When “The Best Jewel Thief in the World” was released as a single, a video was also announced, and it was previewed at the launch party for “Crimson/Red” to general incredulity and polite applause. It had been filmed on the cheap in LA with a masked actor prancing around randomly: evidently the best jewel thief’s skillset was unable to cope with such challenges as locked doors. He didn’t even seem able to find jewels. It is even in the admittedly dodgy canon of Sprout videos quite uniquely execrable.
So there was a bit of discussion in the Sprout forums, and a challenge issued to make a better video. I had a free Friday afternoon, and as I’d mentally linked the song to Cary Grant and “To Catch a Thief”, I grabbed a lo-res version of the film and cut something together rapidly to put on youtube.
The response was amazingly positive, and it received tens of thousands of page views. Eventually I think many people came to believe it was the official video and it was linked to by one of the European labels licensing the album. I was never quite happy with the timing though, and wanted a higher resolution version, so I recut it recently using a better source version, and here it is.
I was pleased to hear that Paddy had heard of the video, even if he had not seen it, and was at pains to disassociate himself from the official one, saying he was glad something had been done with a little invention and wit. Subsequently fans were asked to make a video for Billy, though that initiative seems to have disappeared: I did one I was very pleased with based on the Studio Ghibli film “Laputa” (my younger son is an enormous fan of Studio Ghibli) but unfortunately it could never be put on Youtube or anywhere else because of aggressive copyright enforcement.