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The Pickwick Papers 1952 – James Hayter

 

In 1952 James Hayter appeared in his two most famous roles – and the roles to me that he was best in and best remembered in.  First came the wonderful ‘The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men’ with Richard Todd and Joan Rice – with James Hayter playing Friar Tuck – with his performance ensuring that he was one of the main characters.

Then came this one as Mr Pickwick in The Pickwick Papers.

Interestingly James Hayter played Friar Tuck in the classic Disney Film mentioned above – and Alexander Gauge, who was in The Pickwick Papers played him in the TV Series with Richard Greene – and played the part in similar style to the way James Hayter had done.

 

Pickwick Papers 1952

 

James Hayter  is excellent as  Mr Pickwick, the lead character in this adaptation of ‘The Pickwick Papers’ by Charles Dickens.

Not in the same league as the David Lean-directed ‘Great Expectations’ and ‘Oliver Twist’ which preceded it, this film, directed by Noel Langley, is nevertheless not bad. It is entertaining, with an excellent cast ranging through character actors such as Donald Wolfit,  James Donald, Hermoines Baddeley and Gingold, Nigel Patrick, and William Hartnell and  Joyce Grenfell.

This was not  an expensive production, but it contained nice touches, such as Kathleen Harrison’s twitchy Rachel; Mr Jingle’s deck of cards; the runaway horse; and an early display of outraged bluster from Hattie Jacques.

 

Pickwick Papers 1952 2ABOVE:  Diane Hart as Emily Wardle watches hairdresser Bill Griffiths tidy up the Fat Boy played by Gerald Campion – later to become very famous at BBC TVs Billy Bunter

 

James Hayter is also often  remembered in the UK as the voice of Mr Kipling in the TV advertisements, but here as Mr Pickwick he is excellent

Pickwick Papers 1952 3

 

ABOVE: The Pickwickians – Mr Snodgrass ( Lionel Murton), Mr Pickwick (James Hayter) and Mr Winkle ( James Donald)

 

Pickwick Papers 1952 4

 

ABOVE:  Grandma Dingle ( Mary Merrall),  Mr Wardle (Walter Fitzgerald) and Mr Pickwick and Emily

 

Pickwick Papers 1952 5

 

ABOVE:  Harry Fowler with Joan Heal and Diane Hart

 

Pickwick Papers 1952 6

ABOVE:  Harry Fowler as Sam Weller – he got the part on the performance he had give in the film ‘I Believe in You’

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David Farrar – Film Star with An Interesting and varied career

English star  David Farrar was born on August 21, 1908, in Essex.

When looking back at his childhood he writes: “Apparently showed some historical leanings from early age as I played Shakespearean roles at school.”

After some time spent with a repertory school and  then in touring companies, David became actor-manager of his own company in 1930. The same year he took over the lead in The Wandering Jew in the West End, bringing notices that immediately established him as one of the most promising young leading men in the West End.

He took over London’s Grafton Theatre for a series of plays, as he puts it: “Of course, playing the leads. As George Arliss once said, ‘Well, there’s one advantage of having your own theatre – you can always choose the best parts.’”

He says he was “lured” into films in 1937 when he made his screen debut in The Face Behind the Scar. Until the war broke out his screen career consisted of’ ‘big parts in small pictures and small parts in big pictures,” according to Farrar.

One of his early films was ‘Went the Day Well’  – an absolute classic from 1942

Shortly after a bomb hit his theatre he was called up by the Ministry of War and put to work making propaganda films. He is responsible for the feature For Those in Peril (1944), much of which was shot during actual maneuvers in the English Channel.

The Dark Tower (1943) with the late Ben Lyon and They Met in the Dark (1943) came out during the War. Immediately afterward he made Lisbon Story (1946), now a cult film because of the appearance in it of the legendary tenor Richard Tauber.

When David Farrar arrived in New York City in 1947, his film Frieda, which introduced Mai Zetterling to the world and was a smash hit in Europe, was playing at one Broadway theatre and Black Narcissus at another.

Black Narcissus (1947), which costarred Deborah Kerr, was about sexual frustration and madness among a group of Anglican nuns. The film  did very well at the box office in the United States and won two Oscars.

One of my own favourite films of his was ‘Mr Perrin and Mr Traill’ 1948 with Marius Goring giving a wonderful performance as Mr Perrin.

