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Cavaliers and Roundheads BBC drama

 

 

Plenty of action by the looks of this Television drama.

The Splendid Spur

 

ABOVE: Patrick Troughton in a scene from  ‘The Splendid Spur’ – that is a very young looking Michael Balfour at top of the stairs – top right.

 

A wealth of television swashbuckling adventures were produced by BBC Television, based on ‘classic’ works, and presented usually in six weekly  episodes, and more often than not  transmitted live.

A good example was  Robin Hood (BBC, 1953), with Patrick Troughton as Robin then he was also  in Clementina (BBC, 1954), about the stirring 18th century adventurer Charles Wogan, and again in The Splendid Spur (BBC, 1960); set during the English Civil War.

 

I do remember him playing Chevalier Wogan in Clementina – and in one of the episodes he captured a rival as the potential killer tried to enter the top window of a hostelry where a number of visitors had disappeared and the pub / dwelling did not have a name.   Chevalier intercepted the intruder as this man climbed up emerged the outer wall, and stabbed his fingers to the pub sign and he said – that’s  name for the pub ‘The Mark of the Five Red Fingers’ – I thought that the episode was called that but it seems not, so I am not at all sure of  which episode it appeared in.

Another one was Lorna Doone which came later

Three of the greatest storytellers of historical adventure – Sir Walter Scott, Alexandre Dumas and Robert Louis Stevenson – were the most handsomely produced  by the BBC. Scott’s 18th century north of the border adventures, Redgauntlet (BBC, 1959) and Rob Roy (BBC, 1961), captured perfectly the essence of the outlaw hero. The development of the (literary) swashbuckler structure set by Scott was further enhanced by the works of Alexandre Dumas (père), beginning with adaptations of The Three Musketeers (BBC, 1954; 1966-67) and Further Adventures of the Musketeers (BBC, 1967), supplemented by The Black Tulip (BBC, 1956) and The Count of Monte Cristo (BBC, 1964).

I do also remember a good version of ‘Heidi’ with small and effective mountain sets in the Studio.

Inevitably, it was the prolific swashbuckling romances of Robert Louis Stevenson that received the most BBC attention. These adventures ranged from the pirates of Treasure Island (BBC, 1951) and the Wars of the Roses with The Black Arrow (BBC, 1951; 1958) to the Jacobean Rebellion background of Kidnapped BBC, 1952  Patrick Troughton played Alan Breck here and again in 1956,  and The Master of Ballantrae (BBC, 1962).

For its time, the swashbuckler was a colourful addition to the early evening TV schedules.

Patrick Troughton also had a role in ‘The Black Knight’ in 1954 with Alan Ladd and Patricia Medina – made in England

 

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Phyllis Calvert

 

This Pictures is taken from the magazine ‘Band Wagon’ from November 1946

 

Phyllis Calvert

 

This must have been just before she went of to Hollywood – or maybe had just come back. She didn’t remain there very long in fact I can only see one film that she made there.

I do remember her in ‘Let George Do It’  – with, of course, the great George Formby, in one of his best films

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joan Rice – A photograph I have not seen before

 

The lovely Joan Rice – featured in a Magazine  of  5 May 1951 – at this point Joan’s brief but impressive film career had just really kicked into gear. She would be busy at Denham Film Studios filming ‘The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Man’ with Richard Todd in the title role.

Filming had in fact commenced only 7 days before on 30 April 1951 – with many of the early outdoor scenes being done  at Burnham Beeches.

Joan Rice

She would just be entering Four months of intense work of this film which, to me, was the very pinnacle of her film career. She took the opportunity of playing Maid Marian, and did a superb job – and it is often voted as the most popular portrayal of this classic part.

She just looked the part and that certainly gives you a head start.

It wouldn’t be long before she flew off to Fiji to film ‘His Majesty O Keefe with Burt Lancaster – then calling in Hollywood on the way. I often woner if she flew round the world – she maybe did – which in those days was really something. Nowadays it would be commonplace.

