Disclaimer: This interview was conducted in 1995 and concerns memories of 1930slife; as such there may be opinions expressed or words used that do not meet today's norms and expectations.
* Transcript ID: ES-95-213AT001
* CCINTB Transcript ID: 95-213-13a-z, 95-213-14a-ax
* Tapes: ES-95-213OT001, ES-95-213OT002
* CCINTB Tapes ID: T95-111, T95-112
* Length: 1:25:54
* Ipswich, Suffolk, 16 October 1995: Valentina Bold interviews Eileen Scott
* Transcribed by Joan Simpson/Standardised by Annette Kuhn
* ES=Eileen Scott, VB=Valentina Bold
* Notes: First interview of two with Eileen Scott; Sound Quality: Good
[Start of Tape One]
[Start of Side A]
[VB tape introduction]
ES: Because I'm not l-di-dah!
VB: Oh, I'm sure not. I'm sure not. It's just, I think, you have this picture ofhow you sound.
ES: That's right, yes.
VB: And it's just completely different. But that seems to be working all right now.
ES: Erm, first time when my son had his first tape recorder and I heard myself,I said, "That's not me!" [laughs]
VB: [laughs] Ah. Well this should be all right anyway. [laughs]
ES: Yes. Well I mustn't speak too loudly, must I? Anyhow you ask me--
ES: The things that you want to know.
VB: Right. Well, could I maybe start by asking you just one or two questionsabout yourself?
VB: So, just so that I've, erm, I'm sure that I've got an idea about yourbackground apart from the erm--
ES: Well I felt on the phone I ran on a bit. [laughs]00:01:00
VB: Oh, not at all. Erm, it was just one or two things really.
VB: Erm, were you actually born in Ipswich then?
ES: I was, yes.
VB: Right. That's great. And I know that your mother was a pianist--
ES: Pianist, yes.
VB: In cinemas and eh, subsequently with yourself when you were working you were saying.
ES: Oh well, I was a dancer. Yes.
VB: And did your father work erm, locally?
ES: Yes. He had a, he was in business. In a house furnishing business in the town.
VB: That's great. Erm, the only other thing I wanted to ask was eh, were youbrought up in any particular religious faith? Were you Church of England or--?
ES: No, we were Methodists.
VB: Ah, I see. That's interesting.
ES: But, after we lost my brother, we changed over to going to church.
VB: I see.
ES: But I think my parents, really, always remained Methodists.00:02:00
VB: That's interesting. Were the Methodists? What was the Methodists' positionabout the cinema? Were there any erm--
ES: I don't think so. No, no.
VB: Not really.
ES: 'Cause my parents liked going to the pictures.
VB: It's interesting 'cause I've heard some people saying that eh, you knowcertain churches were a bit--
ES: Oh, were against.
VB: Against the cinema.
VB: But I think it's more sort of erm, you know Salvation Army, that sort of thing.
VB: But just when you said Methodist, I was interested in that.
VB: Erm, and the other thing was if you had any strong political views of erm,being a member of a party or anything like that?
ES: I'm not a member of a party but I'm leftish rather than rightish.
ES: Because I'm-- Well, you see, it's very difficult but I do believe, I thinkthere's an awful lot in the world--
ES: And I think it should be shared out evenly. I don't, you know, I feel. Well,00:03:00I've always felt like that.
ES: Erm, I don't see why some people should have so much and others have to go without.
ES: So eh, I s'pose I'm the middle of the road, really.
VB: Yeah. Well that was all I really wanted to ask.
ES: That's all you wanted to ask.
VB: Just to fill in a couple of things.
ES: Yes, yes. About me! [laughs]
VB: About you. Erm, so, I mean maybe we could start by eh. I mean how often didyou go to the cinema when you were a child? Say in a week?
ES: Oh, I suppose,well I'm saying to you. See I lost my brother when I was ten and I was sort of ill when I was about thirteen. So I had to leave school. Because I left school, I went to the cinema far more than I would've done if I'd remained at school. So I would think when I was about thirteen, so we're talking 1921, we're talking 00:04:00about the 1934 cinema. And then I suppose I'd go at least once a week.
VB: 'Cause you were telling me you used to sometimes go with your mother.
ES: That's right.
VB: When she was working.
ES: Yes. And sometimes I'd go on my own. Eh, and to the old Picture House.
VB: Uhuh. Was that the one that you went to most frequently?
ES: Yes, I think so.To begin with.
VB: What was that like inside?
ES: Oh, erm. Well it was quite cosy. There was a balcony when you went upstairs.And there was a passageway on the right-hand side that went down so that you could go into the stalls. And if you turned to the right, that was the restaurant. And that's what the people were talking about on Radio Suffolk that day. And that's really what brought it all back to me. Erm. [pause 2 seconds] 00:05:00Are you interested to know the films?
VB: Very much so. Yes.
ES: Well there was The Barretts of Wimpole Street. Smilin' Through. Erm, therewas Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell, I think in State Fair. And these are the early thirties films.
VB: Mhm. I mean you were telling me that your favourite was Ginger Rogers.
ES: Oh yes!
VB: Eh, what was it about her that appealed to you?
ES: Well, it was the dancing.
ES: Yes. And as a little girl, I'd been taken to see Fred Astaire in London in'Funny Face' with Adele. And erm, I'd always got a soft spot for Fred. [laughs] And course he started, he paired up with Ginger Rogers.
ES: You know, I had friends as well. We were all, you know we just waited forthe next one to come out. To go and see it. 00:06:00
VB: What was he like as a live performer?
VB: What was Fred Astaire like to see, erm, when you saw him in London?
ES: Oh, well I was only a little girl. I couldn't've been more than about sevenat the time. I can just remember going and I can just about remember seeing them on the stage.
ES: But eh, you know, it wasn't until the films really that erm. I just likedhis personality and. But most of all, the dancing. I mean Ginger was a lovely dancer.
VB: Being a dancer yourself.
VB: How did you rate Fred Astaire?
ES: Oh! He's absolutely fabulous!
ES: And so was she! [laughs] You know, I mean, I love dancing but when I thinkof the hours she used to put in. I mean she used to dance until her feet were bleeding. Because he was so fussy--
ES: About getting things absolutely right.
VB: Mhm. I mean how did you feel when you were watching a film like? I mean I00:07:00brought some stills--
VB: With me.
VB: Erm, I've only got one, I'm afraid, [laughs] of Fred and Ginger.
ES: Oh yes.
VB: It's an advert actually for Top Hat and--
ES: O-hh! Lovely! Yes.
ES: Oh, that marvellous! You see I've got eh, the music.
ES: I put the music out for you,
VB: Oh great!
ES: In case you wanted to look at any of it. Of all, nearly all their, erm, films.
ES: Because you can sometimes get a bit of information from the actual covers.
ES: And of course, my daughter recently gave me Ginger's.
VB: Oh wonderful.
ES: But these are two, mostly about Fred Astaire.
ES: My son gave me that one and he found this one somewhere. But that's a lovely book.
VB: Ah! Oh these look great!
ES: And, I mean, there's such a lot in there, you know, about all theirdifferent films. I wrote some of them down. You know, their different films they were in. I don't know whether that interests you at all. 00:08:00
VB: Oh it does. It does, very much.
ES: Erm, there's Swing Time. Of course there was Top Hat, wasn't there? Andthere was Swing Time, Follow the Fleet. 'Change Parsners', 'Partners'! ['Change Partners'; referring to Carefree] [laughs] Erm, 'Irene and Vernon Castle' [referring to The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle]. Eh, I've got the music of that one. Shall We Dance? The Barkleys of Broadway. I don't know if you know any more. [laughs]
VB: [laughs]. I think that's eh, I mean that's quite a substantial list.
ES: Have you other stills there?
VB: Erm, yes. I have some.
VB: I mean were there any of your favourites in that list? Were there ones thatyou particularly liked?
ES: Oh, I love Change Partners. Erm, and I liked the story of, wait a minute,eh. Let me see if I can just put my hands on that. 'Vernon and Irene Castle' [referring to The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle]. I was looking at it this morning. Oh dear. It's always the way when you want something, isn't it? 00:09:00
ES: Never mind.
VB: Were you buying a lot of sheet music in the thirties?
ES: O-hh! Was I?
ES: Well you can see.
VB: Yes. They're all in very good condition actually.
ES: One with eh,
VB: Ah. 'Dearly Beloved'.
VB: Mm. Were you a singer as well or?
ES: Oh a little bit.
ES: I used to sing with my dancing, but I wouldn't say I had a, not a voice evenlike my mother had.
ES: My mother could sing. There's a really old one!
VB: Aw-w! 'I'm Putting All My Eggs in One Basket'.
ES: There you are.
VB: 'Follow the Fleet'.
VB: 'Isn't This a Lovely Day?' from Top Hat. Aw!
