In my biography of Mary, published in 1999, I first noted the strange occurrence of her image appearing on the promotional artwork for a Norman Wisdom movie. What’s Good for the Goose (1969) was Norman’s foray into fertile sex comedy territory – the story of a married man having a sexual affair with a young girl half his age. However, the public didn’t much like the idea of Norman prancing about naked, and the film duly flopped at the box office. Norman subsequently steered clear of the cinema for over 20 years, but his unfairly-maligned film did resurface on the Hokushin video label in 1979. It was then reissued on VHS under the racier title, Girl Trouble, in 1986, but, for some odd reason, this time Mary popped up (uncredited) on the sleeve’s artwork.
Mary’s pose was a direct steal from the 1979 poster of Confessions from the David Galaxy Affair, painted by prolific commercial artist Tom Chantrell (1916-2001). When, in 1998, I mentioned to Tom that his painting had been plagiarised, he was unimpressed, especially since the Girl Trouble sleeve is a shoddy piece of work. The anonymous artist must have been a fan of sex films though, as Mary isn’t the only interloper on the VHS cover. The girl in sunglasses is model Vicki Scott, based on one of her publicity photographs from Mary’s 1978 movie What’s Up Superdoc!
One can only guess what would have happened had Norman and Mary really appeared in a movie together. The King of Comedy and the Queen of Sex in Come Play with Me Again perhaps? I have a funny feeling it would have been a smash…
All words © Simon Sheridan 2012-2014