Archive for August, 2018

Someone who met and enjoyed a drink with Marilyn

The Daily Mail in Britain run a regular column each week where people – often close relatives –  write a tribute to ‘unsung heroes and heroines who deserve recognition’.   This week a man wrote in paying tribute to his ‘wonderful father-in-law’ who had died in July t6his year.

This was a gentleman called Derek Bishop and the story is as follows :-

Many of us have a story about the day we happened to rub shoulders with  someone famous but Derek had a story that could top them all.

Derek was with the RAF in Hong Kong in 1952 – although we think this must have been 1954 when Marilyn went to the Far East when he was on duty at the old Kai Tak Airport.

When his shift came to an end at 9pm, Derek and another solider were asked if they would stay on because a delayed flight was expected and there was a ‘celebrity’ on board.

They agreed and when the plane landed at 11pm, the famous passenger who stepped out was none other than the woman who would become the ultimate screen goddess Marilyn Monroe.

Derek said she was dressed in ‘everyday’ clothes and wore very little make-up. She insisted on thanking him and his pal personally for working late and took them for a drink in the Nissen Hut that served as the mess.

He had half a lager and enjoyed a few minutes – along with his colleague –  chatting to Marilyn.

Marilyn Monroe in the Far East

Marilyn Left and Derek Bishop on the Right in Hong Kong

(Although the story is dated as from 1952, Marilyn didn’t travel to the Far East until 1954. And I haven’t heard of her visiting Hong Kong before, but it’s possible she passed through while returning to husband Joe DiMaggio in Japan after entertaining US troops in Korea.)

On another occasion Derek – this time later in his RAF career – met Conan Doyle’s Daughter Jean when she came over to him in the Office he was working at the time, and read extracts of what he had been typing – he had been hoping to be a crime writer and had written quite a lot of the story and she asked to read it when it was completed – and gave it her vote of approval.

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Filming on location – The Admirable Crichton 1957

I love these Behind the Scenes pictures whenever I come across one – and this is one such photograph when the cast and crew were on location.

The film was shot from September to December 1956 in Bermuda and at London Film Studios in Shepperton, England – and was released in  London on 11 June 1957. It did not premiere in USA until 16 December 1957 and in fact Britain seemed to have this film on general release virtually 6 months before the rest of the World – Well I suppose it was a British made picture. 

Flming The Admirable Crichton

Above: In Bermuda for The Admirable Crichton with Kenneth More and Sally Ann Howes  plus of course Diane Cilento – who at that time had really made her mark in British Films.


Below Scenes from the finished film – scenes that we see actually being filmed above  :  The Admirable Crichton 1957

On Location The Admirable Crichton

The Above filmed at Jobson’s Bay in Bermuda

On Location The Admirable Crichton 2

On Location The Admirable Crichton 3

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Archie Duncan – Well Known Stage, Television and Film Actor

Sword of Lancelot Archie DuncanWritten by Archie Duncan’s Great Niece

Archie Duncan was my great uncle (my grandmothers brother) and I have some lovely memories of times spent in his company as a child. He lived in a flat which was on the top floor of a large victorian property and would often recieve his guests while in bed wearing a burgandy velvet smoking jacket. He was a kind and generous man and always made me feel special, taking me backstage at the London Palladium for example and obtaining autographs of various actors and actresses for myself and my friends. Archie never married or had children though I think he had a long term relationship with an actress called Betty Cardinew (I’m not sure if that’s the correct spelling).

Theatre Play with Archie DuncanTheatre Play with Archie Duncan 2Theatre Play with Archie Duncan 3
After his death I inhereted what I consider to be a unique piece of television history. It comes in the form of a get well message sent to him by cast and crew of the 1950’s series The Adventures Of Robin Hood following his accident on set when he prevented a horse from bolting into a crowd of onlookers. For this act of bravery he was awarded the Queens Medal for Gallantry. The message is on parchment paper and contains signatures of about 30 people including Richard Greene . There is a poem too, describing with humour the events which took place on that day and the subsequent chaos as shooting schedules were disrupted.