ES: [turning pages]
VB: That's a wonderful picture actually, on the front of that one.
ES: It is, isn't it?
VB: [There was a real twinkle in his eyes, Fred?] [laughs]
ES: 'Let's Face the Music and Dance'. My one and only 'Highland Fling'.00:10:00
VB: Ah-h. And The Barkleys of Broadway.
ES: We were terrible. We were about, ah! This is the one. 'Only When You're inMy Arms'.
VB: Ah, wonderful!
ES: Vernon and Irene Castle.
ES: And, going back to my [next two words inaudible].
VB: Oh! Norma Shearer.
ES: Oh! Yes.
VB: Was she another one of your favourites?
ES: She was then.
ES: Yes. 'The Way You Look Tonight'.
VB: Is that erm, is it Leslie Howard?
ES: Leslie Howard, yes.
VB: I thought so.
ES: Yes. That was one of my favourite films.
VB: Mhmm. These are great. I was just trying to think when you said The Barkleysof Broadway. Was that the one where they're married but they're fighting?
ES: I think it is.
VB: And then of course, by the end they reconcile. [laughs]00:11:00
ES: They reconc-- [laughs] Yes.
ES: But sometimes, you know, the covers of the eh, the music. But we had a game.There were about eight of us. Four boys and four girls. And we used to play tennis in the summer and we used to have concert parties in the winter. And we used to dance and sing. And then of course as soon as a Fred Astaire film came on, we used to off for the music! Off for the music! We used to. Different ones of us could play the piano. We used to stand round the piano and sing. I mean you did so much more of that then because there wasn't television. And eh, you know, you amused yourselves more, didn't you?
VB: It sounds wonderful.
ES: And eh. Oh! We had a lovely time.
ES: From, when the time I was about fourteen until I was eighteen, and then thewar. You see, we had six years of war.
ES: That pretty well changed my life. And eh, in many ways. But, you know, I00:12:00always kept the old music. [laughs]
VB: Mhm. It's tremendous. I mean did you ever try to model your own dancing onGinger Rogers?
ES: Oh, yes. I had one friend and we used to try and pick their steps up andhave a go. [laughs]
ES: But eh--
VB: I mean the dresses are just--
ES: Oh! They're lovely!
VB: Looking at that. That's beautiful.
VB: Did you copy their, say their hairstyles or?
ES: Erm, well I think we all had this craze for a page boy. And I still wear myhair under at the back. Erm, you know, and Ginger had this beautiful page boy. And she had such gorgeous hair.
VB: Mhm. And the make-up and everything is just perfect, isn't it?
ES: Oh! Yes, yes.
VB: I mean when you were watching a film like that how did it make you feel?00:13:00
ES: Oh I used to just love it. It was really quite uplifting. [laughs]
VB: Could you imagine yourself in that sort of situation?
ES: Oh, when I was young, all I ever wanted. I wanted to have just one dancewith Fred Astaire. [laughs]
ES: But eh, that was not to be.
ES: But I wasn't up to the standards that--
VB: Well. Who is, really? It's eh.
ES: You just get the one or two, don't you? It's like erm, Jayne Torvill andChristopher Dean.
ES: They're just a pair. I doubt whether there'll every be another pair quitelike them.
ES: It's erm, it's kind of magic, somehow.
VB: I didn't realise that he'd made a film with Rita Hayworth, actually.
ES: Yes, yes.
VB: Did you like Rita Hayworth?
ES: Yes, I did. Yes.
ES: There was another one. 'I'm Old Fashioned'. There was a nice song that was00:14:00in one of their films [referring to You Were Never Lovelier]. I think that was a Rita Hayworth, Fred Astaire.
VB: I mean you mentioned some of the other stars a minute or two ago like Janet Gaynor.
ES: Oh, yes! Yes.
VB: Was she one of your favourites?
ES: I quite liked her, you know, when I was young. But eh, I jotted one or twodown here. Erm. [turns pages] Oh I like Gracie Fields. In Sing As We Go! and Queen of Hearts. And I also was a great lover of Ronald Colman.
VB: Aw-w. I've got a, I think I've got one of his. [laughs]
ES: Oh-hhhh! [laughs]
VB: Unfortunately it's not a good photo or anything,
VB: I just grabbed a few. Erm--
VB: I think it's from. Oh, it's just an advert actually for Lost Horizon.
ES: Oh!I was just going to mention the Lost Horizon. Oh! That was wonderful! Yes. Saw 00:15:00that several times.
VB: The Prisoner of Zenda.
ES: Yes. And erm, with Greer Garson in Random Harvest.
VB: Haven't seen that.
ES: Haven't you? Aw. Don't miss it if you get the chance.
VB: What's the storyline there?
ES: Oh. He loses his memory. And he marries when he loses his memory. Andthey're very happy. And then he goes out one day to get eh, a better position and he's knocked over by a car. And of course, he comes back to the person he was before he lost. He loses it in the war. And he doesn't know her at all. And so he goes home to his people, you see. And erm, but eventually they meet up again. But she is told by a doctor, she must never, ever tell him. It's got to come from him. And then by a fluke something happens at the end, you know. 00:16:00[laughs] And his memory goes--
ES: And he remembers her. But that was a beautiful film.
ES: I really enjoyed that.
VB: It sounds wonderful. 'Cause I mean he's such a good actor.
ES: Then of course, Gone With The Wind.
ES: With Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable. Another film I liked very much was RobertTaylor and Vivien Leigh in Waterloo Bridge. Do these ring a bell to you?
VB: Waterloo Bridge does, yes.
ES: Yes. And going back even further. This is to when I was about thirteen.Sylvia Sidney. Does she ring a bell at all? In Madame Butterfly.
ES: So, I, [laughs] I can remember really embarrassing my mother. Because, youknow the story of Madame Butterfly, don't you? Well, something was said on the film that she had been his mistress, you see. And I, not knowing anything, 00:17:00[laughs] being completely innocent, I said to my mother in a loud voice, "What does he mean, his mistress?"
ES: "Sshh! I'll tell you when I get home." [laughs] And these silly littlethings, you know, come back. But that was, that does go back a long time. Erm, we mentioned the different picture places in Ipswich. You have those all written down, have you?
VB: Well. I've erm, I found a list of some of them. I mean did you go to quite afew of the Ipswich cinemas?
ES: Oh yes.
ES: Have you them written down or not?
VB: I've got eh, one or two here. I don't know if they're the same as the onesyou remember. I mean--
VB: Things like the Central and--
ES: That's right. And the Picture House. [Paul's?]. Hippodrome.
ES: That became. That was a variety. Erm, it was for variety and then it becamea picture place. And the Regent, the Odeon and the Ritz.
VB: Did you have any favourites among these or?
ES: D'you know, I think I liked the old Picture House.
ES: 'Scuse me. I can't ever laugh, without crying.
VB: Ah. [laughs]
ES: [laughs] Oh there we are. I had a friend here last Thursday and we weretalking about old films because she's. I'm seventy-four, she's seventy-five. And eh, we just started laughing, you know. 'Course, I just can't, you know, I can't cope with it.
ES: Now the other thing I thought that might interest you. Eh, I had an unclewho was a manager at the Odeon Cinema at Ilford--
ES: During the 1930s. And we used to, if I went there. 'Course I used to likethat because we could get in for nothing! You used to go in the back door.
ES: And then on Sundays, we could go in and go round the seats and see how manycigarette packets we could find for cigarette cards. [laughs] Erm, I can 00:19:00remember one of the film stars. Florence Rice. That goes back a long time.
ES: Now. Eh. Greta Garbo. Queen Christina. Anna Karenina. Have you seen any of these?
VB: I have. Yes.
ES: You have seen these films because they've been on again, haven't they?
VB: Yes. I mean, was Greta Garbo someone that you particularly liked?
ES: Oh, yes. I liked Greta Garbo very much. And erm, Maurice Chevalier, I liked.Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy.
VB: Mm. I just saw Maytime quite recently.
VB: I saw Maytime quite recently.
ES: Oh did you?
ES: Yes, that's lovely, isn't it?
ES: Anna Neagle. I liked very much. And a film that I really, well, still one ortwo. Was Escape Me Never. Now that goes back to the early thirties. And it was 00:20:00with Raymond Massey, Romney Brent, Elisabeth Bergner. Does that ring a bill?
VB: It does actually. I'm sure that. I've heard about it, but I haven't seen it.
VB: 'Cause when you said Elisabeth Bergner.
ES: Yes. And of course, Wendy Hiller and Leslie Howard in Pygmalion.
ES: That was on the other day. There was Jessie Matthews. Evergreen. SonnieHale, Cicely Courtneidge, Lilian Harvey and Jack Hulbert in Happy Ever After. And on the, about a fortnight ago, Marlene Dietrich and Charles Boyer. Who was--VB: Ah-h! [laughs]
ES: I think he was my favourite. [laughs] In The Garden of Allah.
