T h e   B u g a l o o s ! ! !

John "Courage" Philpott

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Whatever Happened to John Philpott???

"Courage" fans, your time has come!! We have gotten a considerable interview with John "Courage" Philpott (aka "Little John"). First, I must thank John "I.Q." McIndoe (aka "Big John") for getting us in touch with each other. I picked up some additional technology to help me out with this interview, and John seemed to enjoy the interview, so there's quite a lot here. This was not a formal Q&A session, but it seemed better presented as such. Also, I did my best to keep it in John's words. :-)

Bill: Hi John, how are you?
John: Very nice to hear from you ... I'm fine, I'm very well thank you. I'm waiting to come over there, waiting to do a film with John (McIndoe), which is sort of imminent, we hope.
Bill: Do you mind if I ask you a few questions?
John: I've got no objections at all Bill, if it's gonna help paint a more up-to-date picture.
Bill: People are curious to know what you've been doing...
John: I was with a cabaret show band for 15 years, and I always did a lot of cabaret work around the country and abroad. Mainly singing, comedy, and I was the lead vocalist front-man. It was all very much musically orientated. It was a group ... bass guitarist, lead guitarist and drums. We did comedy sketches with elaborate costumes and lighting. We had our own show that toured around. Went sort of went wherever we could get work. Being comedy, we had to update it fairly regular, but generally the theme was the same. It was all sort of musically orientated with comedy sketches and costumes ... but a very strong musical theme, obviously. It was very, very enjoyable, I thoroughly enjoyed that.

Prior to that, I'd just come home from Southern Africa, I'd done two stints out there in cabaret. Basically I was in theatre doing pantomime and musicals ... nothing big or elaborate but, purely bread-and-butter sort of stuff. It was work. That's really what I did from the Bugaloos.

Bill: What was the name of your cabaret band?
John: "Life and Soul"
Bill: Was there a specific production you were in, in Africa?
John: Not really, it was purely cabaret work, that type of thing ... musically orientated sort of stuff. I did theatre work and cabaret wherever I could. Primarily, I was aiming to do more theatre work, in musical themes. When I wasn't in theatre, I was doing cabaret work.
Bill: The stories tell us you were a pants presser before you joined the Bugaloos...
John: I was working my ticket, I wanted to get into theatre. I was really sort of working to pay for my drama education at Barbara Speaks stage school. I was doing anything to get some money.
Bill: Are you doing anything now?
John: Right now, I'm sort of waiting on John (McIndoe). I actually finished with my comedy show band just under a year ago, so that I was totally free of commitment. 'Cause obviously, everything is contractual, we never work without a contract. I sort left that, it's been my life for 15 years. I'm sort of not doing very much at all at the moment. I'm doing quite a lot of writing, I have my own sort of studio set up in my home here. It's nothing special, I've got my own keyboards. Since the Bugaloos, I've learned to play keyboards and guitar and things, and I just use them in my recording.

Basically, on the film, I really want to go back, I really want to see a lot of the people that we met and worked with. Because, initially when we came home, we didn't realize that we weren't going back. We were going back to make a film, and more records and more shows. But, the options weren't picked up and I think Columbia went bust and they were doing the film. Things just went, and after a while, we needed to get back into the industry and work, obviously to earn money and pay our way. We sort of all filtered off in our own direction.

Bill: We were told that the Bugaloos was cancelled because they misjudged it's success.
John: As I was saying to John (McIndoe) the other week, it was kinda sad that we missed out on the popularity and success. We went over, we did all the work, we were recording in the studios, we doing 12-hour days, got up early, and of course, we went on tour for a month, and then we came home ... and we haven't been back since, and we missed out on all that success that it bore.

The actual show itself was good, clean fun, and we had fun, and I think that came across. I that if you look at the show today, the show would hold up if it was given good airplay, it would hold up along side any good sort of family programs.

