Archive for March, 2013

The Searchers 1956

The Searchers (1956) 

SearchersLove

Above – Ward Bond, John Wayne and Dorothy Jordan  in the greatest single scene to be found in any Western film. In less than a minute, it says more than most movies say in two hours. Without a word being spoken Ward Bond looks ahead as John Wayne and Dorothy Jordan embrace although he fully senses the deep feelings they have for each other. This short sequence is one of the most brilliantly understated scenes I have ever seen in films – and very memorable it is to this day. I do know that I came to admire Ward Bond as an actor  because of this.

It is of course a scene  from John Ford’s The Searchers (1956), a film that has  been written about so much.

Here below isthat now famous brief scene:-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=_imB5kmc_pk

It is the greatest (Western) film ever made was shown very recently at The Aero Theatre 1328 Montana Avenue Santa Monica, CA 90403.

If any of the readers of this Blog went, it would be great to hear their views on the film and the night.

Searchers book

This is a book that should be interesting, The Searchers: Making Of An American Legend by Glenn Frankel. It covers the connection between an actual abduction case (Cynthia Ann Parker was taken by the Comanches when she was nine), Alan LeMay’s novel and, of course, what it often held up as the greatest Western ever made, John Ford’s The Searchers (1956).

John Wayne and Jeffrey Hunter – above 

Glenn Frankel the author signed copies  of his book at the special film night for The Searchers in Santa Monica recently.

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Whatever happenend to Joan Rice – New Pictures Just in

Joan Rice in Scotland on holiday
A friend if mine has an excellent Blog himself which is:-
which has been running for a few years and is all about the film The Story of Robin Hood 1952 which was a Walt Disney Live Action film made here in England.
It is a great film too and one of my own favourites starring Richard Todd and Joan Rice
Tony who writes this Blog received a letter with photographs about the lovely Joan Rice – someone we have featured before on this Blog – and no doubt will do again.This is the letter he received from Allan King :-
Recently I was contacted by Allan King, who told me had some pictures of Joan Rice (1930-1997) taken in the early 1970’s and would I like to see them? Of course I was thrilled to see pictures of Joan during a period of her life which has remained somewhat of a mystery.

This is what Allan says:

“My wife met Joan in 1970’ish (at work I think, but can’t remember where). We were friends for a few years and Joan managed the letting of our flat when we moved away from Maidenhead in 1976. We sold our place a couple of years later and lost touch. I have fond memories of a lovely lady. The photos were taken in 1971 on holiday in Scotland – the Isle of Islay. In the one with all four of us, I’m on the left with my wife, Helen. Joan’s boyfriend was . . . ? may have been Tony. He was Italian and worked at the Marlow restaurant she frequented.”
A very special thank you to Allan, for sharing his personal
photographs of Joan Rice with us.Her last movie ‘The Horror of Frankenstein’ was released in
December 1970 and shortly after she set up the ‘Joan Rice Bureau’
in Maidenhead, Berkshire. It was here that her office dealt with
real estate and property. But two years later, Joan returned to
acting, this time on stage at the Theatre Royal in Windsor and also in Norwich.
These are really unique pictures of the woman who a few years earlier had captivated us all when she played the part of  Maid Marian in the wonderful Walt Disney film - See above with Richard Todd in the film.
To read much much more about this film visitwww.disneysrobin.blogspot.com
I can recommend it !!!
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Joan Rice Lovely 50s Film Star News

We have mentioned this beautiful young girl before on this Blog – and no doubt will do again. Joan Rice whose career got off to an astonishing start with Walt Disney’s The Story of Robin Hood in 1952 with Richard Todd in the title role  and then she went out to Fiji for Warner Bros to star with Burt Lancaster in ‘His Majesty O’Keefe’
Recently a friend of mine with another Blog received this email  from David Green, the first husband of movie actress Joan Rice (1930-1997 ). It simply said: “I am alive and well and live in Las Vegas.    Joan and my son Michael died over 10 years ago in the South of France. His 2 daughters live in Holland. David Green.”

