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3 D Films of 1953

I have just come across this poster which is a great example of just how exciting and enticing these 3D films could be.

3 D Film releases 2

I have said before how much I loved 3 D Films but I am not at all familiar with this Van Heflin / Julia Adams release

3 D Film releases 1953

ABOVE – It seems that this is out on Blu- Ray shortly but sadly only in 2 D format. I had my hopes up when I first saw it.

Double Feature in 3D

ABOVE: A Double Bill of 3D Horror Films that I would have loved to have seen. A few years ago there was a 3D Festival in Los Angeles which showed these two as well as many more including Westerns – sadly missed that but keep my eyes open for another such event. If anyone knows of one please let me know.

The Phantom of the Rue Morgue came out following the success of House of Wax which itself was very well received. I certainly saw The Phantom of the Rue Morgue in 3 D at the cinema and was well impressed.





ABOVE – Richard Carlson starred in It Came from Outer Space – he was also in Creature from the Black Lagoon and The Maze – both in 3 D.

I liked both of these. I always find  ‘The Maze’  particularly intriguing.

3D 3

Dial M For Murder – an Alfred Hitchcock film – was hardly shown in 3D – in fact I don’t know of anyone who actually saw it that way. Hitchcock made the film as he would have done any other with no particular gimmicks for the 3D process whereas the other films all tended to take advantage of the process – understandably of course.

3D 2

Films in 3D -= ABOVE House of Wax

3D 4

Films in 3 D ABOVE The Phantom of the Rue Morgue


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The Rainbow Jacket


This charming film  in stunning Technicolor – was shown on Talking Pictures yesterday. My wife latched on to it by chance and really enjoyed it. Made by Ealing Studios  and released in 1954 it starred Robert Morley, Kay Walsh, Edward Underdown, Wilfrid Hyde-Whyte, Bill Owen, Sid James and many more – almost a Who’s Who of British character actors of the day.



The Rainbow Jacket

The Rainbow Jacket – Above – Robert Morley, Edward Underdown and Bernard Lee in his pre ‘M’ days but an uncredited role here.

Also un-credited roles for Katie Johnson ( The Lady Killers’) , Glyn Houston, and top jockey of the day Gordon Richards


The Rainbow Jacket 2

The Rainbow Jacket

When disgraced jockey Sam ( Bill Owen) meets young jockey Georgie Crain (Fella Edmonds), he convinces Georgie’s mother, Barbara ( Kay Walsh) to let him train the lad. After seeing Georgie control a wayward horse, Lord Logan (Robert Morley) gives him a job at his Newmarket stables, where Georgie works under trainer Geoffrey Tyler (Edward Underdown) and the sadistic but good-humoured stables boss Tommy Adams (Herbert C. Walton). A natural jockey, Georgie’s meteoric rise and success helps brings Sam and Barbara together – but Sam’s shady past (fixing and betting on races) comes back to haunt them. Despite temporarily regaining his jockey licence, Sam sacrifices his career to save Georgie’s and plans a normal life with Barbara as a family.


The Rainbow Jacket 3

The Rainbow Jacket  – Here Fella Edmunds listens to advice from Bill Owen.

Fella Edmonds did not have a long or prolific career in films. He was born in 1940 so was a young teenager here – and in most of his films.

One of the later ones was ‘The Stolen Airliner’ which sounds exciting – it was a Children’s Film Foundation production – but after that I know very little about it or him for that matter.



The Rainbow Jacket 4

The Rainbow Jacket – These Front of House film stills do not show the lovely Technicolor of the film – these may have faded over the years

The Rainbow Jacket 5

The Rainbow Jacket – Above Robert Morley, Kay Walsh and Edward Underdown enjoy the excitement

The Rainbow Jacket 6

The stunning Technicolor photography was perfect for such places as Newmarket and Lingfield Park



Newmarket – ABOVE. A scene from the film of the High Street in Newmarket – I just love the Standard Vanguard parked there as I used to part own one of these with my brother a lot of years ago.


Lingfield Park 2

Lingfield Park – ABOVE

Was used in the film as was Doncaster and Epsom Downs


Lingfield Park 2

Lingfield Park – ABOVE


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Erin O Brien


My regular contributor David Rayner brought my attention to this very pretty young actress, who I was not at all familiar with. David also sent the pictures below – Thanks David.

