Lassie in Action

What a lovely dog – Lassie who has appeared in exciting films and Television series over the years.

Below:  In Son of LassieLassie jumps on to the plane to be with her master Peter Lawford in a thrilling sequence where they are together in the cauldron of war. It is quite a moving part of the film where we even fear for Lassie’s life.   Lassie 2

Breathtakingly beautiful location photography (Banff National Park, Canada) provides a colourful background for a war story involving Lassie, Peter Lawford, June Lockhart, Donald Crisp, Leon Ames, William Severn and an early performance by Terry Moore when she was a child actress.

Peter Lawford and Lassie have some strenuous stunts to perform in the rapids as they escape.

Son of Lassie is definitely a Lassie film worth watching.

  Lassie 3 Above:   Lassie lovingly tries to wake up a young Claude Jarman in a scene from The Sun Comes Up.

Lassie 4

Above – again in The Sun Comes Up. It seems Lassie got him out of bed and out in the fresh air on what looks like a lovely day.

I am not  at all familiar with this film  but it receives excellent reviews.

Lassie Above:  Lassie looks to be celebrating Christmas in a charming colour picture.

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The Hellions 1961 – on Talking Pictures

In the past, we have never  got the chance to see this action packed film set in South Africa – but on the wonderful Talking Pictures Channel a couple of days ago, we did get that opportunity – and a Big Thank You to them for that.

Filmed in Technirama and Technicolor – and mainly around the town of Brits – which is somewhere between Johannesburg and Pretoria and South of Sun City – and some of the interior shots were done at a small Studio in Pretoria.

Filming began in Mid February 1961 and ended early to mid April 1961

The Hellions Richard Todd starred along with Lionel Jeffries – and a strong castThe Hellions 2 BELOW – A thrilling sequence.  His wife played by Anne Aubrey, has just broken the news to her husband Ernie Dobbs,  played by Jamie Uys,   that she had been attacked and accosted by the leader of the Hellions. He receives this news while escaping with his family from the town on the train. On hearing this shocking information  he decides to jump from the train – as pictured below, and go back and face the Hellions head on. The Hellions 3 The Hellions 4 The Hellions 5   The hellions 6

The final confrontation between lawman Richard Todd and ‘baddie’ brilliantly played by Lionel Jeffries.  Terrific action sequence this proves to be on the roof of a building.

Stuntman Bob Simmons made the dramatic fall from the roof – in the scenes below. He also doubled for Richard Todd when he had to dive through a glass door into a room.

Hellions Fight Hellions Fight 2   Hellions Fight 3 Hellions Fight 5 Hellions Fight 6

BELOW: The Last TWO of the Hellions are killed by the townsfolk after their reign of terror – Just below Marty Wilde comes to a sticky end – and  the one played by Colin Blakeley tries to escape on horseback but is brought down with a long distance rifle shot.

The Hellions end The Hellions End 2   BELOW – Closing Credits of the film – a really thrilling film it was too !! Hellions 7

Good action drama all round.

Please look out for this one coming up again on Talking Picture – it no doubt will do shortly.

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The Ghost Train

Ghost Train (1941)

 Stars: Arthur Askey, Richard Murdoch, Kathleen Harrison

A group of mismatched travellers are stranded overnight at a lonely rural railway station. They soon learn of local superstition about a phantom train which is said to travel these parts at dead of night, carrying ghosts from a long-ago train wreck in the area.

The Ghost Train

The travellers eventually get to the bottom of it all in a thrilling finale. In between the scary bits, comedian Arthur Askey jokes in his normal very lively style of humour, which at times is to the irritation of his fellow passengers. He is very good though and really carries the film.

 

From a famous stage play by Arnold Ridley – who we all know well as Private Godfrey in Dads Army

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Richard Todd in The Hasty Heart

This picture catapulted the then unknown Richard Todd to International stardom after his terrific performance as Lachie in The Hasty Heart – alongside Patricia Neal and Ronald Reagan who had come over to England-  not too long after the War –  to make this film.

It went very well in America and here – and on the back of this Richard Todd got major roles in three  films for Walt Disney – all made here – and a One a Year contract with 20th Century Fox.

The Hasty Heart

This photograph above – shows Richard Todd chatting to Patricia Neal and Vincent Sherman on the set at Elstree

The Hasty Heart is the  work of author John Patrick, who also wrote  The Teahouse of the August Moon – something that until today I had not realised.

