I was sorting through a whole case of DVD-r discs earlier today and came across a disc marked Aspel & Co / The Guardian Lecture. Straight away I remembered it was a DVD I had made (probably back in the 90s) which I had transferred over from my VHS tapes (which I still have to this day). On the disc were TX recordings of 2 programmes that Clint appeared on while he was on his visit to the UK.
I really wasn’t sure if this DVD-r had survived the test of time, the format was always a little unreliable over a long time period. However, slipping it into my Blu-ray player I was quite surprised to find that they were really quite perfect. Yes, of course the old Analog signal was not the best and there is still a little ‘ghosting’ on the title graphics, but apart from that the picture and audio are really nice and solid. I remember buying E-60 tapes especially for these 2 shows, and the tapes were used once for these specific recordings, so there was no wear or drop out problems which would appear on tape that had been overused and recorded on multiple times.
I can still remember what a great period this was in time, there was so much publicity surrounding Clint’s return as Dirty Harry in Sudden Impact and then there was the teaming of Clint and Burt Reynolds in City Heat. I know City Heat (as a movie) was something of a disappointment to the fans, but it certainly created huge amounts of publicity.
It was a period where Clint was being celebrated and honoured throughout Europe in general. He had just received the ‘Ordre des Arts et des Lettres’ in France and later in 1985 Clint’s return to the western genre would see his film Pale Rider in competition at the Cannes Film Festival.
Clint’s would appear on the 2 UK programmes sporting a beard as he explained to Michael Aspel on Aspel & Co he had just finished shooting Pale Rider in Idaho and in the process of filming he had dislocated his shoulder and discontinued shaving due to very little movement in his arm. The Aspel interview (Broadcast by LWT) was much lighter in context, with the show being shared alongside co guest Dennis Waterman. My old friend and former president of The Clint Eastwood Appreciation Society, Dave Turner was also lucky enough to attend this show. The Guardian Lecture show (Broadcast by Ch4) was naturally a little more intellectually shaped and was not particularly helped by the interviewer Lynda Myles who looked a little intimidated in her role.
I was later lucky enough to see Clint at a Guardian Lecture while he was in the UK for Mystic River, and the following evening I was lucky enough to see him at the BBC Parkinson recording, and as close friends will already know, this lead to a meeting with the man himself after the show which for me, also marked another great ‘Eastwood’ period in time.
But the mid-eighties period was really something special, and these 2 TV interviews that Clint gave really are engraved on the mind. The downside for Clint of course was the seemingly endless request for him to quote the line ‘Go ahead, make my day’ – a request that saw him never looking entirely comfortable with. It probably didn’t help that his old friend and then president of the United States Ronald Reagan used it during the 1985 American Business Conference, when he stated "I have my veto pen drawn and ready for any tax increase that Congress might even think of sending up. And I have only one thing to say to the tax increasers. Go ahead—make my day."
On reflection, it was a pretty fabulous time…
Below: Here is Clint’s interview with Michael Aspel from the LWT show Aspel & Co from the 1985 UK visit. My sincere thanks go to Dave Turner for providing the original VHS source tapes and to our friends David Vernall-Downes and Jonathan Downes. David has done a wonderful job and digitised these old tapes. We are entirely appreciative. His brother Jonathan has also kindly provided us with web space in order to continuously host these important videos.