FILM GUY ERNIE WEB SITE
A FEW OF MY STORIES:
ERNIE'S BETTY GRABLE PAGE:
THE CINEMA AND THEATRE SCENE
OUR VERY OWN LINKS PAGE:
THE LLOYD BROTHERS:
DURANGO IN THE MOVIES:
"ALL YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT":
TRAIN & STATION MOVIE FACTS:
STAGE AND SCREEN:
Greetings to the North - East from Film Guy Ernie:
Photograph shows Madeleine Carroll. We met briefly in Italy during World War II.
This is DDD Web Site (No.8)
Up - dated 13/03/2006
Compiled in memory of Film Guy Ernie
Part of 'The Dynamic Duo in Derbyshire'(U.K.)
It is with regret that we report that Ernest passed away on Monday 26th. July 2004. However this web site will continue in his memory.
This was Ernie's first Web Site, he was an Octogenarian, and came originally from MIDDLESBROUGH; he thought that it would be nice to make contacts from the North-East area of the U.K; and liked to hear from anyone.
Here's his first story from the past:
“Reflections on Life”
When I look back to my early life in Middlesbrough, I sometimes find it difficult to accept that at my present age of 85 years, all what has happened to me.
I was born on 25th. August 1918, at 22 Norcliffe Street, North Ormesby, Middlesbrough, the son of Mary Shackleton, and Thomas William Munson, whose trade was a Blacksmith. My early education was given at Lawson Infant’s School, and at the age of eleven, I passed what was the called the ‘Eleven Plus’ examination, which gave me entrance to Middlesbrough High School.
The first job I took was as a Junior Clerk in Middlesbrough Town Hall, which pleased my parents, and in a way made me the envy of the rest of the family, including my brother alter and two sisters Joan and Elsie. At the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, along with many others, I enlisted for the Army, becoming a private in ’The Green Howard's’, and later was transferred to ’The Royal Army Corps’ as a trooper. For a while I served at several army units in Yorkshire, which meant when I could, I could use my leave to visit home.
It was during this time that I made friends with Eddy Gaynor, who came from Scarborough, our friendship soon to be broken, when we were needed abroad. He went to France, and I departed by boat for North Africa. Somewhere along the way in North Africa, I became separated from my main unit, and under orders of the powers that be, found myself on another boat en-route for Italy.
At this time the campaign was about to climax in Italy, and one day while walking near the base, I was met by my past Sergeant, who greeted me with the words, “Munson, where the hell have you been, we’ve been looking for you!” After explaining the circumstances he retorted, “Well come with me, I’ve got just the job for you!”
Within 24 hours I found myself transferred to my original unit and promoted to Pay Clerk, my experience at the Town Hall had come in useful after all.
Italy seemed nothing but rain and mud, for me, but in my new job I was posted to a large house, where I worked and slept, typing, filing, and keeping records of my unit’s operations. It was my job to ensure that documentation, along with Pay Books, was kept in order. A highlight was receiving parcels from home, and letters from Audrey, my wife I had forgotten to mention. We had married some weeks prior to my enlistment. Nearby were the towns of Riety, and Foggia, and at one point I found myself crossing the country to Bari, on the East Coast.
The Yanks had beaten me to Italy, and entertainment facilities were much better for them, but with their co-operation, the local cinema could show some good films, and keep us in touch with what was happening back home. Going to the cinema was an experience in itself, because with only one projector in the hall, we had to wait while the operator showing the film, had to thread-up each consecutive reel. The audience was always patient, not like they were back home when the film broke. They would stamp their feet in ‘The Gem‘, and whistle like mad at ‘The Pav’. (‘The Pavilion’).
After a while I was promoted to Corporal, which I remained for the next three years. Completely out of the blue one day, who should visit our camp but Madeleine Carroll, the film star, who at that time had enlisted with the Red Cross. This star-struck youngster recalled seeing her on the silver screen, as she returned my salute, and left the room. Madeleine was born in West Bromwich where after some stage experience; she then went into films. During the Blitz on London, she had a sister killed, and later took up work for UNESCO. She was married four times, one of her husbands being film star Sterling Hayden.
