Love in Pawn 1953 – Bernard Braden and Barbara Kelly

 

I think I may have gone to see this as a young boy – certainly went to see a Barbara Kelly film. She had become very popular on BBC Television – that was the one and only channel then – mainly because of her regular appearances on ‘What’s My Line’ as a panellist – so someone must have had the idea of putting her in a film.

He husband Bernard Braden was nothing like as well known as his wife at this time but nonetheless he took a leading role here.

Barbara Kelly is very lively in the role

Quite a lot of  sharp quick fire dialogue from scriptwriters Frank Muir and Denis Norden.

 

Love in Pawn - Barbara Kelly 2

 

Struggling bohemian artist Roger Fox (Bernard Braden) and his model wife, Jean (Barbara Kelly), live on a houseboat at Cubitt’s Yacht Basin. Fed up with the chickens that mess up his deck, there isn’t much Roger can do about moving since he’s flat broke – he’s even stopped the milk delivery.  Roger, a Canadian, has escaped from his timber baron Uncle Amos’s (Laurence Naismith) clutches for now, but soon respectability rears its ugly head again when Roger is summoned by Mr. McCutcheon (John Laurie). Uncle Amos is willing to give Roger the princely sum of £10,000  if he can prove he lives a moral life; that he lives an economically productive life, and that he has no debt – or it’s back to the lumber mill in Canada.

Love in Pawn - Barbara Kelly 3

Roger, overtaken with enthusiasm to impress McCutcheon at dinner over at their houseboat, buys a too expensive dinner to cook, and finds they can’t pay for it. So Barbara comes up with the brilliant idea of pawning Roger – just for the night – to pawnbroker Albert Trusslove (Reg Dixon). Albert, wishing to get his wife, Amelia (Avice Landone), off his back, agrees to the bargain, and everyone seems to be happy – especially Albert’s sexy daughter Amber (Jean Carson), who doesn’t care if Roger is married. Soon, the situation spins out of control as the whole nation wonders if Jean will “redeem” her pawned husband.

Love in Pawn - Barbara Kelly

ABOVE – Barbara Kelly and Bernard Braden – in real life they were husband and wife.

Barbara Kelly on Whats My Line

Barbara Kelly on ‘What’s My Line’  where she appeared as a panellist from 1951 to 1963 when it finished – she actually appeared in 230 editions of this show during those years.

 

 

 

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Shepperton Film Studios – Bonnie Prince Charlie and The Fallen Idol 1947 -48

 

In 1948, the book, A Film Star in Belgrave Square, was released. It was written by Bobby Henrey’s mother, Madeleine, under her husband’s name and documented the making of The Fallen Idol and Bobby’s role in it. The book contained many marvellous photographss taken during the production of the film and lots of information of great interest to anyone who was a fan of the film and wanted to know how it had been made.

One interesting snippet of information among many was that Bobby became great friends with actor David Niven, who was then making the Technicolor film Bonnie Prince Charlie on an adjoining sound stage at Shepperton Studios and, on the rare occasions when he wasn’t needed on the set of The Fallen Idol, Bobby would go across to watch David making his film.

This information has been given to me in a comment from a regular contributor David Raynor who is something of an expert on the film The Fallen Idol and particularly Bobby Henrey.   David gave me some fascinating information on his  meeting with Robert ‘Bobby’ Henrey at a re-showing of the film in Tenbury Wells a few years ago.

David was actually photographed with him and spent  a long time in conversation with him – David had supplied a lot of information to Robert at the time he was writing a book about his film making experiences.

The Film Director on The Fallen Idol was Carol Reed who was described by ace film cameraman Freddie Francis a a wonderful, kind and generous soul who seemed to convey the idea that he was day dreaming or not quite with it at times – but in fact, as Freddie said he was then working out any changes in scenes or how they would play in the film -  he had a very fluid and open mind and was able to adapt.

Carol Reed himself said that he had in mind in certain scenes how he wanted Bobby to act and what to do – but as he observed him over a few days, he noticed his natural movements and how he stood and other little quirks, so he changed the scene so that they were able to take full advantage of his naturalness.