VB: Oh wonderful! That's the one that's one of the early colour ones, isn't it?
ES: That's right. Yes.
VB: Is that the one where she's? Is she in a convent?
ES: Yes. That's right.
ES: And he's in a. He's a monk, isn't he? And he makes the drink--
ES: A special liqueur. And he runs away and meets her--00:21:00
VB: Ah. That's right.
ES: But they catch up on him so he feels he has to go back.
ES: 'Cause he shouldn't have. But eh, I used to think he was fabulous. S'funnywhen you're young. But sometimes I see these films again now and they don't have the same, quite the same feeling. [laughs]
VB: Mhm. That's interesting. I mean do you. Was it different seeing them in thethirties to looking back on them?
ES: I think so. Yes. Erm, maybe they seem very old-fashioned. I don't know. Idon't know what it is. But I do love the old. I mean, if that's what you want to know.
VB: Oh, absolutely.
ES: I do love. I love watching them. It triggers off the past again. And eh. ButI seem to have been running on but--
VB: No, not at all.
ES: Is that what you want to hear?
VB: Absolutely. I mean, when you were mentioning all these stars.00:22:00
ES: [beginning inaudible] Is there anything else that rings a bell?
VB: Erm, well I was looking for pictures of Ipswich cinemas but the only one Ifound was this one of the Odeon. One of the Odeons.
ES: Oh, yes!
ES: Ah, here we are. Yes.
VB: I think that might be the Lowestoft Odeon, actually. In the outside picture.
ES: Ah yes.
VB: Of course they all look exactly the same. [laughs]
ES: Oh. Here's the Odeon.
ES: The Ipswich Odeon. That's right. Yes.
VB: What were the colours like in that? 'Cause it's hard to imagine from blackand white.
ES: Do you know. [speaks quietly] I don't think I can remember the colouringinside. 'Cause that's inside the door, isn't it?
ES: Yes. they were always beautifully carpeted. They're very cosy, you know, togo. And all the stairs and everything.
ES: They were very cosy inside. Have you--00:23:00
VB: I've got some more erm. I mean here's a magazine advert.
ES: Oh Deanna Durbin. Yes.
VB: Was she someone you liked?
ES: Yes. I enjoyed her and her singing.
VB: But that was a thing that occurred to me while you were talking as well. Didyou ever get any of the picture magazines like the 'Picturegoer' or 'Film Weekly' or anything like that?
ES: No, I don't think I did.
ES: Don't think so.
VB: 'Cause I was interested when you said the cigarette cards.
ES: Oh, yes! I don't think I have any of film stars now. But erm, oh! You know,if we could find, you know, a packet of cigarettes. You know, when people'd throw their packets away and find brand new cigarette cards inside. Used to collect those. I s'pose you don't get the cigarettes now.
VB: Cause they had quite a lot of information about the stars as well, didn't they?
ES: They do.
ES: Yes. [pause 2 seconds]. Oh, Shirley! Yes.00:24:00
ES: Shirley Temple. It's very interesting. Yes.
VB: It is.
ES: Ah, Joan Crawford. Yes.
ES: Erm. Are you working in a group? Did you say?
VB: Well, there are three of us involved in the project.
ES: There's three of you. Yes.
VB: I'm doing the interviews mainly.
VB: And then we have a secretary who transcribes tapes and things like that.
VB: And the Project Director who's in charge of everything.
VB: So. It's quite a small project. Really.
ES: Yes. Well, it's very interesting.
VB: Mhm. I think that's actually a bad one of Gracie Fields for--
ES: Ah, that, yes.
VB: For Sing As We Go! maybe.
ES: Yes. You can just see that is Gracie.
ES: But yes. Oh, I see. It's just one side.
VB: Mhm. And then another Lancashire one. [laughs]
ES: Oh yes. Erm. George Formby. Mhm.
VB: Did you like George Formby?
ES: Quite. Yes. I liked Norman Wisdom, I think, better.
ES: Mhm. Ah dear. Oh! Laurel and Hardy. Yes.00:25:00
ES: They were always in a muddle. And I'm a tidy person.
ES: I couldn't stand all the muddles they got into. But they were very clever.
VB: Were there other comedians that you preferred to Laurel and Hardy?
ES: Oh-h. [pause2 seconds] Harold Lloyd, I think. Yes. But, you know. The earlydays comedians were always in a muddle. And right from a little girl, I couldn't stand muddle. I can't now. I can't sit in a room that's in a muddle. I gotta clear it up before I sit down.
ES: It's terrible! 'Cause anybody like that's an awful bore! [laughs]
VB: It's an interesting point. 'Cause when you think about it, like CharlieChaplin as well.
VB: It's all in a mess and as you say.
ES: Yes. I tell you, I did love him with Claire Bloom. Oh. Oh, what was it00:26:00called. Oh, I've got the music now.
ES: I'll find it in a minute. Oh, Edward G. Robinson. I wasn't so keen.
VB: [Something about Top Hat?]
ES: Ah yes.
VB: Did you like the gangster films?
ES: No. No, I didn't like gangster films at all. [Pause; 4 seconds; looks formusic] Limelight. There we are.
ES: Things go and they come back.
ES: I liked David Niven. I'm just trying to think. I think possibly RonaldColman was one of my favourites.
ES: How about you?
VB: Oh, I like Ronald Colman very much, actually.
VB: Erm. I was just thinking when you were talking of that one he made with eh,Claudette Colbert. Where they're in the desert. Erm, she's called Cigarette. That was one I saw not long ago.
ES: Oh, yes!
VB: Erm. I forget the title. But he was wonderful in that.00:27:00
ES: Yes. Perhaps it was called 'Cigarette', was it [referring to Under Two Flags]
VB: It might've been.
VB: Erm. I just can't remember the title just now but. There's something abouthim, I think that,
ES: Yes. And such a beautiful voice.
ES: I think voices make such a difference, don't they?
VB: I don't know what it is. The voice, I think, is part of it. I wonder if. Idon't know what else it is about Ronald Colman that makes him so good. Erm,.ES: Yeah. It's difficult always to tell, isn't it?
ES: But I do know one thing. That erm, seeing too many romantic films when I wasyoung, I thought that life was like it. And I came a real stumble. [Laughs]. Because you think, you know, when you meet someone and you get married and you think they're going to be just like these heroes in the films. And of course, they're not. [laughs]
VB: Ah. Yes, I think Ronald Colman, as he was in the films, would be the perfect00:28:00man to, [laughing], have in the house.
ES: Erm, another one. I liked Madeleine Carroll. I think she was in Cavalcade,wasn't she?
VB: Mm. The 39 Steps as well, I think.
ES: Oh-h! Ye-es!! I know that was one of my favourite films.
VB: With Robert Donat.
ES: With Robert Donat. Yes. He's another one.
ES: It's amazing how they come back, isn't it?
VB: Mhm. I think, I mean, I agree with--
[End of Side A]
[Start of Side B]
ES: One picture of [name?]. Erm, On The Avenue. Wait a minute. You're laughingat me. Where are we? Why, why, why? There you are! You're laughing at me.
VB: Oh-h! Dick Powell.
VB: Irving Berlin. A-ah.
VB: Aye. I wouldn't have thought of Dick Powell in musicals, actually.
ES: Oh, he was.
VB: Oh, this was with the Ritz Brothers as well.
ES: That's right.
VB: Mm. Alice Faye.
ES: Yes Alice Faye was only a film star for a short time, wasn't she? I don'tshe why she [softened?] and give up.
ES: Because I liked her.
VB: Right. Same with Deanna Durbin, isn't it? She only made a very few.
ES: Yes. She put on a lot of weight.
VB: Did she?
B: So the childish eh--
ES: She was lovely when she was young.
ES: But, I think she put on too much weight--
ES: To continue filming.
ES: And of course, then we've got eh, oh-h, Minnelli, eh. Judy Garland!
ES: Erm. I mean as a child she was wonderful. But erm, I suppose, you know, Imean she used to have tablets to wake her up and tablets to put her to sleep.
ES: Lived on her nerves all the time.
ES: It was very sad. [pause2 seconds] Because she'd a beautiful voice. Such alot of feeling.
VB: Mhm. Very much so. I mean, it's. Was that something that interested you atthe time? The lives of the stars as well as?
ES: Yes, I think so. Yes. Yes. I enjoyed reading the erm-- Ginger Rogers.
VB: Ah. It's a beautiful picture that one of her on the front.
ES: Yes, isn't it? Yes.
ES: And of course they go right through to the end but she's just recently died,hasn't she?
VB: Mhm. That's what I like to see. Lots of photographs. [laughs]
VB: With a star like that.
VB: Ah. That's her as a child as well.
[pause 4 seconds]00:31:00
VB: Ah! She was dark-haired originally.
ES: Well she was auburn, wasn't she?
