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Janet Munro – The Horsemasters 1961 Disney


One of the films Janet Munro did for Walt Disney was one that I have to admit, I cannot remember at all, but it gets very good revues The Horsemasters made in  Surrey England in 1961. See Below :

The Horsemasters 1961 Walt Disney

A “good condition” VHS tape of The Horsemasters goes for about £ 120 –  That’s not bad for a 1961 two-part episode of Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color that was released theatrically as a motion picture in Europe. The popularity of The Horsemasters among video collectors has nothing to do with the quality of the film. It’s all about the cast.


The plot follows eight youths enrolled in an intensive training program at the Valleywood Riding School in England. Their goal is to become “Horsemasters,” which apparently requires that you know everything about caring for and riding horses. The students spend the first few weeks doing nothing but cleaning stables, grooming horses, and learning about them. Eventually, though, they do to get to ride and jump their steeds. The training program ends with a riding exam and a written test. Much of The Horsemasters unfolds like a documentary as we follow the kids during their daily routine. The first half, which was subtitled “Follow Your Heart” for TV, focuses on Dinah Wilcox (Annette Funicello). Her mother was a famous equestrian whose career was cut short after being thrown from her horse. As a result, Dinah has to overcome her fear of jumping.

The Horsemasters 1961 2

The film’s second half, known on TV as “Tally Ho,” centres on first-time Valleywood instructor Janet Hale (Janet Munro). She struggles to gain the respect of her pupils while instilling discipline in them. She gets minimal advice from The Major (who owns the school): “People are like horses, Janet. If you don’t ride them, they’ll ride you.” It doesn’t help that there are romantic sparks between her and the handsome lad from Australia (John Fraser). The Horsemasters is an interesting and charming film I am told – and so I must try to acquire it as soon as I can.

Janet Munro appeared in four Disney films, the other three being Darby O’Gill and the Little People, Third Man on the Mountain, and Swiss Family Robinson. Although she frequently played tomboy roles, she could also turn on the sex appeal, as she showed in the excellent science fiction film The Day the Earth Caught Fire (1961). She died from heart disease in 1972 at age 38.

Janet Munro married twice. In January 1956 she married Tony Wright, the marriage ended three years later in 1959. In 1963 she married former Avengers star Ian Hendry.

The couple had two children Sally Hendry and Corrie Hendry. From 1964 to 1968 she retired from acting to raise her two children. Ian and Janet divorced in 1971.

British actress Janet Munro dies at 38

British actress Janet Munro, aged 38, died on 6 December 1972 after becoming ill while having tea with her two children in her flat in Kentish Town, London. The children’s nannie, Elizabeth McGuiness, tried to revive her but she died on the way to hospital. Munro died from a heart attack caused by chronic ischaemic heart disease.

When she signed a Five Film contract with Walt Disney in the late 1950s she was in some great films Darby O Gill and The Little People, Third Man on the Mountain and Swiss Family Robinson come straight to mind – and they were films on a large scale that went worldwide

 Janet Munro was born as Janet Neilson Horsburgh on 28 September 1934 in Blackpool, Lancashire, England.  She was the daughter of the Scottish comedian Alex Munro and his wife, Phyllis Robertshaw. Janet’s mother, Phyllis died when she was eight and she was raised by Lilias, Alex Munro’s second wife.

Janet Munro - One of my favourite actresses

 Janet Munro – Above – One of My Favourite Actresses

Darby O Gill

Above: Janet Munro and Sean Connery in Darby O Gill and The Little People – one of My Favourite Films

After a brief career in the theatre she was spotted and given her first film role as Effie the waitress in “Small Hotel”(1957), followed by “The Trollenberg Terror” (1957) and a starring role with Andrew Ray in “The Young and the Guilty” (1958). She then did the Disney pictures. After her Disney contract she was given more dramatic roles in “Day The Earth Caught Fire” (1961), “Life for Ruth” (1962) and “Bitter Harvest” (1963). In 1958 Janet Munro was voted “TV actress of the year” and in 1960 she won a Golden Globe as “Most Promising Newcomer – Female” together with Tuesday Weld, Angie Dickinson and Stella Stevens.










Two failed marriages, two miscarriages, alcoholism, assorted medical problems, and depression… Munro collapsed and subsequently died on December 6th 1972 at the age of 38. She was cremated and interred at the Golders Green Crematorium.





