster (creator of 11 of the UK's Top 100 ads, including the Hofmeister Bear, Guardian 'Points Of View', Courage Best 'Gertcha'... read his Guardian obituary here).

The place was packed with advertising greats from the past, present and no doubt future.

Director Alan Parker was there, looking quite tubby.

London creative directors present included Leon Jaume (WCRS), Jeremy Craigen (DDB), Richard Flintham & Andy McLeod (Fallon), Andrew Fraser (FCB), Ewan Paterson (CHI).

Three great speeches, from Martin Boase, a very funny account man whose name I didn't catch, and comedian Hugh Dennis reading John's own retirement speech which John had never got around to giving.

One gag related to John's Fosters ad starring Burt Lancaster. Apparently when Burt turned up for the shoot, he looked quite a bit older than expected. Turned out his agent had sent a 10 year-old publicity still. And Burt was required to play a smooth Gordon Gecko type - not an oldie. His hair especially was a bit wispy and old-mannish.

So, John asked if it could be trimmed. Which caused him to be summoned to Burt's trailer. "Are you the guy who has a problem with the hair?"

"Er, not a problem. Just wondered if it could maybe be a bit shorter..."

"Buddy, you hired Burt Lancaster. And this is Burt Lancaster's fucking hair. Now get the fuck out of here and let me do my job."

Apparently after John left, Burt turned to the hair and make-up person and said: "OK. Trim the hair."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

can somebody somewhere (ideally youtube) put up the fosters/burt lancaster ad. i think it the best of all time.