The Wild Heart (1950) or ‘Gone to Earth’ as we in England know it, with Jennifer Jones was nowhere near as successful in America as it had been here

He was offered the lead role of Edvard Grieg in the screen version of The Song of Norway, but the film was to be shot in Hollywood and Farrar was committed in England. Once he was contractually free, there began years of commuting between Hollywood and London, starting with The Golden Horde (1951).

After that he appeared in Night Without Stars (1951) with Nadia Gray, Obsessed (1951) with Geraldine Fitzgerald, Duel in the Jungle (1954) with George Coulouris, Lilacs in the Spring (1954) with Anna Neagle, Lost (1957), Solomon and Sheba (1958), John Paul Jones (1959) with Bette Davis, Middle of Nowhere (1960) [aka The Webster Boy (1962)], and Beat Girl (1962) with Shirley Anne Field and Adam Faith.

David Farrar with Jeannette Sterke in Captain Banner BBC

ABOVE – David Farrar – here with Jeannette Sterke in a BBC Play ‘ Captain Banner – BBC Armchair Theatre - 8 th August 1954 – this would have gone out ‘live’ in those days of course.

United States television viewers probably know him best for his portrayal of the strong, silent “Mr. Dean” in Black Narcissus and the “Black Duke” in Son of Robin Hood (1958).

David Farrar himself believes that he misjudged his choice of film parts to his own detriment – the first was when he could have played the villain in the 1952 film of Ivanhoe, made here in England,   but declined because it was not the title role. He later admitted  “The part I had been offered, which was subsequently played by George Sanders, was the most colourful. In retrospect it was a bad mistake to turn it down.”

In 1962 he played Xerxes, which he considered to be a “wonderful, flamboyant part,” in The 300 Spartans, and “then I quit while the going was good!”

David Farrar, a widower, lives near his daughter on the Natal coast of the Republic of South Africa.

David met his wife, Irene Elliot, in 1926 when he was playing the title role on stage in David Copperfield. He describes her as an “actress and beautiful pianist” After she died in 1976, he followed their only child to the Natal coast of the Republic of South Africa.David Farrar with his Daughter Barbara

ABOVE – David Farrar with his Daughter Barbara

David Farrar with his Daughter Barbara 2

 

ABOVE With His Daughter Barbara – reading her a Fairy Tale before bedtime. Not sure he should have been smoking his pipe though but that was how things were in the day.

David Farrar with his Daughter Barbara 3

ABOVE With His Daughter Barbara

He admits to having made no effort to keep in touch with those he knew in England and, has been rumored dead among his profession.

He lived with his dog, a few miles from his daughter.  David Farrar described his activities in retirenment as “a bit of writing and painting. He played the piano often and golf three times a week. He said that he read a lot and averageed fifteen crossword puzzles a week.

Sounds a lonely existence

He sums up his career thusly: “Tough, frustrating, but with many wonderful moments and memories. I found being a star a lonely business. I have no friends. Ain’t that sad?”

 David Farrar in Hollywood

David Farrar went to Hollywood and, though he enjoyed the glamour, it ruined his career, via films such as The Golden Horde (US, d. George Sherman, 1951) and The Black Shield of Falworth (US, d. Rudolph Maté, 1954), usually in two-dimensional villain roles.

A strongly virile figure, he had served a ten-year apprenticeship in British films before making his mark in Michael Powell‘s Black Narcissus (1947), as the district agent who stirs up sexual tensions in a Himalayan convent. There were two other striking roles for Powell – as the lame bomb-disposal expert in The Small Back Room (1948) and the swaggering squire in Gone to Earth (1950) – and substantial leads for Ealing in Frieda (d. Basil Dearden, 1947) and Cage of Gold (d. Dearden, 1950).

This burst of star filming climaxed a career begun in 1937, after a stint at journalism and stage experience from 1932: he played Sexton Blake twice, had small parts in big films, like Went the Day Well? (d. Alberto Cavalcanti, 1942), starred in Ealing’s semi-documentary about the Air-Sea Rescue Service, For Those in Peril (d. Charles Crichton, 1944), and made several poor films at British National, including Lisbon Story (d. Paul L.Stein, 1946), before hitting his stride in the late 1940s.

David Farrar at Home in London

David Farrar lived at Alleyn Park in Dulwich.  One of his daughter’s School Friends recalled this :-

Your article about David Farrar brought back many memories of the times my sister Gill and I spent with his family when they lived in Alleyn Park. They lived in a huge house – probably number 14 (possibly the site of Rouse Gardens). It had a lovely garden with a grass tennis court. We often played tennis and David Farrar sometimes joined us. As their daughter, Barbara was an only child who did not attend school; Mrs Farrar was keen for her to have local friends. Although she was younger than us, she was so used to adult company that she seemed older in many ways. She was a demon at Canasta!