Bill: Do you keep in touch with Caroline and Wayne?
John: I've spoken to Caroline, not recently, but I've spoken to her quite a lot this year, she's okay. Wayne, is in London, who I speak to fairly often. I've often made it an issue to keep in touch, but there was a spell when we were all working very, very hard that we lost touch for some time. But, it's almost like yesterday that we were together, living together, working together, sleeping together -- so to speak, not literally!!
Bill: What about the Kroffts?
John: I think the Kroffts have resurfaced recently with Pufnstuf, I don't know what the situation is, but I spoke to Marty Krofft about 9 months ago, and said things are happening, we might be coming over, it would be good to see you, and find out what was going on. I think at that time he was dealing with Fox Kids, and Pufnstuf. I think they were going to do a remake of the film, but whether that actually happened, I don't really know. Marty's a very, very busy person, and I haven't spoken to him in some time, the last time I faxed him, but I obviously hope to catch up with him when I come over.
Bill: I met the Kroffts and Billy Barty at the Krofft Auction
John: Billy Barty was a smashing guy. I actually came into the industry as a drummer, singer, and sort of went into stage. I actually played on his drums, on the set when we were filming. So I think I probably played the smallest set of drums in the world. Billy can actually play the drums, he's very, very good. We both had that in common. I came from a working band when I was chosen to be a Bugaloo ... so I could drum anyway, and I was quite proficient. So, we had that in common and we used to have the odd jam session ... he'd do something, and I'd do something ... but it's very strange, on a very small kit, obviously they were made specially for him. I'm used to a huge Premier double-sided kit, whereas this was quite small, I think the whole kit was about the size of my bass drum.
Bill: Do you have a favorite episode?
John: I think the first episode was probably my favorite. I think really because it was literally the first episode that we did. It had a good storyline, and it was like the "waking of the Bugaloos", and the introduction to it all, I suppose. Then "Courage Come Home" was always one, cause I did tend to feature in that one more, suffering from amnesia, it was quite a popular one.
Bill: Do you have a favorite song?
John: I like "Believe", which is the one we did in the clowns and circus one. It was quite a nice song, I always say believe in yourself and get out and do it. "Senses of Our World" I think really would probably be one of the favorite songs, but I actually liked the theme tune, I thought it should have been one of the singles. It was really up-tempo, very strong and a big production number. It was just ironic that it was broken up too much in the show. I always felt it would have made a good single, but they chose "For a Friend" instead. I thought "Senses of Our World" was a superior song, it was a wonderful song. It's a nice production, I just like the way it was arranged. In fact, it was one of the first songs that I learned on the piano. I was actually sorta playing around with the piano while I was in America. I went to Hal Yoergler, the musical director, and said "I'd like to play this song", and so we went through it. I could actually play it quite proficiently, and it's something I still play now.
Bill: Do you have a favorite memory?
John: Believe me, it was all a huge, huge memory. What I dearly like, and I've always liked it, I like it now, is meeting people. I love meeting people ... when we went out on the road, on tour to meet the fans, it was very, very special. I missed *that*. I felt that with the success of the shows, we could have done a lot more touring and seen a lot more fans, and gave something back: seeing us in reality. Of course, we missed out on all that, and it's sad a little bit, because they put you there and you can't go see them.

When I came to America, I got to see my first palm tree, and it was all a huge, huge buzz. I've not been back to America, I've thought about it quite a lot, and I'd have liked to gone back, but I've been sort of ... after a while you realize this thing isn't going to happen, and you're not going go back so you then focus more on what your doing on your own time. I like to keep busy, it keeps me young at heart.

In the show, John and I were the musicians, Caroline and Wayne were the actors. It was a great mix. I taught Caroline how to play guitar. We had our strengths and also we had our weaknesses, but because of our backgrounds we sort of helped each other through and it sort of balanced out at the end of the day.

Nowadays, I know quite a few of my close friends who've been with me for years and years and years, they can't believe it was me doing it. I mean, we did the work and then it was finished, it was over. We just carried on, of course. It was a job to me at the time, and I don't always talk about it; I haven't talked about it a lot in great deal. They've not seen the show over here. Although it was televised in Scotland, Wales, Midlands and the West of England, it wasn't actually in the Southern part of England where we live; so a lot of people didn't know what I did. I only talked superficially about it and that was only if and when asked; so for them to actually go into a website and find all these wonderful pictures and information, it's like "I didn't know you did that, you never said you did that!!" My son, who's 9, watches the tapes non-stop. He just thought they were fabulous. He didn't really know that much about the Bugaloos. I'm actually looking at one of the scenes I've got in my hallway that I have mounted. It's one of the scenes with Wayne, actually from the show. That, and also the ghosts scene, that I have at home. I've got these two pictures that I've kept with me, as a little gentle reminder I suppose. My son might say "What's that?" and I'd say "It's a thing I did a long time ago, the Bugaloos", and for him to actually see is on video is quite nice.