David Green and Joan Rice

A week later David Green’s wife sent my friend this lovely picture of Joan and David at their engagement in London. This must have been taken during the beginning of 1953 and quite possibly at The Kiss Korner club, which was owned by his father, the comic Harry Green. The Kiss Korner club encouraged the celebrities of the time to sign their autographs on the walls; if you look carefully in the top right hand corner some signatures can be seen.

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Looking into these facts it would seem that Michael the son – and only child – of Joan Rice and David Green would only be in his late forties when he died . The son  Michael was born on Christmas Day 1953.  Joan’s family have also indicated that he tragically committed suicide in the 1990’s which is very sad indeed.

Joan Rice and David Green get married 1953 – above.

Cutting the Cake – above.

                                                                      Joan Rice and her son Michael – above

The stark facts below are from imdb – but I do really think that this does not do justice to a beautiful young girl who in film terms ‘almost conquered the World’

Educated at a convent in Nottingham.

Worked as a waitress in Lyon’s Restaurant in London in 1949.

Operated an estate agency in Maidenhead, Berkshire, in the 1970′s.

However Joan Rice  is, and always has been a favourite of mine

 

 

 

 

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Danny Ross – British Comedy Actor

Danny Ross was a British comedian most notably remembered for his role alongside Jimmy Clitheroe in the long running BBC Radio comedy show “The Clitheroe Kid” (1957–1973).

Danny Ross as Alfie Hall – brilliant character.

Danny Ross played the part of “Alfie Hall”, the dim witted, largely unintelligent and mismatched boyfriend of Jimmy’s posh sister “Susan” (Diana Day). Alfie Hall was a name Danny Ross had used prior to “The Clitheroe Kid”, including during a television series in 1956 entitled “I’m Not Bothered…” which followed the exploits of milkman “Alf Hall” and his stuttering mate, “Wally Binns” (Glenn Melvyn). The phrase “I’m not bothered…” was occasionally used by Danny Ross in The Clitheroe Kid as a catchphrase, in indecisive (but not unfriendly) responses when given a decision by girlfriend “Susan”.

Danny had made his reputation in comedy by starring alongside Arthur Askey and Glenn Melvyn in “The Love Match” – a hit stage comedy presented in Blackpool during 1953, that lead to the spin-off TV series “Love and Kisses”. He had also starred in the George Formby role in the revival of the stage musical “Zip Goes a Million”, and later made a pop record of Formby’s hit song “The Old Bazaar in Cairo”.

The Love Match

The Love Match is a 1955 British comedy film directed by David Paltenghi and starring Arthur Askey, Glenn Melvyn, Thora Hird and Shirley EatonTwo football-mad railway engine drivers are desperate to get back in time to see a football match.

Above: Arthur Askey and  Glenn Melvyn

It was based on a play by Glenn Melvyn.

Also in the cast was the famouse comedian Rob Wilton  who played ‘shall we say’ a very unconvential magistrate.

Two football mad railway workers get into trouble after racing their engine home to get to a football match in time. Look out for Danny Ross, he’s brilliant in this film. also the gorgeous Shirley Eaton.

Danny Ross was a rare talent and often stole the limelight in the Jimmy Clitheroe radio shows.
Danny unfortunately had suffered with heart problems during his short life.

Danny Ross was born in Oldham, Lancashire, England in 1931. He was taken ill on New Year’s Day 1976, en route to London with his manager to arrange a new show. He died of a heart attack, aged just 45, at Blackpool’s Victoria Hospital six weeks later.  He was only 45
Danny had lived in Warley Road, Blackpool which was situated just around the corner from where Jimmy Clitheroe and his mother lived in Bispham Road.
Both Danny and Jimmy were cremated and their ashes scattered at Carlton Cemetery, Blackpool – again close to one another.