ES: Read that she was supposed to have been a redhead.
VB: Yes. I guess she must've gone lighter.
VB: Lighter red, yes. That's interesting. [pause 3 seconds] [laughs] Fay Fortunein 'Gold Diggers' in 1933 [referring to Gold Diggers of 1933]
VB: She was in 42nd Street as well, wasn't she?
ES: That's right. Yes.
VB: Did you go dancing socially when you were?
ES: Oh yes. We used to go to ballroom clubs.
ES: And we used to have dancing lessons. And then I taught dancing, you see. Andmy mother was my pianist.
ES: And that's why the war changed everything because we were bombed out of our home.
ES: And my mother died five weeks after. So, that was more or less. I did startteaching again after I had my family. But erm, and I did some keep fit. 00:32:00
ES: Eh. But, you know, the teaching at home. My dad had a studio, built, sort ofbuilt out of the back of the-- Well, we had a room at the back and he built, had it built about twice the size, you see.
ES: But it was lovely to have mummy just to play for the children. I used tostart them at three years old.
VB: Ah lovely.
ES: And erm, you know, go right through to ballroom classes.
VB: Mhm. 'Cause I was very interested when you were telling me about your motherand the way she fitted the music to the--
ES: Oh yes.
ES: Yes, well, as I was saying, she could extemporise, you see. So she wouldjust simply watch the film and then you would get these romantic. She'd play romantic music. Then the galloping horses, you know. [laughs] And change the 00:33:00music. And, you know, she always used to say to me how this other lady used to come along and how they put their hands. Make sure they didn't stop playing, you see. So there was sort of one hand, the other hand until, one'd creep out-- [laughs]
ES: After three or four hours off, you see. And then the other one would takeover. I think they had great fun. 'Course you could imagine just sort of early. I s'pose my mother would've been about twenty-five at the time.
VB: Mhm. Cause you were saying about 1913 she started.
ES: Yes, yes, yes.
VB: And yet it didn't put her off going to the pictures either.
ES: Oh, no! No!
VB: She went as well.
ES: Oh, yeah. She went to the pictures as well. [laughs]
ES: But, she wrote a lot of music. She used to write a lot, so. [pause 3seconds] It was rather, I mean she was only fifty-five when she died.
ES: And she was very gifted. I'm not. But she was. [laughs]
VB: [laughs] Did she play erm, after sound came? Did she still enjoy playing?00:34:00
ES: Oh she used to play the, yes, but not for the pictures.
ES: Oh yes, she would always play. When we had our concert party she used tosort of join in with us.
ES: And-- [pause 4 seconds]
VB: You've certainly got a wonderful collection of eh, of film music.
ES: Oh yes!
VB: Would you mind if I had a--?
ES: No, do. Have a look right through it. I put it out there for you to look at.
VB: Oh these are the ones I've seen already.
VB: Erm. Maybe I'll just lift them up and,
VB: Have a flick through them.
ES: I'll tell you about my [rest inaudible] and see what happened to me.
ES: No. You have a look through those first. [laughs]
VB: Okay. Did you enjoy, erm? I see this one from a production erm, of 'Irene'at the Empire Theatre, London. Did you enjoy going to the theatre? 00:35:00
ES: Yes. I didn't go to the theatre a lot. But I did see Jack Buchanan in, Ithink it was 'This'll Make You Whistle'. And erm, Howes, Bobby Howes, in 'She's My Lovely'.
ES: And I saw 'The Dancing Years' during the war. But I wouldn't say I went tothe theatre as much as I went to the pictures.
VB: Right. I see. [pause 5 seconds; looking at music].These are great. I mean,Alfie, Michael Caine as well.
ES: There's a mixture there.
VB: Ah, here's a Jack Buchanan and Jeanette MacDonald.
ES: In Beyond the Blue Horizon.
VB: Ernst Lubitsch.
VB: I see it's an Ernst Lubitsch film.
ES: Oh, yes, yes. Ernest. Yes.
VB: Yeah. Did you like Jeanette MacDonald as a performer?00:36:00
ES: Qui-ite. Erm, I mean, she had a beautiful voice--
ES: But I wouldn't say her acting was as good as some of the other film stars.
VB: Mhm. [pause 8 seconds] Ah, 'Musical Monologues'.
ES: Yes. That's one my mother used to perform.
VB: These are in wonderful condition for--
VB: You know, material of this eh, type.
ES: Well, I s'pose, when you think I've had them fifty or sixty years, haven'tI? Yes.
VB: And obviously used them as well.
ES: Yes! Oh, yes.
VB: Aye. [pause 9 seconds] Ah, Noel Coward.00:37:00
ES: Yes. He was very clever.
[pause 5 seconds]
ES: Some of them were just songs that we liked.
VB: Ah, I see.
ES: And we bought. But eh--
VB: It's a beautiful photograph that.
ES: It is, isn't it? Yes.
[pause 7 seconds]
ES: Oh yes. Of course there's the eh, Walt Disney films as well.
VB: Ah yes.
ES: 'Snow White' [referring to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs].
VB: Mhm. Did you enjoy these?
ES: Yes. I loved 'Snow White'.
VB: What about the erm, things like the Pathe News and the newsreels? Did youenjoy that part of going to the cinema too?
ES: Yes, yes. Yes, you know, I always liked to keep up with news and anything00:38:00that was going on.
VB: Cause when you were talking about that eh, Garden of Allah. I mean, thecolour in that is beautiful, isn't it?
VB: What was it like seeing these early colour films when you were used to theblack and white? Was it--
ES: Erm. Well I think we all thought it was wonderful, you know, to have colour.
ES: But, do you know, now I thoroughly enjoy a black-and-white film.
ES: It's stupid, isn't it. [laughs]
VB: Not at all.
ES: Erm, I think it's because I know they're old. [laughs]
VB: I think you're right. 'Cause, I mean, the whole look of it's eh, somethingspecial, I think. The black and white.
ES: Yes, yes. There you are.
VB: Ah! Cole Porter.
ES: Mhm. Now there's Nelson Eddy with Eleanor Powell.
VB: Ah yes. I mean, you know, when you see the names of the composers of these.00:39:00The Irving Berlins and the Cole Porters.
ES: Yes. And Jerome Kern. I mean, they wrote so much of the music. But theirlyrics were absolutely wonderful.
ES: My favourite. 'All of These You Are'.
ES: That's Kern, isn't it? There's your other group.
ES: Dorothy Lamour. Bob Hope and Bing Crosby.
VB: Oh yes.
ES: In their 'Roads to'. The different roads they go to.
VB: It's a wonderful collection this really. Oh Intermezzo.
ES: Yes. That's Ingrid Berman, wasn't it?
ES: With Leslie Howard.
VB: Oh yes! That's the one where he's the famous violinist.
ES: That's right, yes.
VB: They flee off together and then conscience--
ES: Yes. And he's married, isn't he? But conscience brings him home to his wife,I think.
VB: Ah. You were saying Leslie Howard was one of your favourites?
ES: Yes. I likeLeslie Howard. That's a very early erm, Bitter Sweet. You see how young Anna 00:40:00Neagle was there.
VB: That's not, is that really Anna Neagle? So it is.
ES: Anna Neagle. Yes.
VB: Very round face--
VB: At that age, wasn't she?
VB: I've heard that she opened one of the Ipswich cinemas. Is that right?
ES: I think she did!
ES: I think she opened the Ritz.
ES: That's right. You see other people you see in Ipswich very likely havedifferent memories--
VB: Of course.
ES: To the memories that I have. Yes.
[pause 6 seconds]
VB: Oh, The King and I.
VB: Dorothy Lamour again. 'I'll Remember'.
ES: Yes. [pause 4 seconds] Talking of Dorothy Lamour eh, you see my mother was00:41:00an invalid. She suffered from asthma.
ES: And we always had a little maid. And one day the maid came in and she saidto my mother, she said, "I've seen a lovely film!" she said. "I've seen the Hughricane!" [laughs] [referring to The Hurricane]
ES: I can remember there was a song called 'Dancing With My Shadow'. And shecame in one day and she said, "Like that song! 'Dancin' With Me Shadows'"! [laughs]
ES: Aw dear. Oh, lovely!
VB: Oh here's Dick Powell and Madeleine Carroll again.
ES: Yes. [pause 3 seconds] My mother had a terrific sense of humour. And sheused to write monologues. She used to write all sorts of things. They really were very funny. But I think when your health is poor you don't do all the things you might've done.
VB: Mhm. [pause 3 seconds] It certainly sounds like she provided a lot ofpleasure for people.
ES: Oh, yes! D'you know all my boyfriends adored my mother. [laughs]00:42:00
ES: Better than me! [laughs]
VB: Ah. Did you go to the cinema with your boyfriends?
ES: Oh yes.
VB: Were they expected to pay for you?
ES: No. We used to go Dutch.