The basement of the house was where Barbara had a little theatre. We used to make up plays and once we performed at one of Barbara’s parties. I remember being the Mad Hatter and Gill was the Dormouse (guess who was Alice?). On another occasion Mrs Farrar took us to the cinema. We walked down the end of Alleyn Park and caught the bus to Crystal Palace. As we walked down Church Road I could see the enormous photos of David advertising the film ‘ Cage of Gold’. As Mrs Farrar was paying for the tickets I kept thinking this is odd – surely she should get in for nothing! During the film whenever he kissed someone I looked at Mrs Farrar to see her reaction – disappointingly there was none. The film was too old for Barbara and I fancy we left before the end!

That is a very interesting and telling memory.  I must just finish by going back to one of my very favourite film ‘Mr Perrin and Mr Traill’ which starred Marius Goring and David Farrar. I have previously posted this – but it concerns a visit to Denham Film Studios by the Old Monrovians School when this film was being made.  The group were shown round and introduced to some of the actors – Edward Chapman was very kind and friendly – However David Farrar appeared from his dressing room, greeted the party with little enthusiasm or interest, had a picture or two taken – and then disappeared back into his room and was not seen again while they were there.

I must admit that some of his acting he seems to portray a superior and even dis-interested manner – but that may just have ben the parts that he was playing. 

David Farrar certainly had a long and successful film carer on both side of the Atlantic and seemed a devoted family man who loved his wife and daughter.  He must have been very lonely after his wife died.

I wish he hadn’t retired so early – it seems such a waste of talent.

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Diamond City

 

This film which I remember well from childhood – mind you no-one else remembers it – is nowadays shown quite often on Talking Pictures

Director David MacDonald’s 1949 adventure film Diamond City is a  tale conflict  in a South African diamond mine. Diamond City gives the British an interesting chance for a British Western type film.

In the star role, David Farrar plays a self appointed peace-keeping lawman Stafford Parker in the diamond fields of South Africa in the latter half of the 19th century. Niall MacGinnis has a better role as the unscrupulous rum-dealer and illicit diamond buyer Hans Muller.

Honor Blackman (as Mary Hart), Diana Dors, Niall MacGinnis, Andrew Crawford and Mervyn Johns were all on good form here though.

18-year-old Diana Dors plays Dora Bracken, and was lucky to get the role as a last-minute replacement for Jean Kent. She had already acted for director David MacDonald as Lyla Lawrence in her fifth film, Good-Time Girl (1948).

Diamond City also features Phyllis Monkman, Hal Osmond, Bill Owen, Philo Hauser, John Blythe, Dennis Vance, Norris Smith, John Salew, Reginald Tate, Ronald Adam, Harry Quashie, Julian Somers and Ernest Butcher.

Unfortunately Gainsborough Pictures filmed it in black and white when colour is called for. It was shot at  Denham Film Studios, Denham, Buckinghamshire,  although  some of the filming took place in South Africa

Diamond City

Diamond City

This is quite a good film but would have been much better in colour. However for film fans of the day, the main interest is probably in the cast - David Farrar (of Black Narcissus fame) has the lead, with a  supporting cast including a very young Diana Dors and an equally young Honor Blackman.

Honor Blackman plays a prim and proper  type, in stark contrast to some of her later roles.

Diana Dors has her largest role to date in this film and as always is good – she also looks lovely. in fact here she is AS BELOW

Diana Dors in Diamond City

Much of the film was made at Denham Studios where they had the studio space to create almost anything – and the outside grounds again to replicate what they wanted.

Not many studios had the size or the facilities to cope as Denham did.

Thinking about it I doubt if any film studios has the size and space of Denham today

Diamond City 2

 

Diamond City – Later on Richard Todd didn’t fare much better with The Hellions which came over a decade later – and was in Colour and Technirama but somehow even that missed the mark at the Box Office although I thought it a good film.

 

Diamond City 3

 

Diamond City ABOVE – a bar room brawl as it happens

Diamond City 4

 

Diamond City – ABOVE  A Studio set but looking good.

