In an eerily similar occurrence to the original during rehearsals of Fawlty Towers at the King’s Theatre in Gloucester, seems as though after all these years, Basil Fawlty still hasn’t gotten the hang of hitting Manuel on the head with a frying pan without inflicting real pain.
According to the particulars during rehearsal at the King’s Theatre, they use a real frying pan for authenticity. The director states, “If you smack someone in the right place with a frying pan it doesn’t hurt very much.” Seems as though “Basil” missed his mark during rehearsals this week and hit Manuel not only in the wrong place, but also with the rim of the saucepan.
As told by Andrew Sachs years later, and supported by John Cleese over the years, the scene in the “Wedding Party” episode of the real Fawlty Towers turned out to one of several very dangerous ones for the actor who played Spanish waiter, Manuel. Mistaking a partying Manuel for a burglar, the script called for Cleese to grab a rubber frying pan off the wall during the actual filming of the episode but, instead, mistakenly grabbed a real one and clanged that off the back of Manuel’s head rendering him somewhat senseless for more than a moment. Needless to say, Andrew wasn’t acting when you hear the ensuing exclamation that following the obvious hit on the head. When you slow the video down frame by frame, neither the pan nor the head give an inch when they meet.
Can’t wait to see how the make the kitchen scene where Manuel is set on fire, “authentic”.