On reflection, I believe I was luckier than most of my comrades. However, what I first thought was to be a brief period, later turned out to be for six years service, but I have no real regrets.
After the war was over I returned home to my family in Middlesbrough, and mother continued her work in service, for the wealthier people of the town. My old post at the Town Hall was waiting as promised, and I remained there for a couple of years.
During this period I continued to support my local cinemas whenever I could, becoming more interested in musicals which took one out of the ’doom and gloom’ of the War. Nearby lived Eve Becke, who sang with Louis Levy and The Gaumont - British Orchestra. Even today I can relive Eve’s lovely voice singing “Yours and Mine”, ”You Couldn’t Be Cuter”, and “Now It Can Be Told”, thanks to modern technology, and the Compact Disc.
It was sometime later that I took up a job working for The Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance, (later to become the DHSS), where I became a Section Supervisor, until my retirement. The fruition of my travels had taught me much, and the comradeship I found was sometimes overwhelming.
As for Eddy Gaynor, we never did meet up again which I regret, and I later learned he had been killed in action in France.
Eddy’s name is engraved on the War Memorial on Oliver’s Mount, overlooking Scarborough. In October 2001 I visited the site, but found myself unable to view the plaque, so I sat nearby offering a thanks for our brief friendship. I reflected on the times we had shared together, of our worries of what lay before us, then the unknown.
I occasionally regret the six lost years of my life from my family, but now approaching 85, I laugh when my friend tells me how he believes that someone above, has taken these things into consideration, and those six years have been added onto the present. Who knows, stranger things are true about life..........
(c) E. E. M. 2002
(Is there anyone in Middlesbrough who remembers me from the days when I worked in the National Insurance Office - now the DHSS - first in the Town Hall, and later elsewhere. I was Section Supervisor for twenty staff, all girls then!
Do you know if No. 22 Norcliffe Street is still standing, or has it been demolished?
Do you remember singer Marion Ryan, mother of Paul and Barry Ryan? She later married entertainer Ray Ellington, and Harold Davidson, before moving to America. She lived then in Duke of York Street.
As a result of the above story about Madeleine Carroll, I was please to find the following e.mail in my mail box:
Enjoyed your site - and thought I'd drop you an e mail - I am Madeleine Carroll's first cousin, and just wanted to let you know that it is good to see her remembered fondly on the web.
Thank you to the sender, you made my day!
You can e.mail me at: BMBGAT@aol.com
I would love to hear from you)
THIS WEB SITE WAS UP-DATED ON: 13/12/03
"Violet Pretty, pretty as a picture"
|Ernest recalls that:
Some years ago, while working in a local government office in Middlesbrough, it was my job to keep people's National Insurance cards up to date with credits.
One day a client came into the office with a pile of cards which need to credited. As we were reaching the end, he informed me that he was a card short , and he would call in and bring it to me the next day. The name on the card was Violet Pretty, which I noted down; it seems that this client worked for a television company which produced a series called "Carrol Levis Discoveries", and Violet had recently started work with them, promoting the programme.
He smiled as I asked him, "and is she really pretty?" to which he replied, "yes, she certainly is!" It was not until sometime later that I discovered that Violet Pretty was in fact, none other than British actress Anne Hayward, this 1949 'Miss Great Britain' beauty queen, then went on to make quite a few films, both here and abroard. Here is a resume of her career:
While "Violet Pretty" may have been an acceptable moniker in the silent-movie days, it sounded too showbizzy to be true in the early 1950s: that's why English beauty-contest winner Violet Pretty became Anne Heywood upon entering films. She started out in bits in programmers like Lady Godiva Rides Again (1951), then rose to leading-lady status in the mid-1950s in such audience pleasers as Doctor at Large (1957) and Upstairs and Downstairs (1959). Remaining popular in Britain throughout the 1960s, Heywood was more or less an unknown quantity to American filmgoers, except for those art-house habitues who recalled her excellent work in the pioneering lesbian-themed drama The Fox (1968). The producer of 1969's Midas Run hoped to make Heywood a household name in the U.S. by having her appear prominently in the film's radio and TV ads together with male lead Fred Astaire. That producer was Raymond Stross, who happened to be the husband of Anne Heywood.