Only once on the film did he become annoyed – this was when Bobby had completed much of a scene which finished with him running up the stairs and that was done to Carol Reed’s satisfaction but they had not quite completed the action.  Bobby’s Mother later that day, when  they had finished, took her son off to the barbers where he had a haircut.   Next day on set Carol Reed was taken aback and very annoyed that it was impossible to complete the scene because as he said you could not have Bobby running upstairs and then appearing in close up at the top with his hair suddenly cut back. It was going to cost thousands and maybe did but they had to move to other things until his hair had grown back to what it was.

 

Bobby Henrey wih Ralph Richardson

 

ABOVE – Bobby Henrey drawing with Ralph Richardson

 

Carol Reedwith Bobby Henrey

 

ABOVE Carol Reed with Bobby Henrey

 

Here is a small article by Bobby Henrey on his making the film :-

I was the child in the film The Fallen Idol, directed by Carol Reed and starring Ralph Richardson. It was a dark film, based on a Graham Greene story, and when it was released in 1948, it was an instant box-office success. This is a picture of me as an eight-year-old boy with Ralph, who was about 45; he’s signing autographs on set – at the spot on the steps where he pushes his wife to her death – and I’m looking at what he’s doing with intense curiosity.

I was chosen for the film when Carol Reed saw my photograph in a book my parents, who were writers, had published about our lives in France. I wasn’t an actor – but my parents thought it would be an interesting experience so they agreed. We started filming in September and it continued to the following March – so quite a long time. My memory was that it was a very professional activity – you turned up on time, dealt with everyone very civilly and then left when you were told to go home at the end of the day. So when people ask me what Ralph Richardson or Carol Reed were like and if they were nice to me, well yes they were, but they were cordial to everyone and that was it. There was quite a lot of downtime on set while they positioned cameras or changed lighting, and in that time I had a governess who would teach me. My parents didn’t think she was very good, and whether I learnt anything during that time is debatable.

 

David Niven Bonnie Prince Charlie 2

 

ABOVE – David Niven chats with Anthony Kimmins the film director.  He had mainly done comedies before this – and many were the highly successful George Formby films.

 

Now moving on the David Niven and ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’ – it was while filming at Shepperton that a young lady came in to view proceedings and knowing nothing of film studios or how they worked, proceeded to sit in David Niven’s chair. He was not initially well pleased but soon changed his tune when he looked and saw this very beautiful girl – who later became is wife – Hjordis.

They married quite quickly in January of 1948 but it did not prove to be a good marriage – they did eventually separated in 1959 although they never divorced

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Bonnie Prince Charlie 1948

This was big budget colour, lavish production for its time,  but sadly not a success.   My own view is that David Niven was woefully mis-cast as Bonnie Prince Charlie and he admitted afterwards that from the start this had the whiff of disaster all over it.

 

A great pity really in view of the care, not to mention money, put into it. 

 

 

Bonnie Prince Charlie 

 

 

Bonnie Prince Charlie 1

 

Bonnie Prince Charlie 2

 

Bonnie Prince Charlie 3

 

Bonnie Prince Charlie 4

 

Bonnie Prince Charlie 5

 

Bonnie Prince Charlie 6Bonnie Prince Charlie 7

 

The ABOVE ‘Front of House Stills’ from the film show just how colourful it was and give an indication of the scale of the film

 

To add to the Highland Film scenes which were impressive there were some clever Matte Paintings used to add to the beautiful colour photography – AS BELOW :

Bonnie Prince Charlie Matte Shot

 

Bonnie Prince Charlie Matte Shot 3

 

Legendary Film Producer Sir Alexander Korda was the person in overall charge – he was a man that David Niven said he greatly admired for what he had done – but he added that he felt sorry for him on Bonnie Prince Charlie as everything that could go wrong did go wrong. On top of this a script had not been completed and was written, at best, a couple of days ahead of filming
David Niven Bonnie Prince Charlie
ABOVE Here is David Niven in costume as Bonnie Prince Charliewith Sir Alexander Korda and Vivien Leigh
The best acting in the film is from Margaret Leighton as Flora MacDonald, the woman who hides Charles and leads him to the safety of a ship for Europe –  she is both patriotic and touching.
Jack Hawkins also had a leading role – I hadn’t realised that he was in this – probably just before he became such an important British Film Actor

One very tragic event that affected the film – Will Fyffe died on December 14 1947, after falling from a hotel bedroom window in St Andrews, Fife. He was 62 and his death happened during the filming of Bonnie Prince Charlie in which he had an important part.

