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Arnold Ridley

Arnold Ridley who as we all know, became so famous as Private Godfrey in Dad’s Army did have a very long acting career before he got that role.

In the Fifties he appeared in the film Green Grow The Rushes – which we have featured here and also an episode of White Hunter with Rhodes Reason.

He had been injured  during World War I ,and so the young Arnold Ridley was forced to give up a his acting career and turn to writing. He hit the jackpot with ‘The Ghost Train’ which was a great West End success and has been filmed at least twice. He had other plays during the 1920s and 1930s but with the success of The Ghost Train. 

The Ghost Train

The Ghost Train above – Arthur Askey in the Film Version – Very Good it was too !!

Arnold Ridley with his Son

Above – a really lovely picture of Arnold Ridley with his son, Nicholas – Born 1946

In later life he returned to acting, and was cast in  his most famous role as Private Godfrey in the BBC comedy series Dad’s Army (1968) from 1968 to 1977.

The horrors of World War 1  had come flooding back when, in September 1939, he went to war once more, returning to France with the British Expeditionary Force – this time with the rank of major.

In an unpublished memoir written towards the end of his life, he recalled: ‘Within hours of setting foot on the quay at Cherbourg, I was suffering from acute shell-shock again. It took the form of a mental suffering that can best be described as an “inverted” nightmare.

‘I (had) suffered badly from nightmares between the wars. They always took the same form. Somehow or other, my discharge had gone wrong and I was back in the Army again. Not amid shot, shell, bayonet and other horrors, but merely back in France awaiting orders to go up to the front line once more. These dreams were so real that sometimes it would take me an hour or more to persuade myself that what I had dreamed was impossible.

‘Now it was no longer impossible. My dream had caught up with me. My real and conscious life was now my nightmare – a nightmare from which I had no awakening.’

However the picture Below needs no introduction :

Arnold Ridley

 

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More Pictures from Disney – this time Treasure Island 1950

The Post before this was on the subject of the Walt Disney Classic The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men.

This starred Richard Todd – and once during a Radio Show he was introducing a clip from Treasure Island – and he said of Robert Newton – ‘What a Voice – and What an act to follow – and I should know because I was the person who did just that in Walt Disney’s next production made in England The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men.

Richard did indeed follow on in the Disney Live Action Film and The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men was a big success on a World Scale - so it appears Walt Disney chose wisely.

I have heard it said that Walt’s daughters had wanted Richard Todd to be cast as Robin Hood following his success in the The Hasty Heart which had gone so well in the USA.  It would seem that his daughters persuaded their father to cast him – and as a Father of two daughters, I can understand that they would get their way – but they were absolutely right on this.

Coming back to Treasure Island – Below

Again I have recently acquired some superb – and crystal clear pictures of Treasure Island as below :-

Treasure Island 1950

Above: On board the Hispaniola

Treasure Island 1950 3

Above: ‘One More Step Mr Hands, and I blow your brains out ‘

Treasure Island 1950

But of course Israel Hands did not heed the warning

Treasure Island 1950 2

Above: Long John escapes with Jim – who he releases on the shore further down.

 NVS0617

Above: Long John chats with Captain Smollett and Squire Trelawney

 

NVS0616Above: Long John approaches the Stockade and asks for a Truce

Just for good measure, we have included  BELOW this Delightful Publicity Still from the Film – Bobby Driscoll here with Captain Flint

Bobby Driscoll with Captain Flint

 

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Filming of The Story of Robin Hood at Denham

I have purchased these TWO pictures from the filming of The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men  – the one immediately below – and the third one down showing Walt Disney talking to Richard Todd and Elton Hayes.

Quite honestly I am thrilled with them – or more so really with ONE of them.

That is the Studio scene BELOW at Denham Film Studios showing the filming towards the end of the Picture,  in Robin Hood’s Camp –  this is the original photograph and absolutely crystal clear  whereas I have previously seen this one in a smaller less clear version.

 

I think this scene would be filmed at the end of July 1951  – and I have a feeling that I would be on  holiday with my Mother and Dad and Brothers in St.Albans at  that time – so as a small boy would have been passing the Denham Studios at the very moment this scene was filmed.