Erin O’Brien was born in Los Angeles 17 January 1934 and was the eldest of 14 children Her Father was a Long Beach Milk Delivery man – in fact Erin grew up in Long Beach where she started singing in Civic Clubs and then was discovered by a LA Television Agent from which she got a regular vappearance on Al Jarvis’ Matinee Show – she stayed there for 3 years.


On 16 June 1951 she married at the age of 17 to Jimmy Fitzgerald a fellow singer – he was 21 years old and that November her son James Patrick was born and then 3 years later another son Gregory Paul was born.




Erin O’Brien

Her film career fared quite well and it did seem to have hit lucky with a leading role in John Paul Jones.

John Paul Jones

John Paul Jones 2


She went to  Spain for three to six months to film John Paul Jones. Though given permission to take her husband with her, was not permitted to  take her two children. So her husband had to  stay at  home in Hollywood and look after them. Spain was chosen for the film because it was  cheaper and because parts of it resemble Virginia.

In June 1958 she got a wonderful reception by the Paris press after finishing John Paul Jones in Spain.


Erin O Brien


ABOVE – Erin O Brien and Robert Stack in ‘John Paul Jones’

However she did have one hitch on the way back home  from France, her plane was forced to make an emergency stop at Shannon, Ireland, because she lost her vaccination certificate in Paris. Among the passengers were 20th Century-Fox production head Buddy Adler, Mitzi Gaynor, and Jack Bean.

Erin  was  embarrassed by all the fuss over the lost certificate. She had to be re-vaccinated in Shannon – if she hadn’t been, all the passengers would have faced quarantine.

When she returned to New York she was no longer under contract to Warner Brothers, where her salary had been $500 a week.

She had been borrowed for John Paul Jones, and Warner Brothers was paid $25,000 for her services. On that one deal alone they made her yearly salary plus $5,000.



Erin O’Brien


Erin O’Brien

Erin divorced her first husband and quite soon afterwards married Kanan A. Awni in Los Angeles. He was 33 and  she was 30. Awni was a petroleum engineer and occasionally did small character parts in films and on TV.

They had two daughters – twin daughters


Erin O’Brien


Erin O’Brien

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1959 Film Programme from the USA


The Morningside Theatre in New York City has quite a lineup on Saturday, April 16, 1959.

Cinema Bill 1959


We started withTim Holt in The Monster That Challenged The World (1957), then came an  Audie Murphy Western –  Jack Arnold’s No Name On The Bullet (1959) and finally Running Target from 1956, starring Doris Dowling, Arthur Franz and Myron Healey.

Then followed some cartoons before we got to  Marshall Reed in an episode  of the Columbia serial Riding With Buffalo Bill (1954)

Coming Shortly  — William Castle’s The Tingler (1959), The Warrior And The Slave Girl (1958) which had a cast of Thousands and was in Colour too  - then  Whip Wilson, Fuzzy Knight and Phyllis Coates in Monogram’s Canyon Raiders (1951) — all different but all sounded quite exciting and we really would have to go to see them all.

The Warrior and the Slave Girl 1958

The Warrior And The Slave Girl (1958)

The Warrior and the Slave Girl 1958 2

The Warrior And The Slave Girl (1958)

The Warrior and the Slave Girl 1958 3

The Warrior And The Slave Girl (1958)

The Warrior and the Slave Girl 1958 4

The Warrior And The Slave Girl (1958)

The Warrior and the Slave Girl 1958 5

The Warrior And The Slave Girl (1958)


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Yellowstone Kelly 1959 – with Clint Walker


n Television TCM today In ‘Yellowstone Kelly’ Clint ‘Cheyenne’ Walker plays a muscular fur-trapper who prevents war between Indians and U.S. Cavalry, and who survives only to find true love in the arms of a beautiful and talented newcomer Andra Martin.

Yellowstone Kelly 1959      

Warner Brothers came up with a winner in this film set  in Montana high country against the background of an  Indian uprising. There is a fine battle scene between the soldiers and the Indians, one of the best of its type and is the film’s high point.