His character was taken over by Morland Graham – and this meant that they had to re shoot all of Will Fyffe’s scenes.

The very next year in April 1949,  Morland Graham  died after an overdose of aspirin

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Hollywood Hobbies

Well, of course the Film Stars of the day had a life outside of acting on screen – and many had hobbies that they enjoyed and which must have given them, relaxation.

We have a few quite well known film actors below just doing their own thing

Tony Curtis

Tony Curtis beating out a rhythm on the bongo drums ABOVE

Audie Murphy plays with hsi childrens train set

Audie Murphy enjoys playing with his two sons Terry and James with their train set under the watchful eye of their Mother Pamela ABOVE

 

Rock Hudson

 

Golf addict Rock Hudson spends most of his time on the Golf Course – or on his way to it  – ABOVE

 

George Nader

 

George Nader claims that he does this best of all – relaxing in the sun on the beach –  ABOVE

 

Jack Mahoney

 

Jack Mahoney – of The Range Rider fame over here,  prefers fishing.    Here he casts a professional eye on the water –  ABOVE

 

Martha Hyer

 

 

Martha Hyer is an accomplished painter and apparently if she left acting could make a full time job of her other hobby – short story writing ABOVE I wouldn’t mind seeing and reading one of those stories.

 

Joanna Moore

 

Joanna Moore really can play the guitar and she can paint pictures like the one on the wall behind her. She is also musically talented - ABOVE

 

Tony Curtis 2

 

Swiss born Lilo Pulver seen here dropping in on Tony Curtis at the Universal International Studio – she has a medal for her horse riding skills - ABOVE

 

Jeff Chandler

 

Ex Art Teacher – which I did not know – Jeff Chandler keeps his hand in.   Jeff found the switch from teacher to film actor gave him the chance to do as a hobby, what he had previously done as a job – ABOVE

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Nowhere to Go 1958

This film was shown on Talking Pictures last weekend and although it is not one I knew at all I have to say I should have because this was a gripping film.

I have often been of the opinion that – certainly in those days and maybe even today – the title can sell the film – or not !!  I think this is a classic example because the title says nothing and is uninteresting – it needed  a punchy title.

Even now if you see this advertised on Talking Pictures, on the strength of the title you would not give it a second look. I must say – you would be making a mistake if you didn’t give it a look.

Nowhere to Go 1958 Nowhere to Go 1958 1

Directed expertly by Seth Holt, who co-wrote the film with critic Kenneth Tynan, the film has George Nader as an American con man in London, looking to  steal a valuable coin collection (the owner is played by former silent film star Bessie Love). His partner in crime is the quiet and yet dangerous Bernard Lee.

Maggie Smith makes her film debut as George Nader’s love interest.

Also in the cast we have Bernard Lee, Geoffrey Keen, Harry H Corbett and Andree Melly – George Melly’s sister – she did appear occasionally on ‘Whats My Line’

Later on she was a regular panellist on the Radio programme ‘Just a Minute’

Then on to the uncredited ones – and there are some quite famous names here – Glyn Houston,  Arthur Howard – pictured on he left ABOVE, Lionel Jeffries, Howard Marion Crawford and John Welsh ( second left seated in the ABOVE picture)  who a few years later was  in The Forsyte Saga

 

Nowhere to Go 1958 2

Nowhere to Go 1958 3

 

The story never seems to go in the direction you expect -its charm lies in this unpredictability. 

Nowhere to Go 1958 4

Nowhere To Go seems both authentic and believable. In the end, Paul Gregory’s self-assured cockiness is undone by surprise, deceit and suspicion.

Nowhere to Go 1958 5

Those more accustomed to seeing  Maggie Smith in her more sophisticated roles from the 1970s onwards, will be pleasantly surprised by her ability to comfortably inhabit the role of a working class girl.

Nowhere to Go 1958 6

 I have to admit that although I have been aware of  George Nader, I have  a job to remember a film that I have seen him in other than this.