 

Diamond City 5

 

Diamond City – Another Scene ABOVE again probably a Studio Set

Diamond City 7

 

Diamond City - Another Scene ABOVE probably filmed in South Africa where a small unit was sent prior to the main filming – I don’t think any of the actors went out there

 

Diamond City 9

 

Diamond City ABOVE – Again possible from the location filming in South Africa

Diamond City 10

 

Diamond City  ABOVE  Directing a boxing sequence with  David Farrar, Director David MacDonald, amateur boxer Bombardier Billy Wells 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Titfield Thunderbolt – Again

No apologies for going back to this lovely Technicolor Film with a typically English feel to it – and filmed in summertime in the glorious English Countryside.

These pictures and snippets of information are taken from an article written by Hugh Samson dated August 1952 who had travelled down to Limpley Stoke Nr Bath and then to the disused railway track at Monckton Combe Station between  Limpley Stoke and Camerton that Ealing Studios had taken over for the filming.

Titfield Thunderbolt

 

ABOVE – George Relph has time for a drink on a hot English summer day

Titfield Thunderbolt 2

 ABOVE – Stanley Holloway seems to be enjoying his pack up – I think we see him along with others, being given this in a picture below

Titfield Thunderbolt 3

 

ABOVE – John Gregson always appears very self confident as he does here

Titfield Thunderbolt 4

 

ABOVE – Stanley Holloway seems to be collecting  his pack up - along with others working on the film – we see him eating it above

 

Titfield Thunderbolt 5

 

ABOVE – Hugh Griffith doing a spot of poaching in the film

Titfield Thunderbolt 6

 

ABOVE – Make-up man Harry Frampton ( with scarf) and Naunton Wayne resting between scenes as they await the arrival of the  ‘Thunderbolt’.

Titfield Thunderbolt 7

 

ABOVE – George Relph chatting with Film Director Charles Crichton

Titfield Thunderbolt 8

ABOVE – Dummies are being used as passengers for a long-shot on the Thunderbolt as it draws the train to Titfield Station

 

 

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Cinecolor – and Super Cinecolor

I have seen a few films using the Cinecolor process and one film that used it was the subject of the  last article on ‘The Man from Nevada’  or ‘The Nevadan’ released in 1950.

Previous to that I have a DVD of The Prince of Thieves’ with Jon Hall playing Robin Hood.  I just loved the Cinecolor in that one – it seemed to fit the film so well.

Another one – a bit later – with Jon Hall was ‘Hurricane Island’ filmed in Super Cinecolor – see further below

Cinecolor 5

By the end of the 1940s, Cinecolor seemed to have improved their process quite a bit (they eventually switched to three strip colour) 

I read a comment from someone who originally thought the Cincolor was poor  but late changed his mind after seeing nice looking cartoons originally processed in Cinecolor.

He thought that it was just as appealing as Technicolor, but in a different way.  Technicolor seemed richer, but Cinecolor has a sort of shimmering quality to it.

I would tend to agree with this observation.

Cinecolor 4

 

Cinecolor

Cinecolor

Cinecolor

 

Cinecolor 3

 

While Cinecolor wasn’t perfect, I read a comment about it’s long lasting qualities -  Cinecolor standard 8mm print I have,  Blackhawk eastman color print is only 25 years old, (and already starting a slight fade), the Cinecolor print is at least 50 years old, (as Cinecolor ceased in 1955) and yet still retains it’s full and rich color, which at least tells me that this cinecolor process, while a little grainier, was a much better process.

Randolph Scott made all the films he produced himself in cinecolor. Notoriously tight with money, the Cinecolor process was much cheaper than techicolor.

In “The Gunfighters,” Cinecolor looked as great as Technicolor.

While Cinecolor may not have been equal to Technicolor’s 3-color system, it was  far superior to the 2-color Technicolor that was its early competition, both in colour balance and a pleasing appearance on screen.  Cinecolor never stopped refining and improving its process, and by the 1940′s achieved some outstanding results.

Hurricane Island 1951

 

Hurricane Island 1951 2

Hurricane Island 1951 3

 

ABOVE: Jon Hall was ‘Hurricane Island’ filmed in Super Cinecolor

Cinecolor was a dye-transfer printing process very much like Technicolor.

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The Man from Nevada 1950

 

Now this is a Western I was not familiar with but watched it on TCM at the weekend. It starred Randolph Scott, Dorothy Malone and Forrest Tucker but also in the cast was Jack Mahoney – later to become The Range Rider to all us young kids at the time.

Apparently in this film former Stunt Man Jack Mahoney also doubled as Randolph Scott in some of the fight scenes – he was probably one of filmlands most accomplished Stunt Men and famous in this job as he later would be in film acting

The film was made I Cinecolor which I have to say I like – a more muted colour than the wonderful Technicolor but appealing in it’s own way. I did buy ‘The Prince of Thieves’ on DVD released in 1948 with Jon Hall, and that too used the Cinelocor process – here again very good.