ES: Well because you see, most of them were only just beginning to go out to work.
ES: So they hadn't a lot of money.
ES: And I suppose in those days, you know. I mean, we weren't. We werecomfortably off.
ES: So I mean, you know, I would have felt awfully uncomfortable if they werestruggling to take me.
ES: I would rather say well, you know, we'll pay. I always used to say, well,look, you pay for me and I'll pay for you.
ES: Because I thought that was rather nicer! [Laughs].
VB: [Laughs]. This is a lovely one as well.
VB: Irene Dunne in Joy of Living.
VB: Was she someone that you?
ES: Yes. And em, again, she had a lovely voice, didn't she?00:43:00
ES: You could forgive if their acting wasn't as good. If they had another ability.
ES: But I feel with Ginger, although she was a wonderful dancer, she was awonderful actress too.
ES: So natural. Lovely.
VB: Very likeable as well, I think.
VB: This one's with James Mason. Erm, The Wicked Lady and 'Love Steals Your Heart'
ES: That's right. Yes. Mhm.
VB: Did you like James Mason?
ES: Quite. Mhm, I wouldn't say I, I wouldn't fall overboard for him. [laughs]
VB: Yeah. He's not really romantic.
ES: No, no, no.
VB: I mean did you like these sort of swashbuckling pictures? The--
ES: Not very much, no. No I was far more romantic.
ES: You know. Things going wrong and then coming right in the end. [laughs]
ES: They always had to come right in the end. [laughs] That's lovely too. 'Long00:44:00Ago and Far Away'.
VB: I don't know that one.
ES: Don't you?
[pause 4 seconds]
VB: Oh the words are wonderful as well.
VB: I'm just trying to imagine it. But I'm not very good at sight-reading music. [laughs]
ES: [Singing]. 'Was long ago and far away, da da da da, da da. Dee dee, da da dada, daaa-da!' It's a lovely little tune--
VB: It sounds--
ES: And they are lovely words.
VB: Mhm. It's a different quality to the sort of music you get now or--
VB: Or any other time, I suppose.
ES: Yes. But eh, I mean, you were. Originally, we were buying all our copies forsixpence each!
ES: That's two and a half p, isn't it? Huh! It's incredible. That was one I usedto do a tap dance to.
VB: Ah! 'Let's Sing Again.'00:45:00
VB: Oh well, I can see why you liked Ginger Rogers if you were a tap dancer.
ES: Oh yes!
VB: [laughs] Ah. Ah, here's a Charlie Chaplin one.
ES: That's Limelight!
ES: That's the one I was going to look for. That was so clever. [pause 2seconds]. Are you interested-- 'Scuse me. Are you interested in films yourself?
VB: I am. Very much.
ES: You are. Yes.
VB: Yes. Yes. Erm, the films of the thirties, I think are something special really.
ES: That fascinates you?
ES: Yes. So you're enjoying doing this?
VB: Oh absolutely.
VB: Yes. [pause 3 seconds] Yes it's lovely to get paid for something, [laughs]that's so much fun.
ES: Yes. [pause 3 seconds] My son is a bridge teacher.
ES: And eh, he was saying the other night, "Aren't I lucky to be able to earn myliving with my hobby!"
ES: He adores... He absolutely adores bridge.
VB: I'm sure that must be what it's like to be a film star actually. [laughs]
VB: It's erm, like a dream.
VB: Did you ever erm. Were you ever interested in going into the films yourself?Being a dancer.
ES: Yes, but my father wouldn't let me. You see it was the same with my mother.
ES: She had the chance to go a lot further than she did and her father wouldn'tlet her. He said you're not well enough and you can't go. We were always being stopped. And eh, on a holiday we met someone, oh, connected with films. And he gave my father his card. He said, if your daughter's ever interested, here you are. You see. But he lost it, he lost it on purpose.
ES: And when I got older and I suddenly thought I'd like to have a go, you see.00:47:00Eh, no, he didn't know where the card was.
ES: But it was just because he wouldn't let me. He absolutely ruled my life.
ES: And eh, young people today wouldn't put up with it.
ES: You know, what he said, went.
ES: So in the end I wanted. All my life I wanted to do something connected withdancing. And I'd liked, really I'd liked to have gone on stage. But I didn't want to be a lead. I wanted to be a chorus girl because I liked the high kicking and, you know--
ES: The tap dancing and acrobatic dancing and that's what I should have likedbut, no!
ES: But I think it's awfully wrong, you know, to, if somebody wants to dosomething. Not to just let them have a go. If they fail, well then, they've had their go, haven't they?
VB: Mhm. [pause 5 seconds] Yeah, I think you're right if--00:48:00
ES: Before teaching bridge my son was with P & O Lines for seven years--
ES: In entertainment.
ES: And he wanted to go into entertainment, you see. And erm, I think his dadthought he really ought to stick in an office job when he left school. And I said, "No, I think. Well, he's young. Let him go and have a go and if it doesn't work out, then he'll settle down." But, you know, it worked.
ES: And he loved it. His whole life had been entertainment. And of course thathelps with teaching bridge.
ES: He's used to people.
VB: And you were saying your daughter's also--
ES: She's a musician, yes.
ES: But she has my mother's musical ability. She plays the oboe and the piano.
ES: She has a wonderful life.00:49:00
VB: I mean just looking through this collection it's like imagining all thepleasure that that music can give.
ES: Yes. Yes.
VB: Tchaikovsky. Did you enjoy the films about, any films about composers?
ES: Ah. Chopin. Yes. And also Song of Norway.
ES: Story about Grieg. Erm, yes I think, yes. I was just thinking which otherones they did. But, you know, I enjoy knowing about the lives of people.
ES: I like autobiographies.
VB: [Looking at music] 'Only A Rose'.
ES: 'Vagabond King'. That goes back a long way.
VB: I'm sure that erm, crops up in another film erm. I think it. It might be in00:50:00Maytime. I've got a vague memory of having seen Jeanette MacDonald or--
VB: Someone like that singing 'Only A Rose'.
ES: Well they have made the film again.
ES: I mean they've made The 39 Nine Steps three times, haven't they? [laughs]
VB: Yes. But nothing to touch the Robert Donat--
ES: No, no.
VB: I don't think.
ES: Although I did like Kenneth More.
VB: Yes, yes.
VB: Was Robert Donat someone that you?
ES: Yes, yes.
ES: I liked sports jacket type people who smoked a pipe. [laughs]
ES: They were cosy somehow. [laughs]
VB: [laughs] [pause 3 seconds] 'Rocking Around the Christmas Tree'.
VB: 'Serenade' [pause 8 seconds] Grieg.00:51:00
VB: 'Sound of Music'. 'September in the Rain'. Oh, Patricia Ellis!
VB: Ah. Stardust. Oh, Hoagie Carmichael.
VB: Fred and Ginger again.
ES: Ye-es. Fred and Ginger again.
VB: ['Walked in Springtime?']
ES: Oh and 'The Way You Look Tonight'.
VB: That was wonderful.
ES: That was a lovely song. Beautiful song.
VB: Mhm. [pause 3 seconds]. Yeah, the sort of music that just, transports you, really.
ES: Yes! Oh yes.
VB: Mm. Aw 'Thanks For The Memories'.00:52:00
VB:' Two for the Road'.
ES: The Way To The Stars. I've seen that again recently.
ES: Michael Redgrave. I liked him.
ES: Oh! And Michael Wilding!
ES: Em, with Anna Neagle. Eh, Curzons of, The Courtneys of Curzon Street, wasn'tit? Or was it 'The Curzons of Courtney Street'? [laughs]
ES: I don't know which way round it was. And eh, and there as 'Springtime in',somewhere [referring to Springtime in Park Lane].
ES: But now, you see, they are more recent. And I can't remember the titles aswell as I can the really old ones.
VB: That's interesting.
ES: Yes. Erm, but I loved, I felt they danced beautifully together.
VB: Mhm. I mean it sounds like they made a huge impression on you, the thirties films.
ES: Oh yes. Definitely. Yes. Thirties, forties. I s'pose when I had my children00:53:00I didn't go to the films so much.
VB: Mhm. Did you talk about the films much with your friends?
ES: Oh yes! Yes, we did. [laughs]
ES: It would be, "Have you seen so-and-so? Oh! You must go and see so and so!"
VB: A-ah. I mean was that how you decided what films to go to?
ES: Yes. That'sright, yes. And I had one friend who always used to sit and sob her heart out when everything came right at the end. [laughs]
VB: Ah. Actually I'm a bit like that. I have to admit. I like a good eh-- [laughs]
ES: Yes. That's another, 'Two Stupid People'. That was lovely.
VB: Aw. That's lovely. Yeah.
[pause 4 seconds]
ES: South Pacific. [pause 6 seconds] Oh, I 'spect that's one. Is that 'Trees'I've copied out?