• What Waits Below (1985)
• Sadat (1983)
• Sisters of Satan (1975)
• La Prima Volta Sull' Erba (1975)
• Love under the Elms (1973)
• Trader Horn (1973)
• Le Monache Di Sant' Archangelo (1973)
• I Want What I Want (1972)
• L'assassino ...e al telefono (1972)
• Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff (1971)
• La Monaca di Monza: Una storia lombarda (1970)
• The Chairman (1969)
• Midas Run (1969)
• The Fox (1967)
• Ninety Degrees in the Shade (1965)
• The Very Edge (1963)
• The Brain (1962)
• Stork Talk (1962)
• Petticoat Pirates (1961)
• Cartagine in Fiamme (1960)
Although I never got to meet Anne Hayward, I alway's remembered the name, of the beautiful actress who I could have met!
UPDATE ON VIOLET PRETTY:
"Pretty as a Picture"
Rose Routledge of Yorkshire writes:
In the early 1950s, I worked as a photo finisher in Newcastle. One day Carroll Levis and his glamorous girl-friend, Violet Pretty, arrived for a photo-shoot. We girls in the art room peeped through the key-hole of the door to the studio. It was very exciting watching Violet Pretty posing, but I also remember narrowing her waist on the photograph, before producing the finished print!
(Thanks Rose, I enjoyed that bit!).
Further up-date: (13/12/03):
My brother Norman Field used to go out with Violet Pretty before she changed her name. At the time he was playing professional football for Mansfield Town. We were born in Pity Me in County Durham. I now live in Chesterfield, but sadly Norman has now passed on. I liked your site, and hope you dont mind me e.mailing you with this news. Regards Ted
(Thanks Ted, were almost neighbours!)
The Film Extra:
| Extras, a name coined from an old film accounting term, are also referred to as background, walk-ons, supporting artistes or even SAs for short. Extras are employed to give authenticity and atmosphere to scenes. They may only be one of a handful of artistes in a pub scene or part of a large barbarian army rampaging through a forest. Whatever the scene, the artistes have been cast and specifically placed there for a reason.
With that in mind it becomes obvious that anyone can be an extra, regardless of age, shape or colour. In fact, often it is people who consider they to have the 'wrong look' for film that are most in demand! No-one can truly judge how successful anyone will be, no matter how beautiful or extraordinary looking, but there are a few pre-requisites that all SA's need to fulfill if they are to get work often enough to make the whole exercise worthwhile. The film world moves at a very fast pace and so being easily contactable and available at short notice would be the first of these pre-requisites. Another is the ability to get up very early in the morning, as most calls would require you to arrive on location between 06:00 and 09:00. Finally you must have a National Insurance number (a guarantee that your are eligible to work in the UK), if you are under 16 you will not have received one yet and would need to be licensed for engagements of work. Child agencies usually take on this task; see the links page for listings.
The next step is registering with an agency. This may seem like a daunting task but choosing an agency remains one of the most important decisions you will make. You must make up your own mind as to which agencies to apply to but there are a few guidelines you can follow to help you pick a reputable one.
Once on an agency's books the amount of work that you will receive is dependent on three things: you (appearance, reliability and availability), your agency and what is in production. Once committed to an agency, you have no control over two of the above points, therefore choose your agency wisely and are flexible with your look and wardrobe.
Production genre popularity like fashion trends change over the years and so artistes with certain looks are bound to get more than others. For example productions such as military films and police dramas benefit young men in the same way that period or costume dramas benefit character older faces and those with long hair. When a type of production is more popular than another, some looks gain from them and certain looks suffer by receiving less or no work from them. This is why there is no guarantee of the amount of work to expect, and why honest agencies will never offer one.