Nowhere to Go 1958 7

 

    Nowhere to Go 1958 8

Both Bessie Love and Bernard Lee provide strong supporting roles.

This is a film that is quite gripping from start to finish.

Paul Beeson’s wonderful cinematography helps make it and is an important factor here.

“Nowhere to go” is the first film directed by Seth Holt who also wrote it – sadly he didn’t write any more. What a shame that was !!

 

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Richard Todd – Born 100 Years ago today

 RICHARD TODD – Born 100 Years ago today

One of our most popular film stars of the 1950s both here and in the USA was Richard Todd – he was born in Ireland on 11 June 1919.

He had gone into acting before the War but it was in the late Forties that he got his film break and  in only his second film ‘The Hasty Heart’ he won acclaim from both sides of the Atlantic.

He followed this with the Walt Disney Films ‘The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men’  which was the first and most memorable of the three.

The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men 1952

He had by then accepted a one-a-year film contract with 20th Century Fox in America  which proved very beneficial for him.

Richard Todd with Barnes Wallis

 

Here he is ABOVE – with Barnes Wallis at the screening of The Dam Busters – in one of his most famous roles as Guy Gibson

He lived for much of his later life in Lincolnshre, Nr Grantham – with his wife Virginia and two sons.

As we remember D Day only a few days ago, it has to be remembered that he was the first paratrooper of the invasion force,  to land in Normandy close to Pegasus Bridge which he was involved in taking and holding under the command of Major John Howard.

His film heroics a few years later didn’t come nowhere near what he had done at that time.

We should all raise a glass to him this evening ‘ Happy Birthday, Richard Todd’

 

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Stanley Baker – Bardney Music Festival in Lincolnshire – 1972

 

One of the organisers of this event – in the middle of rural Lincolnshire –  was none other than  film star Stanley Baker.  Not one of his better ventures as it turned out – it was held over the Spring Bank Holiday Weeked at the end of May 1972 – we always think that is a weekend and week that can usually be relied on to give some good sunny and warm weather.

 

Sadly that was not the case this time as the event coincided with torrential rain and high winds

 

Personally I cannot remember this event at all but a friend of mine can. It seems, from what I have managed to glean,  that Stanley Baker was there for all of the FOUR days

Bardney is a village in the heart of Lincolnshire East of Lincoln. Tupholme is a hamlet nearby – and Tupholme Airfield is a former RAF wartime base. Not sure but I wonder if the event took place on the disused airfield – however with the description used of  festival site as a ‘muddy marsh’  maybe not.

 

Stanly Baker in Bardney Lincolnshire

 

Early in May 1972, with the festival less than three weeks away, Stanley Baker and Lord Harlech flew to Bardney by helicopter from London. ABOVE PICTURE

The Vicar of Bardney, the Rev Peter Clarke, receives a £10,000 bond from Lord Harlech against any damage caused by his company’s pop festival just outside Bardney. Also pictured from left: Festival director Barry Spikings, actor Stanley Baker and land owner Bill Hardy

 

Bardney

 

The Festival featured the Spencer Davis Group, Lindisfarne, the Beach Boys, Genesis, Sly and the Family Stone, Slade, Faces (with lead singer Rod Stewart), Helen Reddy, Strawbs, Vinegar Joe (with lead singers Elkie Brooks and Robert Palmer), Sha Na Na, Don McLean, Joe Cocker, Status Quo and a host of others introduced by John Peel and Whispering Bob Harris.

 

Bardney 2

 

At its peak, there were 50,000 people there – in torrential winds and rain!

 

Bardney Festival Line up

 

It was amazing that the festival even happened in the first place as there was a lot of opposition from officials and locals who wanted to ban it.

The biggest threat turned out to be the weather. The night before the festival was due to begin, the site was battered by gale force winds which smashed up the stage and wrecked marquees and fan’s tents.

 

Music Festival Bardney 1972

 

Organisers worked through the night to ensure the show would go on but the weather was dreadful.

Twenty-four hours into the event, one local Newspaper  reported: “The mammoth pop festival site is a muddy marsh. There has been rain, cold and high winds. But nothing can stop the fans pouring in.”