John Russell, Ray Danton and Claude Akins are among the cast names that contribute to a  good  story.


Andra Martin is striking as the Arapahoe girl and a point of contention between Kelly and the Sioux warriors. Ed Byrnes plays Kelly’s young helper. There is outstanding camera work on this largely forgotten western – but a good one at that Andra Martin was at the time of this film, was married to Ty Hardin and she had two children with him. 


He does not seem to have a good record with marriage – he had eight wives in all.


Yellowstone Kelly 1959 2   Yellowstone Kelly 1959 3   Yellowstone Kelly 1959 4   Yellowstone Kelly 1959 5   Yellowstone Kelly 1959 6

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Mary Rose 1987


I remember seeing a BBC production of this famous play by J.M. Barrie back in the 1950 s I think – and the story fascinated me then as it does now - the story even fascinated Alfred Hitchcock who wanted to make a film of it but was never able to find the way to do it, or the way to finance it.

In 1987  BBC Scotland again produced ‘Mary Rose’ and this time on quite a lavish scale – they even built a special Scottish Island surrounded by water in the Studio – it even had a small fishing boat row to the island and was complete with trees and shrubs and rocks AND the Rowen Tree so central to the story


Amanda Root in Mary Rose 1987

Amanda Root played Mary Rose

Anthony Calfe in Mary Rose 1987


Anthony Calf played Simon

Mary Rose

Mary Rose – on the island

Mary Rose 2

Mary Rose

Mary Rose 3

Mary Rose – on the island

Mary Rose 4


Mary Rose – on the island

Mary Rose 5

Mary Rose by the Rowen Tree

Mary Rose 6

Mary Rose

Mary Rose 7

Mary Rose – What a great studio set this is


Mary Rose 11

Mary Rose 12

Mary Rose – and aerial view of the island – one of the very best studio sets for Television at that time

J.M. Barrie’s eerie supernatural drama of youth, love and loss, written in the aftermath of the Great War, was first staged in 1920 – and a young Alfred Hitchcock was one of the many who fell under its spell.



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Ben Hur 1959

Normal service is now resumed – I have been away visiting our daughter and family in Australia so not been able to post an article for a week or two for which I am sorry.

However, on the plane, one of the film choices under ‘classics’ was Ben Hur. On the way out I did notice someone close by watching it – so on the return journey I watched the whole film – 212 minutes long – and thoroughly enjoyed it.

I hadn’t realised- or had forgotten – what a good film this is.

I hadn’t realised again that there were so many British actors in relatively small parts. George Relph, who I remember from the lovely film ‘The Titfield Thunderbolt’ was in this his very last film where he had played the Vicar – also in that cast was Hugh Griffith.

Finlay Currie was here too, as was one of my favourite actors -Andre Morell

Robert Brown – Roger Moore’s companion in Ivanhoe – and Duncan Lamont ( married to Patricia Driscoll - Maid Marian in the TV Robin Hood series ) and David Davies who had been in Treasure Island 1950. Also from Treasure Island 1950 was Ralph Truman who played Gorge Merry – and who had the smallest of parts in Ben Hur.  He was married to Ellis Powell ( Mrs Dale on Radio) – I have done a previous article on both of them

John Le Mesurier played a physician – later to attain fame as Sergeant Wilson in Dads Army

I thought to myself that it was strange that the British actors had been taken to Hollywood for this – but then saw that the film was made in or near Rome.

I would love to see this film at the cinema again on the wide Cinemascope screen in all its glory – that would be well worth seeing.


Ben Hur 1959

Ben Hur 1959

Ben Hur 1959 ABOVE Jack Hawkins who shared star billing with Charlton Heston

Ben Hur 1959 2

Ben Hur 1959 – Charlton Heston might not have been the first choice for this role but he was excellent and was on the screen virtually the whole time.

