John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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The Saint

Early Days
 1. David Jones used to be very keen on “The Saint”. The Saint was the nickname of Simon Templar, a British fictional character whose heroic exploits featured in a long-running series of books by Leslie Charteris. Jones had many of these books, and, judging by the way he could think up scenarios of his own, he must have read and studied them, and absorbed a great deal from them.
 2. And for a time he and Chris Woodhead used to play at “The Saint”. I assume that this was after The Saint TV series started in October 1962, with Roger Moore in the title rôle, so Chris would be familiar with the character. Jones was always “The Saint”, so consequently he always won! And Chris was always the villain. Jones used to get quite carried away, and aggressive: he’d start fighting in true Saint-fashion. It didn’t really hurt, though: it was just his arms-swinging “windmill” style that he brought into action.[1]
[1] Compare Jones’s reaction to the theme from “Out Of This World”, last sentence.
 3. If it was anything like The Game[2] that I played with Jones, he would probably issue prior instructions to Chris, telling him to do a certain set of actions as the “bad guy”, the spy or whatever, for which Jones would do a certain set of counter-actions; and after explaining it all to Chris, they’d start playing the game of “The Saint”, do all that Jones had said, and then stop; and Jones would issue further instructions on how to proceed next. That’s how it was sometimes with The Game, anyway. And, as I say, Jones was always “The Saint”, so he always outwitted and defeated the inferior opponent and always won!
[2] See My friendship with David Jones: The Game.
 4. Jones used to like detective stories, or anything like that. And they had the idea of staging a play in the Woodheads’ garage, of making it into a little theatre, putting seats in, and having a small stage at the end to entertain all the kids in the neighbourhood. They got parental permission to do this. Jones thought he could devise a very good play, based on some book that he’d read. It was a detective story—and Chris was the villain! Jones was the detective, a bit like Detective Chief Superintendent Lockhart (Raymond Francis) of Scotland Yard, who solved crimes every week in the TV series No Hiding Place. They started rehearsing it, but there was no written script—Jones would tell Chris what to say! He only had a very small part to play as villain; he didn’t say much at all. (All he can remember from this play is that he’d been caught!) But Jones—he just rambled on, all the time; he was an prodigious ad-libber. On reflection, he was more like a detective from an American TV detective show, where just to enlighten the audience, the good guy tells the bad guy how he did it. “And then you did” so and such a thing, and so and such, and so and such, “and then you got” so and such—“but one thing you forgot!” He spoke like this—quietly—at great lengths to explain to Chris how he’d committed the crime. “Please correct me if I’m wrong…”
 Chris thought, “Ugh! It’s a waste of time, this!” It was no play, it was just Jones! So he abandoned it—much to Jones’s disgust! He couldn’t imagine any of the kids being very interested in sitting there and listening to Jones extemporising for hours.

Excellent, that's exactly how it was! I can still picture him, sitting on a chair in our empty garage, looking away from me towards a corner somewhere. He would then go on and on and on, quietly spoken and smug, telling me how he had uncovered the plot and caught me out! He must have practically memorized those books which he had read!

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