By the time the music started, several hundred fans had been treated for exposure – many fans had arrived on the site already exhausted from their long trek from Lincoln.

Actor Stanley Baker, of Zulu fame, one of the leading lights behind the festival, was cheered by around 40,000 when he followed Slade on to the stage to thank the fans for turning up and behaving themselves.

Many local Bardney businesses admitted they had had a bumper weekend and apart from just a few exceptions, it seemed fans had been well behaved.

Another venture for Stanley Baker – he along with others purchased British Lion Films and Shepperton Studios – and also he financed films not all doing anywhere near as well as Zulu. It does seem that his venture into the business world was not a success.

Maybe he should have stayed with acting – he did continue acting of course but ended up in making some inferior films because he needed the money.

 Then of course he died at a young age leaving a wife and children.

He made some memorable films – I think that in the last day or two – or maybe still to come  - Talking Pictures are showing ‘Hell Drivers’ one of his early ones – and it will be in a restored version.

 

 

 

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Ellis Powell – Mrs Dale on Radio – Her Son marries

I did an article on this Radio Actress a few months ago having acquired quite a bit of information from a Magazine article that Ellis Powell – famous as Mrs Dale on Radio –  had given.

 

Other that that, there is very little information on this actress who had the leading role in a very famous Radio show throughout the fifties and into the sixties.

 

It is the manner of her departure from that role that seems to have been reported more than anything.  

 

In the article she said that she had a son Clive, about the same age as the fictional Mrs Dale’s son Bob who was in his early twenties in 1954.

Ellis Powell's son marries 1960

I have come across this photograph of Ellis Powell attending the marriage of her son Clive in 1960 SEE ABOVE

 

Clive Roman and Myra Vaughan wedding 1960

 

How he comes to have the surname Roman I don’t know unless Roman is his second name. We assume also that his father was Ralph Truman who Ellis Powell was married to from 9th March 1928 - but all is speculation.

 

Ellis Powell died in 1963 aged 59

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Talking Pictures – Not quite a Double Bill

 

That wonderful Television channel we have here in England Talking Pictures has certainly been a great hit with us Film fans of those classic film years.

 

Today they showed a film I have featured on here a few times before – Duel In the Jungle – and that was followed by the late great Billy Fury in Play It Cool.

Duel-In-The-Jungle-1954

 

ABOVE – a scene from the film’s climax – this is the studio set bit that was used along with African Location filming

Duel In The Jungle 1954 - was a quite big budget production in Colour – and much of it shot on location in Africa

I have seen information on imdb that Duel In Tne Jungle  was produced by Donna Reed and her husband Tony Owens – with their production company Todon  - but I can find no reference to Todon - so have no idea of the other similar films they financed. Todon, a company of Tony Owens and his wife Donna Reed which produced The Donna Reed Show for Television some years later.

Play It Cool Billy Fury

 

Billy Fury with Anna Palk

 

‘Play It Cool’ was directed by Michael Winner who had a great respect for Billy Fury who was not a trained actor but did extremely well in this very much ‘above average’ film of it’s type.

This was one of if not the best pop music films to come out of 60s Britain with Billy Fury

It is true that many very poor pop music films were produced in Britain in the early 1960s. Play It Cool is not, however, a poor film. It has a charm, drive and integrity that singles it out from the dross. Billy Fury never claimed to be a natural actor. In interviews, he said repeatedly that he was keen to take cameo roles that gave him the opportunity to focus with intensity on his character.

Billy Fury

 

ABOVE – A Publicity Still from ‘Play it Cool’

However, Play It Cool placed on his shoulders the responsibility of accepting the entire focus of the plot, and he brought energy and imagination to the role. Michael Winner has often remarked on the respect he felt for Billy Fury in accepting a star role in a medium that was so foreign to him, and in delivering such a performance.

His next film ‘I’ve Gotta Horse’ was made in 1965 and then came  That’ll Be The Day – quite a bit later -where Billy has a cameo role as Stormy Tempest a singer at a holiday camp. That one had Ringo Starr as well as David Essex.

Anna Palk

 

ABOVE Anna Palk

In ‘Play it Cool’ Billy’s girl in the film was Anna Palk who I remember well from the Television Series ‘The Main Chance’ with John Stride.  Sadly she died quite young in 1990 aged only49.