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Patricia Driscoll – Richard Greene The Adventures of Robin Hood

More from the ITV series The Adventure of Robin Hood – with Richard Greene as Robin Hood – Below with Patricia DriscollMaid Marian   Robin and Marian ITV Series I hadn’t realise that Patricia Driscoll has appeared in 1956 with Max Bygraves in the Colour film Charley Moon which at the time was well promoted but it is rarely shown these days – I haven’t seen it for years but remember how good it was. It was the following year that she took over from Bernadette O’Farrell as Maid Marian in this extremely popular Television show – and she made 36 episodes – she had also previously presented the Children’s Show Picture Book She was married for a lot of years to Duncan Lamont – an actor who cropped up on TV and in films all the time in the Fifties – and later. He died in 1978.   Charley Moon 1956 Charley Moon 2 Above: Patricia Driscoll with Max Bygraves.

Patricia Driscoll recounts getting the part as Maid Marion :-

“An unexpected telephone call from the Nettlefold Studios, at Walton-on-Thames, to the London mews flat of Pat Driscoll hoisted her to fame in the role of Maid Marian in TV’s Robin Hood.’ When the phone rang, Pat was doing a spot of gardening-if ‘gardening’ is the right word to use about tending window boxes outside a town flat! The odd thing was that she seldom saw TV. There was no room in her small home for a set, and she didn’t like badgering neighbours to look in at theirs. Like her predecessor in the part, Bernadette O’Farrell, Pat was born in Cork. When her mind was made up that acting was the life for her, her parents sent her to RADA. After that, she worked her way around the country with various repertory companies.

While with the Manchester Rep she met and married a dark Scot, Duncan Lamont. Duncan has also appeared in ‘Robin Hood’ from time to time. Their first home was in a London mews flat, where hammers, tacks, paint rollers and wallpapers made many demands on leisure time.

Pat’s first TV success came in 1953, in a show called ‘Whirligig.’ She also appeared in the film Charley Moon with Max Bygraves. Until the Maid Marian part came along, she was working in both ‘Listen With Mother’ and ‘Looking With Mother.’

Pat has been used to handling horses all her life, and had her own pony as a child and did a lot of show-jumping, in the modern manner. In fact, she was once a leading pony rider at the Olympia Horse Show. When she was eleven year old, Pat won a jumping competition at the Arundel Gymkhana.

This helped a great deal when she took on the role of Maid Marian-though she found she had to learn to ride side-saddle to conform to medieval custom. She took lessons from an expert to steer an elephant in the right direction in Charley Moon. ‘After that, riding side-saddle on a horse was child’s play,’ she’ll tell you.

Pat’s favourite hobby, when she has time for it, is salmon fishing. When she is filming, an alarm clock shatters her sleep at six-thirty in the morning. After this early start she is ‘on set,’ ready with her make-up completed, at the Nettlefold Studios by eight thirty.

She likes to tell about her own shame when she first began working there.‘Puzzled, I was, by the plaque over the entrance HEPWIX 1898, until someone told me it was a memorial to Cecil Hepworth (part of his own name coupled with that of a fiend). He was one of the pioneers of film making, who built the place in the back garden of his house by the Thames.’

The hooks on which Hepworth slung his film negative to dry are still there, an interesting link with the television films of today.”

The Above piece is actually taken from the  site, which we advise you to take a look at – it is superb and is totally focused on the wonderful Walt Disney film The Story of Robin  Hood and His Merrie Men with Richard Todd and Joan Rice – 1952.

Max Bygraves and Jane Asher Above:  Max Bygraves with a very young Jane Asher   Richard Greene as Robin Hood Richard Greene having a chat on location with young Merrie Men !!! Richard Greene Richard chats  to Don Chaffey Film Director – and Below that getting into his car – Not sure what sort of Car that is either ??

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New Shots from The Titfield Thunderbolt

The TitfieldThunderbolt   is a film  loved by all cinemagoers and genuine film fans.

I count this as one of my favourite films

These pictures appeared in the Everybody’s Magazine dated 11 October 1952 with quite a long article on the film and its making. The pictures seem to have a pinkish tinted look although this film was in Technicolor and the Magazine itself has some very impressive bright colour advertisements. I have purchased a lot of these Magazines which are fascinating with quite a bit of film interest which no doubt will make its way onto this Films Of The Fifties Site.

The Titfield Thunderbolt

A Scene from the Film Above

The Titfield Thunderbolt 1

A Scene from the Film Above – the caption refers to the Scene above this one.

