Part of a September 1965 Playboy interview with Peter O’Toole goes like this:
Playboy: After The Bible you made a comedy called What’s New Pussycat? with Peter Sellers. Everybody agrees that it’s fairly far out. Are they correct?
O’Toole: It depends what you mean by far out. Everyday life is far out. I first realized that many years ago, when I turned on the radio and someone was asking a man to describe his most embarrassing experience. I’ve never forgotten what he said, “I was sitting at home one night, washing my trombone, when I looked through the window, and there in the moonlight on the crazy paving I saw a hedgehog. Thinking it might be thirsty, I took it out a saucer of gin. The following morning I observed that the gin was untouched. Imagine my embarrassment when I found that it wasn’t a hedgehog at all; it was a lavatory brush”. I’m sorry, but if that isn’t far out I don’t know what is. What was he doing washing a trombone?

After that, anything I might say about my own embarrassing moment is bound to be an anticlimax. But the moment above was private and mine was not.

In 1976 I was transferred from The Argus Company to Allied Publishing and made the manager of “Claremont Complex” which looked after the distribution, sales and home deliveries of The Argus and Cape Times in Claremont and surrounding areas.

One day our publisher, a fairly new employee called Theo, disappeared. Then we got reports that he had been collecting money from café owners and not handing it in to us. Charges were laid, he was arrested and the prosecutor told me that the case against Theo was watertight, with a Portuguese café owner and his wife prepared to testify. I had to give evidence and was reprimanded for nodding my head instead of clearly saying yes or no. When my turn was over I had to leave the court while others gave evidence, but was allowed to return when it was Theo’s turn in the dock. The prosecutor grilled him but he stuck to his story that he was on leave and had not collected any money. The magistrate chimed in with, “How do you explain that Mr Rodriguez was able to pick you out as the one responsible from all the people sitting in the courtroom?” He replied, “Mr M pointed me out before proceedings began.” “Oh really?” said the magistrate sarcastically. I can see Mr M sitting over there and I can call him back to the witness stand.”

“Fine,” said Theo.

So I was called back and sworn in. in a confident voice the magistrate asked me if I had pointed out Theo to Mr Rodriguez. I had to admit that when I arrived that morning I was standing at the back of the full courtroom looking for a place to sit when I bumped into Mr and Mrs Rodriguez and got chatting to them. While chatting I spotted Theo sitting amongst all the other people and said, “Oh, there’s Theo over there.” Just then Theo turned round and spotted me pointing.

As I said this the prosecutor looked at me in a shocked way and mouthed the word, “Why?” while giving a hopeless pleading gesture.

With my tail between my legs I stood down while the magistrate addressed the court, saying, “I cannot convict a man on the evidence submitted.” He added something about green eyes and blue eyes. (Theo had distinctive green eyes and I presume the witness had called them blue while I was out of the room.)

Theo walked free mainly because of me, and went on to become a successful used car salesman.

I don't think this is the sort of car that Theo ended up selling

I don’t think this is the sort of car that Theo ended up selling

7 pages of Sept 1965 Peter O’Toole interview found here
Once you have opened the above site scroll down until you get to The 1965 Playboy Interview and click on each page in succession.

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  1. Chris Martin says:

    You are the mythical Honest Man.

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