Archive for March, 2022

The Talented Husband with Roger Moore as The Saint

The Talented Husband’ is the first episode of the iconic ‘Saint’ television series, based on the novels by Leslie Charteris and starring Roger Moore

The first couple of series were shot in crisp black and white with Roger Moore Moore playing Simon Templar

In this the very first episode, we have an unusual to-camera introduction by the Saint himself before we get into the story of an invalid wife at the mercy of her husband’s sinister and devious plotting. There are twists and turns from the very beginning and Roger Moore doesn’t really appear much at all until the final 20 minutes, but along the way he is helped by the lovely Shirley Eaton playing an Insurance Investigator.

Derek Farr is extremely good value as the twitchy husband, who at first seems to be very caring towards his wife Patricia Roc. Gradually though, we see what he is up to

ABOVE – A shot outside Cookham Railway Station

This first episode of ‘The Saint’ had two top line actors of the forties and fifties, namely Derek Farr and Patricia Roc.

Patricia Roc here with Derek Farr

Patricia Roc, whose last screen appearance this was, had in 1945 gone over to Hollywood briefly and made a Western ‘Canyon Passage’ – a successful Technicolor film – and during her visit she met and had a romance with Ronald Reagan who fell in love with her and wanted them to marry.

Patricia Roc on Queen Mary returning from Hollywood

Back in London, where she was now one of Britain’s top ten box-office stars, the lovers were ­reunited at the Royal Command Film ­Performance at the Odeon, Leicester Square, in November 1948, at which Patricia Roc and Ronald Reagan both appeared on stage.

‘Ronnie seemed heartbroken and bitterly hurt,’ said Patricia. ‘His wife had told him: “You’re a bore! Get out! I want a divorce.” He was so damaged that often he was drinking and not able to perform sexually. He spent a lot of time at my London flat in Hallam Street, and ­repeatedly asked me to marry him.’

Reagan presented Patricia Roc with ‘the most beautiful ruby ring’. British sex symbol Christine Norden, who also appeared at the Royal Film Performance, heard Roc announce: ‘I love rubies, they are so hot, just like sex.’

But Patricia Roc by then had become engaged to the French lighting cameraman, André Thomas, who was to become her second husband in 1949, and with whom she set up home in Paris.

Reagan, divorced and again disappointed in love, began a brief affair with Patricia Neal, his co-star in the British film The Hasty Heart. In 1952, the year in which he married actress Nancy Davis, Patricia Roc co-starred with the Rank Organisation’s ‘Mr Beefcake’, Anthony Steel, in the film Something Money Can’t Buy.

Patricia Roc with Anthony Steel

Succumbing to what she described as Anthony Steel’s ‘animal magnetism’ — ‘I’m afraid he was very, very good in bed’ — they began an affair which resulted in the birth of a son, Michael. Her husband André, although knowing the child could not be his, accepted paternity, but suffered a massive stroke in 1956, and died at the age of 45.

Patricia was very good in ‘The Talented Husband’ and it was thought that , after this, her film and TV career would kick back into gear, but alas this did not happen for whatever reason. Although she was excellent, she spent most of the time being ill in bed – maybe that didn’t endear her to film producers – I just don’t know. It does seem strange

More on this famous film star later

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Film Stars Garden Party – Morden Park 1947

The Sunday Pictorial Newspaper held this Garden Party shortly after the War at Morden Park – and the event was repeated each year for quite a few years. In fact it was filmed by Pathe News and shown shortly afterwards at our local cinemas.

A crowd estimated at 25,000 attended on the very hot summer day in 1947 – in fact following a very cold and snowy winter, the summer of 1947 was hot and sunny and continued that way for months. Not sure what month this would be but I reckon it is mid summer. I have found out that the next year, in 1948 the event took place on 10th July

Every year, from 1947 to 1951, Morden Hall Park hosted possibly the most glamorous event in London: the Film Stars’ Garden Party. The Sunday Pictorial (which became the Sunday Mirror) collaborated with the British film industry to organise the parties in aid of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and the Church of England Children’s Society. 