The Hasty Heart ran on Broadway from  1945  for 204 performances with  a cast that  starred Richard Basehart, Anne Burr and John Lund on stage.

It is a story about a wounded  soldier played in the film by Richard Todd who doesn’t know it,  but will die within a matter of weeks and nurse Patricia Neal moves him in with some other convalescent soldiers including an American, Ronald Reagan and tells them to go easy with him.

However Lachie  is  a bitter angry man, with no family or friends to speak of .

Richard Todd got his first break in The Hasty Heart.  He was of course  a real life war hero who had parachuted in to Pegasus Bridge with Major John Howards soldiers – so in playing this part he brought a wealth of experience of someone who had been there.  Richard Todd got an Oscar nomination for Best Actor and his competition included, John Wayne for Sands of Iwo Jima, Kirk Douglas for Champion, and Gregory Peck for Twelve O’Clock High. The eventual winner though was Broderick Crawford in All the King’s Men.

Patricia Neal also got her first really good part as the compassionate nurse.  Also a veteran contract player with Warner Brothers who left the movies for another career, Ronald Reagan got some of the best notices of his career. The Hasty Heart is definitely one of the three films most identified with him in, the others being Knute Rockne – All American, and of course –  King’s Row.

These three actors – and the supporting ones, certainly did there very best in this film – making it a very very good one.

Richard Todd - Golden Globe 2

Richard Todd receives a Golden Globe for The Hasty Heart – above Pictured along with Mercedes McCambridge.

They were in the film ‘Lightning Strikes Twice’ about this time.

Richard Todd - Golden Globe

The Hasty Heart

Richard Todd chats with Olivia deHavilland and she receives a Golden Globe – above

 

 

 

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Sally Anne Howes – preparing for her marriage

Sally Anne Howes was only 19 years old when she married American H. Maxwell Coker who was appearing ion the stage version of Oaklahoma at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.

Sally was working at the time on the film ‘Honeymoon Deferred’

Here they are preparing their Flat in Upper Brooke Street in Mayfair London – just off Grosvenor Street. BELOW :

Sally Anne Howes

 

Sally Anne Howes 2

 

Sally Anne Howes 3

In the picture Below:  Sally tries on her first wedding present – an evening dress  designed by her friend Nina Margo who is seen here inspecting it.

Sally Anne Howes 4

The list of wedding guests reads like a Who s-Who of Theatre with Claude and Jack Hulbert, Cicily Courtneidge, Isabel Jeans, John Mills, Michael Wilding, Sir Michael and Lady Balcon, Terence Rattigan, Hermione Baddeley, Walter Pinkie Beaumont, Jesse Royce Landis and so on.

I am sure the wedding was a wonderful occasion. Sad to report though the marriage did not last long at all. The couple divorced the following year 1951 – although another biography puts the divorce in 1953 so maybe they lasted a bit longer – I hope so.

Sally Anne Howes 5

Above: Sally Ann Howes – but nothing to suggest that this photograph was of this wedding – it maybe was not.

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Diana Lynn – Stage and Screen Actress and Classical Pianist

I mainly remember Diana Lynn for her leading role in Rogues of Sherwood Forest with John Derek in 1950. However when I look into her life and career more, it seems I have overlooked this very talented actress with a very wide range of parts both on stage and screen across the World – with a beginning as a talented classical pianist !!

She was born in Los Angeles and grew up living in Beverley Hills. She began taking  piano lessons at the age of 6 and quickly rose to quite dizzy heights because at the age of 11 she was a prominent member of the LA Junior Symphony Orchestra.

She made her film debut in ‘There’s Magic in Music’ in 1941 and becoming a close firend of Susannah Foster – famous for the film version of The Phantom of the Opera with Claude Rains.

By the age of 15, Diana Lynn had become the youngest performer under contract at Paramount.

Later she became friends with Gail Russell.  She alos appeared with Gail Russell’s husband  Guy Madison in a stage play Dear Ruth at the La Jolla Playhouse

At the age of 21 and in 1947 she purchased her own house. Also in 1947, a three-record album of Diana Lynn’s piano playing included Mozart’s Rondo, Laura, and Body and Soul.

