Archive for October, 2019

Mari Aldon


I came across this 1952 article, where actress Mari Aldon talked about the importance of getting a good rest and how to battle fatigue and survive in the film industry. 

Mari Aldon 2  


It isn’t often that a girl’s first part is a starring one, but Mari Aldon makes her screen debut as Gary Cooper’s leading lady in “Distant Drums”.

It is a film I really like – set in the Florida Everglades with beautiful Technicolor and locations we could only dream of.


Mari Aldon


Mari was asked how it felt being a film star in Hollywood.   “It’s a dream come true” she confessed. “I’ve known I wanted to be an actress ever since I can remember.

My father tells me he had to drag me off the stage at the age of two.


Mari Aldon


Mari Aldon 2


I guess I’m a ham all right.” She was asked how she man aged to look good when she had worked so hard and was tired  to which she replied  “It’s easy to be fresh and radiant when you have had plenty of rest but it takes a little doing when you have to be up before six,  then work before the camera all day – and maybe even  attend a big premier “


Mari Aldon 3


Mari Aldon marries Film Director


Tay Garnett Tay Garnett had been a pilot in the US Airforce during World War 1.  When that was over he got back into films – and was a successful and very respected Director for an astonishing four decades. 

Those years spanned the golden era of Hollywood. He worked with virtually all the legendary names from that era.


I have only just touched on his life here – so we will endeavour to do a much more involved post later on this remarkable man.  

Their daughter Tiela Garnett has written a joint autobiography along with her famous father. She also talked lovingly about him in a talk she gave about her father – and said how much she admired and loved him and that she misses him and thinks of him every day of her life.

What a touching and heart warming thing to say. Lovely !!

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Elton Hayes on Radio and TV – in Films and then Farming


Elton Hayes must have wondered just how his film career had begun – it all happened by accident.  After the War, Elton appeared on BBC Radio with folk songs and children’s nursery rhymes plus his original material and that led to Walt Disney using his talents to locate and provide  sea shanties for his British made live action film ‘Treasure Island’

He must have impressed them because when Walt returned to England – to Denham Film Studios again – to film ‘The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men’ he again called on Elton to provide  the mediaeval songs.

This led to him getting a small part as Alan A Dale  – but as the planning went on Alan A Dale became one of the key characters in the film – being used to link many of the scenes musically – and so Elton Hayes was then a film star with a big part – a starring part – in this a very successful film on a Worldwide scale.

Elton Hayes with Walt Disney

ABOVE – Elton Hayes on the set – with Walt Disney and Richard Todd

Elton Hayes


ABOVE – a lavish and impressive studio set at Denham Film Studios for The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men 1952.

Here is Elton Hayes with James Robertson Justice and Michael Hordern.

Sadly Elton’s luck ran out after he was cast in 1954 in The Black Knight with Alan Ladd and Patricia Medina again made in England.  He appeared again as a minstrel singing one of the opening sequences and was due a bigger part. However one of the actors wore Elton’s costume in a fight sequence early in the film, where the actor was killed off. This meant that Elton’s part was effectively killed off too. 

The success of the Walt Disney ‘Robin Hood’ film – in which Elton had one of the leading roles as Alan A Dale – led to a nineteen-city tour of the USA and Canada, making 113 radio and TV appearances in 8 hectic weeks in 1952


He bought a 47-acre farm at Hartest, near Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk and soon built up a prestigious herd of pedigree pigs. He now found time to return to his youthful hobby of horses.

Sadly a severe stroke in 1995 put an end to these activities and Elton had to give up his farm and move to live with friends at nearby Cockfield. With characteristic courage and determination he overcame many of the difficulties associated with the stroke but lost the brave battle he had with his final illness in 2001.

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New Bond film with exciting action scenes filmed in Scotland


Interestingly there was an article a few weeks ago from Scotland where some great action scenes from the new Bond film were being photographed


The jaw-dropping stunt BELOW  was filmed in the Laggan area, with a helicopter circulating above to capture the very best action possible for the hotly anticipated release.

Bond New One 2



The chase scene involved two vehicles, a grey Range Rover and a sand coloured four by four.

Images showed the Range Rover being pushed off the road into an embankment before careering off a rock face 30ft into the air, coming to an abrupt halt some 300ft away after bundling over with at least two full rotations.

The high-speed chase scene came after the brand new £1.5 million Aston Martin Valhalla – which can reach speeds of up to 200mph – was spotted in the Highlands after the car manufacturing company lent is prize asset to the production crew for inclusion in the upcoming release.

The vehicle will not be available for general purchase until 2021, with only 500 being produced worldwide, but some eagle-eyed movie fanatics managed to capture the first glimpse of the vehicle in the wild during filming on Saturday, as a 15-minute road closure was put in place in Laggan to allow for shots to be undertaken.

Producers of the latest venture have remained tight-lipped over any early announcements relating to the movie, with it solely listed as Bond 25 on all advertising platforms ahead of its release in April.