Nearly 150 stars, both British and American, were present at these fabulous garden parties to meet 25,000 of their adoring fans. It was a chance of a lifetime for many a Londoner to meet their screen idol and take home a lasting memory.

One local resident recalls: “The Film star parties were the highlight of the year, I couldn’t get tickets but one year I sneaked in over the gate. I bumped into Margaret Lockwood who just shook my hand and let me carry on. I had heard of her, but didn’t realise how famous she was!  I can’t remember what she was wearing except that she was very glamorous with a large hat.”

ABOVE – Derek Bond and Anne Crawford pause for a chat

BELOW – John mills is the Auctioneer

BELOW -Michael Rennie assists Christine Norden as she cools her feet in the water

ABOVE – Richard Attenborough with his wife Shelia Sim

ABOVE – Lads from the Navy gather round Rosamund John as she signs her autograph for them

ABOVE – Left to Right Diana Dors, Joan Dowling, Christine Norden, Sheila Sim, Anne Crawford, Sally Anne Howes, Jane Hylton, Sally Gray, Rosamund John, Beatrice Campbell on parade

ABOVE – Anna Neagle with Michael Wilding – strawberrys and ice cream

ABOVE – John Mills – this time with young John Howard Davies

ABOVE – Garry Marsh with Yolande Donlan

ABOVE – Jean Simons and Stewart Granger sign for a fan

ABOVE – Fans queue up to be photographed with Jean Kent

ABOVE – Douglas Montgomery signs again and again

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Catherine Grant Bogle

This is the 1000 th article that I have written on this Blog – so I have saved this one which I know is about someone of interest to those film fans of the era.

This might not be a name that immediately is recognised – however she played a very big part in the success of film star Richard Todd – because she was his first wife.

She was Catherine Stewart Crawford Grant-Bogle

After Wartime service, Richard Todd had returned to Dundee Rep and there he met his first wife, the actress Catherine Stewart Crawford (Kitty) Bogle (1926-1997), , with whom he co-starred in the American comedy Claudia. She was the daughter of William Grant Bogle, steel brass founder. They married at St Columba’s Church, Pont Street, Chelsea, on 13 August 1949 and had a son, Peter, and a daughter, Fiona.

They married in 1949 before his film career had really started and about the time he made ‘The Hasty Heart’ in England – a film that went extremely well at the Box Office on both sides of the Atlantic.

Catherine

She went with him on his trips to Hollywood at that time and later, together they had two children Peter and Fiona.

Happier times at Wayside House

Their first home was Wayside House in Pinkneys Green Nr Maidenhead before the purchased a large house and farm – Haileywood House at Shiplake close to Henley on Thames

Catherine at home in Wayside House Pinkneys Green

Catherine had been an actress of some note in Rep in Dundee – where she met her husband – and she then gave up her promising career to support him – in fact she had been offered employment with Liverpool Rep after the play Claudia in Dundee finished and, it is true to say, that while they were married Richard Todd was very successful. It seems to me that she was influential and guided him in a sure-footed way – after they divorced in the late 1960s his career was not well handled and plummeted downwards as he concentrated on Theatre bringing in a much lower income than he had been used to.

Without Catherine, he was not able to command the heights he had achieved before in my view.

If you read his Autobiography, Richard Todd says that in 1968 things were not right in his marriage. After he had consulted a Solicitor informally, he suggested a separation but Catherine did not – however she later did say that if he wanted a separation then she would want a divorce. They agreed to meet for a meal at the Lygon Arms in Broadway but discussions did not go well and they left. He was not living at their home but a few weeks later he agreed to call round and pack his belongings – which he later did – and on this visit they barely spoke a word to one another – and in fact never spoke to each other again.

