THE DYNAMIC DUO IN DERBYSHIRE (U.K.)
GREAT NAMES OF THE PAST:
MEMORIES AND MELODIES:
OUR VERY OWN LINKS PAGE:
FILMS WE ENJOYED:
MORE MELODIES AND MEMORIES
SINGERS AND SONG:
REAL MUSIC - THE 1950s:
Greetings From Bernie and Ernie: Hello Sussex:
This is a DDD Web Site (No. 7)
Up - dated 10/10/03.
Hello from Bernard and Ernest, we are known as ‘The Dynamic Duo in Derbyshire’, and we manage ten Web Sites on the Internet. Do you like reading stories about film stars, the cinema of the past, and old movies that we don’t see on television now? If you do, then our Web Sites are for you!
There are also stories about World War II, and peoples experiences during the period, and you can also submit your own for inclusion on the site. Bernie, was in the entertainment business for about 35 years, while Ernie, a staunch film fan for 70 years, contributes his views and opinions.
We are based in The Heart of England, near the beautiful Derbyshire Dales. We enjoy making new friends, and invite you to send us an e.mail with any questions you might have about our sites.
For a sample of our sites cut and paste the URL below into yor browser, and we hope you will find an interest in what you see.
Link to our information site:
Here we go with our first story:
Aristoc factory, on the Nottingham/Derbyshire border has closed and has been demolished. Here's our tribute to the history, and the people who worked there:
A History of Aristoc Stockings:
|The History of Aristoc - Beginnings
The name Aristoc was registered in 1924 by A.E. Allen & Co, a hosiery company, based in the Nottinghamshire village of Langley Mill. The Company's position as pioneers in the industry, and the need to exploit this, called for an ambitious plan of expansion which would rely upon the brand. The first advertisment for Aristoc stockings appearing in 1926 with the Company's books showing increasing expenditure on advertising from then onwards.
For several years the factory worked three shifts covering twenty hours each day and many developments took place which are now taken for granted. 1933 saw the first issue of Cocoon, Aristoc's house magazine which carried news to customers all over the world. The Thirties also saw a research department established to develop new products, working in harness with the production and quality control departments to improve service. In 1934 the company name changed from A.E. Allen to Aristoc and the company became a public one.
During the decade immediately prior to the war there was a steady market for stockings and keen competition from lines being manufactured in Germany and Czechoslovakia, together with newly established brands in the UK. Throughout this difficult period Aristoc remained unique for two reasons: it was the largest company in the country to specialise in fine gauge fully fashioned silk stockings also, more importantly it was acknowledged to be the leading brand for quality. Just before the war a major extension to the factory had been made, floor space had been doubled, but by 1939 only a few machines had been installed. The Company was required to make it's contribution to the war effort providing space for the Ministry of Aircraft Production. The production of silk stockings was banned by the government and all stocks were frozen. Stock shortages that followed resulted in a system of fair shares for all customers large and small, which although as distasteful as rationing, created much goodwill between the Company and it's customers.
Nylon was introduced into stockings in the 1940s which incorporated strength and stretch benefits. There was however a shortage of nylon yarn with worldwide demand for nylon stocks increasing, a fact that no chancellor could ignore. The hosiery trade was quickly made to understand that allocation of yarn would be based on its 'export performance' and Aristoc headed the list of Britain's nylon stocking exporters. 1947 also saw the sales department moving into a showroom in Bruton Street, London.
The Company's success in export markets enabled it to acquire new American machinery as it continued to embrace it's policy of modernisation and expansion to produce the best nylon fully fashioned stockings at keenly competitive prices.
1954 saw the introduction of Aristoc's on-site dye house which not only saved on costs, as there was no longer any transportation required, but improved quality as there was now total control over the production of the stockings.
Behind the scenes the Italian machinery manufacturers were developing a circular seam free knitting machine that was going to revolutionise the stockings business. Aristoc was fortunate enough to have the floor space and was able to work with both types of machines. The first seam free machines were delivered into Langley Mill in 1959 and started the production of two styles - one of which is still available today, the 30 denier Grosvenor and Mystique.
Demand for both styles was unprecedented with representatives taking orders in one week for one months production, often collecting production from the factory to take directly into stores.
Hardly had the demand for seam free stockings been met when there was a new innovation in the hosiery market - tights. It was in 1967 that Aristoc first began producing tights using new techniques of joining separate bodies and legs. Over-production, price cutting and the wearing of trousers with knee highs however was causing concern for all hosiery manufacturers. Foreign imports were a threat to the British manufacturers. The British Branded Hosiery Group was formed to combat this threat by promoting British brands.
In an attempt to add value back to the market, a new approach was taken. It was decided to present hosiery as a fashion item, sold as an accessory rather than a leg covering. During the 1970s Aristoc launched ranges of textures and shades, chosen in conjunction with leading fashion houses. The new ranges were looked upon with suspicion by retailers but, having strong fashion appeal, prejudice against the new image began to fade. Aristoc reported record sales figures in 1977 proving that fashion had given hosiery the impetus for which it had been searching.