 

The Nevadan 5

 

The Man from Nevada ABOVE – Randolph Scott squares up to Jack Mahoney

 

The Man from Nevada 1950

The Man from Nevada

The Man from Nevada 1950 2

The Man from Nevada ABOVE – Randolph Scott and Forrest Tucker

The Man from Nevada 1950

 

The Man from Nevada

The Nevadan 2

The Man from Nevada is 80 minutes in which you can simply enjoy the  storytelling, the characters, the beautiful locations, and the rugged action. – but it is much more than that

The story is set pretty quickly by the theft of  gold by Tom Tanner (Forrest Tucker) and his arrest and escape, followed by wary partnership with a mysterious man, Andrew Barclay (Randolph Scott), who he meets on the trail.  The story leads us to an abandoned mine where Tom has left the gold.  Other characters play come into the story and a number of other relationships are treated, all with increasing drama as these characters move toward  the eventful climax.

Edward Galt (George Macready), a rancher and saloon owner, wants to take the gold for himself, and his daughter Karen (Dorothy Malone), involved after she becomes attracted to Barclay, comes to see the unhealthiness of her father, both in his obsessive greed and obsessive attachment to her in the absence of her mother who left him long ago.

There are also two brothers who work for Galt, Jeff (Frank Faylen) and Bart (Jeff Corey) – they were excellent characters and their acting was impressive particularly in the final gunfight sequence played out against an imposing rocky landscape -  a landscape that I can’t remember seeing in any other film.

The Man from Nevada

The Man from Nevada 1950 2

There is a great action sequence in the film where Jack Mahoney pursues Dorothy Malone – both on horseback. She cleverly gives him the slip but he is persistent and this shot above and below sees him riding through a small lake as he bears down her.

He very shortly comes to a sticky end as he is knocked off his horse by an overhanging branch that he did not see. I would bet that Jack Mahoney peformed this stunt which was very well done

The Man from Nevada 1950 3

The Man from Nevada

The Nevadan 3

The Man from Nevada – ABOVE a still showing Jack Mahoney coming off his horse – this is the stunt that I would bet Jack Mahoney did himself.

The Man from Nevada

ABOVE – Jock Mahoney looks to be finished

The Man from Nevada 1950 4

The Man from Nevada – Dorothy Malone saves the day

The Man from Nevada 1950 5

If you haven’t seen this film, I would recommend you do – some of the comments you read online are not that good but I thought it was excellent and thoroughly enjoyed it. Like going back in time to a night at the ‘pictures’

The Man from Nevada 1950 6

ABOVE – Forrest Tucker and Randolph Scott

The Man from Nevada 1950 7

The Man from Nevada – This film was shown under the title ‘The Nevadan’

The Man from Nevada 1950 8

The Man from Nevada

 

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Jo Burdick – at the Anaheim Parade

 

I had never heard of Jo Burdick until I was looking through a Picturegoer Magazine of 20 September 1952 and the picture below appeared. Since coming across this, I have found out the she has had a very interesting and fun filled life which in the early days was quite attached to the Film World of that time

 

David Wayne and Jo Burdick

 

ABOVE – David Wayne offered Jo Burdick a lift during a charity parade – Jo was a well know Baton Twirler on these occasions – this may well have been at the Anaheim Halloween Parade

 

Annaheim Parade 1950

 

Walt Disney got involved with the Anaheim Halloween Parade, in 1953, sending six float designs as a bouquet to the farm town that, only months before, he had chosen as the place to build Disneyland.

 

“I remember how impressed Walt was that we had the biggest Halloween parade in America,” says Jo An Burdick Gottlieb, now 82, a 6-foot baton twirler known for tossing a baton higher than many people could see. Jo saw her first baton twirler in the Anaheim Halloween Parade when she was 4, and she was smitten. She spent the rest of her career twirling and teaching others at her studio.

 

She has been in the parade since she was 5, occasionally putting down the baton to dress as a witch and ride on a float celebrating a bygone department store from downtown Anaheim.

“We were nothing but walnut trees and packing houses here. And people came from all over. Thousands. People were hanging off the roofs,” she says. “It was the deal. Walt looked at our parade, and he could already see his vision for Disneyland.”