Presenting American International Pictures:
|American International Pictures was created in 1954 as American Releasing Corporation by James H. Nicholson, sales manager of the RealArt Production Company, and Hollywood lawyer Samuel Z. Arkoff. The two were the first to realize the potential ticket buying power of the teenage audience and over the next 30 years bombarded them with action, comedy and horror films.
In 1956 ARC was renamed American International Pictures, but its teenage marketing target remained the same, most notably with the special-effects horror films of Bert I. Gordon. The 1960s saw several very lucrative series from AIP, first and foremost being Roger Corman's Edgar Allan Poe adaptations starring Vincent Price. In marketing films to teenagers, AIP also began rediscovering former genre stars like Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre. AIP was also a training ground for new actors and directors. Jack Nicholson, Robert De Niro, Francis Ford Coppola and Peter Bogdanovich all got their starts from Corman and Arkoff.
With “The Wild Angles” in 1966, AIP launched the biker-film genre and reflected a radical new spirit in AIP's youth-oriented fare. In 1969 Roger Corman made his last films for AIP: the violent gangster film “Bloody Mama” with Shelley Winters and the doomsday satire “Gas-s-s-s!” Corman then started his own distribution and production company, New World Pictures.
James H. Nicholson died in 1971, but AIP kept going strong throughout the early 1970s and horror still paid the bills. “Count Yorga, Vampire,” “The Incredible Two-Headed Transplant,” the “Phibes” films, “Scream, Blacula, Scream!,” and “The Food Of The Gods” are just a handful of the dozens of horror films AIP released in the 1970s.
With greater financial freedom, AIP began expanding its product by purchasing foreign sci-fi and horror films and financing more mainstream films. By the late 1970s, big-budget films had surprisingly become more important to AIP than the cheap, two-week shoot pictures of the past. “The Island Of Dr. Moreau,” “Love At First Bite” and “The Amityville Horror” all made money but the overspending led to the ultimate downfall of AIP. Massive spending hurt the company, and 1979, AIP merged with Filmways (Orion Pictures later bought Filmways). In 1980, Sam formed Arkoff International Pictures, which has been sadly silent. We owe a great debt of gratitude to Samuel Z. Arkoff and James H. Nicholson for making the world safe for fun, hip pictures of all genres, but especially horror and science fiction.
More about American International Pictures:
Like all great moments in history, American International Pictures, almost happened merely by chance – a collision of facts, statistics, and luck!
In the early 1950s,the entire movie industry was in trouble, the availability of television, giving movies away for free, caused a slump in movie attendances, and it took Sam Arkoff (a Lawyer), and James H. Nicholson ( a movie sales manager), and also Roger Corman (a director), to realise who was still going to see movies, and thereby make films that audiences wanted to see, cheap enough to show a profit!
The early days were somewhat shaky, the first films were real ‘B’ movies, such as ‘THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS’, ‘FIVE GUNS GO WEST’, and ‘APACHE WOMAN’, were made as second ‘B’ feature movies to accompany bigger films. For these, they only got a flat fee, and not the percentage as a double bill, which was cheaper their first contemporaries, and normally included a great advertising campaign.
Eventually, they kept their production costs down so effectively, that the posters were made first, and the films sold in advance of filming, or if one idea did not excite enough bookings, it could be shelved.
They are now part of cinema history:
|Their films, whilst technically not brilliant, were always topical, sensationalist, intelligently made, and with humour. Many actors worked on several of the films, such as Dick Miller, Beverly Garland, and a very young Jack Nicholson.
They are now fun – time capsules, transporting us back to the wild, sensational, crazy, and paranoid America. The films also featured guest stars, such as Vincent Price, Fabian, and a very,very, young 'Little Stevie Wonder'.
