Challenging convention

On the Cunard transatlantic luxury cruise liner, QE2, Roger appeared in and compered late-night cabaret.  On one occcasion, after the show in the wee small hours of the morning, he changed out of his stage clothes and went, dressed casually, to the one restaurant that was still open.  The management refused him entry because he was not wearing a tie.

After arguing and losing his case, he booked a table for two and returned to his cabin.  He changed into his best midnight-bue dinner suit, matching waistcoat, bow tie and patent leather pumps.  Then he took an upright vacuum cleaner from a cupboard in a first-class cabin corridor, tied a bow tie on the handle and accompanied the machine to the restaurant.  The waiters served them both.

The QE2 Queen's Grill, the restaurant used by those in top cabin grades


Taking on John Wayne

During the day, Roger broadcast on the ship's radio (ring any bells?). It was a talk show featuring celebrities on board ship. One of Roger's guests was the American jazz musician, Count Basie. Roger would have enjoyed talking with him. He was less happy to meet the Hollywood actor, John Wayne. The conversation took place during the US war in Vietnam. Roger took a dislike to Wayne's machismo. I understand that the broadcast went something like this:


JOHN WAYNE:   Yuh, Roger, I've been in Europe promoting my Vietnam movie, 'The Green Berets'.

ROGER DEE:   As you said before, Mr Wayne.

JOHN WAYNE:   'Duke', call me Duke.

ROGER DEE:   I heard your real first name was Marion. But then, that's not so butch, is it? You like a bit of violence, don't you, Marion? Flame-throwing and bombing peasants.

JOHN WAYNE:   The movie tells a good story, of patriotic young Americans serving their country, fighting for freedom; it is wholesome, unlike some of the pornography I've seen... in cabaret, since this permissive rot set in.

ROGER DEE:   Wouldn't you say the violence in 'The Green Berets' is pornographic?  [Scuffle]  Ow!

JOHN WAYNE:   Say, who is this Commie faggot?



I hope the story is true.

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