Slim Gaillard's Civilisation


Episode 1: "A Traveller's Tale"

'Look at the clocks - it doesn't matter if they're wrong. Somewhere in the world the time is right.' A typical line from Slim Gaillard. He became a jazz legend, collaborating with Charlie Parker ; he was a Second World War bomber pilot; Marvin Gaye 's father-in-law; and is fluent in Greek, Arabic, Spanish and his own 'Vout-o-Reenee' language; he appeared in 25 films including Hellzapoppin' and Roots; and drove a hearse for the notorious Purple Gang.

Since he was stranded alone in Crete, aged 12, on a voyage from his native Cuba, Slim's life has been a spectacular, and sometimes traumatic, adventure. He tells his amazing story over four episodes with Dizzy Gillespie , Van Morrison , his and Marvin Gaye 's family, Frankie Laine (whom he discovered) and the peanut that went to the moon.

  • Contributors:
    • Charlie Parker
    • Marvin Gaye
    • Dizzy Gillespie
    • Van Morrison
    • Marvin Gaye
    • Frankie Laine
  • Film editor: Colin Knijff
  • Research: Gill Meller
  • Executive producer: Nigel Finch
  • Director: Anthony Wall

An 'Arena' special, first broadcast by BBC2 on 22 October 1989.