A Successful Career:
|One such actor who appeared in several A. I. P. films, went on to a successful career, including several of the 'Beach Party' films:
JOHN ASHLEY should be a familiar name and face to anyone who attended a drive-in double feature in the 1950s. Ashley starred or co-starred in such passion-pit fodder as Hot Rod Gang (1958), How to Make a Monster (1958), Frankenstein's Daughter (1959) and High School Caesar (1960). In 1961, Ashley co-starred with future Flipper leading man Brian Kell in the short-lived TV action series Straightaway. Ashley switched his base of operations to the Philippines in the 1960s and 1970s, frequently wearing several hats as actor, producer, director and scriptwriter. Films like Mad Doctor of Blood Island (1969) may not have been cited at the annual Oscar ceremonies, but they paid the bills many times over for the peripatetic Ashley.
In the 1980s, Ashley hooked up with television producer Stephen J. Cannell to work on such series as The A-Team. He later teamed with Frank Lupo to executive or co-executive produce such series as Walker, Texas Ranger (1983), Werewolf (1987) and Something is Out There (1988). In the mid-'90s, Ashley began working as an in-house producer for Tri-Star Television. On October 4, 1997, John Ashley was working on the film Scarred City in New York, when he suffered a fatal heart attack.
Born John Atchley in Missouri in 1934, John Ashley was raised in Oklahoma. He was attending Oklahoma State University when he became interested in acting, and while on a trip to California managed to get a part as an extra in The Conqueror (1956) starring John Wayne. Soon, he snagged a starring role in American International Pictures Dragstrip Girl, released in the spring of 1957.
This film began Ashley's long association with AIP. In addition to his acting talents, Ashley also proved to be a good singer, releasing several singles on the Dot label in 1957 and 1958. His vocal talents are highlighted in Zero Hour (1957) and Hot Rod Gang (1958). Throughout the late 1950s and early 1960s, Ashley starred in a string of films, as well as two television series. In 1962, he married Deborah Walley. The union produced a son, born in May 1963, but their marriage ended in 1966.
By the late 1960s, John Ashley's career focus began to move behind the camera. Alongside low budget writer/director Eddie Romero, Ashley produced a string of shocking horror films made mostly in the Philippines, including Beast of the Yellow Night (1971) and Twilight People (1972), in which he acted as well. Ashley also produced, but did not appear in, some of Pam Grier's early "chicks in chains" films, such as The Big Doll House (1971) and Black Mama, White Mama (1972).
From the 1980s through the mid 1990s, John Ashley was producing hit TV shows, including The A Team, The Quest, and Walker, Texas Ranger. Sadly, he passed away from a heart attack in 1997 at the age of 62. He is survived by two sons.
(C) Film Guy Ernie 2003
A Blast From the Past:
|THE RAY ELLINGTON QUARTET
Ray Ellington was born Harry Brown, in 1915, London, England. He died 28th February 1985. He began playing drums as a teenager, and by 1937 was proficient enough to replace Joe Daniels in Harry Roy's popular band. He remained with Roy for almost five years, although his personal musical taste tended more towards the new jazz styles, and soon after the end of World War II he was playing bop in London clubs. He led his own quartet at this time and made a number of records, and sometimes accompanied visiting American jazzmen.
His quartet in the late 40s comprised Dick Katz (piano), Coleridge Goode (bass) and Lauderic Caton guitar who was replaced by Laurie Deniz, and they were able to play swing, jumping R&B and popular jazz. In the early 50s. Ellington began to incorporate comedy and novelty material into his repertoire but the group's musical base was always strongly bop-influenced. Throughout the 50s the quartet was regularly featured on The Goon Show on BBC Radio, usually with Ellington singing, and he also took small acting roles in the programme.
By the 60s; and with the passing of ‘The Goon Show’, Ellington was much less in demand, but he continued playing until shortly before his death in February 1985. His son, Lance Ellington, played trombone with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra and also sang as a member of the pop duo ‘Coffee And Cream’.
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