The Titfield Thunderbolt 2

The Above Scene has two of the villains, Pearce and Crump, who have a Steam Roller which they make use of the attempt to wreck Titfield’s original train and so cause the villagers to be dependent on their Motor Coach.

The Titfield Thunderbolt 3

A Scene from the Film Above.

The Titfield Thunderbolt 4

Above – Arthur Garrish gives George Relph a ride on his light rail trolley

The filming around the village on Monckton Combe ( Titfield) on the single track line from Camerton to Limpley Stoke took around eight weeks during which time three villages in all were used as  Titfield.

Arthur Garrish ( 64 years old) who is pictured above – worked on this line for 18 years – through the War years – but the line had recently closed. This was because the line itself had served Camerton Colliery and it had just been closed as the coal seam had run out.

Arthur had seen the filming of The Ghost Train before the War again  at Monckton Combe, so he knew what film making was all about.



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Anthony Quayle and Dorothy Hyson

Anthony Quayle and Dorothy Hyson married on a very hot summer day – on  3rd June 1947 – with around 60 guests present.

This was one of the great Love Stories of Filmland. Anthony Quayle had met Dorothy Hyson some eight years before, and was smitten with her from that moment. She, at that time, was married to the actor Robert Douglas, and he was married to Hermione Hannen – neither of them happily married.

Dorothy Hyson

Dorothy Hyson was known as one of the prettiest girls ever to grace the London Stage – and as such she was a considerable attraction – just look at the picture Above

George Formby with Dorothy Hyson

She had appeared in films – We remember her in a leading role with the great George Formby in Spare a Copper in 1941. Above

However when she met and married Anthony Quayle she gave up acting to look after him and raise a family.

Anthony Quayle said of his wife at the time of their marriage ‘ The wanderings of Odysseus had lasted ten long years – mine only eight: but I had come to my Penelope at last.’ Then he added ‘ Without her I could have been nothing,  done nothing;  with her Love and help, our two lives joined together.   I could lift the world up and carry it aloft’

Anthony Quayle and Dorothy Hyson with their Children

Above – At their Home in 1952 Near Stratford on Avon with their Two Girls, Rosanna and Jennifer. They also had a son Christopher.

Anthony Quayle and Family

Above: Their Two Girls, Rosanna and Jennifer with Mother Dorothy Hyson – and how much like her is her daughter on the right of the picture. They also had a son Christopher – here with his Father.

Dorothy Hyson was a renowned hostess in London.  On her retirement from acting, she said: “I always tried my best at being an actress – but when I met Anthony Quayle all I wanted to do was to be his wife and look after him. My acting didn’t matter anymore. He always came first for me”.

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The Stars at Home – Ronald Colman

Before he left  and went to live at San Ysidro close to Santa Barbara,  Ronald Colman had lived at  1003 Summit Drive, in Beverley Hills

Ronald Colman and his Wife at Home

Above:  Ronald Colman and his wife Benita Hulme at Home in Beverley Hills

Ronald Colman and his Wife on Radio

Above:  Ronald Colman and his wife Benita Hulme on Radio with their very popular show ‘The Halls of Ivy’

Ronald Colman and his Wife 1954


Above:  Ronald Colman and his wife Benita Hulme on Radio Show  ‘The Halls of Ivy’ in 1954. Benita looks to have an impish sense of humour here – something their daughter said – that she taught he father to be much more fun and less serious. They were very happy though.

I always remember the story that Barry Norman told on The Hollywood Greats programme some years ago – that when his wife announced that she was pregnant with their daughter – he was by then in his early fifties – his reaction was to go very quiet and then ask  ‘What will Hollywood say’

Even then he was conscious of his image in Hollywood and film land.

When his daughter arrived though he became a very loving and doting father as , of course, he would

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Outcast of the Islands 1951

Can’t say I know too much about this film, although my neighbour of many years often mentioned it – and how good it was.

It starred Trevor Howard, Ralph Richardson, Robert Morley, Wendy Hiller and Kerima

Kerima - Outcast of the Islands.

Above: Kerima

Kerima with her husband Guy Hamilton 1974

Above: Kerima with husband Guy Hamilton who directed The Man With The Golden Gun 1974 at the Film Premier in London being presented to Prince Philip.


Outcast iof the Islands


Carol Reed’s “An Outcast Of The Islands” is generally considered to be the finest film ever made of Joseph Conrad’s tales.

The film stuck to the basic story of Willems and his betrayal of Almayer and Captain Lingard for a beautiful native girl.