Then on 18th December 1948 she  marries handsome young architect John C. Lindsay at the University of Southern California. He’s 30; she’s 22. Actress Jane Withers is matron of honor; best man is Stuart Martin. The reception is held at Wynn Rocamora’s house. Actress Jane Nigh is heartbroken.

In 1952 she recorded two classical piano performances for Capitol Records.

Diana Lynn Piano Recital

Diana Lynn Piano Recital Recording

In 1953 she replaces Dawn Addams in the Broadway production of Horses in Midstream.

Then she flies off to Mexico for filming of Plunder in the Sun with Richard Widmark

In 1964, Lynn had a six-month stint on Broadway replacing Barbara Bel Geddes in Mary Mary and In the early 1950s, she starred with  Maurice Evans in The Wild Duck on Broadway.

Below in London

Diana Lynn on stage London

American actress Diana Lynn (1926 – 1971) uses a throat spray in her dressing room at the Duke of York’s Theatre, London, watched by her understudy, Miss Helly (right), 3rd December 1953. Lynn rushed off stage the night before, during a performance of ‘The Moon is Blue’, with suspected acute laryngitis.

She also starred in runs of The Moon is Blue in the United States and London at The Duke of York’s Theatre  -ABOVE-  where she went also in 1953 which seemed a particularly busy year for her.

Diana Lynn London Theatre

Diana Lynn London Theatre 2

The same year she  also separated from her husband John Lindsay in that year. In June of 1953 or more probably 1954, she is granted a divorce from Lindsay in Santa Monica. He claims she’s an emotional “idiot” and detrimental to his architectural career. She receives only a $ 1,700 property settlement from him as in June 1954 her divorce from Lindsay becomes final. She then tours with La Jolla’s Sabrina Fair.

In 1954 she is romantically linked to actor Andrew McLaglen while they film The Kentuckian. This breaks up when she’s cast opposite McLaglen’s wife, Veda Ann Borg, in You’re Never Too Young.

kentuckian - cinema quad movie poster (1).jpg

Also receives some unexpected publicity in 1955  during the filming of The Kentuckian in Owensboro, Kentucky. While signing autographs, an 18-year-old fan handcuffs himself to her.

The on 7th December 1956 she  marries the president of Los Angeles radio station KLAC, Mortimer W. Hall, who is divorced from Ruth Roman, in Mexico. His mother, Dorothy Schiff, was publisher of the New York Post.

On 6th July 1958 her son Matthew is born and two years  later on 26 April 1960 her daughter Dorothy is born. On 2 July 1962 her daughter Mary is born and another daughter Margaret arrives on 6 August 1964. Her family is now complete.

Diana Lynn with one of her children and husband

Diana Lynn with one of her children

 

In 1968 she  moves with her family to New York, where her husband assumes an executive position on the New York Post. They have a town house in Manhattan’s East ‘80s and a weekend home on Oyster Bay, Long Island.

In March of 1970 a new career dawns it seems as Diana is announced as the director of GO (Travel) Agency, headquartered at Bonwit Teller’s Department Store in Manhattan but then it appears she is scheduled to star opposite Anthony Perkins in Play It As It Lays.

This does not seem to have gone ahead though because Diana very sadly on 9th December 1971 suffers a stroke / brain hemorrhage in Los Angeles at the age of 45 and she dies on 17th December 1971  at Mount Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. She’s survived by her husband and four children.

On 20th December 1971 a memorial service for her  is held at All Saints Episcopal Church in Beverly Hills.

On 22 December 1971 her funeral service takes place at the Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest, Beverly Hills and then she is interred at the Church of Heavenly Rest, New York.

What a short life – but packed with talent and then to be blessed with her family. Those children I know who were so young, would have been absolutely devastated by the loss of their Mother

However BELOW here she is driving her British MG Motor Car :-

Diana Lynn in Her MG Car

BELOW In Rogues of Sherwood Forest as Lady Marianne. Here below are scenes from the film :-

 

Rogues of Sherwood Forest

Rogues of Sherwood Forest 2

John Derek

Rogues of Sherwood Forest - a break from filming

Above John Derek – Rogues of Sherwood Forest with Diana Lynn

 

 

Bedtime for Bonzo

She was in the  Film Bedtime for Bonzo with Ronald Reagan.

Diana Lynn also appeared on the stage, winning critical acclaim in London and Los Angeles as the feminine lead in “The Moon is Blue.” In 1963, she starred on Broadway in Jean Kerr’s “Mary, Mary.”