                                               Danny Ross

(1931-1976) Born in Oldham in 1931, the Lancashire comedian Danny Ross became most famous on radio, playing “daft Alfie” alongside Jimmy Clitheroe (above) in the long-running BBC radio comedy series “The Clitheroe Kid”.He was originally a stage actor. His first professional job was at Oldham Repertory Theatre as a 14-year-old character juvenile. After national service he resumed acting and his qualities as a comic actor gained recognition playing alongside Arthur Askey and Glenn Melvyn in the hit stage comedy “The Love Match”, the 1953 summer show at Blackpool Grand. Its subsequent tour brought him his first West End appearance. He later returned to the Grand for five very successful summer seasons with Glenn Melvyn, including a record-breaking run in the comedy “Friends and Neighbours” in 1959. The association with Arthur Askey led him into movies with the 1955 film version of “The Love Match” in which all the stage cast appeared in their original roles. He went on to appear with Arthur Askey in two further films, “Ramsbottom Rides Again” in 1956 (a spoof of the film ‘Destry Rides Again’), and the film version of “Friends and Neighbours” in 1959. But he’s best remembered for his 13-year radio partnership with Jimmy Clitheroe, which began in 1960. He was invited to join the established cast of “The Clitheroe Kid”, which was made in Manchester. As gormless Alfie Hall, he played the boyfriend of Jimmy’s sister, and the butt of endless jokes. For five years he also played a similar role on television, in Jimmy’s ITV comedy series “Just Jimmy”, which began in 1964. Danny Ross was always billed in the theatre as “the Oldham Comedian”. In appearance and comic style, he owed something to George Formby, an association which he fostered by performing songs associated with Formby, and appearing in the Formby role in a revival of the stage comedy “Zip Goes a Million”. When he made a pop record he included a Formby number, “The Old Bazaar in Cairo”, on the B-side. After the final television series ended in 1968, he returned to the theatre, playing in summer shows and pantomime in and around Lancashire. His radio work with Jimmy Clitheroe continued until his the latter’s death in 1973. Danny Ross was taken ill on New Year’s Day 1976, en route to London with his manager to arrange a new show. He died of a heart attack, aged just 45, at Blackpool’s Victoria Hospital six weeks later.

The Clitheroe Kid

THIRTY years after the death of one of radio’s biggest stars, described as ‘the eternal schoolboy’, co-star and ‘radio sister’ Diana Day remembers the Clitheroe Kid.

Jimmy Clitheroe, Diana Day and Danny Ross in The Clitheroe Kid 

Fondly known to thousands as Susan ‘scraggy neck’, Herefordshire-born Diana Day spent more than 16 years making the trek to Manchester every Sunday to perform alongside Jimmy Clitheroe.

The former child star’s big break came at the age of 12 when she appeared as Jackie, leader of the fourth form in the 1954 film, ‘the Belles of St Trinians’ with Alistair Sim and George Cole.

Diana Day in the 1954 film, ‘the Belles of St Trinians’ – above

Now known as Diana Jager and living in Herefrod, she has spoken about the very private man who was the inspiration for performers such as the Krankies and slapstick situation comedy based on the  ‘carry-on’ style.

Describing her co-star’s wit and style very much as ‘that lovely North country humour’ Diana remembered auditioning for the radio series by sight-reading a script with Jimmy.

She berated herself all the way home because she thought that she had ‘blown it’ but to all involved, it was obvious there was a spark between the pair.

“Jimmy was a super person – he was lovely, we got on very well and he, Danny (Danny Ross, who played Susan’s boyfriend, Alfie) and I were terrible gigglers.

“One of the scripts would start going and sometimes it would be so difficult to stop,” Diana laughed.

She explained how producer, Jim Casey would have to stop them all for a tea-break because they found the show so funny.

She added: “We worked together for 16 years so in the end it almost felt like we were a family.”

Not only was Jimmy the godfather of Diana’s daughter Melanie, he also attended various functions with the family.

