Once in a while,
something intriguing arrives in the Randall and
Hopkirk (Declassified) mailbox, which is what
happened when David Costelloe contacted us in August
David explained that
he'd been watching the celebrated Mike Hodges
thriller Get Carter (1971) on television and
had been somewhat taken aback to see Marty Hopkirk
feature in it. There he was, bold as brass, lying
still in all his white finery, as
the corpse of Frank Carter. David searched high and
low on the internet for any information about the
actor playing the late brother of Michael Caine's
character, but to no avail. He then contacted us and
asked if we could help verify his suspicions that
Kenneth Cope had made a Marty-like cameo, maybe as a little
in-joke and nod to Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased).
It has to be said that
the photo comparison that David attached to the
email was at the very least compelling. There was
definitely a resemblance to Kenneth Cope, even down
to the hair and sideburns. And Cope would likely
have been available for filming, since Get Carter
conveniently commenced principal photography in July
1970, just as Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)
was completing its own. But was it him?
I endeavoured to seek
some opinions on the matter. I asked my better half,
Alys, and she was struck by the similarity but
thought that it probably wasn't Kenneth Cope,
suggesting that Michael Caine's unfortunate sibling
looked a bit too thick-set to be "our Marty".
However, I was still hanging on to the delicious
possibility that Cope had reprised Marty Hopkirk on
the big screen and this little in-joke had been
hidden in plain sight for nearly fifty years. So I
dropped a line to our friend Geoff Dodd...
Geoff took our little
investigation a step further: "I don’t think it is
him but he looks very similar. Funnily enough, I
watched this on TCM a couple of weeks ago and
thought ‘doesn’t he look like Ken Cope?’ when it got
to that scene. It does look very like him but
something’s not quite right. Seeing as it was all
shot on location, I thought it was doubtful that
[Cope] would trek up to the North East just to play
a corpse when he’d just been the lead role in a TV
series but maybe it’s possible if it was some kind
of in-joke? That doesn’t fit with Mike Hodges or the
rest of the film though. So, I’d say it wasn’t him
but you never know."
Geoff went on to
suggest that I take a look at Stuart Davis'
Get Carter website and perhaps drop Stu a
line to see if he might shed some light on the
question. This proved to be excellent advice...