Well fellow travelers on Memory Lane, we survived another week and again that gives me a chance to name – albeit names from the past.
Alas, I can’t compete with today’s young people on social media called influencers who make a fortune and have huge followers. I can only offer souvenirs, and to those of you who are interested. May I be an influencer, albeit unpaid, and suggest and enjoy old black and white and sometimes color “horror” movies from the 1930s to 1960s?
I use the word horror although every “horror” star I’ve met thought they should be called fantasy movies. Alas, these days everything is shown on screen, as I suggest less is more and let the mind of the viewer conjure up the requisite fear.
As a classic example, I would refer to the classic Hitchcock movie we all know starring Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins. Do you remember the title?
An image from the Psycho trailer
Janet told me that in her later years the film was made on a television budget, but she would always be remembered for the shower scene, although the knife never touched her. Hitchcock understood that the imagination of the spectators is always stronger than what can be shown.
If you haven’t seen it yet, please see night of the demon, made at Elstree Studios in the late 1950s in black and white. Frankly it was a low budget film but it has since become a classic. Granted, you could improve one or two of the special effects today, but I wouldn’t change much else.
A poster for Night of the Demon, filmed at Elstree
I was a friend of female co-star Peggy Cummins. By fate, I was photographed with Peggy and Diana Rigg when they last returned to Elstree Studios at an event I co-hosted. They were both adorable and I had no idea they were both going to leave us soon after.
If you travel to Borehamwood today you will see the huge new Sky studios which is amazing. If you park at Tesco you will see the two massive new sound stages at the back of Elstree Studios. I never imagined when we were fighting to save Elstree Studios in the 1990s that I would live to see such things. Let’s face it, how many times has Dracula risen from his grave over the decades? The history of cinema tells us to never forget anything.
What I find marvelous is that today’s young people now have a real chance of making a good career in the profession we call entertainment. However, never take it for granted. Then again my old pal producer Robert Baker fired a runner from his TV show The return of the saint at Elstree. Many years later, I joked with this young man when I hosted a plaque unveiling at Elstree Studios to honor him! His name is Simon Cowell.
- Paul Welsh MBE is a Borehamwood writer and historian of Elstree studios
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This notice was published: 2022-05-01 17:00:00