Once, when Diana’s son Nicholas was still a boy and the same size as Jimmy (who never grew taller than 4’3″) he admired Nicholas’ suit and asked if he could pass it on when he’d finished with it!

Dreadful news

Diana was on a cruise in the Mediterranean when she heard the shocking news of her friend’s death in 1973.

He was found unconscious on the morning of his mother’s funeral and died the same day. An inquest concluded it was due to an accidental overdose of sleeping pills.

“He must have been so down,” Diana said. “A few years before he lost his friend and assistant Sally who died in a car crash.”

She explained Sally would chauffeur Jimmy around because he got so fed up being stopped by police.

“One of the last times I saw him was in pantomime in Bristol, I could see he was nervous. He dragged me on stage and he would not let go of my hand.

“I could feel he was quite needy. Life in show business is quite lonely. His mother was always in his life – she was so important to him,” said Diana.

Now after nearly 30 years out of the spotlight, Diana hopes to get back into acting and with the prospect of a part in a re-make of the St Trinians’ film, Diana appears to have come a full circle.

But she will never forget her ‘radio’ brother who ‘tormented’ her for so many years.  So much so she named her youngest son James after the Clitheroe Kid.

Diana Day

Diana Day is probably best known as Susan, the long-suffering ‘sister’ of The Clitheroe Kid (Jimmy Clitheroe) in the long-running BBC Radio comedy series which ran from 1958 until 1972. Susan was sometimes referred to by her ‘brother’ Jimmy as ‘scraggy neck’! At its height The Clitheroe Kid boasted 10 million listeners per episode, and can still be heard occasionally on BBC Radio 4 Extra.

For more then 16 years Diana made the weekly journey from her home in Hereford to Manchester for the recording of The Clitheroe Kid.

Diana was born in 1941, she made her television acting debut in 1953, in we believe the BBC production entitled The Christmas Service Show which also features Benny Hill, Beryl Reid and Shirley Abicair. In 1954 Diana appears as Kate Channing in the short-lived BBC television serial The Windmill Family which ran for just 5 episodes of 30 minutes duration.

In 1958 Diana stars in two television series; as Beth in Good Wives and as Beth March in Little Women.

Diana’s film appearances include: The Belles of St. Trinian’s  as Jackie (1954), The Stolen Airliner  as Anne (1955,) , The Secret of the Forest, as Mary (1956), The Story of Esther Costello, as Christine Brown (1957). The Rise and Rise of Cesar Birotteau, as Claudine (1965, BBC TV movie).

 

 

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Richard Burton’s first wife Sybil dies

Sybil Christopher

who has died aged 83, was an actress,

entrepreneur and theatre producer - 

Sybil Christopher, born March 27 1929, died March 7 2013

She was best known, however, as the wife whose marriage to

Richard Burton broke up on the set of Cleopatra (1963).

Richard Burton with his first wife Sybil leaving Waterloo station in London on the Queen Mary boat train, July 1955

Richard Burton with his first wife Sybil leaving Waterloo station in London on the Queen Mary boat train, July 1955 Photo: GETTY
She and Burton had met in 1947 on the set of Burton’s first film, The Last Days of Dolwyn (1948), in which Sybil Williams, as she then was, was the sixth girl extra and he a Welsh shop assistant who tries desperately to learn English in order to impress a beautiful English customer. They married a few months later; she was 19, and he was 23.

Lively and attractive, Sybil Williams had a beautiful voice and a good sense of humour. Her father had been a mining official in South Wales, where most of Burton’s male relations had worked in the pits.

As Burton’s career took off, the couple moved to Switzerland in 1957, buying a house overlooking Lake Geneva and calling it Pays de Galles. Their first daughter, Kate, now a successful actress, was born there the same year and a second daughter, Jessica, followed in 1959.

Sybil provided Burton with a haven from the pressures of celebrity, both because she connected him to his Welsh roots and because she tolerated his wildness.