Diana Lynn has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: for Films, at 1625 Vine Street, and for television, at 6350 Hollywood Boulevard.

Maybe she should also have acclaim for her prowess as a classical pianist – I , for one, think she should.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Anthony Steel – Where No Vultures Fly

This was filmed out in Africa over quite a few months – and it took Anthony Steel, Dinah Sheridan- and a very young William Simon – child star who later went on to be famous as Alf Ventress in the long running TV show – Heartbeat. Anthony SteelAbove – Anthony Steel in smiling pose and Below More serious. Anthony Steel     Anthony Steel prepares for Film Premier These pictures were taken after the film was completed it seems and as this film was chosen for the Royal Performance of that time, preparations were being made. In the picture above Anthony Steel has a fitting for his new suit for when he attends the Royal Premier on 5th November 1951. It is reported as being the second most popular film in the UK in 1951 / 1952

Where No Vultures Fly Above and Below – Scenes from the filmWhere No Vultures Fly Scene

Where No Vultures Fly (1951) is, in many ways, an overlooked Ealing film of the early 1950s,  a colonial action-adventure.  Yet it was an important film in late 1951/early 1952: a huge financial hit for the studio (one of the top performing British films of 1952), screened for the 1951 Royal Command Performance.

A picture that looks so good in Technicolor – the film was shot entirely on location in Africa so this beautiful colour process really enhanced it.
I always maintain that, at that time, none of us would have ventured into such exotic and beautiful location, and if we saw travel film on early TV, it would be in Black and White of course. So to see such as this on the large cinema screen was almost breath-taking – and this would have been a major draw to film goers.
Walt Disney had realised the power and  Box Office potential of wild life filming in Colour – as he had produced a number of his True Life features – very successfully.

Where No Vulture Fly was released  as Ivory Hunters in the USA.

Anthony Steel returned to Africa to film West of Zanzibar (1954). In this one  he played the same character – as did William Simon as his son. However this time,  Sheila Sim played Anthony Steel’s wife

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Smugglers Island – Jeff Chandler 1951

Jeff Chandler stars in the Universal actioner Smuggler’s Island released in on 18th May 1951 in the USA- and it was in Technicolor. Smugglers Island 1951 2Jeff Chandler plays ex-Navy frogman Steve Kent, now employed as a diver for hire in Macao. On the verge of bankruptcy, Kent is bailed out by mystery woman Vivian Craig (Evelyn Keyes), who wants him to locate a stolen cache of gold. Other interested parties include Vivian’s shifty husband (Philip Friend) and ruthless pirate Bok-Ying (Marvin Miller). Plenty of double-crosses and triple-crosses  before the film closes and  the climax is a Technicolorful fireworks display aboard Kent’s sloop, wherein all the loose plot strands are neatly tied up. Smugglers Island 1951   Smuggler’s Island doesn’t make a lot of sense, but this fact does not lessen its entertainment value at all Director: Edward Ludwig Writers: Leonard Lee (screenplay), Herbert H. Margolis (adaptation) Stars: Jeff Chandler, Evelyn Keyes, Philip Friend, Marvin Miller, Ducky Louie, David Wolfe. Jeff Chandler called the film one of his favourites because “I played myself”. Around this time Chandler typically had played characters of varying nationalities from different historical periods; this was a rare opportunity for him to play a contemporary American. The original cast announced for the film was Märta Torén, Dick Powell and Robert Douglas. Evelyn Keyes had just signed a contract with Universal to make nine films over seven years of which this was the first. Evelyn Keyes Smugglers Island 1951 3   Smugglers Island 1951 4 The film begins with a voice-over narration describing the Portuguese colony of Macao, off the coast of China, which serves as a haven for smugglers, gamblers and pirates. Location shooting was done in Macao. Jeff Chandler was born in Brooklyn and attended Erasmus High School. After high school, he took a drama course and worked in stock companies for two years. His next role would be that of an officer in World War II. After he was discharged from the service, he became busy acting in radio drama’s and comedies until he was signed by Universal. It would be in the fifties that Jeff would become a star making westerns and action pictures. He was nominated for an Academy Award for his role as Cochise in Broken Arrow (1950). He would follow this by playing the role of Cochise in two sequels: The Battle at Apache Pass (1952) and Taza, Son of Cochise (1954). While his premature grey hair and tanned features served him well in his westerns and action pictures, the studio would put him into soaps and costume dramas. In his films, his leading ladies would include Maureen O’Hara, Rhonda Fleming, Jane Russell, Joan Crawford, and June Allyson. Shortly after his last film Merrill’s Marauders (1962). Jeff Chandler died, at 42, from blood poisoning after an operation for a slipped disc. His death  following surgery was deemed malpractice and resulted in a large lawsuit and settlement for his children. Smugglers Island 1951 5 He had concurrent success as a recording artist, wrote music, played violin, and owned Chandler Music, a publishing company. Possessed of a fine singing voice, at the height of his film fame, he recorded several successful albums for Liberty Records. His former lover Esther Williams, in her tell-all 1999 biography, put Chandler back in the headlines after asserting that he was a cross-dresser. She told him, “Jeff, you’re too big for polka dots.”. I always thought that the claims Esther Williams made about Jeff Chandler and her former husband and Johnny Weissmuller and Victor Mature were a load of rubbish designed to sell her book. By the time this book and its claims came out all of the men mentioned had died and so were unable to answer back. Jeff Chandler stood 6′ 4″ by the time he was fifteen, and started to grey when he was eighteen.