Then, as we all know, her career just seemed to go downhill so quickly – and as I have said many times – I just have never discovered why or what went wrong.

Joan Rice with Elton Hayes

ABOVE – With Elton Hayes

Joan Rice with Richard Todd

ABOVE – with Richard Todd in a really lovely colour picture.

 

The Technicolor here is perfect – it was a studio set but it looked so real and the credit for that goes to Carmen Dillon the Art Director on the film – producing in this picture her very best work in my view.

This could be a help to would – be set designers who could look at this film and realise just what could be done.

 

 

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Mari Aldon

 

I came across this 1952 article, where actress Mari Aldon talked about the importance of getting a good rest and how to battle fatigue and survive in the film industry. 

Mari Aldon 2  

 

It isn’t often that a girl’s first part is a starring one, but Mari Aldon makes her screen debut as Gary Cooper’s leading lady in “Distant Drums”.

It is a film I really like – set in the Florida Everglades with beautiful Technicolor and locations we could only dream of.

 

Mari Aldon

 

Mari was asked how it felt being a film star in Hollywood.   “It’s a dream come true” she confessed. “I’ve known I wanted to be an actress ever since I can remember.

My father tells me he had to drag me off the stage at the age of two.

 

Mari Aldon

 

Mari Aldon 2

 

I guess I’m a ham all right.” She was asked how she man aged to look good when she had worked so hard and was tired  to which she replied  “It’s easy to be fresh and radiant when you have had plenty of rest but it takes a little doing when you have to be up before six,  then work before the camera all day - and maybe even  attend a big premier “

 

Mari Aldon 3

 

Mari Aldon marries Film Director

 

Tay Garnett Tay Garnett had been a pilot in the US Airforce during World War 1.  When that was over he got back into films – and was a successful and very respected Director for an astonishing four decades. 

Those years spanned the golden era of Hollywood. He worked with virtually all the legendary names from that era.

 

I have only just touched on his life here – so we will endeavour to do a much more involved post later on this remarkable man.  

Their daughter Tiela Garnett has written a joint autobiography along with her famous father. She also talked lovingly about him in a talk she gave about her father – and said how much she admired and loved him and that she misses him and thinks of him every day of her life.

What a touching and heart warming thing to say. Lovely !!

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Elton Hayes on Radio and TV – in Films and then Farming

 

Elton Hayes must have wondered just how his film career had begun – it all happened by accident.  After the War, Elton appeared on BBC Radio with folk songs and children’s nursery rhymes plus his original material and that led to Walt Disney using his talents to locate and provide  sea shanties for his British made live action film ‘Treasure Island’

He must have impressed them because when Walt returned to England – to Denham Film Studios again – to film ‘The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men’ he again called on Elton to provide  the mediaeval songs.

This led to him getting a small part as Alan A Dale  – but as the planning went on Alan A Dale became one of the key characters in the film – being used to link many of the scenes musically – and so Elton Hayes was then a film star with a big part – a starring part – in this a very successful film on a Worldwide scale.

Elton Hayes with Walt Disney

ABOVE – Elton Hayes on the set – with Walt Disney and Richard Todd

Elton Hayes

 

ABOVE – a lavish and impressive studio set at Denham Film Studios for The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men 1952.

Here is Elton Hayes with James Robertson Justice and Michael Hordern.

Sadly Elton’s luck ran out after he was cast in 1954 in The Black Knight with Alan Ladd and Patricia Medina again made in England.  He appeared again as a minstrel singing one of the opening sequences and was due a bigger part. However one of the actors wore Elton’s costume in a fight sequence early in the film, where the actor was killed off. This meant that Elton’s part was effectively killed off too. 

The success of the Walt Disney ‘Robin Hood’ film – in which Elton had one of the leading roles as Alan A Dale – led to a nineteen-city tour of the USA and Canada, making 113 radio and TV appearances in 8 hectic weeks in 1952

 

He bought a 47-acre farm at Hartest, near Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk and soon built up a prestigious herd of pedigree pigs. He now found time to return to his youthful hobby of horses.