During the 1950s Burton had numerous affairs with other women, including the actresses Claire Bloom, Jean Simmons and Susan Strasberg. Burton’s biographer, Melvyn Bragg, wrote that “the flow of ladies to and from the Burton dressing room — so gossip had it — was like river traffic around New Orleans at Mardi Gras”.

In 1962, however, things became more serious after Burton began a very public affair with Elizabeth Taylor, his co-star in Cleopatra. A friend of the couple described them as “a pair of sexual comets unleashed… hurled along with their own boldness”. Elizabeth Taylor was denounced by the Vatican, and a US congresswoman sought to have the adulterous pair barred from entering the country.

Although he could not overcome his infatuation, Burton dithered for some time about breaking up his marriage to Sybil. His family adored her, and his beloved elder brother Ivor disapproved so violently that he refused to speak to Richard. One evening, Elizabeth Taylor sent Burton to Sybil to ask for a divorce; but when he arrived and Sybil asked him: “Have you come to stay?” Burton replied: “Yes.” It was not until five weeks into their next film together, The VIPs (1963), that Burton finally asked Elizabeth Taylor to marry him. Divorce proceedings followed, Sybil winning custody of their daughters and a settlement of $1 million — a huge sum at the time. Eventually Burton’s old theatre friends and his Welsh family forgave him, while public opinion, initially very much on Sybil’s side, soon yielded to the romance of the fiery Burton-Taylor relationship.

Sybil Williams was born at Tylorstown, a village in the Rhondda Valley, on March 27 1929. Her father was a coal miner who rose to be a colliery undermanager. Her mother, a seamstress, died when Sybil was 10, and when her father died five years later she went to live with an elder sister and her husband in Northampton.

There, after working for a time as a window dresser, she gained a place at the London Academy of Dramatic Arts. It was during her last year there that she was offered a job as an extra in The Last Days of Dolwyn.

In the early years of her marriage Sybil Burton played Lady Mortimer in Henry IV at Stratford, and appeared in Harvey in the West End, and (with her husband) in the radio production of Dylan Thomas’s Under Milk Wood. But her heart was not in it, and she soon gave up acting to support her husband.

After their separation, Sybil took her children and fled to New York, where she threw herself into a new life in an apartment overlooking Central Park.

In the early 1960s she became involved in the New Theater on East 54th Street, where she opened a discotheque, Arthur’s. The venture was so successful that she opened a branch in Los Angeles called The Other Place. In 1991 she co-founded the Bay Street Theatre, a non-profit theatre on Long Island. She served as its artistic director until last year.

In 1964 she married Jordan Christopher, an American pop star 14 years her junior. She had a third daughter with him, and they enjoyed a happy family life together until Christopher’s death in 1996.

Sybil and Jordan – above – They look very happy together !!!

Sybil Christopher took a philosophical view of the breakdown of her first marriage, describing it as “just something that happened”.

She is survived by her three daughters.

 

 

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Apache Ambush 1955

This is not a film I am at all familiar with but the star is Bill Williams who played Kit Carson in a long running TV series in the 50s.

apache-ambush-movie-poster-1955-1020459697-1

 

This film has just come out on February 5 – at the same time as ’ Ambush At Tomahawk Gap (1952), which is very good, Apache Ambush stars Bill Williams, along with Richard Jaeckel, Ray Teal, Ray “Crash” Corrigan and Tex Ritter - and  James Griffith plays Abe Lincoln which at this time is very topical with the Daniel Day Lewis film release.

I see that the film has longtime B-western favourites Tex Ritter and Ray “Crash” Corrigan  among the supporting players of this Columbia Western, Apache Ambush. Star of thefilm  is Bill Williams  as Indian scout James Kingston. In the last days of the Civil War, President Lincoln (James Griffith) selects Kingston and two other men — cattle driver O’Roarke (Ray Teal) and “reconstructed” Confederate major McGuire (Don C. Harvey) — to help speed along a major cattle shipment from Texas to the Northern states. One of the obstacles facing the three men is Mexican fanatic Joaquin Jironza (Alex Montoya), who wants to get his hands on the Henry Repeating Rifles which Kingston and his confreres carry with them. Undermining the good guys is embittered ex-rebel Lee Parker (Richard Jaeckel), who is in cahoots with Jironza. So much happens in the first five reels that the climatic Indian ambush is almost an anti climax.