 

 

Jo Burdick

 

 

 

Anaheim High Class of ’51 graduate Jo An (Burdick) Gottlieb credits living a life she describes as a “dream come true” to being at the right place at the right time. In one instance, the right place and time happened to be sitting on a curb in 1939 at age 5 with her parents and sister in front of Anaheim’s old Chung King Cafe on Center Street (now Lincoln) waiting for the Halloween Parade to begin.“Looking to the east I saw the band approach with girls out front holding these shiny things.” The objects that caught her attention were batons being tossed and twirled by the band’s majorettes. From that day forward, Jo said her dream was to be the “best darn baton twirler ever.”But she never imagined that from her humble beginnings, practicing with a bamboo pole in the alley behind her homeat500 N. Vine Street, that she would one day lead the nation’s top parades as a majorette, appear on stage and screen with entertainers like Frank Sinatra and own her own baton, dance and music studio. In Jo words: “It’s been one fabulous ride.”Because money wasn’t available for lessons, she learned to dance by standing at the sidelines of friends’ classes and imitating the moves of movie stars she watched during double features she attended with her older sister, Wanda Lee, an Anaheim Class of ’47 graduate. (Jo’s talented older sister was class speaker and also played lead rolls in the school plays. She earned first place in public speaking contest on the Constitution and was given a scholarship to the famed Pasadena Play House.)Any extra money earned by her family went into patenting her father Harry’s inventions, one of which was the Burdick Scotch Watchman Automatic TimeValve, a water-saving device installed at Stanford University, El Rancho Golf Course and publicized in Popular Mechanic Magazine.

Finally, thanks to a visit from a cousin from Wyoming, Jo An received her first real baton when she was 8 years old. Her older cousin saw how creative she had been without any formal lessons and sent her a hand-me-down baton that had a steel ball instead of the usual soft rubber.

Jo An remembers conking herself in the head several times with the 32-inch baton, but she kept persevering, and by the time she was a freshman at Anaheim High, band director William Cook had Jo An and her friend, Joanne Lee, marching with the older, more experienced majorettes during the pre-game National Anthem.

“We really thought we had arrived when we got to wear white shorts, navy blue sweaters and home-made tassels to go on our rubber white rain boots,” said Jo An. Her talents grew along with her stature. By her junior year, Jo An, a 6-foot-tall blonde, was leading the Anaheim High Marching Band as the head twirling majorette.

Next stop on her journey was Fullerton Junior College, where she also led the band as head drum major and twirler. She then attended Pasadena City College and realized her dream of serving as the Official Rose Parade Majorette. She was also chosen as the only paid majorette in the Rose Parading leading Tommy Walker’s famed Toppers Band. For five additional Rose Parades, Jo marched the 7 1/2 –mile parade route in her high-heeled boots and top hat. Tickets to the Rose Bowl game, with seats at the 50-yard-line, were one of the job perks, but she was always too tired to attend.

During this time, Jo An was chosen as California VFW State Poppy Queen and traveled to San Francisco to lead a parade, perform at other events and lead the California VFW Ball with the State Commander in a specially designed formal. Her photo appeared in newspapers throughout the state.

Along with the fun and glamour, there was work. To earn income Jo An started busing tables at Knott’s Berry Farm at the early age of 13. Her big sis, Wanda Lee, was one of more than 80 hostesses and waitresses serving patrons who stood in long lines for Mrs. Knott’s chicken dinners, homemade boysenberry pies and her famous biscuits served with boysenberry jam.

It wasn’t long before Jo moved from busing tables to landing the job of can-can dancer at the Ghost Town Calico Saloon. Her career continued a steady climb and in 1953, at age 19, Jo was one of five chosen out of 2,000 who tried out at a RKO Movie Studio’s audition to become a Las Vegas showgirl. She arrived in Las Vegas in March of 1954 by train and was soon dancing and singing with Frank Sinatra at the Sands Hotel Copa Room.

Rehearsals started at 2 a.m. until sun up for the next few weeks and Jo An was chosen to sing “I’ve Got the Pinks” with Frank Sinatra. “The New Ziegfield Follies Copa Show was a sell out night after night,” remembers Jo An. “We did two shows a night with Mondays dark. I shared a semi-private dressing room with Irene King, who sang “I’ve Got the Reds.” The room was right next to Frank’s, who sang “I’ve Got the Green’s” (meaning money), so they were given queenly treatment. Frank would have hot tea delivered to their dressing room and prior to each show, would pop in for a visit and have a cup of tea. He also sent each girl in the show a long-stemmed yellow rose with a person good-luck note, mementos Jo still treasurers.