ES: Yes. I've copied it from a--00:54:00
VB: Oh, Fred and Ginger again. 'Shall We Dance?'
ES: 'Shall We Dance?' Yes.
ES: [sings}. 'The way you wear your hat.' [laughs]--
ES: 'The way you sip your tea.' [singing]
VB: That's right. 'They can't take that away from me.' [laughs; reading lyrics]'The way your smile just beams. The way you sing off-key.'
ES: Key, yes, it's lovely, isn't it?
VB: [Laughs] It's beautiful lyrics. It really is.
ES: Oh-h! The words. They are so clever.
VB: 'The way you hold your knife. The way you dance till three. The way youchange your life, my life.' Aw, it's just beautiful.
ES: It is. They're beautiful words. Lovely. Then there's 'The Warsaw' fromDangerous Moonlight.
ES: That was with Anton Walbrook. Oh! I know. That reminds me of Anton Walbrookand Norma Shearer in 'The Dancing Sh--', The Red Shoes.
ES: That was lovely.00:55:00
VB: And here's Fred [Astaire] and Rita Hayworth.
ES: That's right. Is that 'I'm Old Fashioned'?
VB: Eh, You Were Never Lovelier.
ES: Oh, You Were Never Lovelier, yes.
VB: Yeah. Don Ameche. 'You'd Be So Nice To Come Home To'.
ES: Oh yes. I loved that tune, yes.
VB: Wonderful song.
ES: Yes. Mhm.
VB: It's from Something to [referring to Something to Shout About]. I mean, it'sinteresting for me because some of the songs are so well known. Yes.
VB: You know, I don't know the picture but I know the song. [laughs]
ES: Know the song and now you can attach it to the films.
ES: The pictures.
VB: 'Warsaw Concerto' again.
ES: That's the theme. I used to find to play the whole lot was a bit much, so Iused to just play the theme. [laughs]
VB: 'Smoke Gets In Your Eyes'.
ES: Mhm. That was a song my mother wrote.
ES: But erm, a bit old-fashioned now, I'm afraid.00:56:00
VB: Ah. Not at all. [pause 7 seconds] Bud Flanagan and Tommy Trinder.
ES: Oh yes! That's another one that goes back. I was looking at these thismorning. Ye-es. 'A Chance To Dream'. Ivor Novello.
[pause 9 seconds]
VB: 'When Day Is Done'.
ES: That was another favourite tune of mine. Oh and old Edward Everett Horton.
VB: Theme song from Her Master's Voice. Vera Lynn.
VB: 'With All My Heart'.
VB: Ah, 'Intermezzo'. Aw. From 'The Land of--'. I was thinking it was from the film.00:57:00
ES: 'Land of Smiles'. Yes. That was Richard [Surname?], wasn't it?
VB: Ah. 'You Forgot To Remember'.
VB: Another Irving Berlin. These are wonderful. I mean, thanks so much forletting me look through them.
ES: Oh! That's a pleasure!
VB: That's great.
ES: It's nice to. I had them all stuck away in that music store with all themusic and--
ES: It's nice for somebody to have a look at it.
VB: That's great. And these biographies as well.
VB: Aw. Just the cover! [laughs]
ES: Yes, do have a look!
VB: I'll just have a quick--
ES: Do have a look through it.
VB: A quick browse. Dancing films. Ah! Joan Fon--
[End of Side B]
[End of Tape One]
[Start of Tape Two]
[Start of Side A]
VB: Just now you were saying that you preferred eh, Joan Fontaine to Olivia de Havilland.
VB: They're very alike actually, aren't they?
ES: They are.
VB: I mean physically.
ES: Yes. I don't know why. I just liked Joan Fontaine's personality, I suppose.00:58:00
ES: She's quiet. Erm, but it's just. I just remembered another film. My CousinRachel. Now, that was Olivia de Havilland with Burton.
ES: Oh dear. Elizabeth Taylor and Ri-- [pause 2 seconds] Oh, what was his name?What was his Christian name? Ro-- not, [pause 2 seconds] oh, not Roger Burton. Eh, you know who I mean. The one,
VB: Richard Burton.
ES: Richard Burton!
ES: Thank you. I knew it was an R. [laughs]
ES: And My Cousin Rachel.
VB: MhmES: These are, that was Daphne du Maurier, wasn't it?
VB: Yes, yes.
ES: And that's a very good film.
ES: Maybe I didn't like Olivia de Havilland 'cause I didn't like the part sheplayed in that.
VB: Mm. That's right. She's a poisoner or--00:59:00
ES: That's right, yes. Well you don't really know whether she does or not.
VB: You don't know. Yeah.
ES: I get the feeling that she did. [laughs]
VB: Yes. That's interesting. Cause when you say that her roles really aren'tvery likeable. Even in Gone with the Wind, she's not.
ES: No, no. Erm, maybe Joan Fontaine had nicer--
VB: And Rebecca of course was,
ES: Oh! She was love! With Laurence Olivier.
ES: Yes, that's been on recently again.
ES: And erm. Oh and This Above All with Tyrone Power. That was another, that wasa war film.
ES: But she was lovely in that too. There was something about her that I thoughtwas very sweet.
VB: Uhmm. Yeah, she's very. I mean in that photograph, she's verysort of fragile looking.
ES: Yes. Yes, you've got the word there.
ES: That fragile something about her. Yes.
VB: Mhm. Really lovely. Ah! [laughs] One with Ginger, of course.01:00:00
ES: I always love the story that Ginger had a dress with feathers and all thefeathers came off and, [laughs] and they started them sneezing or something.
ES: Oh dear.
VB: He's got a lovely smile actually, hasn't he?
ES: Yes. Yes.
VB: What did you think of him as a singer? Did you,
ES: Well, I mean, he wasn't a brilliant singer. But, I mean, he sang in tune--
ES: And erm, he put a lot into the words.
ES: Made the words speak.
VB: I know exactly what you mean. I mean he really sort of communicates--
ES: That's right.
VB: Carries the song.
VB: Yeah. And I suppose you can forgive someone anything who dances like that. [laughs]
ES: Oh, yes! Yes.
ES: And I'd rather hear someone sing who gets through than someone who's got a01:01:00wonderful voice but they're way, way out really, you know.
ES: I mean some people have beautiful voices but they can't, as you say, theycan't communicate.
VB: I wonder if it-- When you were talking about Jeanette MacDonald, I wonder ifthat's what it is about her. That, technically, she's got a very good voice.
VB: But she's not got that ability to sort of--
VB: Speak directly to the audience or--
VB: I don't know.
ES: No. Eh. [pause 3 seconds] There was always something that wasn't quite natural--
ES: To me.
ES: With Jeanette MacDonald. But Fred was as natural as anyone could possibly be.
ES: That was the thing.
ES: It's, erm. We call it star quality.
VB: Yeah. I think that's absolutely right. I mean he just makes dancing look effortless.
VB: It's so graceful.
ES: Yes, yes.
VB: Ah. And Ginger, of course, as well, is just--01:02:00
ES: Oh, absolutely!
ES: And, I mean, she was a good straight actress too.
ES: I thought it was very interesting. She was a Christian Scientist.
VB: I didn't know that. Mhm.
ES: It all comes out in the book.
VB: Aw. These are, these are just terrific, really.
ES: That one has the-- If you do this one, you can see them dancing, you know.
ES: [laughs] You go through.
VB: Ah, I see what you mean.
ES: Yes. That's a super book.
VB: Oh this is [name?]. [pause 3 seconds] It's interesting that. I mean seeing01:03:00that eh. They must be moving so fast. I mean they still are sort of--
ES: Oh, yes!
VB: Blurred. [laughs]
ES: Yes. Absolutely!
VB: Oh. Oh that's the feather dress, isn't it?
ES: That's right. It is, yes.
VB: Ah. [turns pages] 'Isn't This a Lovely Day to be Caught in the Rain'.
ES: Oh! Yes! Ah dear. This is another funny little thing that happened. We wereall sitting round the piano one day. You know the song 'Isn't it a Lovely Day'?
ES: And it says, the clouds broke. 'They broke and oh what a break for me'. AndI was just in one of my stupid moods, you see. And I said, [singing] 'The clouds burst, they burst and oh-hh!' [laughs]
ES: [And I didn't realise what was coming?], you see. So I just shut up and ofcourse everybody laughed. And ever after that, whenever we got to that part, we always used to say, 'The clouds burst, they burst and woh-hh!' [laughs] 01:04:00
ES: But, oh dear. You know, you do these things without thinking! [laughs] And Imean, really, in those days, it was a pretty shocking! It wouldn't be today. [laughs]
ES: But, oh dear. We used to have some laughs. We really did. 'Cause, you know,I go crying when I laugh.
