WELL here we are again for another venture down memory lane and as always thank you for your kind feedback. They used to say people 'retreat to the past' when times are hard. Well there is no doubt bad times are here but I believe nostalgia is a great thing anytime and we can always enjoy memories.

I have enjoyed a wonderful life, visiting film sets and meeting actors and others behind the scenes for several decades. To be honest I am not a fan of this era of instant celebrity but if that is what often is popular then this biz we call show is duty-bound to reflect it.

I am sometimes asked which stars were the favourites I have met and which I found a big let down. Well in regard to the latter luckily there were only a handful and why in any way spoil readers' memories of certain stars? As to any favourites, my problem is how to compare one against another.

To be honest, I am more interested to know which stars you may have met or simply enjoyed their appearances on the big or little screen? My only request is that they were stars before say 1980 so there is a chance I might have met them and can share a memory. You can contact me via the web page version of this paper or via Elstree Screen Heritage web page. I am also happy to try and answer any film questions, but please be kind. Last year I got an email from a lady in Texas saying her late Gran had appeared as an extra in an Old Mother Riley film made in Borehamwood in the early 1940s and could I tell her which film!

In the old days studios would also own their own cinema chains which made sense as it guaranteed distribution of your own productions along with imported Hollywood movies. Rank of course owned Pinewood and the Odeon cinemas. Elstree Studios' parent company owned the ABC cinemas. Some of my older readers will recall when you really got value for money for your cinema ticket. It would include a newsreel, a cartoon, a second or support movie and then the main feature.

Sometimes the support of so-called B films could be as entertaining as the expensive main movie. I enjoy watching British support films from the 1950s, usually lasting no more than say an hour in running time. They usually feature up-and-coming names, fading stars of yesteryear and familiar typecast character actors. Tonight I am going to watch and Edgar Lustgarten murder mystery. It is fun to see how everybody seemed to wear suits, dresses and hats. I love the old cars, which actually looked different from each other, and you could park anywhere in London.

Alas, most scenes would include somebody smoking or drinking alcohol. Of course in those days you could smoke in cinemas - that required the nicotine-stained screens to be replaced every couple of years. That was often done by a company based in Borehamwood called Harkness Screens.

At one point in time they were in the Guinness Book of Records for making the largest cinema screen in the world, but that is a story for another day.