Sadly a severe stroke in 1995 put an end to these activities and Elton had to give up his farm and move to live with friends at nearby Cockfield. With characteristic courage and determination he overcame many of the difficulties associated with the stroke but lost the brave battle he had with his final illness in 2001.

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New Bond film with exciting action scenes filmed in Scotland

 

Interestingly there was an article a few weeks ago from Scotland where some great action scenes from the new Bond film were being photographed

 

The jaw-dropping stunt BELOW  was filmed in the Laggan area, with a helicopter circulating above to capture the very best action possible for the hotly anticipated release.

Bond New One 2

 

 

The chase scene involved two vehicles, a grey Range Rover and a sand coloured four by four.

Images showed the Range Rover being pushed off the road into an embankment before careering off a rock face 30ft into the air, coming to an abrupt halt some 300ft away after bundling over with at least two full rotations.

The high-speed chase scene came after the brand new £1.5 million Aston Martin Valhalla – which can reach speeds of up to 200mph – was spotted in the Highlands after the car manufacturing company lent is prize asset to the production crew for inclusion in the upcoming release.

The vehicle will not be available for general purchase until 2021, with only 500 being produced worldwide, but some eagle-eyed movie fanatics managed to capture the first glimpse of the vehicle in the wild during filming on Saturday, as a 15-minute road closure was put in place in Laggan to allow for shots to be undertaken.

Producers of the latest venture have remained tight-lipped over any early announcements relating to the movie, with it solely listed as Bond 25 on all advertising platforms ahead of its release in April.

Rumours have been circulating in recent weeks that James Bond, played by Daniel Craig, will have his famous 007 number stripped, with the code name instead being handed to British actor Lashana Lynch and her currently unknown character.

Filming near to Laggan had gone on for quite a few weeks – and it was also revealed that a make-shift hotel had been erected in the Aviemore area to house 300 crew members.

The news was welcomed by business leaders across the region, who anticipated a multi-million-pound boost to the area.

Stewart Nicol, chief executive of Inverness Chamber of Commerce, described the arrival of production crews to Aviemore as “fantastic news”.

He added: “It is really a significant benefit to the whole region. It is not just the production period that brings a substantial economic boost, as they will be spending in the area, but it is the global effect afterwards.

“Bond fans and people who see the landscape want to come and see where it was filmed. Activity like this is really welcome in this area.”

The Highlands is no stranger to hosting production crews, with the Bond franchise returning after a previous visit in the run-up to the 2012 release of Skyfall, which was shot in and around the Glencoe area, including the famed Glen Etive.

Bond 25 is expected to be the final outing for Daniel Craig as the notorious secret agent.

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The new James Bond film No Time to Die has officially completed shooting

The Company  announced the news with a photograph of lead star Daniel Craig alongside the film’s director, Cary Fukanaga, captioned: “That’s a wrap on No Time to Die.”

According to the official plot synopsis, the film will catch up with Bond who is enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica when his old friend Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright), from the CIA, turns up asking for help.

Bond New one

 

A mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist turns out to be far more treacherous than expected, leading 007 onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology.

This villain will be played by Bohemian Rhapsody Oscar-winner Rami Malek.

Ralph Fiennes will return as M, while Léa Seydoux will once again appear as Dr Madeleine Swann. Ben Wishaw will also be back as Q.

Naomie Harris, who will also star.

No Time to Die, which will introduce a female version of 007 played by Lashana Lynch, will be released in the UK on 3 April 2020.

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Walt Disneys former home sold

 

This story dates back to 2014 when the former home of Walt Disney in the Holmby Hills was sold.

 

Walt Disneys Former Home

 

Since Walt Disney owned it there had been many changes Walt Disney’ pride and joy – his model railway that ran all around the grounds is gone – except for the remains of a tunnel he had built there.