Ben Hur 1959 3

Ben Hur 1959 – Above the famous chariot race – with this still signed by Charlton Heston

Ben Hur 1959 4

Ben Hur 1959 ABOVE – Hugh Griffith had quite a large part in this film

Ben Hur 1959 5

Ben Hur 1959 Sam Jaffe in a role not dissimilar to when he played in ‘Lost Horizon’ about 20 years before – when he played The High Lama in a role, to me, that identified his whole career

Ben Hur 1959 6

Ben Hur 1959 –  Haya Harareet  ABOVE was an unknown actress when she got this part – and to be fair was very good in this leading role

Ben Hur 1959 7

Ben Hur 1959

Ben Hur 1959 9

Ben Hur 1959

Ben Hur 1959 8 A


Ben Hur 1959

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Ben Hur 1959

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Ben Hur 1959

Ben Hur 1959 12

Ben Hur 1959


Ben Hur 1959

Ben Hur 1959 13

Ben Hur 1959





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The Siege of Pinchgut 1959


I always thought that this was a very unappealing title – in fact in the USA it became ‘Four Desperate Men’ – but neither of these were very good from a promotional angle in my opinion.


Anyway the film starred Heather Sears and Aldo Ray. 

Heather Sears at that time had just played the title role in ‘The Story of Esther Costello’  and then a starring role in the very successful ‘Room at the Top’

Later  in 1961 she played Christine in ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ – a straight  non musical Hammer Films Production with Herbert Lom excellent as the Phantom – and Michael Gough in an unpleasant role.

She ventured to  Australia to act in the last Ealing film The Siege of Pinchgut  in which she played a girl hostage (daughter of the caretaker of the tiny island fort of Pinchgut in Sydney Harbour)

This last weekI have been staying in Sydney visiting our daughter and family and passed by Pinchgut Island so was able to take a good look at it. Would have been very difficult to escape from here without assistance.


In the film she forms a romantic liaison with an escaped convict ( aided and abetted by his brother and two accomplices) who have taken the caretaker and his family prisoner. He has done this to try to clear his name.

The film ends in a dramatic shoot-out with the authorities. 

The Siege of Pinchgut 1958

This film has, though, become a classic of the Australian cinema.

The Siege of Pinchgut 1958 2

ABOVE – an action scene on the island

The Siege of Pinchgut 1958 3


ABOVE – Tensions run high

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Esma Cannon


I mentioned  Esma Cannon in a recent post - she is an actress I remember most for her role in Holiday Camp 1947.

She was born Esma Ellen Charlotte Cannon on 27th December 1905 at Ruthsew Street, Randwick, Australia,.

Esma’s Father (who was 33 at the time of her birth), Michael John Cannon (1871-1937) a book keeper, was born in Sydney New South Wales (he had a brother Manes Cannon born in 1873)Michael married Esma’s Mother Lavinia Grace Margaret Ward on 14th November 1895 in the same location as both of their births.

Esma’s sister Veta Grace Doris Cannon married Jack Nimenski, but sadly  Veta died young on 31st August 1924 at St Vincent’s Private hospital, Darlinghurst in Australia.

One can only imagine what effect this had on the then 19 year old Esma and her Mother Grace – maybe that explains why they were  inseperable for the rest of their lives after this event.


The most likely date that she arrived in England was 1929 – a Mrs Grace Cannon was a passenger on a ship from Australia to England in 1929 and this could well have been her mother

No details can be found of an Esme Cannon arriving on the same route

Esma married her husband, private corp Ernst Littmann (14/04/04-) a lawyer, on 5th September1945 at Paddington register office, and in 1946 Esma gave birth to their son, Michael Anthony Littman.

In 1958 Esma, Ernst, Grace and Michael moved to 20 Priory Road NW6 (Camden) where they were listed until 1983.

Esma made her last will and testament on 8th December 1967, she died at 7am on 18th October 1972 in France where she is also buried.

She left an estate amounting to £23596.77 – quite a lot in 1972

Esma Cannon is best remembered today for her appearances in the Carry-On films, and on the BBC comedy show “The Rag Trade” however her career started when she was only 4 years old. She continued playing children and in fact  she told the Australian Woman’s weekly in 1963 “I was so tiny, I was playing children’s roles even when I was an adult

Not much is known about her life in the 1920s, other than that of her sister’s death in 1924. 