 The Story of Robin Hood 1952

 The Story of Robin Hood 1952 3

Walt Disney on the Story of Robin Hood Set 1951

The other picture ABOVE: – with Walt Disney, Richard Todd and Elton Hayes, I have seen many times before.

The Story of Robun Hood Denham Film Set of the Camp 2

Above and Below: Robin Hood’s Camp – Huge Studio Set at Denham

Story of Robin Hood 1952 Robin's Camp

Hard to imagine that the Camp above is a Studio Set – on a scale that could only have been done at Denham at that time.

Below: More pictures from the making of the film :-

Peter Finch being Coached by Rupert Evans

 Rupert Evans gives Peter Finch – The Sheriff of Nottingham – lessons in swordsmanship ABOVE

Story of Robin Hood 1952 Filming

Above: Filming a Scene in the Camp – Richard Todd is seated at the Table and Ken Annakin the Film Director is standing just behind him and to the left.

The Story of Robin Hood 1952 2

A Woodland Scene Above with Allan A Dale – The Wonderful Elton Hayes

Outdoor Set - Story of Robin Hood 1952

Above :  Another picture from the making of the film. This time an Outdoor Film Set of Nottingham Square – and here Robin Hood and his Men plan to free a number of peasants being held captive. A Thrilling Scene.

The Story of Robin Hood 1952 1

An Arrow thuds close to Robin Hood – Richard Todd – in this thrilling sequence – Above

 

 

 

 

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The Kinema In The Woods

Back again  to the beautiful Lincolnshire village of Woodhall Spa with its unique and very appealing cinema. Anyone who has not been to this village I say – Please go and take a look – and while there walk round to the Kinema In The Woods.

This Cinema is unique.

 

The Kinema In The Woods 1

 

The Kinema In The Woods 2

 

The pictures above are taken from a book on the Kinema which my son and his family bought for me for Christmas recently – it is available and gives a comprehensive historical perspective.

Woodhall Spa - 40's Weekend Summer 2017

Above – The famous Petwood Hotel in Woodhall Spa – Home of the Dam Busters Officers Mess – which is still there virtually as it was.

Picture taken at the 40s Weekend 2017 – last Summer

Woodhall Spa - 40's Weekend Summer 2017 4

Above – Main Street  Woodhall Spa -  the 40s Weekend 2017 – last summer

Woodhall Spa - 40's Weekend Summer 2017 The Main Street

In the middle of Woodhall Spa -  the 40s Weekend 2017 – last summer

Woodhall Spa - 40's Weekend Summer 2017 Spitfire Overhead 1

Woodhall Spa - 40's Weekend Summer 2017 Spitfire Overhead 2

At the same event – to add to the wonderful atmosphere - a lone Spitfire swoops overhead with the thrilling sound of the Merlin Engine.

 

 

 

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Burt Lancaster – The Crimson Pirate – on a Double Bill

Burt Lancaster at this point in his career, was at his swashbuckling peak having just see The Flame and The Arrow become a big international hit – film I saw it as a very young boy – and so did former Prime Minister John Major. In his Autobiography he refers to going to the Cinema often in those days in South London, where he was brought up,  and remembering The Flame and The Arrow.

Sometimes films were re-released again after a few years as a Double Bill such as this action packed pairing.  This was a good idea because it was not likely that you would see them again if they did not reappear at the cinema, and I , for one, like to watch some of them over again.

Television was in it’s early days then with only one channel BBC to watch and that came on at 4-30 pm and shut down at about 11 pm – and there were few films shown.

Not sure that I saw either of these at the cinemas though – in fact I am pretty sure I didn’t.

Burt Lancaster The Crimson Pirate

Double Bill 6

 

The Crimson Pirate

 

Burt Lancaster in The Crimson Pirate – made in England. and also above Eva Bartok in the film – she had what looked like a promising film career at this time – but after this film seemed to get bogged down in British Run-of-the-Mill films such as her next one Venetian Bird with Richard Todd

The Crimson Pirate 1952

The Command 1954

The Command was a 1954 release, so this Double Bill must have been later in the 50 s on a re-release I would expect.

Guy Madison starred in this one – Below a Signed Front of House Still from the Film – or as they call it in the USA a Film Lobby Card

Guy Madison

 

Guy Madison – Above – Fighting off the Indians

 

 

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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 nhORSEMASTER

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  www.disneysrobin.blogspot.com  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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