John Duncan Macrae, MM Lodge Maryhill No.510

John Duncan Macrae was born in Kirkland Street, Maryhill, Glasgow on the 20th August 1905, the fourth of six children to parents John and Catherine.

john duncan macrae

John attended Alan Glen's school (Now Glasgow Kelvin College in Cathedral Street, Glasgow and then went onto Glasgow University studying engineeering but never graduated.

alan glens school

He was a member, along with Stanley Baxter, of the early Citizens Theatre company in Glasgow, and was best known in his early years for his performance as King James VI in Jamie the Saxt by Robert McLellan.In 1949, Macrae began appearing in movies and later in early television programs. He first appeared in the film Whiskey Galore! It was based on the real life shipwreck of the S.S. Politician. In the film the shipwreck deposits a massive cargo of whiskey on a Scottish island and the locals proceed to take advantage of their windfall.

whisky galore picture

His first appearance on the television screen was Para Handy commission by Scottish Television in 1959,set in the Western Isles of Scotland in the 1930's, based on the Para Handy books by Neil Munro. It starred Duncan as Peter "Para Handy" MacFarlane, captain of the Puffer Vital Spark.

puffermacrae para handy

In 1953, Macrae starred in the film The Kidnappers in North America it was released as The Little Kidnappers. The film follows two young boys, the grandsons of Macrae's character 'Grandaddy, who are sent to Nova Scotia to live with their grandparents after their father is killed in the Boer War. Early in the film the boys ask to get a dog and 'Grandaddy' tells the boys "ye canna eat a dog". Later when the boys discover an abandoned baby they take it in without telling their grandparents. When the boys are discovered, one of the grandsons states "Don't eat the babbie". This gave the film one of the more memorable moments from the expression that appears on Macrae's face.

kidnappers 1

 

In the 1950's and 1960's Macrae became a mainstay on television for Hogmanay celebrations. During the Hogmanay celebrations Macrae became famous for his song A Wee Cock Sparra:

wee cock sparrraA wee cock sparra sat on a tree,
A wee cock sparra sat on a tree,
A wee cock sparra sat on a tree,
Chirpin awa as blithe as could be.

Alang came a boy wi'a bow and an arra,
Alang came a boy wi'a bow and an arra,
Alang came a boy wi'a bow and an arra,
And he said: 'I'll get ye, ye wee cock sparra.'

The boy wi' the arra let fly at the sparra,
The boy wi' the arra let fly at the sparra,
The boy wi' the arra let fly at the sparra,
And he hit a man that was hurlin' a barra.

The man wi' the barra cam owre wi' the arra,
The man wi' the barra cam owre wi' the arra
The man wi' the barra cam owre wi' the arra,
And said: 'Ye take me for a wee cock sparra?'

The man hit the boy, tho he wasne his farra,
The man hit the boy, tho he wasne his farra,
The man hit the boy, tho he wasne his farra
And the boy stood and glowered; he was hurt tae the marra.

And a' this time the wee cock sparra,
And a' this time the wee cock sparra,
And a' this time the wee cock sparra
Was chirpin awa on the shank o' the barra.

grayfriars bobby

In 1961 Macrae starred in a film about a famous wee dog from the east. Walt Disney's film Greyfriars Bobby, Macrae played Sgt Davie MacLean.

Also During the 1960s he appeared in episodes of the cult TV series The Avengers and The Prisoner, and as Inspector Mathis in the Bond spoof Casino Royale.

John Duncan Macrae Passed away on the 23rd March 1967 before the release of screen appearances in Casino Royale and 30 Is a Dangerous Age, Cynthia, and several appearances in the television series The Wednesday Play and The Prisoner.

 

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