Trevor Howard gave many memorable, delicate performances in his life but this performance as a man who was poor enough material to begin with but goes to seed, is probably his best.

The supporting cast is good, with Robert Morley playing the most despicable character, and Ralph Richardson as the decent Captain Lingard.

Wendy Hiller cuts a tragic figure as Mrs. Almayer.

Outcast iof the Islands 2

Above: Lingard’s Ship lying in the Harbour – actually filmed in Ceylon ( Sri Lanka)

Outcast iof the Islands 3

Above: Another Scene filmed in Ceylon

Robert Morley

Robert Morley 2


Above: Robert Morley looking suitably unpleasant in this film  An Outcast of the Islands 1951

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The Fast and The Furious 1955

I was not familiar with this film at all – it was the announcement of the death of Dorothy Malone a few days ago that led me to read about her and this film cropped up.

Now I am familiar with the more recent Fast  and Furious films which my son really likes – he has seen them all – and to be fair they have been extremely successful and very popular.

However this 1955 version did not regfister with me – either at the time or since – but I do remember another racing car picture at the same tine which was Johnny Dark with Tony Curtis and Piper Laurie - that was in colour and I remember seeing it at the time.

The Fast and the Furious (1955 film)


The Fast and the Furious is an interesting 1955 fast-cars crime thriller oddity has the good sense to keep it in the family, with a story by producer Roger Corman, direction by star John Ireland and co-script by actress Jean Howell (with Jerome Odlum).

John Ireland stars as innocent Frank Webster, on the run from the police after breaking out of jail, where he was wrongly put for murder. Frank is forced to abduct beautiful young Connie Adair (Dorothy Malone), who is driving a driving a fast sports car.  They join a cross-border sports car race to try to make a break for Mexico.  However, along the road, they fall in Love, and he sets out to show that he is innocent.

It should have been call The Cheap and the Cheerful because that is exactly what the film should be given its humble, fast filmed, low-budget ($66,000) status, but  it is quite good, still quite watchable and entertaining.   John Ireland and Dorothy Malone are quite good company.

The Fast and the Furious (1955 film) 2

Jean Howell plays Sally Phillips and also in the cast are Bruce Carlisle, Marshall Bradford, Iris Adrian, Snub Pollard, Bruno VeSota, Byrd Holland, Larry Thor and Lou Place.

It was shot in nine days by Floyd Crosby and is scored by Alexander Gerens.

The Fast and the Furious (1955 film) 3

It is notable as the first film released by the American Releasing Corporation, which became American International Pictures.

Director Roger Corman doubled as one of the race drivers and accidentally beat Ireland across the finishing line, resulting in a second take when Ireland won.

The film mixes  stock footage of road races from the Southern California area in with new racing scenes filmed here. In Nine days filming they couldn’t afford to hang about and took advantage of anything they could.

Don’t forget the wonderful Steven Spielberg film Duel 1971 was made in 13 days ( they had planned 10 days )m and then edited in the next 10 days then shown on Television in the USA quickly after that  - and that was – and is – a Cracker !!!

Duel 1971

Duel 1971 3

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The Adventures of Sir Lancelot – TV Series

This series, which only consisted of only 30 episodes in all, was shown over two years 1956 and 1957. It starred William Russell as Sir Lancelot and apparently went well in the USA so that the last 14  episodes were made in Colour.  This would have been on film of course as  Colour Television Cameras were not around at that time. Mind you most of these series were made on film at the time.

Sir Lancelot 2

 Above William Russell as Sir Lancelot – although he didn’t have the pipe in the show !!

Sir Lancelot TV Series


Sir Lancelot

Above William Russell as Sir Lancelot.

The producers went to a lot of trouble with the sets and costumes and they look splendid given the very limited television budgets. William Russell makes a lively and very personable hero and handles the action scenes with dash and enthusiasm.

After The Adventures of Sir Lancelot (1956), he received a  marvellous offer from the BBC to star in ‘Nicholas Nickleby’ in a great twenty-week series. Then again with the BBC and Charles Dickens. he was David Copperfield, which went out live at Lime Grove, followed by Doctor Who (1963).

He had appeared as St Ives in another BBC serial over 6 parts prior to this.  The list goes on and on although I see he was in The Great Escape in 1963 although I do not remember him at all in that  - although I do know the film well, of course, as we all do I expect.