Of course, while all this was going on, he had met Virginia Mailer which quite obviously sparked off the breakdown of his marriage as he appeared smitten.

I find this such a sad story – more so for Catherine and there is little information about her after this

We do know from Richard’s Autobiography that, in the divorce settlement he took a Crown Lease on a very nice Regency styled house near The Tate Gallery in North London for Catherine ( Kitty) and their two children. Peter at that time, was at Eton and Fiona at a college in Wantage Berkshire. I was going to say that I was not sure if Kitty drove, but she did because Richard mentions buying her a particular car before the break-up – I mention this because I was just thinking about how she would visit and collect her youngsters.

Catherine with her children Fiona and Peter
She truly was a beautiful lady and as our contributor says a fantastic mother

The Messages BELOW are actually re-printed from www.disneysrobin.blogspot.com – a wonderful site to visit. I have asked and received the owners permission to publish as below :-

Little was known about Catherine’s life after she was divorced from film legend Richard Todd (1919-2009). So I am sure readers will be very interested in some of the messages:

Pam says:

“I was looking up info on Richard Todd when I saw this article on Catherine Grant-Bogle. She was my landlady in 1970/71 in London, in a flat near the Tate Gallery.​​ I am Canadian and was backpacking through Europe with my girlfriend. She took me, my girlfriend and a girl from Hawaii in for room and board. The rooms were as the children left them and she didn’t want us to touch or move anything. She also didn’t want us using the kitchen and when she found the three of us making dinner, she was very upset.​​ She was very bitter about the divorce and told us stories. Her son Peter also came by a few times to check on her. I also have a picture of her with her cat in my photo album.​​I went back to London with my first husband in 1978 and went to show him the flat. And there she was walking down the street coming out of the liquor store, looking a little worse for wear.​​I am surprised to see that she lived another 20 years after I last saw her. She didn’t look well and the difference in her from 1971 to 1978 was astounding!”​

Pam continued:​​ “She did seem so sad, not only when I was rooming at her flat, but especially when I saw her walking down the street a few years later. She was a sweet lady.​​Anyway, just thought I would share this with you.”

“Hi!​

​​Catherine was a cousin (first or second) of my paternal grandmother. She returned home to Rothesay in her later years. She used to drop into the Copper Kettle café which was run by another family member, my grandmother’s niece Muriel.”

I think that it’s true she had something of an alcohol problem latterly, but she lived with or was married to a German chap, and they had a couple of dogs. He outlived her by a few years. ​I remember my aunts being very excited as schoolgirls when she and Richard visited the family when filming Rob Roy in Argyll.​

Best wishes,​

Dr. Marianne M Gilchrist”.

Scott says:

​​​​​​”Hi all. My sister was married to Peter Todd for many years before he tragically took his own life. It’s funny how I’ve stumbled across this blog as I was searching for Catherine as I’m in the process of selling my artefacts that I have had passed to me, all of which are related to Richard Todd and his film career. I’m sure I can answer many of your questions if you still have any and would be happy to do so. I have a portrait of Catherine which is part of my collection passed to me by Richard and Peter Todd and she truly was a beautiful lady and from what I understand a fantastic mother. However, the Todd’s life was incredibly difficult for all involved and I saw personally the very sad end in which it finished. I’m here if you wish to discuss further. 

Best regards.”

I now go back to Richard Todd’s Autobiography my my final thoughts :

He said that during the run of the play ‘Claudia’ there had been a 20th Birthday Party for Kitty and during that evening a charming older actress Ethel Ramsey took Richard Todd to one side and said ‘Be kind to her. Don’t hurt her’.

However my view is that he did hurt her

From all I have read, it seems to me that he cast her aside and hurt her deeply

Interesting to see the Poster ABOVE where Catherine takes Star Billing with her name above Richard Todd.
I am so pleased about that

 

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Veronica Carlson has died

Veronica Carlson – a very well loved and remembered Hammer Film Star has died. She was born in York on September 18, 1944, and her early life with her parents meant moving around a lot

This was because her father was in the RAF and the family moved to wherever he was stationed – they eventually settled down in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire.

Although she studied art – and gained a National Diploma in Design – her striking good looks made her a favourite for model photographers.

In 1968 when her picture appeared on the front page of The Daily Mirror she was spotted by Hammer boss James Carreras who was on the lookout for a new star to add glamour to the studio’s third Dracula film, ‘Dracula Has Risen From The Grave

Veronica Carlson impressed during a meeting and was duly cast opposite Christopher Lee reprising his role as Count Dracula
Hammer’s publicity material said “with her naturally blonde hair, peach cream complexion and vivid blue eyes, Veronica might be described as the typical English beauty”
.


She was also a very accomplished actress and her performance in the film – one of Hammer’s most successful overseas exports – ensured she was remembered as more than just a damsel in distress.
She was immediately cast opposite Hammer’s other big star, Peter Cushing, in Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed.
Although considered one of the best of Hammer’s outings for the Baron, the shooting was not without controversy due to the late addition of a rape scene which was bitterly opposed by Veronica herself, Peter Cushing and even the film’s director Terence Fisher.
Despite her opposition to the scene – which, due to being filmed out of chronological order, meant that her involvement with Peter Cushing’s character seemed ridiculous – even so Hammer cast Veronica in the next Frankenstein film, Horror of Frankenstein – along with Joan Rice who was back on screen after a long film lay-off. It proved to be Joan Rice’s last film. Also in the film and in a leading role, was Kate O Mara


In Horror of Frankenstein Veronica Carlson was Frankenstein’s bride-to-be, Elizabeth, and her leading man was not Peter Cushing, but Ralph Bates who was being groomed by Hammer to take over the role. The film was not a success.


A few years later, Veronica Carlson once again joined forces with Peter Cushing in 1975’s The Ghoul, made by Hammer ‘s associate company Tyburn Films.


When she married in 1974 she moved to America, but was a frequent visitor to the UK where she remained a favourite at cult film conventions until her death.

Veronica Carlson RIGHT with other Hammer Film Stars Ingrid Pitt LEFT
and Caroline Munro Centre

Veronica Carlson did not make many films but she had such an impact – particularly in the Hammer Horror Films that she is well and fondly remembered to film fans

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The Galloping Major 1951 Basil Radford

This British made comedy film from 1951 has a cast packed with familiar actors and actresses of the day. Basil Radford, Jimmy Hanley, Janette Scott, A.E.Matthews, Rene Ray, Hugh Griffith, Charles Victor, Joyce Grenfell, Julien Mitchell, Charles Hawtrey, Alfie Bass, Sid James, Kenneth More, Leslie Phillips, Sam Kydd, Thora Hird, Duncan Lamont and Arthur Mullard.

With this band of players, it is bound to be a laugh

The Galloping Major has a lively script with several very ingenious touches.

For instance A.E. Matthews lays down the law, but in the very next scene we discover that his motivation is not all it should be .

Kenneth More, just before he becomes a leading actor, does not have much to do – Raymond Glendenning steps in as the commentatoron the Horse race – as he would.

In all, The Galloping Major is a British character filled delight.

Basil Radford – ‘The Galloping Major’ was his second to last Film appearance

The first film in which Basil Radford appeared was Barnum was Right in 1929, but it was not until several years later that his real chance came on the screen, and he certainly grasped the chance. He was in such classics as The Lady Vanishes  and Dead of Night. He followed up in successful productions such as Passport to Pimlico and Whisky Galore.

Basil Radford was born at Chester, in 1897, and was educated at St. Peter’s, York. He served in the First World War 1915-18, and on his return to civil life studied for the stage at RADA , and made his first appearance on the London stage in July, 1924, in Collusion at the Ambassadors .He had a long and successful stage career touring New Zealand and the USA even in those far off days

In the summer of 1951 his health began to fail, and although he made several brave attempts to resume acting, after several collapses he was compelled to relinquish his career.

The Lady Vanishes

Here we see Basil Radford teamed as he always was from this film onwards with Naunton Wayne as the cricket loving friends who epitomised British valour of the era, and who did so much good for the morale of the country during dark Wartime Days

Just how brave they were is depicted in this scene on the train in ‘The Lady Vanishes’ – they weren’t the major stars of the film but they were perfect in their roles and made such an impact with audiences that they were teamed together in many more films playing the same characters – Charters and Caldicott

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Roy Rogers and William Witney

William Witney directed about 27 of the Roy Rogers films and lived close by him in the San Fernando Valley

William Witney belonged to a Hollywood which has long since disappeared. During the 1930s and 40s, he turned out dozens of B westerns and cliff-hanger serials.

In the 1950s and 60s, he was active in directing TV series, most of them westerns.

From 1935 to 1956, Witney’s workplace was Republic Pictures, where he practised the philosophy of “make ’em fast and make ’em cheap”. Witney directed more than 60 features, impossible for even the most prolific of directors today. In his autobiography, In A Door, Into A Fight, Out A Door, Into A Chase (1996), he said he was never satisfied with the stilted way movie fights were shot, and he is credited as the first director to choreograph screen fights.

ABOVE: Producer Eddie White, Roy Rogers, Director William Witney.

This is what William Witney had to say when discussing the Roy Rogers films he made :-

“Our producer, the greatest guy, Eddie White… was from New York. He didn’t know which end of a horse was which, but he had good taste. And they brought me along and put me with him. I’d been a horseman all my life. I’m a jumping horse rider, and I love horses. So, we made a very excellent team, the two of us. We became the best of friends.

ABOVE – Bells Of Coronado, 1950

Director William Witney (L) wearing hat, walks backwards as he directs Dale Evans and Roy Rogers during filming of Republic’s 1950s production of BELLS OF CORONADO.

William Witney’s Autobiography ABOVE

The Roy Rogers films that were directed by William Witney were of a much higher quality than the previous ones

Shooting location scenes ABOVE and BELOW

ABOVE Roy Rogers chatting in the Film Studio ABOVE

Republic studios yellow

Willian Witney adds :- Republic was a small studio. I was under contract there for 28 years, and this studio, everybody used to say, was the hardest studio to work at in the world, but our crews were excellent. They had people in there that were just brilliant…

We’ve got a casting office, and they read the script and they make suggestions. You also have a book of actors, and you know actors after all these years. You got through the book and you say, ‘See if you can get him, I wanna interview him.’ And you’d interview these people to look at them. You knew their ability, most of them, because you’d worked with them before.

William Witney actually made his acting debut in 1933 ‘Fighting with Kit Carson’ in an uncredited role – or roles more accurately as he played a settler an Indian and a Trooper. In his Autobiography he said that working on this film – which was a serial when on BBC TV in the early fifties – that the actors and crew worked from dawn to dusk in demanding conditions. Much of the filming was at the Iverson Ranch which he said was awash with Rattlesnakes – I had never heard that before.

In England on the BBC in 1952, I am pretty sure it was called ‘Kit Carson and the Mystery Riders’

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Calling Paul Temple – and other things

I watched this one yesterday – a few days before this, I had seen Paul Temple’s Triumph which was a later one released in 1950 – and I have to admit, that I liked the later one best. However Calling Paul Temple was the first of the ones starring John Bentley as Paul Temple and Dinah Sheridan as Steve

‘Calling Paul Temple’ had a complex plot involving murders by someone who always left a note with ‘Rex’ written on it – at least for the first three murders anyway. Who is Rex is the question that runs through the film and it is only in the very last minutes of the film that we find out – having suspected almost all of the characters including one of the police investigators. This is typical Francis Durbridge – he was brilliant at this sort of thing. Nobody did it better

Dinah Sheridan played Steve in two of the Paul Temple films and Patricia Dainton came in later in the same role

Patricia Dainton was chatting on Talking Pictures a few days ago and going through her film career which she packed in, in the mid fifties to raise a family. When the children were older she looked for a job and found one in a well-known Book Shop. She said that she found the first day really hard work but carried on and came to love the job. She managed to have her own floor eventually and had a big say in the books purchased.

She loved the customers and said that her acting experience came in very useful because she was able to learn and remember customer’s names – much as she had learned her lines in the acting days – and that proved a major boon as it would. I always remember my Dad ( whose Birthday it would have been today ) and he worked in Insurance and developed a similar skill. I remember, as a child, watching him meet someone outside of his work and he remembered their names and things about them and their families – and even then I saw how much that pleased people and connected him with them. It is a wonderful skill to have

Patricia Dainton in one of her first films ‘The Dancing Years’

Patricia Dainton introduced one of her films the Supernatural thriller ‘The House in Marsh Road’ starring Tony Wright, Patricia Dainton and Sandra Dorne. Jean Linton ( Patricia Dainton) is left a country house and hopes it will be the fresh start for her and husband David, who has ambitions to be a novelist. However, David is also a gambler and womaniser who has less salubrious plans for his wife. But there is something else in the house.#

The film was directed by Montgomery Tully who Patricia described as a lovely, charming man who was a joy to work with – his wife acted as the Wardrobe Manager on the film. She and her family became good friends with them and their family after this film was made.

Pictures BELOW from ‘The House in Marsh Road 1960

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Champion The Wonder Horse

Champion The Wonder Horse was shown on BBC Television in the late fifties here in England and proved popular – we knew it was special when Frankie Lane sang the title song over the titles – it seemed to kick things off well.

I hadn’t realised that there was only 26 episodes made as it seemed to run for a long time and also was very popular

In the series, a young “Ricky” (played by Barry Curtis ) lives on his uncle Sandy’s ranch and comes into contact with rustlers, bad men, and all sorts of strange characters. Champion, the horse leads a wild herd and always comes to the rescue of Ricky – who is the only person Champion will allow to ride him.

On this series, young Barry Curtis does all his own riding, rides Champion bareback at full speed and doesn’t have a double – some feat for a twelve-year-old.

With Rebel the dog

Champion appeared with Gene Autry as his partner and sidekick throughout their legendary career in film, radio, and television.

Original Champion in Home on the Prairie, 1939

Apparently there were three “official” Champions that performed in Gene Autry films. The Original Champion was sorrel-coloured, had a blaze down his face and white stockings on all his legs except the right front. His first onscreen appearance was in the 1935 film ‘Melody Trail’. He died while Gene was in the service.

Champion Jr., c. 1950

Gene’s second screen horse was Champion Jr. and he appeared in films until 1950. Republic Pictures always , billed Champion Jr. as “Wonder Horse of the West,” and then at Columbia, he was known as “World’s Wonder Horse.”

The third screen horse, Television Champion, was in Gene’s last films and also appeared on television in The Gene Autry Show and The Adventures of Champion during the fifties.

Rushing from a film set in Hollywood for his annual appearance at Madison Square Garden for the World’s Championship Rodeo in 1940, Champion made aviation history as the first horse to fly from California to New York.

Champion on parade,
c. 1953

Champion taking tea
at London’s Savoy Hotel,

Always popular, Champion received thousands of fan letters each month, proving that the World’s Wonder Horse was an important element in the Singing Cowboy’s success.

Throughout their careers, Gene Autry and Champion were featured in dime novels, children’s stories, and comic books. Champion even received equal billing with Gene above the leading ladies on film posters and lobby cards promoting Autry films – in fact, when casting ‘Champion the Wonder Horse’ Gene offered another actor the lead part and he turned it down because he refused to be second billed to the horse !!

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