Rumours have been circulating in recent weeks that James Bond, played by Daniel Craig, will have his famous 007 number stripped, with the code name instead being handed to British actor Lashana Lynch and her currently unknown character.

Filming near to Laggan had gone on for quite a few weeks – and it was also revealed that a make-shift hotel had been erected in the Aviemore area to house 300 crew members.

The news was welcomed by business leaders across the region, who anticipated a multi-million-pound boost to the area.

Stewart Nicol, chief executive of Inverness Chamber of Commerce, described the arrival of production crews to Aviemore as “fantastic news”.

He added: “It is really a significant benefit to the whole region. It is not just the production period that brings a substantial economic boost, as they will be spending in the area, but it is the global effect afterwards.

“Bond fans and people who see the landscape want to come and see where it was filmed. Activity like this is really welcome in this area.”

The Highlands is no stranger to hosting production crews, with the Bond franchise returning after a previous visit in the run-up to the 2012 release of Skyfall, which was shot in and around the Glencoe area, including the famed Glen Etive.

Bond 25 is expected to be the final outing for Daniel Craig as the notorious secret agent.


The new James Bond film No Time to Die has officially completed shooting

The Company  announced the news with a photograph of lead star Daniel Craig alongside the film’s director, Cary Fukanaga, captioned: “That’s a wrap on No Time to Die.”

According to the official plot synopsis, the film will catch up with Bond who is enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica when his old friend Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright), from the CIA, turns up asking for help.

Bond New one


A mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist turns out to be far more treacherous than expected, leading 007 onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology.

This villain will be played by Bohemian Rhapsody Oscar-winner Rami Malek.

Ralph Fiennes will return as M, while Léa Seydoux will once again appear as Dr Madeleine Swann. Ben Wishaw will also be back as Q.

Naomie Harris, who will also star.

No Time to Die, which will introduce a female version of 007 played by Lashana Lynch, will be released in the UK on 3 April 2020.

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Walt Disneys former home sold


This story dates back to 2014 when the former home of Walt Disney in the Holmby Hills was sold.


Walt Disneys Former Home


Since Walt Disney owned it there had been many changes Walt Disney’ pride and joy – his model railway that ran all around the grounds is gone – except for the remains of a tunnel he had built there.



Walt Disneys Former Home 2


I also expect that the old mid-western style barn that he had where he worked on some of his modelling and rail repairs is also gone. It had reminded him of his childhood in the mid West of America. In fact that very barn is shown on the old photograph above – as the train goes by with Walt Disney driving it – as he so often did.


Walt Disney eventually left this home in the Holmby Hills, leaving his barn but his  daughter eventually came to the rescue. She gave both the barn and Walt’s hand-laid tracks to a group of locomotive enthusiasts known as the Los Angeles Live Steamers who maintained a rail museum in LA’s Griffith Park. The barn and all of the tracks were moved in their entirety to the park where they are still in  service today.

Know as the “Disney Loop,” the tracks are still maintained and the Disney Barn is kept in the same state it was in when in use by Walt Disney himself.

The set up is akin to  a small museum where visitors can come and imagine some dreams of their own. 


Walt Disneys Former Home 3

This looks like it would have been Walt Disney’s small sitting room or study – but this is a much later picture

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Roy Rogers – An Auction Sale 2010

 This Newspaper Report dates back to  July 2010


Roy Rogers horse fetches $266,500

Trigger, the palomino horse was stuffed after it died in 1965


Christie’s auction house, which ran the sale along with Western auctioneer High Noon Americana, said the collection of items related to Roy Rogers’ and his wife Dale Evan’s roles on television and in films brought in $2.9 million.

Trigger, the palomino horse which Rogers had stuffed after it died in 1965, was bought by rural US cable television station RFD-TV for $266,500, while his saddle fetched $386,500 (£252,000) from a private buyer.

Roger’s stuffed German Shepherd Bullet, who was also the family pet, sold for $35,000 (£22,890), also to RFD-TV.

Other top sellers included Roy Rogers’ 1963 Pontiac Bonneville and the Nellybelle jeep, an iconic emblem on the Roy Rogers Show, which ran on television in the 1950s and 1960s.

The Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Museum, which was based in Branson, Missouri was closed in 2009. Roy Rogers died in 1998 at age 86.

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Somewhere in Camp – Frank Randle 1942

We go back quite a bit with this one.   ‘Somewhere in Camp’  was on Talking Pictures a few weeks ago – from The old Mancunian Film Studios  headed by Johnny Blakely. 
In many ways dated , with  cheap  production values this was nevertheless film gold for nostalgia buffs.  
It starred the now forgotten comedian Harry Korris and the better remembered Frank Randle who was very popular at the time. 
Frank Randal had quite a following – his humour though was pure music hall. 
 Somewhere in Camp

One of those films – so bad it was good.   It also starred a  very attractive girl singer called  Antionette Lupino –  or Toni Lupino.  who was a cousin of the much more famous Ida Lupino.
 It was second features like this that helped keep up morale in those dark Wartime days. 
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Carry on Cabby


You can almost break out laughing just looking at this bright and breezy magazine advertisement for the film.