VB: You were going to tell me about eh--
ES: Oh yes! Well, I lost I lost my brother when I was only ten. Which was verysad. He had a motor accident, and he died a week after. And my uncle. Eh, my mother and father were so distraught. My uncle said, "Look, you must go away on a voyage." And he arranged it all. And we went away for seven weeks. I don't know whether it's a good idea. You've got to face up to these things. But I don't know if it's a good idea to try and, in a way, run away from it.
ES: You've got to come back to it sooner or later, haven't you? Anyhow, he01:05:00booked us this voyage to go to South America. Around, you know, via South America. And when we got the Embarkation Centre, my mother said, "Good Heavens," she said. "There's Sir Henry Wood down there." And he was on the boat.
ES: And that was quite a thrill. Because erm, he signed that for me. [showssignature to VB]
VB: Oh, how lovely!
ES: And he let me take his photo.
VB: A-ah! That's wonderful. How kind to do--
ES: Oh! Oh, he was lovely! He said, "Now how would you like me? Shall I sit,pretend I'm reading my book?"
ES: And he was the most natural, nice person. And he was very interested inwoodwork and so was my father, you see. 'Course, they got something there in common. And with my mother loving music--
ES: And, so of course, you know, we used to chat to them quite a bit. And eh,01:06:00and they got off the boat at Trinidad because they were going to visit. He had two daughters. I think he had a daughter in Trinidad. And I don't know whether you've read any of the stories of Sir Henry Wood recently. Eh, 'cause he split up from his wife. And he had eh, a wonderful love affair. You know, in his life.
ES: But eh, he was with his original wife when we met. And she seemed rather ahard sort of person. But he was lovely, you know. Christmas night we were, 'cause my brother died on December the tenth and we went away about the nineteenth. So we were on board on Christmas night. And he had a paper hat on!
ES: And, you know, he was enjoying it just, you know. I mean, he was famous,but, I mean, he didn't appear that way. He was as natural as anything. Anyhow, it was very funny because this autograph was in an autograph album--
ES: And it goes back, you see, 1931. Now in 1934 I lost my autograph album--01:07:00
ES: And I was very upset because I thought, well, you know, I've lost hisautograph. And the years went by, and the years went by. And fifty? I think it was 58, 54 or 58 years later, somebody came to me when I was playing bridge and she said, "I've seen your autograph that Sir Henry signed for you." And I thought, where on earth has that sprung from, you see. And "Oh!" she said. "One of your schoolfriends has it." And to cut a long story short. This friend. I'd left school very suddenly when I was about thirteen because I was ill after losing my brother. She must've found the autograph album and took it home. And then she, I mean, I see her about, and she says, "I didn't know where to give it you."
ES: She left Ipswich and went to live in Bournemouth and one day her son said he01:08:00wanted, he married in Bournemouth--
ES: And he wanted an autograph album. "Oh!" she said, "I'll give you that one ofEileen's. I don't suppose I'll ever see Eileen again. "But" she said, " before you have it, I'm gonna cut that out."
ES: Well, she lost her son and then she lost her husband. So she came back andshe lived in Barford. She came back to Barford because she had a sister there. And we bumped into each other through playing bridge and she decided that she thought she'd better give it back to me. [laughs]
ES: After all those years. Yes, it was fifty-four years. From 1934 to 1988.
VB: That's amazing. And she kept it all that time.
ES: All that time. Well this was remarkable. But another remarkable thing. Shesaid to me, "You know, if I hadn't seen you again, I was going to give it to my sister's friend, who goes to the Proms. To give it to somebody who plays at the Proms because it might be of interest to her." But what she didn't know was that 01:09:00the person who would have received it was my daughter! [laughs]
ES: And of course the friend is the sister! With the friend I go to the Promswith! So she comes up and she was going to give it to her to give to my daughter!
ES: She didn't know. It was such a coincidence that I wrote a monograph allabout it.
ES: You can have one if you like.
VB: Oh, that's very kind. Oh that's a wonderful story! [laughs]
ES: And it gives the story of how we met on board, you see.
VB: Aw, that's wonderful.
ES: And how this! It was so amazing! You know, in the end. How, it all seemed asthough that had to come back to me. And if it hadn't, you know. It was one of these magic things that happens.
VB: That's wonderful that.
ES: So, erm, you know, I've sold about two hundred of those in aid of the01:10:00Malcolm Sargent Cancer Fund for Children. Mhm.
VB: It's just wonderful that.
ES: And now my son's written a book on Sherlock Holmes and about the Proms andmusic. And he wants to use it. So, it's quite fun.
VB: It is.
ES: It's about the only thing I've ever done. [laughs]
VB: Oh no. It's wonderful. And, I mean, just the thought that she carried itthrough moving away. And then coming back. [laughs]
ES: Yes. Oh, yes! And you think--
VB: A little bit of paper like that.
ES: It went all through the war--
ES: All through the bombing. You know, it's just quite unbelievable. Until oneday she gave it back to me.
VB: It's, just-- [laughs]
ES: Well when the friend said to me she'd seen it, d'you know, I had shivers allthe way my head right through, right down to my legs! Because I believe after all those years it could come back again to me. So--
VB: That's lovely.
ES: It was quite exciting. [laughs]01:11:00
VB: Mhm. And with the photo as well to go with it. It's just--
ES: Yes, yes. You'll see on the back there, there's a-- Oh, it's not very clear.
VB: Ah yes!
ES: You see, they've put the--
VB: Yeah. It's delightful. The whole story around it. It's just beautiful. Wah!
ES: Lots of people say she should have gone to the headmistress, really, withthe album.
ES: But, you know, children of thirteen don't think to do that. And her parentsmight not have known that she had it.
ES: She either borrowed it from me or she found it in the school, you see--
ES: And tucked it away.
ES: And, you know, one or two people said to me, "Well I should have thoughtthat she could have found where you lived and got it back to you." But I don't know. I thought I'd lost it on a holiday--
ES: I didn't know where I'd lost it, you see.
VB: And to her, I mean, I'm sure she didn't realise--
ES: Oh no!
VB: What it meant to--
ES: And as soon as she saw me again, her immediate reaction was, "Oo! I must let01:12:00Eileen have her autograph book back." [laughs]
VB: [laughs] That's wonderful.
ES: We have a good laugh over it.
ES: Another quite exciting, eh. Do you know the eh, Wolsey Theatre? Or do youknow Ipswich at all?
VB: I know where it is. I haven't seen it or been to it or anything.
ES: You haven't. No, no. Well they're putting on 'The Railway Children'--
ES: Over Christmas. And my son's three little girls are going to be in it. [laughs]
VB: Ah lovely.
ES: 'Cause they've got the acting. It's all come through. You see. For Mummy andfor my son and--
VB: That's wonderful.
ES: And they're very excited about it. They're lovely--
VB: I was going to say. They're lovely.
ES: They're lovely little girls.
VB: Beautiful children really.
ES: And eh. And then my daughter has the son. The boy belongs to my daughter.
ES: But he doesn't [imitating grandson's voice] want to earn his living by beinga musician. [laughs] 01:13:00
ES: He wants to be a professional footballer.
VB: Oh well. [laughs]
ES: Ah. I don't know what he'll do. But the girls are all very keen on actingand dancing and singing.
VB: Mhm. They've certainly got the looks for it. You can see that though.
ES: Yes. And I think they've got the figures.
ES: You know erm. When they wanted the children to audition for this--
ES: They didn't want big children--
ES: Because in the Victorian times, the children were smaller.
ES: So whether that's why. It think it may be because they were small but.
VB: Mhm. They're certainly very photogenic.
ES: Yes, I suppose so. Yes.
VB: It's wonderful. The sort of performing continuing.
VB: Yeah. Was your mother from a performing family herself?
ES: Well, her sister was an organist.
ES: And then erm, another sister had a daughter who used to perform. And eh, itis definitely in the family.
ES: And then on the other erm, my husband was musical. And his mother. And heliked acting. So it's, you know. I do think the genes are there, aren't they? And they keep popping up again.
ES: What other interests have you?
VB: Erm, well I'm actually, I'm quite interested in music as well.
ES: You are interested in music. Yes.
ES: And do you play?
VB: I play the violin badly. [laughs] So.
ES: [laughs] Oh, I'm sure you don't.
VB: Not to sort of performance standard and eh. I sing a bit as well but.
ES: Do you?
VB: Yes. I'm more of the Fred Astaire type of singing. [laughs]
VB: I'm no Jeanette MacDonald. [laughs]
ES: What? In a choir, or?
VB: Erm, I sing sort of traditional songs.
VB: Unaccompanied. Eh--01:15:00
ES: That's lovely.
VB: From time to time but--
VB: More for the enjoyment of it than, you know, to perform from that point of view.
VB: Eh, but I think music is just. I can understand why musicals have meant sucha lot to you.
ES: Yes. Do you have brothers and sisters?
VB: I don't, no.
ES: You're an only one.
ES: Yes. That's how I became after I lost my brother.