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Roy Rogers in England – at Walsall and Scotland – Edinburgh and Glasgow 1954

Roy Rogers In England

March 1, 1954 none other than Roy Rogers and Trigger appeared at the Savoy Walsall ABC Minors – and what a draw that would have been.

He apparently stayed at the Queens Hotel in Birmingham – and Trigger at the stables of  the Mitchells and Butler Brewery

With Roy of course was his wife Dale Evans who he had met a decade before on the set of The Cowboy and the Senorita.

Distinctive in his white stetson with its silver hatband and his hand-tooled boots, the Wild West hero’s tour was a smash hit

Roy Rogers in Edinburgh 1954


Roy Rogers and Trigger, Edinburgh 1954

This is singing cowboy Roy Rogers and wife Dale Evans taking their golden palomino horse Trigger up the stairs at the Caledonian Hotel in the capital in February, 1954. Roy had appeared in many TV shows and films with Trigger who really was an exceptional horse. To drum up publicity on their British tour they would often book into their hotel with Trigger much to the delight of fans.

The crowd are genuinely happy to see Roy and Trigger, although there must be a nervous hotel manager lurking in the background somewhere fretting about his carpets.

The story goes that the couple visited an orphanage in Edinburgh where a 13-year-old girl, Marion Fleming, sang Won’t You Buy My Pretty Flowers? and the couple promptly adopted her and took her back to America. Think it’s maybe a little more complicated to do these days.

Roy Rogers and Marion

Above: Roy Rogers and Marion Fleming singing together.

Also this snippet from one of the forums :-
Roy Rogers did visit Glasgow, he and Dale Evans did have a room in The Central Hotel and he booked one for trigger who preferred the stables in Parliamentary Road (or was it the southside) He did ride Trigger down the hotel staircase.He also visited Edinburgh. While entertaining at Dunforth Orphanage they met 13 year old Marion Fleming who became their fourth foster child.

Another very sad report on the tragic deaths of two of their children :

Off the well-documented happy trails of their on-screen magnetism, Dale and Roy blazed a trail of compassion, caring for their Down-Syndrome baby Robin, who died before her second birthday. Dale’s best-selling book ‘Angel Unaware’, a tribute to Robin, affected millions of special needs children and their families. Also during this period, Dale penned with Robin in mind the trademark chorus “Happy Trails to you until we meet again.”

Then, in 1964, their 12-year-old daughter Debbie was killed in a bus accident during a mission trip to Mexico. And, less than one year later, their son Sandy had a freak accident and choked to death while stationed with the military in Germany.

“You are not supposed to bury your children,” said their eldest son Roy Rogers Jr., choking back tears in the film. “People realised their faith was real the way they dealt with tragedy.”

“Mom and dad knew something good had to come from whatever was bad,” said Marion Fleming Swift, a foster daughter Rogers and Evans adopted from Scotland. Out of the tragedies came more books, the proceeds of which were donated to humanitarian organisations like World Vision and Campus Crusade for Christ.





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Anthony Quayle’s London Home

I have just come across this letter that Anthony Quayle wrote to one of his fans in January of 1965 – and from the Letter Heading we can see that his address was in Pelham Crescent, London SW7

Anthony Quayle


The letter was written in 1965, so at that time he had been married to Dorothy Hyson for quite a few years and their Three Children would have been teenagers. His career in the Theatre and Films was pretty much at its peak then  – his first love was the theatre but financially films provided a very lucrative acting experience no doubt.

This home was in a very sought after part of London both then  and now – particularly now because this house in Pelham Crescent was sold very recently in fact, in February 0f 2018 for £ 10,750,000 – a princely sum by any standards.

Pelham Crescent London SW7

I am not sure that the family would have kept the house on after his death – indeed I would rather doubt it.

Pelham Crescent London SW7 2

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