Carry On Cabby is one of the best of the Carry On films – in this one  Sid James plays Charles Hawkins, the workaholic owner of a taxi firm and Hattie Jacques is his neglected wife. As revenge, Hattie decides to set up her own taxi outlet with glamorous female drivers and beat her husband at his own game.


This Carry On relies more on the story to provide the laughs – This was Hattie’s favourite Carry On, and its easy to understand why – she gets to reveal what a verastile actress she was



Carry on Cabby


Quite a host of stars


The film boasts a pretty good script, a classic tale of men against women.   


There are some good  laughs from the  duo of Charles Hawtrey and ESMA Canon, Kenneth Conor’s female taxi driver is hilarious.


Esma Cannon


More about Esma Cannon in a later post I think. 


Holiday Camp 1947


I remember her so well in Holiday Camp 1947 when she finished up being murdered by the wicked ( in the film)  Dennis Price

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Raw Wind in Eden 1958

This was brought to us by Universal – and one description of it was ‘ Raw Wind In Eden’ was about as entertaining as a raw wound in Eden.

Raw Wind in Eden 1958

Esther Williams starred along with Carlos Thompson who were travelling on a small plane that crashes on a remote island run by Jeff Chandler with Rosanna Podesta.

Predictably Esther Williams dons her swimming costume and goes for a dip where she meets and eventually falls in love with Jeff Chandler.

It was filmed in Cinemascope and Eastmancolor

Raw Wind in Eden 1958 2

The casting of Jeff Chandler and Esther Williams, was certainly a good choice and  the setting and the location filming in the Mediterranean Sea  impresses as much as the actors .

It is well done. It is a quite a basic story but none the worse for that

Raw Wind in Eden 1958 3

It looks to have been released as part of a double feature ABOVE

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3D Films of the Fifties

I have to admit that I just loved those 3D films released in the early / mid fifties – and I have looked it up online and there are as many as 62 of them released between 1953 and 1956.

The craze died away as quickly as it had come and I don’t know why because some of the films were very profitable indeed.

One of my own favourites was ‘The Phantom of the Rue Morgue’ with Karl Malden but I didn’t get to see any of these films until later – maybe into the early sixties when the odd one – such as this one – came round again.

Many of the films I have seen later in normal format – for instance Hitchcock’s ‘ Dial M for Murder’ was made in 3 D but I doubt many of us ever saw it that way. I for one wish that I had.

Dial M for Murder

House of Wax was one of the biggest hits of 1953 – made at a cost of 1 million dollars it earned 23.75 million dollars worldwide – where as ‘Dial M For Murder’ was again successful but with a much lower success at 6 million dollars

Devil's Canyon 1953

Devil’s Canyon 1953

House of Wax

House of Wax

Now let me pose something for comment and maybe correction, but I have looked through the list of these films and it seems to me that there were no 3D films made in England during that period when they were so popular – and I wonder why.

One film  which depicts England – Well Scotland in fact – was ‘The Maze’ a real favourite of mine – set in an eerie  Scottish Castle that hid a dark secret, we only learned of the truth in the final minutes of the film.

I liked ‘The Maze’   –  here again though, I have seen it but never in 3 D

The Maze


The Maze – with an interesting second feature

Campus Panty Raids



Atom Bomb Doom Town 1953


Atom Bomb Doom Town 1953 2

More 3D features – never heard of either ABOVE.

The Atom Bomb Doom Town film is about the Nevada A Bomb tests


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The Man Who Could Cheat Death 1959

Here we have Anton Diffring, Christopher Lee and Hazel Court is a thriller about a man who is still youthful at 104 thanks to gland operations – glands that come from people he has murdered in order to maintain his youth.

Michael Carreras produced this Hammer Film – as he usually did and Terence Fisher directed as he usually did !!

Apparently Peter Cushing turned down the leading role  and so Anton Diffring stepped in at the last minute

This is quite a good film, although not one of Hammer’s best. The Victorian setting (the story is set in Paris) is very well done and adds to the atmosphere. Christopher Lee is very effective as the hero – he did not often get that role in early Hammer films – although in ‘The Hound of The Baskervilles’ released just before this one, he played quite a benign part. 

Hazel Court is absolutely beautiful as the heroine – I remember her well in an early film she made ‘Holiday Camp’

The Man who could cheat death 2

Scenes from the film

The Man who could cheat death


Scenes from the film

The Man who could cheat death 4


ABOVE – A set of Front of House Stills from the film.  I used to love to see these each week, outside of the Cinema in a display case, and would look at them and try to imagine what the film would be like.


The Man who could cheat death 3


Hazel Court remembers that in this film there was a scene where she posed nude for the Sculptor but this was only for the continental version. ABOVE


The Man who could cheat death 5

Needless to say, Anton Diffring comes to a sticky end



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