The Johnny Quest character “Race Bannon” was modelled on Jeff Chandler.

Smugglers Island 1951 6

The film took over 1 million dollars in the USA – so pretty good.

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Lydia Bailey 1952

Twenty-one-year-old Anne Francis carries off the title-character role in 20th Century-Fox’s Lydia Bailey with class and finesse.

Lydia Bailey 5 1952

 

Set in Haiti during the Napoleonic era, the film concerns aristocratic landholder Lydia Bailey and her more-than-professional relationship with American attorney Albion Hamlin (Dale Robertson). The idealistic Hamlin becomes involved in the Haitian uprising against the French, aligning himself with rebel leader–and former slave–King Dick (William Marshall). At first, Lydia sides with the French, but she eventually realizes that Hamlin’s way is the right way.

 

Lydia Bailey 1952

Based on a novel by Kenneth Roberts. It is William Marshall as King Dick, with his considerable acting skill and imposing presence, who dominates the proceedings in a well-written, non-stereotypical role. The resourceful King Dick saves Hamlin’s life on more than one occasion, and it is plan for  Hamlin tom impersonate a slow-witted servant, that gets them within Leclerc’s stronghold. Their mission is to assassinate a traitor to the Haitian cause. Dale Robertson plays the hero,  Hamlin – he took on the role after Tyrone Power refused to do it,  and  Anne Francis (as the title character) is a beautiful woman and good in the role.

Lydia Bailey Film Poster 1952

Charles Korvin plays Andre D’Autremont, Bailey’s fiancé. Their love triangle is dwarfed by the larger story of Haitian revolutionary, where Ken Renard puts in an understated but effective appearance as the great Toussaint.

Lydia Bailey 4 1952

This was the film debut of William Marshall as King Dick, and what a career he could – and should - have had.

The film was originally to star Tyrone Power who went on suspension rather than film “another costume picture.   Power said he had filmed five historical-period films in a row and wished to do a film where “people talk normally and not in stilted dialogue.”  The lead was therefore given to one of Fox’s postwar contract players, Dale Robertson. With Fox’s option on the novel running out, the film was shot at the 20th Century Fox Movie Ranch and backlot of Fox’s California studios.

Lydia Bailey 3 1952

Lydia Bailey 2 1952

Colourful cinematography in Technicolor by Harry Jackson , shot in Calabasas , California and Ranch Twentieth Century Fox . Evocative production design enhanced with  matte painting . Thrilling  musical score by the classy composer Hugo Friedhofer .

The film was well directed by Jean Negulesco . He was a filmmaker of both popular , polished entertainments , as well as critically acclaimed prowess.

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Twice Upon a Time 1953

Following my previous post detailing the amazing story of Susan Shentall – this time TWO young ladies who again made just one film.  Nothing like such a big film as Susan Shentall appeared in but I am sure just as memorable to these two.

