Boom Radio – theme from ‘The Boys’ 1962

This may be a a lot of people’s ‘go to’ station on the Radio these days – it is mine – a station that plays records that you have often, not heard in years and as they say ‘every record a surprise’

Normally a Radio station would not feature on this Blog, but a few days ago, David Hamilton, on his lunchtime show, featured a track I can’t ever remember hearing and that was The Shadows with the theme from the film ‘The Boys’ – a film that we have featured before

It starred Richard Todd and Robert Morley, Felix Aylmer and a very young pop star of the era ‘Jess Conrad’

This was a film that was time taken for granted by critics of the day, but acclaimed in 2021 by Simon Heffer – of all people – as “not only a magnificent kitchen sink, but one of the finest films of the whole era”. 

As for the actual film – The Boys were played by Dudley Sutton, Tony Garnett, Ronald Lacey and Jess Conrad – with the exception of Jess, they have all sadly passed away, although they all did manage to get together for a ‘Talking Pictures’ event a few years ago when they discussed this film

They all spoke highly of Robert Morley who was ‘ like a father to us and such a lovely man, brought us cakes every day’

The Boys 1962

However their recollections of Richard Todd were far less warm. He wasn’t friendly at all, in fact very remote.  Tony Garnett, who admitted to being a ‘bit stroppy in those days’, so annoyed Richard Todd that the star wanted him off the picture – and he would have been sacked if ‘ The glorious Robert Morley hadn’t intervened and with immense good humour got me off the hook’

The Boys Richard Todd
The Boys Robert Morley
Courtroom Scene The Boys with Robert Morley

Reading Richard Todd’s Autobiography ‘In Camera’ this film is not mentioned at length but he does say that, his part in the film took just three weeks to complete and they all got on well together.   He said though that he had a disagreement in a lunchtime chat with Robert Morley when they both had opposing political views and Robert expressed his views very forcefully. Richard Todd says that, very sensibly, he avoided such a subject again.   He also speaks highly of Robert and states just how good he was in the role.

Recollections seem to differ on this one but I do think that – at that time Richard Todd probably saw himself as somehow superior to these actors because he had been a major international star. His film career at this point though, was very much on the wane.

Later in life, he did become much more relaxed and seemed to speak well of everyone in his interviews.

I always remember Robert Morley being the subject of ‘This is your Life’ where he had been surprised while on stage in the West End – and thw whole show came from that Theatre – he remained standing throughout the proceedings and seemed to enjoy the whole thing very much

I have come across this fascinating article on the Show :-

Among the wonderful cast who turned up to pay tribute to Robert Morley on the stage of the Savoy Theatre on 24 April 1974 was a no less a legendary figure of the theatre than the ninety-one-year-old Dame Sybil Thorndike, the star of the first play Robert wrote in 1935.

Robert’s wife, Joan, was the daughter of another theatrical Dame, the late Dame Gladys Cooper.

And Robert was co-author with Rosemary Anne Sisson of the play at the Savoy, A Ghost on Tiptoe, in which he was co-starring with Ambrosine Philpotts and William Franklyn.

There were greetings from old chums such as Peter Bull, Robert Hardy, Peter Ustinov, and his great pal Wilfred Hyde-White, who summed up Robert’s perfect day: ‘Stay at the racecourse till dark, and the casino till daybreak.’

The great film director John Huston – he directed Robert in the classic The African Queen – reminded Robert of one particular day at the races, a selling plate. Robert was trying to persuade Huston into joining him in a bid for a horse which Robert really rated. Huston was just about to agree and join a bid when the auctioneer took them by surprise and announced, ‘Going, going, gone!’ and banged down his hammer, whereupon the horse Robert so fancied joint-owning let out a last ‘neigh … ‘ and dropped down dead.

But it was Dame Sybil Thorndike who summed up Robert Morley, the gentleman actor. Rushing to open a door for her at the BBC, he tripped. ‘Get up, you silly old thing,’ commanded the Dame. But he couldn’t. He’d actually broken his ankle and was taken to hospital by ambulance.

The broken ankle put him out of work – but only temporarily. What did he do? Got himself a part in the television series Emergency – Ward 10 – as a man with a broken ankle.

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