In St Ives his co-actors were Noelle Middleton and Francis Matthews.  The most notable aspect of the production is that, unlike many BBC series of the era, the St Ives episodes from 1955  still exist.


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The Boys 1962

There was a reunion last year on 17th September 2017, of the FOUR ‘young men’ who played the accused in the Courtroom drama  The Boys Directed by Sidney Furie. The film was made at Elstree and the reshowing of the film was there too with the remaining actors Dudley Sutton, Jess Conrad,  and Tony Garnett  - sadly Ronald Lacy died in 1991 at the age of only 55.

The Boys 1962 A



This is a gripping story with Robert Morley, for the defence giving a beautifully delivered final summing up speech. At the end the audience burst into loud applause. After the film the Chairman of Elstree Maurice Bright gave a speck saying that he had not seen the film before but had enjoyed it very much and thought that it featured on of Robert Morley’s best screen performances.   At the end the remaining ‘Boys’ went up on stage to be interviewed – when Jess Conrad appeared Dudley Sutton said ‘Jess just looks the same. Iam so jealous.’  Of course Jess Conrad even at 81 years old, looks very good and youthful.

They all spoke highly of Robert Morley who was ‘ like a father to us and such a lovely man, brought us cakes every day’

The Boys 1962

However their recollections of Richard Todd were far less warm. He wasn’t friendly at all, in fact very remote.  Tony Garnett, who admitted to being a ‘bit stroppy in those days’, so annoyed Richard Todd that the star wanted him off the picture – and he would have been sacked if ‘ The glorious Robert Morley hadn’t intervened and with immense good humour got me off the hook’

The Boys Richard ToddThe Boys Robert Morley

Courtroom Scene The Boys with Robert Morley

Reading Richard Todd’s Autobiography ‘In Camera’ this film is not mentioned at length but he does say that, his part in the film took just three weeks to complete and they all got on well together.   He said though that he had a disagreement in a lunchtime chat with Robert Morley when they both had opposing political views and Robert expressed these views very forcefully. Richard Todd says that, very sensibly, he avoided such a subject again.   He also speaks highly of Robert and states just how good he was in the role.

So here we have – as often is the case – people taking about events that happened a long time ago, but having different recollections and views of what went on – or what went on as they saw it.

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Danny Ross as Alf Hall – Brilliant Character !!!

The wonderful Danny Ross, an actor and entertainer who graced the stage and screen – both Television and Films – in the early to mid fifties, often appeared with Arthur Askey and Glenn Melvyn. This clip below from The Love Match has Alf Hall going to see his girl friend played by the lovely Shirley Eaton whose parents are played by Arthur Askey and Thora Hird.  It is a classic scene from a film I love.

Thora Hird and Shirley Eaton Above: Thora Hird and the lovely Shirley Eaton, talking about Shirley’s new boyfriend, Alf Hall – in the film The Love Match.

All the actors mentioned along with Glenn Melvyn formed a sort of repertory club of stage and screen – and were very funny. Years later Ronnie Barker paid tribute to Glenn Melvyn, who wrote The Love Match and many other sketches and stories, saying that it is Glenn that taught him much of what he was later to use in his act – notably the Stammering – which as Ronnie admitted was taken straight from Glenn Melvyn – and you can hear it to great effect in The Love Match.

They met at a theatre rep. company  based in Bramhall, Cheshire. It was here that Ronnie Barker was to meet one of the most influential men in his career. Glenn Melvyn was the company’s leading man and the man who Ronnie Barker claims ‘was to teach me everything I ever learned about comedy’. 

In Fact it was Glenn Melvyn  who  gave the young actor Ronnie Barker  his break into television, offering him a role in I’m Not Bothered (1956).

Going back to Danny Ross, I love that scene, in the early stages of the film when Alf Hall meets Rose ( Shirley Eaton) at a Dance Hall in Blackpool. He asks her if she has a partner, to which she replies – ‘Well I did have but he stood me up’ to which Alf in an incredulous tone replies ‘ How Could anyone stand YOU up?’

I am sure he took the words right out a the mouths of all us men watching,  because Shirley( rose) looked absolutely stunning.

Danny Ross was brilliant as Alf Hall in this film. Been a fan of his ever since.

I have to say also, that I did a post on this Blog on Danny Ross almost five years ago, and out of all the almost 400 articles I have done on here, the one on Danny Ross gets the most visits and the most interest.    I am pleased about that and just a little surprised although it makes me realise how popular he was and how well remembered he is.

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