Friday, July 17, 2015

Royal Enfield played role with Mcnee in "The Avengers"

"The Avengers" stars with a Royal Enfield Constellation in 1964.
Do you see a third exhaust pipe in this photo?
UPDATE: Royal Enfield Owners Club UK member Julian Green writes in The Gun magazine for April-May 2019 that the Royal Enfield ridden by Mr. Steed and Mrs. Gale in "The Avengers" television show isn't a Constellation, as reported in previous issue of the magazine, but is instead a Meteor Minor sports with some Constellation touches.

Julien Audor of Vienna, Austria, alerted me to the death of actor Patrick Mcnee June 25 at the age of 93. He even attached a color photo of Mcnee astride a Royal Enfield Constellation with Honor Blackman, Mcnee's then co-star on the television show "The Avengers."

The British series had been a favorite of mine, and I suspect every other teenage American boy, in the 1960s. The attraction was Mcnee's portrayal of the polite and very British secret agent John Steed, plus the revealing outfits favored by his female co-stars.

Honor Blackman played "Mrs. Gale" in the early UK programs. By the time the series reached the U.S. Diana Rigg was wearing the skin-tight costumes in the role of Emma Peel.

We only wished we could be as clever as Steed:

Emma Peel: (Emma is admiring an antique bed) "I've always rather fancied myself in one of these."

John Steed: "So have I... I mean, I have too."

Honor Blackman was an earlier sexy side-kick for Mcnee. (She would leave the series and play the role of Pussy Galore in the James Bond movie "Goldfinger.")

Blackman had been a dispatch rider in World War II, and so was a natural for an episode on a motorcycle, probably the source of the Royal Enfield Constellation photo.

Blackman in leathers and Mcnee with bowler and umbrella
in screen grab from "The Avengers" episode "Build A Better Mousetrap."
The Constellation probably is one of the motorcycles in the 1964 episode "Build A Better Mousetrap." Blackman rides a different motorcycle (a Royal Enfield Airflow?) in that one, but her outfit is the same, and the insignia on her helmet matches the one born by the gang of Rockers she joins.

But Julien added one other thing about the color photo with the Constellation: "Do you also see a third exhaust pipe?"

What?! Why yes, I do. Is this a three-cylinder Royal Enfield?

Royal Enfield had built a triple — but just as an experiment — in 1916. Blogger Jorge Pullin investigated it for his My Royal Enfields blog and conjectures that it wouldn't have been practical for production.

Could there have been a Constellation based Royal Enfield triple in the 1960s?

No. Look closely.

Reflection and a shadow create the illusion of three exhaust pipes.

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