Welcome back everyone after our seasonal holiday break. I can see some of you have over indulged and forgot that a moment on the lips is a lifetime on the hips, but why not? Personally I am not a great Christmas person and as for New Year's Eve I was asleep by 11pm as my party days are behind me, but overall it was a good time.
I hope some of you viewed the BBC Antiques Roadshow entertainment special on New Years Eve. We filmed it on one of the hottest days of the year back in June but being old school I still wore a jacket. Thankfully I was 'touched up' by a make up lady beforehand so the perspiring was not noticeable.
Two of my friends were also on the show. Ron got top billing for his LucasFilm film props and the original axe from The Shining. Ruby was also a star, 92 years young, recalling her days as a tea lady at MGM in the 1950s. It was fun to be involved in especially as it was the 40th anniversary of the programme and I have watched it from the start, before I became a antique myself.
Can you believe it is 50 years ago since they were filming that iconic 1960s television series called The Prisoner at MGM in Borehamwood? It still has legions of fans and on Sunday, January 21, in the evening at Elstree Studios , a special celebration event is being staged by experts on the history of that series. There will be guest appearances, clips of the series and other attractions. I will be attending as I love celebrating the film and television heritage of Borehamwood. I believe the tickets cost £20, with the profits going to a children's hospice so it is a nice way to support a charity while having a bit of fun. To obtain a ticket you need to contact the organisers at www.theunmutual.co.uk and not the studio. Details are also available on the Elstree Screen Heritage Facebook page, which is worth joining for details of other forthcoming events.
Finally I must pay tribute to a lovely lady who was a friend of mine for more than 30 years and always supported events I staged at Elstree Studios and the BBC Elstree Centre from 1984 until 2008. I am referring to actress Peggy Cummins, who first starred in movies in Borehamwood back in the early 1940s. Peggy told me: "In those days I used to apply my own screen makeup while travelling to the Borehamwood railway station very early in the morning. Then I would walk along Shenley Road to the old National Studios, which is now BBC Elstree."
20th Century Fox spotted her while she was still a teenager and she was sent to Hollywood. There Peggy appeared in several films, including one that the Americans consider a classic called Gun Crazy. However, at the time she preferred to come home and her subsequent British films were not major efforts, although Hell Drivers with Stanley Baker is highly regarded today.
My personal favourite was a supernatural thriller shot in the winter of 1956 called Night Of The Demon in which Peggy co-starred with fading and alcoholic Hollywood star Dana Andrews.
Filmed at Elstree Studios, I think it is a great film. Back in the 1980s I interviewed a number of the cast and crew, sadly all gone now. At the time they thought little of it. Peggy was always protective of her co-star and his drink problem of the time. However, on one occasion, before I interviewed her in front of film fans for some anecdotes she told me her part was just a few weeks work, long ago. Fans often forget stars are not computers able to reel out facts about something they did perhaps 50 years ago for a few weeks.
I last met Peggy at Elstree Studios in September after a couple of years' gap. Still looking amazing at 92, her first words were "an event here without you Paul would not be the same", which I cherish. I had one last photo with Peggy and the guest of the evening Dame Diana Rigg. When I did not get the usual Christmas card I intended to phone Peggy but alas she had suffered a stroke and died in hospital. I will miss her!
Source : http://www.stalbansreview.co.uk/news/15814389.Gun_Crazy__but_not_so_crazy_about_Hollywood/