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What’s Three on a Broomstick Anyway?
The three books in the Story of the Great American Flying Broomstick series make frequent reference to a series of books and movies called Three on a Broomstick. There is, of course, no such book or movie series. However, were they to exist, here’s some reference information:
Update! News! News! The Three on a Broomstick series is no longer entirely an offhand reference in the Broom books. The first Three on a Broomstick book, The Handwritten Book, is now available! Yes, you can read for yourself the great adventures John, Conan, and Alex have with magic, the evil Marco, and a flying broomstick. You can order it now on CreateSpace by clicking here. It will soon be available on Amazon.com as well as on the Fantasy Catalog page on this website. Only $7.95 for an absolutely fascinating experience! Or…you can get it on Amazon Kindle right now for only 99 cents by clicking here.
Three on a Broomstick is a series of eight books that follow three boys from the time they’re 10 until they’re 17. The author, Alec Pringle, is in “real life” a high school teacher in Manchester, England. The setting for the first book is Alwoodley Primary School in the Wythenshawe area of Manchester, and the remainder of the books are set at Whetherby High School nearby.
The Three on a Broomstick series proves very popular–in fact, extraordinarily so. The fictional High Summit Motion Pictures, located in Burbank, California, has the movie franchise. In 2005, the time frame pictured in The Story of the Great American Flying Broomstick, Book 1: Genesis, the eighth, and presumably final, book in the Three on a Broomstick series has just been released, and Movie 6 is in final post-production for a late October release. There are differences between the books and the movies. For example, in the books, the boys ride on a single broomstick big enough for the three of them. In the movies, each has his own broomstick. The young movie stars were chosen by a national poll in which book fanatics voted on the boys they thought best represented the fictional heros.
The three main characters are boys of the same age who grow up together in Wythenshawe, although they are as unlike as any kids can be:
- John Cunningham. John is a bit nerdy, yet is most definitely the leader of the trio, since he makes all the final decisions. He’s the middle child of three and has two sisters with whom he’s always bickering. He’s tall for his age, a bit overweight, has a round face, blonde hair, and is very bright. Outwardly he’s a bit diffident, but secretly he’s very brave. He loves his science classes and is an excellent reader.
John is played in the movie series by Trevor Hampstead. Trevor is blond, true enough, but in real life is shorter than John would be, also in much better physical condition. He’s quite the heartthrob and looks like he could model teen clothing. He had six episodes of a BBC TV series under his belt before being selected for the role. Trevor is energy personified.
- Conan Tompkins. Conan is a couple inches shorter than John, is muscular and loves his football (soccer to us Yankees). His favorite football hero is Tommy Branson of Manchester United, whose trademark is his ponytail, so of course Conan insists on a ponytail as well, though Branson’s is black and Conan’s is brown. Conan has a weakness in that he bets on everything—and always loses. This leaves him in constant debt to his friends.
Conan is played by Kevin Phillips, who hates his brown ponytail, but the public insists he keep it to be faithful to the character he plays. He’s a real-life football (soccer) player and he performs all his own football scenes. He had no acting experience prior to Three on a Broomstick, and is a bit more reserved in public than Trevor.
- Alex Baxter. Alex is small, skinny, black-haired, and constantly bewildered. He loves medieval re-creations with as many knights and ladies and as much armor as possible. He’s also the smartest of the three, though his book smarts don’t always translate into good decisions.
Alex is played by Mark Campbell, a slight, dark-haired, thoughtful-looking young man. He had a bit part in a BBC made-for-TV movie before being selected by the poll to play Alex. Even though he’s shy in public, his teen fans consider him to be the sexiest of the three.
The Three on a Broomstick Books
- The Handwritten Book. John, Conan, and Alex create a broomstick from instructions in the handwritten book they get from an elderly fortuneteller at a Mædieval Faire near Manchester. She sees them flying a broomstick in her crystal ball and insists the book must be theirs, much to the dismay of her brother, Marco. Marco dogs the boys, attempting to retrieve the book, which contains secret after secret about magic, but the boys elude him and construct their flying broomstick. The key to getting the broomstick to work is to place it atop the highest tower at Castle Alox at midnight during the full moon. The broomstick must be covered with goat entrails and a dead snake, and lightning must strike the tower. But where is Castle Alox? Read this book for real on Kindle or CreateSpace (an Amazon company).
- Saving Conan. Conan falls into an ancient trap in the ruins of a secret, magical castle. John and Alex have to save him before the big storm floods the trap. And Marco does everything he can to thwart their rescue attempts.
- The Castle’s Secret. John, Conan, and Alex search for a hidden magical object in the Headridgeshire Castle that is described in a map in the handwritten book. But the object seems to be fighting back. And Marco wants it. This book marks the first appearance of a magic wand.
- The Train Yard. A derelict railway car used as a farmer’s shed holds the key to unlocking clues in a chapter in the handwritten book, if the boys can just get close enough.
- The Unusual Collection. An eccentric collector of runic relics holds objects that John, Conan, and Alex know have magical properties. At least that’s what the handwritten book says. Oh…Marco finally makes his own broomstick.
- The Smelly Potion. In an attempt to cure Alex of a cold, the trio brew up a potion described in the handwritten book. But the potion needs some strange ingredients, and it looks like Marco has the world’s entire stock of one of them.
- Marco’s Revenge. Marco is after the handwritten book and strikes the trio in an unusual way. John is captured and must escape.
- The Old Woman Returns. The fortuneteller (Marco’s sister) returns to add another volume of the handwritten book, but Marco kidnaps his sister and attempts to get her to tell him where she’s hidden it. After a thrilling broomstick chase over downtown Manchester, Wythenshawe, and the Manchester Airport, Marco is finally vanquished. Or is he?
So what is the other book/movie magic series?
There are frequent references in The Story of the Great American Flying Broomstick series to the other (always italics) book/movie magic series. And what is that series? If you don’t know, I certainly won’t be the one to tell you. Hint, hint, wink, wink.