It is unclear when Esma Cannon first came and worked in England, however it was probably around 1930 as she was appearing in the plays ‘The Luck Of The Navy’ and ‘Brewster’s Millions’ as well as “Children In Uniform” in 1933, an interesting report in the 22nd January 1935 edition of the Australlian newspaper the Argus on Miss Merle Roberts reads, Miss Roberts, who has been away for four and a half years, appeared on the stage in London in the provinces and in Cairo.



Esma had a glowing review from the The Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer from 1st May 1935 for her part in “All Rights Reserved” which stated , forget not the country maid, Miss Esme Cannon, whose wide eyes and simpering innocence brought the house down every time , and equally praising was a review for “Love From A Stranger” on 1st April 1936, which said-From the remainder of a competent cast I choose Miss Esma Cannon for her quant study of a diminuitive servant-maid, it is also interesting to note that When the film version of “Love From A stranger” was released in 1937 the following note appeared in the 9th January 1937 edition of the same paper, I should have liked to see Esme Cannon repeat in the film her delicious stage characterisation of a half-daft and very inquisitive country maid. (the film part went to Joan Hickson, although Esma did appear in a BBC TV play version in 1938) 

 Esma Cannon’s first film appearance it has been claimed was “The £5 Pound Man”(a supporting feature for the likes of God’s Country And The Woman, and Lovely To look At) , although it was released the year after cinema goers would have caught a glimpse of her in the 1936 released film “Man Behind The Mask” 


All this aside it’s clear Esma was an extremely busy lady in Britain in the 30′s! Some notable, if all too brief stand out perfomances on film came in three George Formby films “I See Ice” as the giggling bride first seen in the films opening as George hilariously trys to take the married couples photograph, another brief but busy Maid part who opens the door to George in “It’s In The Air” and one of my all time favourite Esma appearances as the google eyed giggling maid in “Trouble Brewing” who listens to George sing Fanlight Fanny 

The Stage newspaper noted her performance in the 1938 production of “Ma’s Bit Of Brass”, as follows, The remainder of the capable company must be mentioned,Esma Cannon who gives a capital impersonation of a grocer’s half-witted errand girl. Esma also appeared opposite the Great Margaret Rutherford in the Stage play “Tavern In The Town” (an excerpt of which appeard on BBC radio in 1937 as did the play “Runaway Love” in 1939) she also played opposite that great old lady of the stage and Ealing films Edie Martin in “Worth A Million” in 1939, how much of an influence working with these great actress’s was, can I think be seen in her future performances, Esma Cannon was on her way to becoming a much loved and sort after character actress herself.

 Esma Cannon 5




It was always refreshing to see Esma Cannon in bigger and better parts, and none was more gripping than her portrayal as the abused mute, Lindy Wicks in the 1947 film Jassy. a review from the 2nd December edition of the Glouster Echo summed up her part perfectly ‘Among a number of flawless supporting parts, attention is riveted on Esma Cannon as the poor dumb handmaid whose actions determine the ultimate fate of Jassy’

Holiday Camp 1947 2

The film was shot in colour and Esma’s performance is still rivetting to this day. For good measure she also appeared in the Huggetts films, the best being in the first film “Holiday Camp” as the doomed Elsie Dawson, a young girl desperate to find love, her character and the way she portrays her is heartbreaking and funny at the same time giving the film its strongest scenes. She ended the 1940s with some sterling work behind her.


Esma was still busy on the stage as well, most notably in “Waggonload O’Monkeys” (Savoy, 1955 – see pictures below) where it was noted in the Stage newspaper “A special word should go to Esma Cannon for her amusing picture of a tiny spinster with a passion for turf” and in , ‘Husbands Dont Count’ (Olympia 1952) they wrote “Esma Cannon gives a delicious cameo as the judge’s somewhat eccentric mother-in-law”, her appearance in the play “Summertime”(1955, Apollo) also got the critics attenion “There is a brilliant little study of elderly fatuousness by Esma Cannon as Alberto’s Aunt” and her appearance in the “Mortimer Touch” (Duke Of York’s 1952) was strictly noted as ” Esma Cannon is the earnest little Nationalist who loses her kilt.” and make what you will out of the next comment for “The Importance of Being Earnest”(Tour 1957) ‘There are pleasant performances from Esma Cannon as Miss Prism’ one is left to wonder how her portrayl of Miss Prism matched the Margaret Rutherford version? (who in this case was critisized for her part as Lady Bracknell!)