“I was 6 feet tall in stocking feet and Irene, 5-foot-10,” said Jo. “We were the tallest in the show, especially with the addition of 3-inch high heels, and made Frank look even smaller.” Other girls who made the cut were Evelyn Cherry, kid sister of movie star June Haver, and Randy Brown, who later changed her name to Felicia Farr, married Jack Lemmon and left the Sands to become a movie star. Jo still sees many of the girls at annual show girl and dancer reunions held in Hollywood or Las Vegas.

Las Vegas was star studded during this time and hanging out at the pool with celebrities was a daily routine for Jo An. “Many stars came to see us and we attended after-show parties at the hotel where we met Milton Beryl, Danny Thomas, Mae West and her Hunks (appearing at the Desert Inn), Dean Martin, Joey Bishop, Danny Thomas, Bob Hope and many others.

Jo remembers one evening when Frank Sinatra hired limousines to take the cast to a special movie showing of his latest film, “Suddenly,” in which he played a hit man whose roll was to shoot the president from an apartment where he held a family hostage.

Next stop for Jo was the stage of Moulin Rouge in Hollywood. She appeared with Sophie Tucker, a singer and comedian who was one of the most popular entertainers in America during the first two-thirds of the 20th century.

Considered an “entertainment palace,” the Moulin Rouge was the largest nightclub in America. Shows were performed on a massive stage with a 60-foot-wide double revolving turntable and staircase, swings that could be lowered from the ceiling and the first walk-around that allowed the showgirls to walk into the audience and then back onto the stage.

While performing at the Moulin Rouge, Jo was chosen to appear in the first coast-to-coast televised color broadcast of the Emmy Awards. Jo and her “twin,” wearing extravagant 3-foot-tall pink wigs and gowns with a huge hoop skirt with hundreds of hand-sewn mirrors, flanked Jimmy Durante for the opening of this historical broadcast. During this time, Jo was also a Carolyn Leonetti model and did some movie work at Universal International in her spare time.

After nine months at the Moulin Rouge, Jo An left the stage to tour with a dance teacher convention traveling across the nation with stops in Houston, Chicago, Boston and New York, where she was offered a contract to appear at the famed Latin Quarter Nightclub. Instead, Jo opted to return to Anaheim to open the Jo-An Burdick Dance, Baton, Music and Modeling Studio in Anaheim at Lemon and Broadway. Younger sister Linda Burdick, AHS Class of 1962, taught baton twirling, ballroom, ballet and tap at the studio; her mother was the receptionist and costume designer.

In 1960, Jo married orchestra leader, clarinet and sax musician Bernard Gottlieb, known professionally as Bernie Bernard. A musical contractor for Disneyland in ‘60s and ‘70s, Bernie’s 30-piece orchestra backed major stars for Disneyland’s special summer season performances. Bernie also played for The Righteous Brothers’ Bobby Hatfield (an Anaheim High grad) & Bill Medley, Engelbert Humperdinck, Peggy Lee, Kay Star, Vicki Carr, Phyllis Diller, George Gobel, The Osmond Family and The Jackson 5. Jo remembers holding Michel Jackson on her lap during their Disneyland appearance.

Along with being beautiful and talented, Jo An also had brains. Upon graduating from CSU Fullerton in December 1979 with a bachelor’s of science in physical education, she went on to obtain her California teaching credential and became a physical education teacher at Fullerton High, introducing yoga and jazz dance to the curriculum. Jo also earned a real estate license and pilot’s license.

Jo still lives in Anaheim and is living an active life volunteering with the Anaheim Family Justice Center, the Anaheim Historical Society and the AHS Alumni Association.

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The Mummy 1959 – Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee

 

Here is a favourite of mine from Hammer Films.  I am sure that the advertisement below is from an American newspaper because I don’t remember this as a Double Feature – and in my mind anyway ‘The Mummy’ would have been top billed.

 

This may have been a re-release some years after 1959

In 1895, in Egypt, the British archaeologists John Banning (Peter Cushing), his father Stephen Banning (Felix Aylmer) and his uncle Joseph Whemple (Raymond Huntley) discover the tomb of Princess Ananka (Yvonne Furneaux). Stephen Banning finds inside the tomb The Scroll of Life and reads it, awaking The Mummy of Anaka’s keeper and former lover Kharis (Christopher Lee). He has a heart attack and goes insane.

Later the Egyptian Mehemet Bey (George Pastell)  steals the scroll and controls The Mummy. Three years later, in England, we see Stephen Banning in a mental institution and John, his son.  has married.

