He was in between performances of Macbeth, it looks like. And had some time on his hands. He knew all his lines, so why not make some gin? A refreshing hobby!
However, he IS looking rather worried here, don’t you think? Glancing off to stage left, as if an enraged sackful of “Italian juniper berries” have just exploded out of their burlappy confines and are bearing down on him like a hive of angry bees.
Now if they were Canadian juniper berries, they would just hang out in the sack and feel a bit annoyed. Maybe write a letter to the newspaper.
Run, run like the wind, Sir John! Those juniper berries do not like it when you do things to them – especially, ahem, unspeakable things.
He looks like he needs a wee nip of the profits.
But of course it is not Gielgud after all. It is a man pretending to be Alexander Gordon, he of the Gordon’s Gin. Not Gielgud’s Gin.
You’ll notice just what a saucy ad this is when you get to the bit about him taking the berries “and…well, something exciting happened.”
Yeah, like what? I really want to know. The end result was gin, but – why be so coy? What unspeakable things is this ersatz Macbeth doing to – to juniper berries?
I’m trying to imagine it, but it is hard. Whatever floats your boat, I guess. As long as it’s floating on that Distilled Dry London Gin.
Advertisement from a 1967 Reader’s Digest.