Bill: You have a son?
John: One son, 9 years old
Bill: What's his name?
John: Johnathan
Bill: Johnathan?   John Jr.?
John: Absolutely!! He's a very clever lad, I'm hoping he's gonna go to the University and then obviously I'd like to think that he'd go into the industry. He's so interested in my studio and music, trying to learn guitar and keyboards. He's football mad at the moment, I'm afraid. We've got horses here for him, he had his own horse. He then started playing football, and he's playing for one of the local Deal town ranger side and he just received huge sort of a huge trophy for end-of-season for merit, so he's doing well. He's doing a lot, lot more than I ever did. I think kids today are, they come out a lot sooner now, and seem to be doing more, and I admire him. I think he's great, I'm very proud of him, but we shall see ... I'd like to think he'll go into the industry, but, we shall see. I've got a lot of experience for him.
Bill: What's your wife's name?
John: Denise
Bill: Any last words?
John: I'm very flattered that you phoned, I'm very, very pleased and excited at the fact that this is all being sort of revived and is very, very popular. What would really be nice for me, I think, professionally, is to come out and meet some of the fans. Our fans then would be our age now, they might be younger, or have their children and they've caught up with it. It would just be nice to meet some of our fans.

For the moment any fanmail letters for John can be sent through me in

Seasons Greetings from John "Courage" Philpott!!
(December 12, 1999)

I managed to place a quick call to all four Bugaloos, and they all had warm greetings for all us fans on the web.

Here's what Little John had to say to us all for Christmas 1999:

Seasons Greetings from John P. WAV (1353k) MP3 (245k)

Be sure to check out the rest of the sound bytes!!

Happy Birthday to John "Courage" Philpott!!
(April 3, 2000)

John "Courage" Philpott celebrated his birthday on April 3, and the Bugaloos fan base (from the Chat Board) sent along some birthday wishes. John wrote back to us a few weeks later, and this is what he had to say:

Bill- I would like to extend a big hello to and trust you are well. I would also like to give you and -ALL- at the Bugaloos Chat Board a BIG BUGALOO BELATED THANK YOU for all your very kind Birthday wishes. Especially to YOU BILL and :
Jo Ann Montgomery (my favourite Too!!!!)
Robert ( no I have not forgotten !!!)
Tami (from another Aries to another!!)

I had a wonderful time on my Birthday- I celebrated in the way us Birthday boys do !! I will leave that to your own imagination.!!!

"Mates" is still going ahead- when I'm not sure. But you will be the first to know. I have been doing quite a bit of travelling of late. My last port of call was Stratford Upon Avon. "Shakespears Country". It's such a beautiful place- very inspiring.

Well I must go now- I'm off to play football -Soccer- with my son. I have the photos that I mentioned. You will be receiving them shortly Bill. Take care. Have fun

Bugaloo Best Wishes - Courage John.

We certainly wish you the best John!! Thanks for writing back!

Pictures from to John "Courage" Philpott!!
(May 4, 2000)

John "Courage" Philpott was nice enough to dig up some photographs from his personal collection to share with his fans. Some are older shots from the 70s, some are more recent, for those who have long waited to see what the Bugaloos castmates look like today!!
Thanks a bunch John, for the pics!!

More pictures from to John "Courage" Philpott!!
(July 8, 2002)

John "Courage" Philpott was nice enough to send along a few more photographs for us, from his personal collection.
Thanks again John, for the pics!!

More pictures from John "Courage" Philpott!!
(July 1, 2003)

John "Courage" Philpott was nice enough to send along another photograph for us from his personal collection.
Thanks again John, for the pics!!

More pictures of John "Courage" Philpott!!
(March 16, 2004)

John "Courage" Philpott was nice enough to send along another photograph for us from his personal collection.
Thanks to Mike Vidal for providing these pics!!

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