Interesting little note on Apache Ambush is that one of the stars of the film was Movita who was in the original 1935 version of Mutiny on the Bounty with Charles Laughton and Clark Gable -  and now the only surviving actor from that film.   She was married to Marlon Brando who appeared as Fletcher Christian in a later remake of the same story.   She later appeared in Knots Landing the TV series.

I remember Crash Corrigan from the 50s comics we got here in England – and we all know Tex Ritter who sang the theme song from ‘High Noon’.

‘Crash’ Corrigan must have been a very shrewd businessman because in 1937 he purchased land in the Santa Susana Mountains foothills in Simi Valley and developed it into a movie ranch called “Corriganville.” This was used for locations in film serials, feature films and television shows, as well as for the performance of live western shows for tourists.

Above – Corriganville – ‘Crash’Corrigans movie ranch.

Bill Williams.

Williams married actress Barbara Hale in 1946. They had met during the filming of West of the Pecos 1945  and would have two daughters, Jodi and Juanita, and a son, actor William Katt.

Barbara Hale said about her future husband: ‘It took me two years to talk him into marrying me.’

When the film West of the Pecos was being made she  asked  the director, Edward Killy, about casting a smaller role in the film for Bill Williams [her future husband].

She said ‘Killy was sort of a stocky man, and had a cigar. He was a short man, and that cigar was about as big as he was . . . He smoked all the time! But he said, “Sure, Barbara, I’ll get Bill Williams up here in Lone Pine”. He knew I had a crush on Bill. So Killy said, “I’ll give him one scene at the beginning of the shoot and another at the end of the picture, so Bill can stay the whole time!”. That was so nice of him.

Bill Williams died of a brain tumour at age 77 in 1992.

For his contribution to the television industry, Bill Williams has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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Vivien Leigh

Interesting little gossipy snippet in the British Newspaper Dail Mail about Vivien Leigh.  From this article it does seem that she was passed over for an Honour in the eartly fifties – speculation below as to why :

Vivien Leigh curtseys to the Queen Mother at the Variety Club in 1954 next to husband Sir Laurence Olivier and Dame Sybil Thornduke

She is seen here – above -

Vivien Leigh curtseys to the Queen Mother at the Variety  Club in 1954 next to husband Sir Laurence Olivier and Dame Sybil Thorndike

Gone With The Wind star Vivien Leigh was  twice deemed unsuitable for a damehood in the British Honours System of the time – with her fragile mental health and  scandalous affairs possible reasons for the snub.

Two unidentified experts who were asked to  consider Leigh’s suitability vetoed the honour when she was twice considered in  1952 and 1954.

They deemed the actress – who had fallen for  Sir Laurence Olivier when married, and also had an affair with actor Peter Finch – suitable only for a lower-ranking CBE.   In the end she was not honoured at  all.

The comments are revealed in Cabinet Office  papers obtained by this newspaper under Freedom of Information laws.

It is not clear whether the individuals  quoted were civil servants, politicians or other experts consulted as part of  the honours process.

One of the pair writes: ‘There are contrary  opinions about her merits as an actress.

‘Personally I think she is underrated, and  see no reason why she should not have a CBE [Commander of the British Empire]  but certainly not a DBE [Dame Commander of the British Empire].’

The other wrote: ‘I am a great admirer of  Vivien Leigh as an actress both stage and film.

‘Apart from her gifts as an actress, she has  won great public admiration for the courage with which she has in recent years  faced illness.

‘Personally I doubt whether she is at present  quite what may be called “The Dame Class”, eg Edith Evans, Sybil Thorndike. I,  therefore, venture to express the view that CBE appears to be more appropriate  than DBE.’