ES: I think we miss out a lot, you know.
VB: I'm sure that's right.
ES: Yes. It's lovely where there are families. Brothers and sisters to turn toand as you get older, your nieces and nephews and--
ES: And people are very important, aren't they?
VB: Oh. Very much so. Yeah. My husband comes from quite a big family so--
ES: Does he?
VB: I've made up for it. [laughs]
ES: Aw good! Yes. And is he from Scotland too?01:16:00
VB: Yes. He is.
ES: It's lovely. I've had several holidays up in, near Lockerbie.
ES: And it was on the dairy farm. The countryside's beautiful, isn't it?
VB: Ah, round about there is lovely.
ES: Yes. It's quite near Annan, isn't it?
VB: Mhm. In Dumfriesshire.
ES: That's right, yes. Mhm.
VB: It's beautiful.
ES: And you say you're working in Glasgow.
VB: Yes. Yes.
ES: And you come. Cause I don't know. You said the West. Where abouts?
VB: Eh, I come from the East erm.
ES: Oh East, yes.
VB: Erm, I was born in Edinburgh but--
VB: But brought up really in Fife, to the north of Edinburgh.
VB: In sort of countryside there so.
ES: Oh! How lovely.
VB: Aye. It's a beautiful part too.
ES: And what about your parents? Are they living?
VB: Yes, yes. They're still in Fife.01:17:00
ES: They are.
ES: Yes. So you get back there sometimes, do you?
VB: I do from time to time. Yeah.
VB: I've been very much enjoying being in this--
ES: Is this sun bothering you? Can I go over--
VB: It's a little in my eyes. Butnot too bad.
ES: Yes, it is now, isn't it? Let's just put the curtain across. There we are.
VB: I managed to get out in the countryside at the weekend.
VB: So I was over in Dedham and walking around there.
ES: Oh, yes!
VB: I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was beautiful.
ES: It's lovely in Dedham.
VB: But eh--
ES: Yeah. How long have you been down here again?
VB: Erm, just since Monday.
ES: Oh yes.
VB: So I'm leaving Ipswich tomorrow and then going over to Lowestoft for a few days--
VB: To talk to people there.
VB: Erm, and then to Norwich for a while too, so.
VB: It is very interesting.
ES: And you find these people through broadcasts, do you?
VB: Erm, partly. And we also eh, put some notices in local papers and--
ES: Oh, have you?
VB: Yes. I think there was something in the [Eastern] Daily01:18:00Press about the project, so we had some contacts through that.
ES: I see. Then you get people who write to you--
ES: Wanting to help you.
VB: Yeah. Erm, I mean, unfortunately we don't have the resources to seeeverybody, which is why--
VB: Eh, I was a bit eh, hesitant when I first spoke to you--
VB: 'Cause eh, erm, as I say unfortunately we just can't see everybody cause we--
VB: But as I say, I'm very grateful to you for letting me come to talk to you.
ES: Oh! That's a pleasure. It's been most interesting. It's nice to know whatother people do.
VB: I've thoroughly enjoyed it. It's eh--
ES: Well if you like music. If you like music--
ES: Then the music will have appealed to you.
VB: Yeah. Very much so.
ES: The different film stars and their, and, you know, the films. And the musicthat goes with the films.
VB: That's right.
ES: Yes. So you say, you're going off to Lowestoft?01:19:00
VB: Yes, I am.
ES: You're going tomorrow?
VB: But I am hoping to come back erm, probably early November.
VB: Eh, and I was wondering actually, erm. I mean obviously, you've mentioned somany things just now that we haven't had a chance to go into in detail. Eh, and what I was wondering was, maybe if I come back in a few weeks, if I could possibly come and see you again?
ES: Yes, yes.
VB: Because what usually happens is, I'll listen to this tape and think, oh, Iwish I'd asked for this and that.
ES: That's it. Oh yes. Wanting to go further on certain subjects.
VB: That's right. Yes. Would that be all right?
ES: Yes, yes. Of course. Yes.
VB: That would be great.
VB: 'Cause I would. I'd love to--
ES: Erm, I'm going down to Wales. 'Cause my daughter's in Wales.
VB: Ah! Right.
ES: Erm, 26th I think, of October. I'll be away for a week--
ES: But after that, I should be home then.01:20:00
VB: That's actually probably quite good for me.
VB: Because I'm eh, probably be coming down the second week in November.Something like that.
ES: Ah yes.
VB: But I'll make a note of that. Not the 26th. [pause 5 seconds] 'Cause I'mgoing to go home and stay in Glasgow for a week before I come down again.
VB: Find out what my home's like! [laughs]
ES: Yes. Oh, you live in Glasgow?
VB: I live in Glasgow. Yeah.
VB: But eh.
ES: Well I come home on the first of November.
VB: Oh, that's great.
ES: So, erm, I mean, I should be here. [pause 3 seconds] I play bridgeWednesdays and Fridays.
ES: But I'm usually here on a Monday and a Tuesday.
VB: I'll make a note of that then and eh--
VB: Give you a call again.
ES: That's right. When you're here.
ES: And erm--
VB: That'd be great.
ES: Well, it would be nice to see you again and eh--01:21:00
ES: You know, if it is any help.
VB: Very much so. Erm, as I say, it's wonderful to see all these. [laughs] Ioccasionally see one piece of music but to see such a lovely collection. It's great.
ES: It is quite a collection. Yes.
ES: Mhm. I have a lot of manuscripts that my mother wrote. I can't play them.Half of them. But erm, you know, it's a shame when anybody like that dies young before they can really do very much with the music.
ES: But she erm, she was a gift. She was very gifted in erm, you know, in musicand singing and monologues and everything. And I think she could have done quite a lot but--
ES: Erm, it wasn't to be.
ES: I often think she'd love to see her great grandchildren! I mean she didn't01:22:00even see her grandchildren.
ES: She died before I had my son and daughter so--
ES: Which is a shame because it's lovely to have your mum when you have children.
ES: There's nobody quite like your mum. [laughs]
VB: Mhm. It's a lovely collection.
ES: Some people say to me, "How on earth do you dust them all?" Well, being onmy own, I like to have them all around. They keep producing these photos and, you know, I erm. You know, I say sometimes, I'll have to put some of them away and put others out!
ES: That's my son.
VB: A-ah. [pause 4 seconds]
ES: And my daughter.
VB: Your daughter's very like you as--
ES: You think so?
VB: Yes. Very much so.
VB: I was looking for the resemblance in your son. I think, I think around the01:23:00eyes he's quite like you, actually.
ES: Yes. Maybe on this one more.
ES: That's him with his wife--
ES: And three girls. She's marvellous. She's a very clever girl.
ES: And Paul. Paul is my grandson. [laughs]
ES: [laughs] He's a swimmer.
ES: My daughter and her son.
ES: But this is the erm. This is the middle one.
VB: Ah, yeah.
ES: This is the middle eh, Vicky.
VB: She's lovely.
ES: And she wants to be an actress. Woops! There we are. [inaudible].
ES: Do you know 'The Railway Children' at all?
VB: I, well, I've seen the film. [laughs]
ES: Yes, well, she's got, playing Phyllis. And these two are two of Perks's children.01:24:00
ES: You know Perks had this big family--
ES: The railwayman.
VB: Yes. [laughs]
ES: And all these kids. [laughs]
ES: Kate said, "I've got to carry a baby!"
VB: Aw. It'll be really exciting for them, won't it?
ES: It will but, you know, it's going to be right round Christmas.
ES: Because, you see, Christmas Day. Not Christmas Day! But they'll be on BoxingDay! And, you know, during their holidays but erm. My daughter-in-law said to me, she said to me: "I think we're going to have quite a peaceful time because we'll be--
ES: "Dropping them off! Three hours! And none of them'll be around!" [laughs] Ithink they're quite looking forward to it.
VB: Oh wonderful!
ES: She's going to get a block booking so we can all go and see it.
ES: They think they, oh! They'll all have some fun.
VB: Mm. Ah, that'll be wonderful for them, I'm sure.
VB: Nice having all three of them in it as well. So no-one'll be left out.
ES: No. When the manager rung my daughter-in-law up, he said eh, "What's going01:25:00to happen if we want one or two?--
ES: "Instead of three?" And my daughter-in-law said, "Well, we've discussed thatand they're prepared to accept whatever happens."
ES: But when it came to it, they wanted the three, so. Anyhow, it's a few lessmothers to have around, isn't it?
VB: That's true. [laughs]
ES: I expect he chose people where there were three of a family because then youdon't get quite so many, you know, people, do you?
VB: That's true.
ES: You've got one mother there for three of them, so.
VB: Ah. Have they seen their costumes yet?
ES: No. No, I don't know how they'll be dressed.
VB: Sounds great though.
ES: Well is there anything-- [tape finishes]
[End of Side A]
[End of Interview]