In the show, O’Toole (who played Hamlet in a 1963 production directed by Laurence Olivier [as noted in this 2003 Guardian retrospective piece]) discusses Hamlet with “Huw Wheldon (the host) and veteran actor Ernest Milton” as well as film and theater legend Orson Welles.
So years ago, my father had a business associate, who he would frequently travel with on road trips. This was in an era when retread tires were becoming more popular, but still not commonplace.
My father’s business associate was really pleased that his company car was using retreads (for their recycle factor) and bragged about it to my father. So one night when they were on a long road trip, they were taking turns driving the car. It was my father’s turn and his associate was asleep in the back seat.
Suddenly there was a loud commotion and the car started driving badly. Startled awake the associate woke up and asked my father what had happened. My father, steering the car safely to the side of the road, looked back and merely said: “Retread” (it had blown).
This is a story about my father that I never heard directly from him, if I recall correctly one of my brothers told me the tale. It’s a perfect example of my father’s deadpan sense of humor. I have always loved this story and in fact have told it to my son (who, being born 14 years after my father’s death, knows of him only through pictures or stories like this one).
Jump forward to tonight, I am driving down the highway with my son. The truck in front of us is towing a race car. Suddenly one of the tires on the trailer blows and the driver (fortunately) pulls safely off to the side of the highway.
My son looks at me, with a smirk on his face, and merely says: “Retread.”
And he was right.
I like to think my father was equally amused.