In 1984 a radical decision was taken to dramatically prune the range to present only proven fast-selling styles. However, the flexibility to have seasonal and fashion shades remained. New style packaging was introduced to give a clean uncluttered look to the hosiery fixture. The 1980s saw power dressing but with some significant interest in legwear. Aristoc developed the market for patterned tights, bows and colours. During this period new up to date knitting machines were introduced, together with computerised dyeing and machine packing, the first in the country. During 1988 Aristoc ran its 'We'll be your second skin' advertising campaign in trade and consumer press, reinforcing the message of perfect fitting, perfect quality hosiery.
(c) The Dynamic Duo in Derbyshire 2003
There's Life After M-G-M!
|Hollywood and TV Composer Harry Lojewski now leads a quiet, but active, life in Camarillo after his long career at the film giant: |
Every time she saw him, Debbie Reynolds used to belt out, "I'm Just Wild About Harry." The notoriously cantankerous Fred Astaire counted him among his favorite accompanists and people. Pop singer Irene Cara made sure he got a gold album to put on his wall, in honor of the best-selling success of the Fame soundtrack.
But Camarillo resident Harry Lojewski (pronounced Loy-ev-ski) is the complete counterpoint to the high drama and personal hijinks of artists he worked with for more than 40 years at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Mild-mannered, with twinkling blue eyes, Harry met and married, Chiquita, the love of his life, raised a family and generally stayed clear of the Hollywood fast lane.
For 10 years, since moving from Beverly Hills, Lojewski has lived in a quiet neighborhood where only the sounds of native birds and Harry's piano punctuate the stillness. The absence of his beloved Chiquita, who died last year, makes the five-bedroom house seem too large, so Lojewski is selling it and simplifying his life. Not that he's quit working.
He recently completed a tutorial of classical melodies arranged for violin and piano with Elmer Bernstein's 92-year-old former concertmaster and Lojewski continues to compose for his beloved Catholic Church.
In addition to contributing music to the great MGM musicals -- Take Me Out to the Ballgame, Gigi, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Kiss Me Kate among them -- he's written numerous religious works, including the first mariachi-style mass performed publicly in the United States. It was performed during the 200th celebration of the founding of Mission San Diego de Alcala and used again to mark the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Los Angeles Mission, when then-Mayor Sam Yorty sent out a proclamation honoring the composer.
"One of the nicest things was someone said it was the first time they heard the music of a mass that actually matched the words being sung. I got help from a lot of people who worked with me at the studio. A lot of arms were twisted. It was in Spanish and Chiquita, who was Cuban, helped me put the accents on the proper syllables," said Lojewski, who dedicated the piece to "my heart and my wife."
At present, Lojewski's fascination is computers and he's hard-wired in his home office. Lojewski also uses the machine to compose. He marvels at the ease with which he can create music on the printed page, or rather, how the computer's printer writes it out for him. A musician since he was a teen, Lojewski was classified 4F, then eventually accepted into the Army during World War II. He spent four years stateside as a journeyman machinist, but during final assignment helped put on a show with the base hospital staff. That led to a ground-floor job of rehearsal pianist for filmmakers. His first tasks was working with the demanding Fred Astaire.
"I had heard tales about how difficult Fred was. As far as I was concerned it was 'Send me to work for anybody, but don't let it be Fred!' Fred would always be a nervous wreck the day of the shoot. He'd throw chairs. Certain parts of his repertoire were so tricky and very difficult," Lojewski recalled.
"I found that one of Fred's peculiarities was in the middle of a routine, all of a sudden he'd stop dancing... he could never come up with an end. I would work before he got there to devise an ending. After three pictures, we became the best of friends."
Studios cut Back
Of the many brilliant music directors, arrangers and composers who sifted through the MGM studio system, and later its television enterprises, Lojewski was among the last left standing after corporate mergers, buyouts and layoffs.
Even his boss, Johnny Green -- a Harvard-educated economist, who composed hits such as I Cover the Waterfront and Body and Soul -- got axed as New Hollywood plowed over the golden days of Judy Garland, Esther Williams and Reynolds.
"They auctioned off everything in the property department, everything not nailed down. One day, I was asked to move into the old schoolhouse where Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland had gone. They asked me to become head of music for television, documentaries and cartoons," said Lojewski, who oversaw music for TV's The Courtship of Eddie's Father, Medical Center and Then Came Bronson, huge audience hits. From bottom-floor rehearsal pianist to arranger/accompanist in through the '50s, he became vice president of MGM/United Artists' music division in 1972, a position from which he retired in 1987.
"My attitude was I had to know what all the other studio heads were involved with and how they ran their departments. I figured if I couldn't do a better job and cheaper (than previous heads), they really wouldn't need me either," said Lojewski, who also oversaw music for Dr. Kildare, The Thin Man and Fame.