The star was 39 at the time of the first snub  and was enjoying huge international acclaim for her performances in the film and  stage versions of the Tennessee Williams classic A Streetcar Named  Desire.

Vivien Leigh kissing Clark Gable in Gone With The Wind

But she had suffered from lifelong depression  and had  previously taken an overdose on the set of Gone With The Wind in  1938 – the film in which Clark Gable as Rhett Butler famously told her: ‘Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.’

In 1953 she went on to suffer a complete  mental breakdown after having an affair with co-star Finch while filming  Elephant Walk.

She was replaced in her role by Elizabeth  Taylor and admitted to a psychiatric hospital.

Leigh’s biographer Hugo Vickers believes that  legendary actor Olivier could have been behind at least one snub.

He said: ‘I think it quite possible that she  was turned down because she was too beautiful and too feminine. She clearly  didn’t fit the idea of a theatrical Dame at that time.

‘But these individuals would have been aware  that she had health problems and that she had been married twice. Clearly these  things still mattered in the Fifties.

‘I just wonder if Olivier himself had any  input into the matter, because he was such a powerful figure in the theatre  world.

‘He was jealous of her always and so beastly  to her basically that he could easily have said, “I don’t think she would want  such a thing.” ’

Mr Vickers said it is unlikely the actress,  who was married to Olivier from 1940 to 1960, would have been aware of or  bothered by the snub.

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The  above article is a very interesting one and gives an insight into the thinking of the day, and also such things as the acceptance or perceived acceptance of the British Public to such a thing as divorce – only a year or two later Princess Margaret was forced to end her relationship mainly due to Peter Townsend’s previous marriage ending in divorce.

Vivien Leigh here – above -  in a still from Gone With The Wind.     Laurence Olivier , according to his elder son, would have quietly seethed with jealousy at the accolades she received following this film and more so when she received the Oscar – which he didn’t.   He may well have been a powerful and wonderful stage actor but on film he wasn’t anything special – he maybe thought he was though.

 

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Dale Robertson – Western Film Star

Dale Robertson –

 

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Dale Robertson in  The Silver Whip (1952). Above

Today we heard the sad news that Dale Robertson had passed away.

Despite making some excellent 50s Westerns, such as The Gambler From Natchez (1954) and A Day Of Fury (1956), it was on TV that he really made his mark — as Jim Hardie in Tales Of Wells Fargo.

Dale Robertson, the actor who made his name in television Westerns in the 1950s and ’60s, was born on July 14, 1923, in Harrah, Oklahoma. After serving in a tank crew and in the combat engineers in North Africa and Europe during World War II, the twice-wounded Robertson started his acting career while still on active duty in the U.S. Army. While stationed at San Luis Obispo, California, he had a photograph taken for his mother. A copy of the photo displayed in the photo shop window attracted movie scouts, and he was soon on his way – the short journey to Hollywood.  He became  typecast in Western movies and TV shows when the genre was still America’s favourite. He was best known here in England for “Tales of Wells Fargo” (1957), in which he played the roving trouble-shooter Jim Hardie.

                                                                     

The handsome, square-jawed actor, who was often said to resemble Clark Gable, was an able horse rider by age 10 and was training polo ponies in his teens. He applied those skills in Hollywood, where he appeared in more than 60 movies, including a prime role as Jesse James in 1949′s “Fighting Man of the Plains.” His leading ladies included such glamour icons as Betty Grable and Mitzi Gaynor.

He seemed to have a very likable screen presence and by all accounts was a really nice man.

He also served as one of the hosts, along with Ronald Reagan, of the syndicated series “Death Valley Days” (1952) during the 1960s. Robertson later appeared in the inaugural season of “Dynasty” (1981).
Robertson is a recipient of the Golden Boot Award in 1985, and was inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers and the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. He retired to a ranch near Oklahoma City.

 

 

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