This is a film that I was not at all familiar with. It is an early version of the story we later would know as The Parent Trap with Hayley Mills but this featured identical twin girls – and they were Yolande and Charmian Larthe. In the later film Hayley Mills played both girls with clever split screen filming but in this the first version of the story, they did not need to use such a technique. Twice Upon a Time 2 The picture above is scanned from the magazine Illustrated from November 1952 – however the caption with the picture centres on the fact that they are clearly identical but their fingerprints are noticeably different. Back to the film itself – Twice Upon a Time is a 1953 film, directed by Emeric Pressburger based on the book Lottie and Lisa by Erich Kästner.

It concerns twin sisters who are separated when their parents divorce and meet again by accident when they are sent to the same summer camp – and they hatch a plan to reunite their parents. Lotte and Lisa had already been adapted into the films Two Times Lotte (1950) a Germany Production.    Twice Upon a Time was the first English-language film adaptation of the story.

Twice Upon a Time 1953 Emeric Pressburger as we all know collaberated with Michel Powell who directed the films they made together -  some of the very best films this country has ever produced.

Michael Powell I once heard being interviewed about his first meeting with Emeric Pressburger  - it was at a ’round the table meeting – in advance of the making of The Spy In Black. Sitting around the table was Michael, Alexander Korda, the Author of the book that Emeric had adapted for the film, and Emeric himself. Korda introduced Emeric and ask him to go over the screenplay he had written which he duly did.  Apparently he had turned the original story on its head – the author was not happy – but Michael Powell thought that it was brilliant. He then thought ‘ I must work with this man again’  – which we all know he did. This film, however, was Emeric’s debut as a  Film Director in his own right.  He never directed another film, so maybe he thought that it didn’t suit him – I don’t know.

The film Twice Upon a Time starred Hugh Williams and Elizabeth Allan – she appeared on Whats My Line as a panellist very occasionally in the early to mid fifties. Hugh Williams had a long career both on stage and screen. He played in Hollywood in Wuthering Heights  in 1939 – and the very next film back in England was Dark Eyes of London – a film that, for some reason, I do remember from Television years later – it starred Bela Lugosi who must have come over to England to make this one – I had not realised that before.

After the War Hugh Williams had a leading part in the lavish Korda production of An Ideal Husband in 1947. Then he was in The Holly and the Ivy in 1952 – another of my favourite films.

 

Hugh Williams – His son Simon Williams the actor talks of his father BELOW  :-

Throughout most of my childhood my father, the actor Hugh Williams, was working in drawing-room comedies in the West End, some of them written by him and my mother, Margaret. In those days, French windows were de rigueur in the theatre, the way dry ice is today.

He would get home around midnight and one of my earliest memories is of him getting me up to ‘pot’ me. He’d sit on the floor beside me with his tumbler of whisky, chatting.

Sometimes he’d do magic tricks.  He smelt of theatre, of greasepaint, tobacco and Trumpers hair oil (honey and flowers), and was at his most genial, so I soon learnt to hold back my pee to prolong the secret time with him.

As I grew older I would drink copiously at bedtime so I’d wake up for our midnight tryst. He’d have cold roast beef and claret, and I’d have a bowl of cereal. ‘It was a good house tonight,’ he’d say, ‘packed.’ With the hours he kept, I thought he must be a burglar. When I was old enough I was allowed to see him at work.

There he was, wandering about the stage in his usual clothes, speaking quite normally, giving people drinks and kissing women who weren’t my mother. Money for old rope – all you had to do was take your glasses off.  In his dressing room I liked to watch the ritual of his preparation.

There he was, wandering about the stage, giving people drinks and kissing women who weren’t my mother

With The Archers on his Roberts radio and his deaf dresser polishing his shoes, he’d rub greasepaint into his face and darken his moustache. When they called ‘Beginners please,’ he’d finish his Bell’s whisky and stub out his Craven A.

For me the die was cast. I’ve always liked the story of the boy who tells his dad, ‘When I grow up, I want to be an actor.’ His father replies, ‘You’ll have to choose son, you can’t do both.’

When I summoned the courage to tell Dad I wanted to follow in his footsteps, he was seemingly distraught and said he’d cut me off without a penny.  I asked, with due respect, how that was possible with him being an undischarged bankrupt. After a longish pause, while my heart was thudding, he began to roar with laughter.

Two years later he wrote a part for me in his new play, His, Hers and Theirs, and we set off around the country on a pre-London tour.  After the show we’d sit together in stage-door pubs till closing time – it was as if I’d been practising the late-night drinking with him since I was two.

 

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