26 June 2006


Like you, I was tickled pink in my know-all movie-buff salad days to be thwarted by that clever quiz to name all Seven Magnifici.

Bet you named them in the same order and confidence as I did:

  • Yul Brynner, of course, and he meets
  • Steve McQueen who rides shotgun on that funeral drive. Then they track down
  • Wood chopping Chas Bronson
  • Underhand knife-throwing James Coburn
  • By now we're faltering .... oh yes, the nervy pretty boy Horst Buchholz
  • That 'Man from U.N.C.L.E.' geezer ... right, Robert Vaughn (only one 'a')

    Now your quiz inquisitor is beginning to look smug: That's six. So who was the seventh?

    Did any of us get Brad Dexter? The guy who was convinced Yul was doing it for a cache of gold the villagers had promised, yeh?

    Taking a mortal bullet early on, his last plea to Brynner was to confirm gold in them thar peons.

    "Yes, Harry," growls YB, "It was for the gold."

    With that, BD dies a happy man, his cynicism in his fellow man confirmed.

    Well, that ain't the whole story and I can't wait for the next bar-room bore to pose this chestnut.

    According to Peter Richmond's biog of Peggy Lee, Fever, Dexter was the second of her four husbands.

    Hot damn - that's more interesting than the fact that he was uninteresting enough not to be remembered from the M7 cast list.

    So the way to do it, I suppose, is to rattle off the first six and then *pretend* to agonise over #7 before adding, "And last but not least, Brad Dexter, the tough guy gambler who was convinced there was a pot of gold at the end for them.

    This will totally annoy the questioner who will come up with some sulky line like, "Yes, well, most people don't get that" to which you respond, "Can't see why - I mean, what? Senator East in 'Shampoo', Sergeant Bostick in 'Von Ryan's Express' plus countless TV appearances *and* don't forget his roles as "Barry Mitchell".

    Then you can wait a bit before adding, "Well?"

    "Well what?"

    "Well, you've left out the best bit, the whole point of bringing up the name of Brad Dexter ... duhh, that he was married to singer Peggy Lee."


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