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The book you've all been waiting for
Do you remember eagerly awaiting the latest Harry Potter novel? Can you remember the excitement when they published Gone With The Wind?
Last year, the Boreham Wood Museum kept bugging me to write down some of my anecdotes from 50 years of visiting film studios and hundreds of star encounters, but I was a bit reluctant to put pen to paper. Then I found myself wishing to kill an hour a day for a few weeks in the summer, having just returned from the pub garden and so the book came to life.
I first got an autograph in 1960 when, as a lad, I visited Elstree Studios and got the Hollywood actor Gary Cooper to sign a photograph of himself. I know younger readers will never have heard of him but he was a big star in Hollywood’s golden era and sadly he was to die a few months later.
My late dad worked at the Gate Recording Theatre and growing up in Borehamwood meant the world of film and television was all around me.
Fifty years ago I remember going to see Cliff Richard at the local cinema in the Elstree-made Summer Holiday without dreaming that in 2008 I would be welcoming Sir Cliff back to the studio and hosting a plaque unveiling in his honour.
I loved the old horror movies so it was a great thrill to meet Boris Karloff, Christopher Lee, Vincent Price and Peter Cushing. I recall going to Shepperton Studios in 1973 to interview Peter, and in the Nineties when he was ill with cancer, he still said he would join me in front of the bulldozers to save Elstree Studios.
In a way, it felt like I was writing my own obituary as I had some great times and it was fun to write.
- Elstree Confidential, £15.95, is available from Elstree and Boreham Wood Museum in Drayton Road.
In this section
- Looking back to One Million Years BC
- The wages of sin? £6,000 a time for a Hammer Horror flick and £1,000 for commanding the Death Star
- From Borehamwood to Hollywood
- Before they were famous
- Staying one step ahead of the obituary writers
- Roast beef, the Clitheroe Kid, pea soupers - and only two television channels?
- Remembering Richard Griffiths, The Devil Rides Out and the days of 'straight to video' films
- No need for big budgets - all you need is a good story
- The day I proved James Bond wrong - you can beat big business
- Why a street in Elstree bears the name of a Hollywood great