The fools & avaricious may be the end of us

Dazzling coffee shop poster is with me still

Fitz   Not quite the poster but you get the idea
Raquel Welch in Bandolero (1968)


TUMBY BAY - As one ages a catalogue of memories builds up. It’s a process largely beyond our control.

Memory is non-discriminatory. Both important events and inconsequential events are stored in our memories to be retrieved later, often surprising us.

The people we pass by, read about or see in film and media also find their way into our memory.

The higgledy-piggledy memory bank of someone my age is notorious for the way it throws up random images, sounds and scents with only the slightest catalyst.

I’ve just read about the death of American actress Raquel Welch and I was immediately taken back to 1969 and a coffee shop in Boroko called The Copper Kettle.

As I recall, the shop was located above a shoe shop and had a view over the street. The coffee was good and they made excellent toasted fruit bread fingers.

What sparked the correlation between the American actress and the coffee shop was the fact that the shop featured posters of the films then on show at the Papuan Theatre in Musgrave Street.

One of those posters was used to advertise a western, ‘Bandolero’, starring Raquel Welch, Dean Martin and James Stewart.

The poster featured an image of Welch, feet apart with a six gun in her hand. It was a stunning image, especially for a young man reaching peak hormones.

I’ve searched the internet to see if I can find it but without success. There are lots of posters of a very silly film she made with the Australian actor Tony Bonner called ‘One Million Years BC’ but not the one I remember from Boroko.

Welch was a stunning beauty of mixed American and Bolivian ancestry and was lauded in the 1960s and 1970s as an international sex symbol.

That may have been but there was something in that poster image I saw that suggested there was a lot more to her than many people realised.

Here was a strong female character holding her own with the men in the film. Her eyes said, “Don’t mess with me, you’ll regret it.”

At the time I seriously thought about doing a snatch and grab and running off with the poster. Sanity prevailed.

Later on Welch lived up to her promise and developed a unique film persona based on strong women.

One of her most impressive efforts was the little known made-for-television film called ‘The Legend of Walks Far Woman’ about a legendary Blackfoot Indian woman.

The film was made in 1979. It was based on the book by Clark Spurlock and was made by Welch's own production company. She played the role of Walks Far Woman.

Apart from one film star all the other actors were Native American or Americans of Hispanic descent.

The book and the film leant heavily on the story of Sacagawea, a Shoshone woman who helped the Lewis and Clark Expedition explore the Louisiana Territory between 1804 and 1806.

Sadly, I notice that the media now reporting Welch’s death at 82 are concentrating on her looks as a sex symbol to the exclusion of her more important achievements as a role model for strong women.

Such is the banality of the media.

For me the image of her with her fiery eyes and a gun in her hand, coupled with the later portrayal of Walks Far Woman, speaks much louder than any bimbo take.

In the daily reports of the famous and not so famous people that have lodged in the cavalcade of my mind and who are rapidly passing away Raquel Welch was and is a standout.


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Richard Jones

This time I have to agree with you, PF. Not only am I a footy journo and broadcaster, I'm also a film reviewer and critic. I remember Raquel Welch not just for wearing her furry bikini bottom in One Million Years BC but also have vague memories of watching Bandolero - I was a great fan of Jimmy Stewart.

And why do I remember Raquel Welch --- well, in some of her films that is. We're of an identical age: 82. Not just the Biblical sum of three score years and ten, but three score years and 22.

On the Moresby memories scene I vividly remember the old Papuan Theatre. When Sean Connery's James Bond brushed off the tarantula and crushed it with a shoe in his hotel bedroom the cinema erupted in cheers.

I think it was in Dr No, his first of five movies as "Bond. James Bond." Might have been a re-run. It's a long, long time ago.

Only vague memories of The Copper Kettle but as a long-time flat white coffee drinker I don't think it set any world records.

I think Dr Jimmy Jacobi's medical practice was just down the street from the Kettle on the same side.

Back to sport, Phil. Jimmy was a long-time president of the Papuan Rugby League.

Bernard Corden

Dear Phil - It was quite sad to hear about the death of Raquel Welch but I much prefer Glenda Jackson, who is now in her late 80s. Her academy award winning performances in "A Touch of Class" and "Women In Love" were pure class.

My preference is obviously tainted with some bias because she was born in my hometown and worked as a checkout assistant at the Boots Chemist store in West Kirby on the Wirral Peninsula.

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