SUPERCUTS: "I Tell You It's Burt Reynolds!"

Would you buy a used car from this man? Furthermore — how many times do you think he can say the name of a certain movie star over the course of a single sitcom episode? Click “play”, if you dare…

The fellow in question is Leonard Rossiter, whom Americans would most likely know from his memorable appearances in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and Barry Lyndon, but was a highly lauded TV and theater star across the pond. It’s due to his quivering goofiness from Barry Lyndon in particular that made me love Rossiter’s every smarmy vocal inflection — so I was thrilled when, upon trolling through a certain movie trading site, I stumbled across an episode from the late ’70s BBC sitcom anthology program “The Galton And Simpson Playhouse” called “I Tell You It’s Burt Reynolds”. (Galton and Simpson were two comedy writers who created the UK sitcom that would later be remade in the U.S. as “Sanford and Son”.)

I love British obscurities — I love Leonard Rossiter — I love strange TV-bound typography — I even love Burt Reynolds — and I especially love anything archly, almost purposefully unfunny. I hit the jackpot.

For starters, the half-hour episode is excruciatingly unfunny. I mean hammer-to-the-skull unfunny. The plot of the thing is that a family is gathered around a television, watching “Macmillan and Wife” (an American dramatic show starring Rock Hudson), and Rossiter is the “annoying” family member who can’t stop yammering about how he thinks he just saw Burt Reynolds in a cameo performance during the episode. Everyone else thinks he’s wrong, and a huge snowballing argument ensues, with tons of yelling. I mean unfortunate married-couple-in-the-next-apartment-it’s-just-plain-sad-how-much-they-nitpick yelling. I was in hog heaven, for I was alternately wiping the tears of joy form my eyes, and feeling about as nonplussed as this: