Archive for September, 2023

She Knows Y Know – Hylda Baker

With a title like that, we hardly need to ask who is in the film. Of course it is Hylda Baker who stars, and is on sparkling and very lively form in this British Film.

In many ways the film very much reminds me of the earlier Arthur Askey film ‘The Love Match’ – both are set in the North of England in the early fifties and both rely very much on the two stars who definitely liven things up both have a lovely young blonde girl involved in a romantic situation – and both films have a lodger in the house !!

‘She Knows Y Know’ was on Talking Pictures a week or two ago, I had recorded it at the time and watched it last evening – very glad I did as I found it hilarious.

I couldn’t have imagined that on release it would have been paired with the film on the programme advertised above although, I have to say, to me that would be an unusual but very entertaining night out. I would love both films

In ‘She Knows Y Know’ Hylda Worswick ( Hylda Baker) makes it her mission to prevent her son from a marrying Marilyn Smallhope, who we learn is pregnant. However her son Leslie, is quite keen to marry her – she is certainly a very nice looking blonde girl

It’s a very enjoyable film from 1962, it’s funny and charming.

Hylda Baker has a unique brand of humour, and of course she’s great and later on found a starring role in Nearest and Dearest and Not on your Nellie.

Joan Sanderson was great here as Marilyn’s fearsome mother.

ABOVE – Hylda lays down the law to her son about marrying the pregnant girl

ABOVE – The situation calls for a top level discussion at the pub along with lodger Charlie Todger LEFT

ABOVE – Leslie caught out by Joan Sanderson – in an embrace with Marilyn her daughter. He looks suitably shocked

She Knows Y'Know Image

She Knows Y’Know

She Knows Y'Know Image
She Knows Y'Know Image
She Knows Y'Know Image
ABOVE – A fearsome looking Joan Sanderson
She Knows Y'Know Image
ABOVE – Marilyn

ABOVE Hylda talking with Solicitor Emmanuel Fox of Fox, Fox and Badger. Played of course by a very well spoken Alfred Burke later to become very well known as Frank Marker in ‘Public Eye’ on Television

Hylda Baker stars in this 1962 film comedy. She plays the matriarchal mother of a working class family. She and her husband (Cyril Smith) have a bright but dull son. The Smallhopes a “middle class” family led by Joan Sanderson (Please Sir), have an attractive daughter, but things go astray – as they usually do in this situation.

The film is set in the fifties with its coffee bars and earnest pop singers. Enjoy the class wars, a good slice of Britain in that era and Hylda strutting her stuff!

ABOVE Marilyn with Leslie Hylda’s son

ABOVE – Here she is again but this time with Terry, who sings in the Coffee Bar

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The Lone Ranger

74 years ago on September 15, 1949, The Lone Ranger premiered. It aired on the ABC Television network from 1949 to 1957, with Clayton Moore in the starring role. Jay Silverheels, a member of the Mohawk tribe in Canada, played The Lone Ranger’s American Indian companion Tonto.

John Hart replaced Moore in the title role from 1952 to 1954, due to a contract dispute. The live-action series initially featured Gerald Mohr as the narrator.
The Lone Ranger was the highest-rated television program on ABC in the early 1950s and its first true “hit”. The series finished #7 in the Nielsen ratings for the 1950-1951 season, #18 for 1951-1952 and #29 for 1952-1953.George W. Trendle retained the title of producer, although he recognized that his experience in radio was not adequate for producing the television series. For this, he hired veteran MGM film producer Jack Chertok. Chertok served as the producer for the first 182 episodes as well as for a rarely seen 1955 color special retelling the origin.The first 78 episodes were produced and broadcast for 78 consecutive weeks without any breaks or reruns. Then the entire 78 episodes were shown again before any new episodes were produced. All were shot in Kanab, Utah and California.

Much of the series was filmed on the former Iverson Movie Ranch in Chatsworth, California, including the iconic opening sequence to each episode, in which the cry of “Hi-yo Silver” is heard before the Lone Ranger and Silver gallop to a distinctive rock and Silver rears up on his hind legs. The rock seen next to Silver is known as Lone Ranger Rock and remains in place today on the site of the former movie ranch.When it came time to produce another batch of 52 episodes, there was a wage dispute with Clayton Moore (until his death, the actor insisted that the problem was creative differences), and John Hart was hired to play the role of the Lone Ranger. Once again, the 52 new episodes were aired in sequence followed by 52 weeks rerunning them. Despite expectations that the mask would make the switch workable, Hart was not accepted in the role, and his episodes were not seen again until the 1980s.

At the end of the fifth year of the television series, Trendle sold the Lone Ranger rights to Jack Wrather, who bought them on August 3, 1954. Wrather immediately rehired Clayton Moore to play the Lone Ranger, and another 52 episodes were produced.

Wrather invested money from his own pocket to film in colour although ABC telecast only in black and white. Wrather also went outdoors for action footage. Otherwise, the series was mostly filmed on a studio sound stage. Another big change, not readily detectable by the viewers, was replacing Jack Chertok with producer Sherman A. Harris. By this time, Chertok had established his own television production company and was busy producing other programs.Wrather decided not to negotiate further with the network and took the property to the big screen and cancelled television production.

The last new episode of the colour series was broadcast on June 6, 1957, and the series ended September 12, 1957, although ABC reaped the benefits of daytime reruns for several more years. Wrather’s company produced two modestly budgeted theatrical features, The Lone Ranger (1956) and The Lone Ranger and the Lost City of Gold (1958).

The cast included former child actress Bonita Granville, who had married Wrather after his divorce from a daughter of former Texas Governor W. Lee O’Daniel.

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Hollywood Stars in Wartime

A wonderful colour picture of Greer Garson, Leslie Howard, Vivien Leigh, Brian Aherne, Ronald Colman and Basil Rathbone doing a radio broadcast for British War Relief.

We are used to seeing these big stars usually in Black and White films so when we look at this Colour photograph, somehow they all look younger.

Basil Rathbone particularly.

I would guess that this picture is taken from later in the War after the USA entered the conflict

Some Hollywood filmmakers such as Frank Capra and John Ford left filmland behind to make war documentaries for the United States Government. Others like James Stewart and Clark Gable put on a uniform and joined up.

Others like John Wayne stayed in Hollywood to make heroic movies that would inspire the public to stay committed to a long and difficult battle.

Greer Garson made Mrs Miniver and Ronald Colman made Random Harvest – with Greer Garson – and these did much for the morale of the British people and helped galvanise support – and finance – from the USA.

Ronald Colman had fought in the trenches in World War 1 and in fact was badly injured.

He was seriously wounded by shrapnel in the ankle at the Battle of Messines. It gave him a limp that he would attempt to hide throughout the rest of his acting career.

Basil Rathbone also saw action in the first World War

We frequently hear about Hollywood actors such as James Stewart, Clark Gable and Mickey Rooney who enlisted and were decorated for their bravery during World War II.

In World War 11 films actors who served their country well included Audie Murphy whose history is well known – and Wayne Morris

Wayne Morris’ film career straddled the War years and he certainly was not idle during those years pf conflict as you will read BELOW

Hollywood war hero: Wayne Morris

Wayne Morris is rarely recognised for his service and yet was one of World War II’s first flying aces.

His interest in flying started in Hollywood.

While filming “Flying Angles” (1940) with Jane Wyman and Dennis Morgan, Wayne Morris learned how to fly a plane.

Once World War II began, he had joined the Naval Reserve and became a Naval flier in 1942 on the U.S.S. Essex. He put his career on hold to fight.

The same year he got married to Olympic swimmer Patricia O’Rourke.

“Every time they showed a picture aboard the Essex, I was scared to death it would be one of mine,” Morris said. “That’s something I could never have lived down.”

Wayne Morris flew 57 missions-while some actors only flew 20 or less- and made seven kills, which qualified him as an ace.  He also helped sink five enemy ships.

Apparently he was originally told that he was too big to fly fighter planes until he went to his uncle-in-law, Cdr. David McCampbell who wrote him a letter, allowing him to fly the VF-15

1946 — Here is Wayne Morris, just after the War, Warner Bros. star, receiving a bite of his young daughter’s cookie while his wife looks on.
Later in the Fifties – In ‘Lord of the Jungle’ a Bomba film with Johnny Sheffield


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David McCallum has died

Many people remember him most from his role as Illya Kuryakin in the ‘The Man from Uncle’ but when I think of him it is ‘The Great Escape’ that I associate him with the most.

ABOVE – In the role of Ashley Pitt ‘The Great Escape’

I have read that David McCallum received more fan letters than any star MGM had ever had. I find that astonishing and, if I am honest, very surprising but it must be very good for his family, at this sad time, to know what a big star he was – I expect they already know that though.

About 30 years ago, the Irish Tenor Josef Locke was the subject of ‘This is your Life’. Just before this, a new film had been released based on his life – the film was ‘Hear My Song’. In the programme David McCallum who had a leading part in the film came on as a guest and reminded Josef Locke, that his father, David McCallum Snr a leading orchestral violinist, had in fact played on many of his original recordings including ‘Galway Bay’ and ‘Hear My Song’

Josef Locke remembered David’s father very well and spoke highly of him – something that affected David McCallum, as we could all see

ABOVE – David McCallum and his father

David McCallum Snr

In 1922, David McCallum Snr broadcast as a solo violinist for the first time. Between 1932 and 1936, he led the Scottish Orchestra in Glasgow under John Barbirolli, then was asked by Sir Thomas Beecham to lead the London Philharmonic Orchestra  so when the young David was three years old the family moved to London

During World War II, David McCallum Snr led the National Symphony Orchestra

After the war, he rejoined Beecham, this time as leader of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

He had several small roles in films. His hands are seen playing the violin for Stewart Granger in an uncredited role in The Magic Bow (1946). He played the blind fiddler in the film Last Holiday (1950), which starred Alec Guinness.[2] He also appeared as himself in “Prelude to Fame“.

“Father was unique in that his hands were really the centre of his life, and keeping his hands safe and in perfect condition was paramount. I’ve never said that to anyone before, but that is the way that I remember him. He would practice his violin incessantly, so we had the sound of the music throughout the house all the time.” 

David added: “As a child, I would go with him down to the studios where Jascha Heifetz was recording Brahms. I remember Heifetz’s G string broke while playing a cadenza, and he handed it to me. And conductor Thomas Beecham, when he was recording The Damnation of Faust, which has that wonderful opening, ending in a huge crescendo. He stopped the whole orchestra and turned to me in the front row, all alone in this huge place, and whispered: ‘Let’s do it again!'”

Back to David McCallum the film actor who died a few days ago :-

He had been called up into the forces in 1951 and served two years, including 10 months in what is now Ghana as a small-arms expert. Not long after his discharge, he signed with the Rank Organisation, and began acting in both films and on television.

He then appeared in small parts in such films as ‘These Dangerous Years’ with Frankie Vaughan, ‘Hell Drivers’, ‘Robbery Under Arms’, ‘Violent Playground’ and that early and excellent Titanic film ‘A Night to Remember’, He was also in Armchair Theatre productions and many others for Television

He met Jill Ireland, already a rising actress in Britain, when they were both cast in the Rank production “Robbery Under Arms” in 1957. He proposed seven days after they met, and they married that spring. In 1961, when he was cast as Judas Iscariot in “The Greatest Story Ever Told” (the film would released until 1965). The couple moved to Los Angeles.

They were doing well -they had three children. She became a busy TV actress and made several guest appearances on “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” playing three different characters.

However the strain of David’s stardom took a toll on their marriage, and she left him for the actor Charles Bronson, whom she had met when David and Charles Bronson were both filming “The Great Escape” (1963) in Germany.

Less than a year after their divorce in 1967, Mr. McCallum married Katherine Carpenter, a model.

She survives him, along with their children, Peter and Sophie McCallum; two sons from his first marriage, Paul and Valentine; and eight grandchildren. A third son from his first marriage, Jason, died of a drug overdose in 1989.

David McCallum and his wife lived in Manhattan.

BELOW – A later and well remembered series ‘Sapphire and Steel’ with Joanna Lumley

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John Derek – His early career then Rogues of Sherwood Forest

John Derek (12 August 1926 – 22 May 1998) was the son of silent era actors Lawson Harris and Dolores Johnson.

His mother was incredibly beautiful, turning heads wherever she went with her good looks. His own good looks were soon noticed, and he was groomed for a film career by both his agent David O Selznick and Henry Willson (who gave him the temporary stage name of Dare Harris).

He once become Shirley Temple’s “Studio Boyfriend”. Shirley Temple and Dare Harris (John Derek) ended up under contract to Twentieth Century Fox at the same time. This gave the studio the idea to “gently force” the two to date as a part of a publicity stunt. In 1944, Twentieth Century Fox even gave him small roles in two of Temple’s films (Since Went Away and I’ll Be Seeing You) to really get the public excited about the new couple.

Maybe this would have been the way his career was to go – however .*When he was filming A Double Life (1947) , he was approached by Humphrey Bogart who must have seen him around the studio

Bogart persuaded him to take the name of John Derek and then cast him as Nick “Pretty Boy” Romano, an unrepentant killer, in Knock on Any Door (1949), a drama directed by Nicholas Ray.

Recognising him as a talented newcomer, Bogart signed Derek to a seven-year contract with Columbia Pictures.

Columbia Pictures did eventually put John Derek into leading roles, but he didn’t care for the roles that he was given.

He was cast as Robin Hood in Rogues of Sherwood Forest (released in 1950). I seem to remember him for this more tyhanj anything. It was a good film.

Just after this he was cast as the swashbuckling captain Renato Dimorna in Mask of the Avengers (1951).

Rogues of Sherwood Forest 1950

The Rogues of Sherwood Forest is set in a post-King Richard England. With his brother dead, Prince John ( George MacReady ) – now in his 50s – takes control of the throne – he hasn’t lost any of his enthusiasm for bloodshed and tyranny.

Robin, Earl of Huntington, son of the famous Robin Hood, who has also since dies we learn, rallies up some of the Merrie Men including Little John, Friar Tuck and Will Scarlet and as his father had done he gathers a new band of outlaws to oppose Prince John. 

Alan Hale costars as Little John in his final film role ( and his third outing as the stout comrade ). The lovely Diana Lynn portrays Lady Marianne.

The Merrie Men consist of Billy House as Friar Tuck, Billy Bevan as Will Scarlet, and Lester Matthews in the role of Allen-a-Dale. 

Gordon Douglas directs the film which is in beautiful Technicolor It had some stunning cinematography ( by Charles Lawton Jr. ) and beautiful matte-painted backdrops. 

I am pretty sure that the picture below from the film is a Matte Shot – with the whole of the Right Hand side including the castle and the moat a Matte. Extremely well done though, to make a stunning and convincing scene

I like this film – The Rogues of Sherwood Forest which has a very good cast, and script.

It is not up to the standard of ‘The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men’ made here in England at Denham Film Studios in the summer of 1951 – released in 1952

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David Niven’s Wife Primmie dies in tragic accident – and life with his second wife

This was a tragedy that would sadly put an end to the days of star-studded partying at the home of Tyrone Power. For years, a select few would meet at his house usually on a Sunday to drink and play games.

In this group were J. Watson Webb, Cesar Romero, Rex Harrison (shortly after his own scandal with the death of Carol Landis) Oleg Cassini, Gene Tierney and David Niven and his twenty-eight year old wife, Primula Rollo.

On the afternoon of May 21, 1946, the group had enjoyed a barbecue and during the evening some of them started playing a game of hide-and-seek known as “Sardines”.

Primmie, was opening doors in search of the hiders in this game

She had just moved to the USA from Britain, where she had been living with her husband David Niven and their two small sons

David Niven had made the film ‘A Matter of Life and Death’ in England and then looking to Hollywood, he renewed his association with Samuel Goldwyn. He had gone over to Hollywood and acquired an older rambling mansion The Pink House which was next door to Douglas Fairbanks. After Primmie and the boys joined him they all settled well into the California lifestyle with film star friends.

This party at Tyrone Power’s house, I have since read, was a welcoming one for Primmie

This was her first time playing Sardines and she was not familiar with the game or the layout of the house.

She opened a dark door that she assumed was a cupboard and rushed in – she plunged down a steep flight of concrete steps that led to the basement. She gashed her head and was knocked unconscious.

Instead of immediately taking her to the hospital, Tyrone Power suggested that everyone keep on playing, so as not to frighten her when she woke up – absolutely unbelievable in my book – she needed urgent attention. After half an hour, her husband David Niven and the doctor finally carried the unconscious Primmie out to a car and drove her to a hospital.

There, she was misdiagnosed with slight concussion. The following morning a clot to the brain was found – then followed an unsuccessful operation in an attempt to alleviate swelling – but she died on the operating table. She left two sons and a grief stricken husband who never fully recovered.

The death of Primula Niven was the beginning of the end of the golden years for Tyrone Power – and for David Niven

David Niven with his first wife, Primula, and their children.

ABOVE – They had two sons, David Jr. and Jamie

After they were married there first home was a Thameside Cottage ABOVE

Relaxing at home in England
With there TWO boys pictured as they arrive in the USA

ABOVE – A Reporter looks down the flight of stairs where Primmie fell

David Niven, after this tragedy returned to Britain to play the title-role in Bonnie Prince Charlie. During the filming at the Studios he walked off the set to find a 28-year-old woman he had never seen before sitting in his reserved chair.

As he admitted later: ‘I had never seen anything so beautiful in my life — tall, slim, auburn hair, uptilted nose, lovely mouth and the most enormous grey eyes I had ever seen … I goggled. I had difficulty swallowing and I had champagne in my knees.’

The name of his uninvited guest was Hjördis Tersmeden, a divorced Swedish model.

That same day, Niven took her to a riverside pub. The next day, he took her to his London Club Buck’s for lunch.

She was ten years his junior and had never seen any of his films, but he was rapidly becoming, by his own admission, ‘quite besotted’.

One afternoon soon after they started dating, she was introduced to Niven’s young sons, David Jr, five, and Jamie, two. It was an awkward meeting.

Even David Niven had doubts, telling friends that he was ‘quite possibly making the greatest mistake of my life’. Those words were to prove horribly prophetic.

In a display of appalling judgement – and seemingly with no thoughts for his sons, they married six weeks later at South Kensington Register office, on January 14, 1948.

The new Mrs Niven had been born Hjördis Paulina Genberg in Sweden, and raised in the extreme north of that country at Kiruna, within the icy Arctic Circle.

At the end of the war, she had married an extremely rich yacht-owning Swedish businessman, Carl Tersmeden, but had divorced him after only 18 months

She may have been a successful model in Sweden, but she was completely unknown outside her home country. Her English was poor, and she soon discovered that marriage to a movie star did not provide her with the celebrity status she craved.

Hjordis always seemed resentful of her husband’s star status

I do remember David Niven coming on the Michael Parkinson Chat Show and giving a wonderful performance, regaling us with those stories of the Hollywood Golden Age.

A couple of years later, he again appeared on the same show and seemed to stumble over his words – he certainly was not the same. It was later explained that his hectic filming schedule had much to do with this but I dont think many people were fooled – he was a sick man.

We later learned that he had the onset of Motor Neurone disease – and that was the first time I had ever heard that term

His final appearance in Hollywood was hosting the 1981 American Film Institute tribute to Fred Astaire.

David Niven news:

David Niven news: Niven with Hjordis

Back to his marriage to Hjordis – they maybe were happy in their early days but they certainly weren’t by 1970 when this happened :

By 1970, Hjördis was drinking heavily and seemed intent on undermining her husband. During an interview at London’s Connaught Hotel, she repeatedly interrupted and corrected his version of events, adding: ‘I’ve heard all these stories a thousand times and they bore me to death.

David Niven, plainly furious, replied: ‘Then please go away and die, darling.’

In 1980, after 32 years of marriage, Niven said of Hjördis: ‘She isn’t good company and she can’t do anything. What she can do is make herself look very good and she can arrange flowers. But that’s all.’

As James Bond icon Roger Moore says in his 2008 book ‘My Word is My Bond’, he was not impressed with the way David’s wife was treating him.

Struggling with his condition, David told his wife Hjördis that he had managed to “swim two lengths” of their swimming pool.

Roger said he watched on as Hjördis snapped at her dying husband in “a cutting voice”.

She said sneeringly: ‘Aren’t we a clever boy.’

Two weeks later David Niven was dead

Roger observed: “She was a bitch to him. David was a dear, dear friend of mine who did nothing but try to please her. In return, Hjördis showed him nothing but disdain.”

Speaking from his office at Sotheby’s in New York, David’s son Jamie said: ‘I always sensed a great deal of anger in her. She was angry with him, angry at his fame and success. It was jealousy, I think. She wanted to be someone in her own right, and not merely Mrs David Niven. And when she drank, that anger intensified.’

In an easlier article I read :-

“She told the boys to stop calling her Mummy,” Patricia Medina told Graham Lord. “She said ‘You have to call me Hjördis, you can’t call me Mummy.’ Jamie was so upset that he locked himself in his bedroom.”

“Hjördis was more of a companion rather than a mother,” Jamie told Sheridan Morley. “There were moments when we had a lot of fun together and other moments when it got very tricky. She didn’t act like a mother and she made it very clear that she never wanted to be our mother.”

I feel sad for those young boys

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Bomba the Jungle Boy

While we are still on the subject of jungle heroes – after my very last article, we now take a look at the ‘Bomba’ films made by Monogram Studios from 1949 onwards – with Johnny Sheffield

The series of films is based on the character created by Roy Rockwood – BELOW we can see what is said to be an original first edition of one of his ‘Bomba’ books

I am surprised that this First Edition BELOW carries quite a hefty price tag

Bomba the Jungle Boy 3.png

After playing the role of Boy in eight Tarzan films, the now teen-aged Johnny Sheffield moved into the title role in a jungle series of his own. The first of this series …1949’s Bomba, the Jungle Boy.

Bomba the Jungle Boy 1.png

Our story begins with the father / daughter photographers George (Onslow Stevens) and Patricia (Peggy Ann Garner) Harland on a safari in the jungles of Africa. George is anxious to get photos that no one has ever taken before. In fact, he’s quite impatient with their local guide, Andy Barnes (Charles Irwin) for not showing them anything exciting.

Pat, on the other hand, is excited to be taking it all in. However, one day as they head for the mysterious Great Rift, Pat and her guide are separated from the rest of the group.

They are set on by a hungry leopard and the guide is killed, but before the leopard can turn on Pat, out of the jungle, swinging on a vine comes Bomba who promptly fights off the animal.

Bomba the Jungle Boy 2.png

At first, both Pat and Bomba, are a bit unsure of each other.

Bomba does have a grasp of English, so the two can at least converse.

Bomba takes Pat back to his little corner of the jungle where she builds herself a little hut to sleep in, dons her own leopard skin attire, and swims with Bomba in the river.

Meanwhile, her father is determined to track down the jungle boy and kill him for running off with his daughter.

Unfortunately, a swarm of locusts and a tribe of vicious lion worshipping hunters and other adventure for the two don’t help

Bomba the Jungle Boy 4.png

The Bomba series was produced by Monogram Pictures, which was quite definitely a low budget studio.

Ford Beebe LEFT with Nancy Hale and Johnny Sheffield, directing the Bomba Film ‘Lord of the Jungle’ in 1955
By this time – 1955 – Ford Beebe’s career in films was close to an end but he holds a special place in Hollywood Film History
Bomba the Jungle Boy 5.png

The film was directed by Ford Beebe who had been a writer but who had turned successfully to directing mainly B films including these Bomba ones.

I have read that Johnny Sheffield admired the way he did his job – he said that he would read the story ( maybe even write it ) and then shoot the film in sequence straight from his memory. So he had very few re-takes – if any. Alfred Hitchcock admired the way he was able to bring his films in so economically.

One Comment I saw was this from someone who knew and had worked with Ford Beebe :-

He was the toughest man, physically, I have ever known . . . He wrote his own scripts, directed them and played the character lead in most of them. Then when he washed up for the day and the rest went home, he’d go in the cutting room and cut and title until 2 or 3 a.m., then go in the office and sleep on the floor ’til the janitor woke him up, go home, have breakfast and be back on the stage before the cast showed up. This was not something he did once in a while. It was the way he worked all the time.

He was certainly a big name in directing at a budget level – and I do feel that given the chance he could have done something really special. I think of William Witney and Byron Haskin who directed at what would be considered a ‘low level’ but when given the chance – and these two were – would meet the challenge and meet it well.

I think Ford Beebe would have done too.

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Later titles in the Bomba series include ‘Lord of the Jungle’  Elephant Stampede and Killer Leopard.

The one film in the series that I know best – having seen it as a child is Bomba and The Hidden City’ which me and my brother loved. So exciting for us at that time – and filmed in the African Jungle – which it wasn’t but so what !!

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Tarzan in films

Tarzan and his adventures have filled the Cinemas around the World for close on 100 years.

Johnny Weissmuller took on the role in 1932 with ‘Tarzan and His Mate’ which proved very successful and was quickly followed by many more over the next decade or more. Johnny seemed to fit the part so well and perfected Tarzan’s call

Tarzan – BELOW In a publicity shot, here Johnny is with Maureen O Sullivan ( Jane) and Johnny Sheffield as ‘Boy’ in ‘Tarzan Finds a Som’

BELOW A much later Tarzan – this time Gordon Scott who took on the role in the late fifties and made the first Tarzan Film in colour

Here he is with Vera Miles who later became his wife

Tarzan BELOW – Gordon Scott this time with Betta St John

Tarzan BELOW Johnny Weissmuller

Tarzan – Lex Barker took over the role in 1949 with ‘Tarzan’s Magic Fountain’ – in my book one of the best story-lines that Tarzan in films ever had.

Lex Barker (as Tarzan) and beautiful Brenda Joyce (as Jane) are given an old cigarette case -“Cheeta” the chimp finds while frolicking with a mate. It belong to famous pilot Evelyn Ankers (as Gloria James), who disappeared in a 1928 plane crash. Evelyn Ankers survived the crash and took up residence in a “Shangri-la” known to only a few, Tarzan being one of them.

Tarzan needs to find her because she has information that would help clear a man unjustly accused of murder…

However the fact that she hasn’t aged while living in “The Blue Valley” for 20 years – very much in the Lost Horizon style – proves very interesting to people who could exploit the ‘youth secret’

This was the last appearance of Brenda Joyce as Tarzan’s “Jane.

Albert Dekker and Charles Drake make fine villains.

Around the same time as Lex Barker took on the role. ‘Boy’Johnny Sheffield starred as Bomba in a series of jungle films. These did not have big budgets but were quite successful, mainly as supporting films on a programme.

BELOW Tarzan again with Johnny and Maureen O Sullivan BELOW


ABOVE – Lex Barker as Tarzan in Colour. I am surprised that we haven’t had a Colorised release of one of the Tarzan films – I later discover that some are now available

I also wish that Lex Barker’s Tarzan had been given the big budget treatment of MGM as I do believe that he could have been a really special Tarzan – he remains my favourite in the role I think, just ahead of Johnny

10770 Chalon House John Farrow

ABOVE – The home of Maureen O Sullivan and her husband John Farrow in Bel Air.

John Farrow, was an Oscar-winning film director from Australia, and Irish-born actress Maureen O’Sullivan, is most often remembered as Jane in six “Tarzan” films between 1932 and 1942 and six of the very best.

Her earnings from those films must have helped her and her husband buy this beautiful house

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