By the time the Fifties had arrived Esma Cannon had relegated herself from young dizzy Maid to sweet little old lady, notable bit film parts include “Jack The Ripper” as the drunken prostitute Nelly, a very nervous doctors patient in “The Steel Key” (Billed as Esme Cannon) and the Dreamy biddy listening to Norman Wisdom sing in “Trouble in Store” But for my money Esma played one of her finest and best remembered roles in “Sailor Beware” as Edie Hornett, hen pecked sister-in-law to the dominating Emma Hornett (played to perfection by Peggy Mount), tiny Esma (she was 4ft 9in, and weighing six stone ) gave Miss Mount a run for her money in this classic British comedy. one last brief film appearance came her way as maid Spencer (playing yet again opposite Margaret Rutherford) in the British comedy “I’m Alright Jack” before bidding farewell to the dazzling fifties.

 Esma Cannon 2


Although Esma died in 1972, her career in the The 1960s ended in 1963, withn a very short space of time however she managed to pack in a staggering amount of work, ironically it’s her final film and tv work that she will be mostly remembered for today. due in part to the major success of the Carry On films over the years (she appeared in four, Regardless, Constable, Crusing & Cabby) and her appearances as Lilly in the BBC comedy “The Rag Trade” outside these sensations she also appeared on film as Irene Handl’s dumb soap eating sidekick in “Inn For Trouble”a chinese countess in “We Joined The Navy” (in glourious colour)on television she appeared in an episode of “Maigret”, and “Stryker Of The Yard” as well as an outstanding performance in “Dr Finlay’s Casebook” which was to be her swan song as an actress. 

It is not clear why she stopped working at this point in her career, but after 1963 Esma Cannon never again appeared as an actress in film, TV, Radio or Theatre.

Why she ceased working at such a succesful period in her life is still a mystery, she certainly seemed over whelmed by her success in the Rag Trade as the short article in the Radio Times in 1961 points out ‘Miss Cannon one of the West end’s favourite comedy actresses, has been touched by the many charming letters viewers have sent her since The Rag Trade began. Nothing like it has happened to me in all my stage career’, she said. 


When Esma Cannon died in 1972, it appears none of her fellow actors knew, until a year or so later.

There has been interest in Esma over the years, due mostly for her appearances in the  Carry On, films.

When the BBC made a programme about Hattie Jacques in 2011 simply titled Hattie, Marcia Warren was cast as Esma Cannon.

Another snippet - on Ebay in 2013 a signed photograh of Esma went for £300 – so that again shows the level of interest in this famous actress


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Hobbies of the Stars in the early Fifties


It is interesting to see the Hobbies of the Stars – some are English Film Stars

Patricia Plunkett


ABOVE – Patricia Plunkett loves working in the Garden


Zena Marshall


ABOVE – Zena Marshall has a Toy Theatre. She builds her own theatres, writes her own plays, and designs and paints the scenery and characters – but not content with this,   she plays all the parts herself.   She often treats her friends to a full performance which are miracles of artistic and mechanical ingenuity.

I really admire what she does here,  and would love to have seen one of her shows. The Theatre just looks so lovely.


Richard Todd


ABOVE – Richard Todd tinkers with his Railton car.  This will keep him busy no doubt.


Kathleen Byron


ABOVE – Kathleen Byron looks a dab hand at decorating – if fact she decorated her Knightsbridge Flat which included this painting that she did of Pinocchio on her Bathroom wall.    She is quite an artist.

Stephen Murray


ABOVE – Stephen Murray tunes his Clavicord.    Apparently he is quite an expert on this musical instrument. I can’t remember him being in a musical though – he always seemed to play straight parts on screen. He was very good too.


Zachary Scott


ABOVE – Zachary Scott with his Antique Clock – he always looks to have such a serious face.


Dan Duryea


ABOVE – Dan Duryea with his two sons Richard and Peter,  playing with what looks like a wonderful train set.


Ann Blyth


ABOVE - Ann Blyth  mowing the lawn – with a push mower at that.






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