The drama is about to start – and it does

 

 

The Mummy 1959

 

The Mummy 1959

  

The Mummy 1959 2

 

The Mummy 1959

 

The Mummy 1959 3

The Mummy 1959  ABOVE – An early scene from the film where excavations are taking place – a very good and large studio set

 

The Mummy 1959 4

 

The Mummy 1959 ABOVE – One of the best scenes in the film – where The Mummy breaks into Peter Cushing’s house intent on killing him – and would have done but for the intervention of his wife played by Yvonne Furneaux who so closely resembles  the Princess Ananka who Kharis ( The Mummy) had fallen in love with centuries before.

Kharis stops in his tracks as he sees the girl he loves

 

The Mummy 5

 

The Mummy 1959 ABOVE – Kharis captures and carries away Laura Banning and drops with her, into a swamp. His great love for her – expressed in his eyes and expression - is evident as he lets her go before he is shot and sinks into the mire.  A gripping and yet very sad scene where we feel such sadness for  Kharis The Mummy.

The Mummy 1959 6

 

The Mummy 1959 ABOVE – again an early scene from the excavation set.  I would love to have been there in Bray Studios and looked at and walked on this film set.

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Denham Film Studios – a Staff Picture

I had a message recently from Mark Searle who lives in Australia.  His father worked at Denham Film Studios   in that ‘golden era’-  and he says :-

‘My Dad,William Harry Searle  worked at Denham Film Studios as a Set Maker after the War.  He also made Models of Ships etc.

His Father was the Production Manager at Denham and Pinewood I think!

‘I used to hear so much about Denham when I was growing up.I’m certain it helped mould/develop my Fathers interesting and outgoing personality.

Denham Film Studios

 

Here is one photo I have ABOVE

My sister has a box of Dads old photos and I shall get in touch with her and proceed to scan & send.

All the Best.Mark W Searle. 

PS My Dad is the younger Bloke with Black hair in the middle front, smiling.

***************************

Many Thanks to Mark for sending this photograph and I look forward to seeing the other ones that his sister has.

Denham Film Studios should have been the pinnacle of Film Production – and for a time it was. It would have been better had Denham survived and not Pinewood just down the road,  because this was a big site with massive potential but it seems that a decision was made to let it go - something that saddens me to this day.

Denham Film Studios 3

 

The ‘Dream Factory’ – ABOVE is a photograph of it being built probably taken in 1935

Denham Film Studios

The ‘Dream Factory’ – ABOVE is a photograph taken much later when Denham was really active making films

 

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The Secret of Treasure Mountain 1956 – Press Book

This is a film I keep coming back to – a film that has stayed with me from my young days and one which I have witten about on here before that I just could not identify because I did not know the title. It was only a chance request from a friend who asked me to obtain  a copy of a Glenn Ford film called ‘Lust for Gold’ so when it duly arrived  sat down and watched it to find that scenes of an Indian attack in a very impressive  and large studio set I had seen before – and  knew that I had not seen Lust for Gold’ before.

On searching further I found that certain action  scenes from Lust for Gold had been used in  ‘The Secret of Treasure Mountain’ – and these were the scenes. From that knowledge I had the film title that I had wanted. That was not the end the story because this film was not out on DVD nor was it attainable in any way – until out of the blue a 16 mm film appeared on one of the well known sites online – so I bought it.

A local colleague transferred it to DVD for me but almost simultaneously  a DVD copy had been released by a specialist company in the USA – so I bought that.

The Press Book which accompanied this film is one that recently came into my possession – it is not one of the best nor the most original but nevertheless it is a fascinating item as it gives us some more details on the film.

 

The Secret of Treasure Mountain 2

 

One little snippet from the book – the production company were on location when they filmed a scene where William Prince was to be attacked by a rattlesnake – however the snake which had been acquired from a local zoo just went into hibernation when the location action was due to be done so this had to be filmed again back at the Columbia Ranch in warmer temperatures. This allowed the sequence to be completed.

The Secret of Treasure Mountain

 

The Press Book tells us that Valerie French was a young English Actress who had made her Hollywood film debut in Jubal – a Western starring Glenn Ford.

The Secret of Treasure Mountain

 

The Secret of Treasure Mountain – William Prince is a young stage and screen actor who coincidentally had made his last film appearance in Lust for Gold – so he had fought the Indian battle twice on screen it seems

The Secret of Treasure Mountain 2

 

The Secret of Treasure Mountain – Raymond Burr played the baddie in this one as he tended to do – this was just before he gained International TV success as Perry Mason and later Ironside.

 

 

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