 

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Russ Hamilton, Terry Dene and Edna Savage

 

I am reminded of this early Pop Singer – after seeing the film version of ‘Six Five Special’ last weekend on Talking Pictures. 

 

It featured quite a lot of singers of the day. One of the artist featured was this man Russ Hamilton who  was , in a way unique.   

 

He had a really big hit in the UK in 1957 with ‘We will Make Love’ and the B Side of this called ‘Rainbow’ virtuallu topped the US charts. Unheard of in those days.

Russ Hamilton

 

ABOVE: Russ Hamilton with Billy Fury

 

In 1957, several years before the British beat invasion of America, a young singer-songwriter from Liverpool, Russ Hamilton, made the US Top 10 with “Rainbow”. In Britain the song was the B-side of Hamilton’s hit “We Will Make Love”, which came close to the top of the UK charts in August that year.

 

Oriole

 

We Will Make Love and Rainbow – were recorded on the Oriole Label ABOVE

 

The newspapers of the day were full of Hamilton’s success and he was in buoyant mood, planning to buy a car and hoping to give his parents a weekly allowance – once his royalties came through. He would sing “We Will Make Money” to reporters, but despite having a Top 10 record in Britain and America he made very little money.

 

He offered young musicians this advice: “Never give anyone your power of attorney.”

 

Russ Hamilton was born Ronald Hulme in Liverpool in 1932. In his early twenties, he fell in love with Pat Hitchin, a girl from Blackpool, and when she jilted him he consoled himself by writing a romantic waltz, “We Will Make Love”.

 

Despite the title, the lyric was very innocent, and the song was literate with good imagery. Hulme had a dreary job as a cost clerk and, in 1956, he became a Redcoat at Butlin’s in Blackpool, where, as Uncle Ronnie, he organised parties and treasure hunts for children. He offered “We Will Make Love” to Frankie Vaughan, but Frankie  wasn’t interested. 

 

Hulme then formed a skiffle group, which entertained Butlin’s staff at the Royal Albert Hall. Billy Butlin suggested that they made a record to wake up the campers.

 

This was arranged with a small independent label, Oriole, and while in the studio, Hulme asked if he could also sing “We Will Make Love”, which he would pay for himself.

 

Oriole’s musical director, Jack Baverstock, urged the label’s owner, Morris Levy, to sign him. A recording session was arranged in March 1957 with the Mike Sammes Singers and the Johnny Gregory Orchestra.

 

Oriole thought he should have a new name: Hamilton Square was nearby and Hulme added “Russ” as it sounded American.

 

During the winter months, the newly named Russ Hamilton was working for Butlin’s at the Ocean Hotel, Brighton, entertaining honeymooners who wanted the tax advantage of marrying before the end of the financial year.

 

One guest star, the singer Michael Holliday, offered to record “We Will Make Love”. When Hamilton told him it was being released on Oriole, Holliday pooh-poohed its chances as the label had had so few hits, but with Butlin’s publicity, Hamilton secured appearances on BBC TV’s Six-Five Special.

 

The single climbed the charts, although Scottish sales were split with Kathie Kay’s cover version.

 

After 11 weeks it reached the No 2 slot. Elvis Presley’s “All Shook Up” had been on top for four weeks and Russ Hamilton was set to replace him.

Russ Hamilton 2

Russ Hamilton ABOVE – Looks like he is at Butlins here where he worked for quite a time.

 

However  on 2 August 1957, Oriole Records placed an advertisement in the music press: “This week and next our factories are closed for the annual holidays. Our presses are at a standstill. Large supplies of this record built up prior to the close-down have been exhausted and for two weeks you may have difficulty in buying Oriole CB. 1359 – which is, of course, Russ Hamilton’s ‘We Will Make Love’.” The ad concluded: “We know that this disc will be a Number One… and it will be up there very soon after supplies start rolling again.”

 

The huge success of Hamilton’s record had taken Oriole by surprise. The following week, “We Will Make Love” slipped to No 4, and it faded away as Paul Anka’s “Diana” took over from Presley instead. Hamilton was touring Butlin’s camps, judging skiffle contests and singing with the winners: for all he knew, he could have been performing for the workers at the pressing plant. The B-side of the single, “Rainbow”, was a whimsical ballad.   