 

 

Walt Disneys Former Home 2

 

I also expect that the old mid-western style barn that he had where he worked on some of his modelling and rail repairs is also gone. It had reminded him of his childhood in the mid West of America. In fact that very barn is shown on the old photograph above – as the train goes by with Walt Disney driving it – as he so often did.

 

Walt Disney eventually left this home in the Holmby Hills, leaving his barn but his  daughter eventually came to the rescue. She gave both the barn and Walt’s hand-laid tracks to a group of locomotive enthusiasts known as the Los Angeles Live Steamers who maintained a rail museum in LA’s Griffith Park. The barn and all of the tracks were moved in their entirety to the park where they are still in  service today.

Know as the “Disney Loop,” the tracks are still maintained and the Disney Barn is kept in the same state it was in when in use by Walt Disney himself.

The set up is akin to  a small museum where visitors can come and imagine some dreams of their own. 

 

Walt Disneys Former Home 3

This looks like it would have been Walt Disney’s small sitting room or study – but this is a much later picture

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Roy Rogers – An Auction Sale 2010

 This Newspaper Report dates back to  July 2010

 

Roy Rogers horse fetches $266,500

Trigger, the palomino horse was stuffed after it died in 1965

 

Christie’s auction house, which ran the sale along with Western auctioneer High Noon Americana, said the collection of items related to Roy Rogers’ and his wife Dale Evan’s roles on television and in films brought in $2.9 million.

Trigger, the palomino horse which Rogers had stuffed after it died in 1965, was bought by rural US cable television station RFD-TV for $266,500, while his saddle fetched $386,500 (£252,000) from a private buyer.

Roger’s stuffed German Shepherd Bullet, who was also the family pet, sold for $35,000 (£22,890), also to RFD-TV.

Other top sellers included Roy Rogers’ 1963 Pontiac Bonneville and the Nellybelle jeep, an iconic emblem on the Roy Rogers Show, which ran on television in the 1950s and 1960s.

The Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Museum, which was based in Branson, Missouri was closed in 2009. Roy Rogers died in 1998 at age 86.

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Somewhere in Camp – Frank Randle 1942

We go back quite a bit with this one.   ‘Somewhere in Camp’  was on Talking Pictures a few weeks ago – from The old Mancunian Film Studios  headed by Johnny Blakely. 
In many ways dated , with  cheap  production values this was nevertheless film gold for nostalgia buffs.  
It starred the now forgotten comedian Harry Korris and the better remembered Frank Randle who was very popular at the time. 
Frank Randal had quite a following – his humour though was pure music hall. 
 Somewhere in Camp

One of those films – so bad it was good.   It also starred a  very attractive girl singer called  Antionette Lupino -  or Toni Lupino.  who was a cousin of the much more famous Ida Lupino.
 
 It was second features like this that helped keep up morale in those dark Wartime days. 
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Carry on Cabby

 

You can almost break out laughing just looking at this bright and breezy magazine advertisement for the film.

 

Carry On Cabby is one of the best of the Carry On films - in this one  Sid James plays Charles Hawkins, the workaholic owner of a taxi firm and Hattie Jacques is his neglected wife. As revenge, Hattie decides to set up her own taxi outlet with glamorous female drivers and beat her husband at his own game.

 

This Carry On relies more on the story to provide the laughs - This was Hattie’s favourite Carry On, and its easy to understand why – she gets to reveal what a verastile actress she was

 

 

Carry on Cabby

 

Quite a host of stars

 

The film boasts a pretty good script, a classic tale of men against women.   

 

There are some good  laughs from the  duo of Charles Hawtrey and ESMA Canon, Kenneth Conor’s female taxi driver is hilarious.

 

Esma Cannon

 

More about Esma Cannon in a later post I think. 

 

Holiday Camp 1947

 

I remember her so well in Holiday Camp 1947 when she finished up being murdered by the wicked ( in the film)  Dennis Price

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