Harry Lojewski, is at present 80 years old.
(c) The Dynamic Duo inderbyshire 2003
More follows soon..........
Musicals Worth Remembering:
|Larry Parks 1914 – 1975 |
Larry Parks is now a days a little remembered actor, whose main claim to fame was starring in the two popular films about Al Jolson, and as the only actor amongst the 'Hollywood 10'. Born Sam Klusman Parks on December 13th, 1914 in Olathe, Kansas. Parks would attend the University of Illinois and then move on to several years in which he would pay his dues in various stock and local theatre companies, before being signed to a movie contract in 1941 with Columbia Pictures.
Used mostly as the lead in 'B' films, he would occasionally land supporting roles in several 'A' films during the 1940's. His big break came when the studio decided to produce a big budget film about the life of Al jolson.
Parks was desperate to get the role, and worked hard to convince the studio bosses that he was the right man for this film. His perseverance paid off, and he landed the coveted role, and worked with a fervor to make sure his lip-synching to actual Jolson recordings came off with no glitches. The film proved to be highly successful, and he would earn an Oscar nomination for his performance.
Despite this success Parks' time in the limelight was limited as Columbia found out that despite being cast in several 'A' films, 1947's 'Down To Earth, 'The Swordsman, and 1948's 'The Gallant Bride', he was not in the same league as Errol Flynn, or a Clark Gable. He returned to the spotlight with the successful Al Jolson sequel, 1949's 'Jolson Sings Again'.
During this same time period, he found himself the target of the HUAC hearings after being named by 'friendly witnesses' as being a Communist. Subpoenaed by the Committee Parks proved to one of the few cooperative subpeoned 'unfriendly witnesses member', the remainder refused to answer any questions claiming the Committee infringed upon their Constitutional freedoms. Parks openly admitted that he had joined the American Communist Party in 1941, but had left it in 1945 with the end of World War II.
Asked to name names by the Committee, this was the only question Parks refused to openly answer saying, "I would prefer, if you would allow me, not to mention other people's names. Don't present me with the choice of either being in contempt of this Committee and going to jail or forcing me to really crawl through the mud to be an informer.". The Committee turned a deaf ear to his plea, and insisted he answer the questions. Parks waffled, and two days later the Committee held a private hearing with Parks, where he openly named names, and the results were quickly leaked to the media. Those he named included:
Roman Bohnen (who was then dead)
Humphrey Bogart - actor
James Cagney - actor
Lee Cobb - actor
John Garfield - actor
Gregory Peck - actor
Edward G. Robinson - actor
Howard Da Silva
Dorothy Tree Despite answering all questions before HUAC, Larry Parks his apperance before the Committee to be the death knell for his acting career, when the studios 'unoffically blacklisted' him in 1951 while he was working opposite Elizabeth Taylor.
In the MGM film 'Love Is Better Than Ever'. Parks wife, actress Betty Garrett, would also be blacklisted mainly because of her marriage to him.
He would ask to appear before the Committee, now under Senator McCarthy's control, in 1953 in an attempt to get back in the good favors of the studios. He would submit a letter stating his intent, but was not called back before the Committee
"After careful consideration I wish to file a clarifying statement of my point of view on the Communist problem with your Committee. I am now convinced that my previous testimony improperly reflects my true attitude towards the malignancy of the Communist Party.
If there is any way in which I can further aid in exposing the methods of entrapment and deceit through which Communist conspirators have gained the adherence of American idealists and liberals, I hope the Committee will advise me.
Above all, I wish to make it clear that I support completely the objectives of the House Committee on Un-American Activities. I believe fully that Communists and Communist intrigues should be thoroughly exposed and isolated and thus rendered impotent."
He would only make two more films, 1955's 'Tiger By The Tail' and 1962's 'Freud', as well as two plays with a long run on Broadway 'Teahouse Of The August Moon' and 'Any Wednesday' before giving up on being an actor. Suffering form chronic heart problems Larry Parks would succumb to a heart attack on April 13th 1975, in Studio City, California.
(c) The Dynamic Duo in Derbyshire 2003
The Great Al Jolson:
|This is the real Al Jolson – He was known as the World’s greatest entertainer, and is seen here with Country and Western singer EDDY ARNOLD:|
The release of The Jolson Story in 1946, a film biography of his life starring Larry Parks, resurrected his sagging career and he became immensely popular with a new generation of admirers. At the end of 1947 he was voted the most popular male singer on radio.
A successful film sequel, Jolson Sings Again, was made in 1949 and with war erupting in Korea, Jolson again went off to entertain the troops. On the night of his death on 23 October 1950 they turned out the lights of Broadway and the traffic in Times Square came to a halt - Al Jolson was not just a great singer, he was a giant of the entertainment industry.
(c) The Dynamic Duo in Derbyshire 2003
This page has been visited times.