That Time Tom Jones Caught A Number 13 Bus To Arizona

By M@ Last edited 13 months ago
That Time Tom Jones Caught A Number 13 Bus To Arizona

Remember how the previous London Bridge got demolished and shipped over to Arizona? Here's the musical tie-in.

Filmed in 1972, the Special London Bridge Special is, indeed, very special. You've never seen anything like it.

The show opens with occasional Londoner Tom Jones singing the praises of our fair city. He then boards a number 13 bus which, somewhat unexpectedly, is heading to London Bridge*. Even more surprisingly, it ends up at London Bridge, Lake Havasu City — the Arizona town which bought and rebuilt the old span.

What follows is basically one big variety show, promoting the virtues of the newly transplanted bridge. Look out for a who's-who of 1970s talent, including Kirk Douglas, Charlton Heston, Terry Thomas, The Carpenters and Engelbert Humperdinck, as well as Jones's co-star and transatlantic love interest Jennifer O'Neill.

Tom Jones on a bridge
A magic bus to Arizona? It's not unusual

The hour of song and dance concludes with Jones waking from his reverie back in dirty old London, where he engages in banter with Terry Thomas "Of course I'm not the real Terry Thomas, or I wouldn't be working as a bus conductor, would I?".

It seems that the magical interlude rubbed off. Tom Jones would soon follow the bridge across the Atlantic, wooed by the glitz and glamour he'd witnessed in Arizona. (A hike in top-rate income tax may also have been a factor.)

*Pedant's note: To be fair, the number 13 did once go as far as London Bridge, but its destination was changed to Aldwych in 1970.

Last Updated 29 March 2023

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