 

The A-side was published by Dave Toff but the B-side belonged to Robbins Music, who pushed it hard in the US, securing cover versions from Bill Darnel and Bobby Breen. Hamilton entered the US charts and went to No 4 during a four-month stay. Because of commitments to Butlin’s and Six-Five Special, an appearance on Patti Page’s The Big Record Show had to be postponed until October and by then, the moment had passed.

 

Using the old adage that any publicity is better than none stories were made up, one was that he that I had won a Purple Heart in Korea and had bought Hitler’s yacht for £100,000.

At the time he didn’t even own a Cycle.

 

His follow-up, the engaging “Wedding Ring”, scraped into the UK Top 20. I

 

I  can remember also the next record he had which was “Little One” –  later recorded by Ruby Murray and Houston Wells – it made the sheet music sales charts.

 

Russ Hamilton made an LP for Oriole and his 12 singles for the label include standards (“Tip Toe Through the Tulips”, “September in the Rain”) as well as an answer song, “The Reprieve of Tom Dooley”.

He did record for other labels, notably “Gonna Find Me a Bluebird” with the Jordanaires in Nashville, and a remake of “We Will Make Love” for Embassy, but he was disheartened. As he said, “I was going round the world singing my head off and I was swindled out of a fortune. I never even got my gold disc.”  

 

Terry Dene

 

Talking of Golden Discs – another Pop singer of a similar time was Terry Dene  PICTURED ABOVE – who starred in a film directed by Don Sharp called The Golden Disc in 1958 – quite a low budget film from Butchers Films who tended to specialise in crime dramas with some success.

I don’t thin I ever saw the film but as it is or has been shown on Talking Pictures I may get to see it.

Terry Dene,  at times very reminiscent of Cliff Richard, had 3 top 20 hits between 1957 and 1958. Cliff Richard had his first hit in 1959.  Terry Dene is also still performing.

 

One event I remember clearly was when Terry  Dene got called up to the army for his national service.  However  when he joined up, his arrival was greeted by maximum media coverage, the red carpet and preferential treatment.

This alienated his fellow recruits who bullied him unmercifully and, within two weeks, Terry Dene had a nervous breakdown and was discharged.

All kind of abuse followed and, just as quickly as he had risen to the top, so he descended to the bottom of the heap.

Failure was something that Dene had to get used to over the next 20 years. The bookings dried up and, when he played, he had to endure the mindless taunts about his past fame, discharge from the army and break-up of his marriage to Edna Savage.

Then came a transformation -  it came  when he walked past the Mobile Evangelistic Crusade Mini Van in Trafalgar Square and at that point Terry  decided to follow Jesus Christ.

He became an evangelical singer and, through this, he was able to find some sort of inner peace. How good that was for him.

 

 

 

Terry Dene in The Golden Disc 1958

 

Terry Dene marries Edna Savage 1958

 

 

Edna Savage 1958

Terry Dene married another very popular singer – the lovely Edna Savage ABOVE.

Edna was born in Warrington, then in Lancashire  on 21st April 1936. She had an elder sister, Alice and another sister, Hilda. Her father was a landscape gardener.

 

Leaving school at 15 Edna trained as a GPO telephonist which was then regarded as a secure job. It wasn’t long before she was able to ‘give up the day job’ as bt then she had got  BBC and Parlophone contracts.

In 1954 after two auditions with the BBC came her first radio broadcast with Alan Ainsworth and The BBC Northern Variety Orchestra.

 

In the 1956 film ‘It’s Great to be Young’ she dubbed the voiceover for Dorothy Bromiley. Ruby Murray sang the number in the opening credit 

 

Edna had four marriages and divorces, the first beingTerry Dene the Rock and Roll singer and later Douglas Wilkes guitarist with the Shondells with who she  had twin daughters, Allison and Samantha and lastly Dennis Plowright her pianist.

She spent the later years of her life bringing up her two daughters and grandson.

 Edna died in Ormskirk Hospital on 31st December 2000 at age of 64

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