I cannot believe this year has nearly gone, and far too fast for me as there cannot be that many ahead. I have turned down going back to Las Vegas with friends next year as my legs are not up to it. Last time I went we flew to the Grand Canyon in a helicopter and after landing was picked up in a wild west wagon and taken to a dude ranch. Then I was forced to ride a horse along the ridge as if I was John Wayne reborn. Incidentally did you know the Duke visited Borehamwood once in the 1970s to guest star on a Glen Campbell television special? I thought Glen was a great and very successful singer. My mind fails me a bit these days and I keep calling his hit Galveston as Gaveston, after my medicine!
Leonard Rossiter and Joan Collins in the Cinzano ad. Image: YouTube
Talking about product placement, I now see it is allowed on our television. Personally I do not care as I have never bought a product because some celebrity endorses it but apparently youngsters do and so be it. I loved the advert with Joan Collins and Leonard Rossiter that really impacted on sales of that alcoholic drink but not for me. When Tony Hancock advised us to go to work on an egg I preferred my snap crackle and pops. Remember that advert that praised the fact the product was ‘so big you have to grin to get it in’? Stop it – some of my readers – as I refer to Wagon Wheels.
Wagon Wheels. Image: YouTube
Did you fill up with a certain petrol that put ‘a tiger in your tank’? Did you fall for the slogan that a certain cigarette brand was good for a cough? Advertising agencies pay celebrities a fortune to do voiceovers for television commercials. Do you really buy a product on that basis? Well, I guess you do, and fair enough. I am not on Twitter or such things and am amazed how many followers some celebs have who follow their advice on products. However I guess it is all good for the economy, so why not?
I am now busy on writing a book celebrating the first 50 years of Elstree Studios from 1926 to 1976. I say writing, but it will contain hundreds of images, mostly previously unpublished, which I think is more interesting. All the income will go to our volunteer group Elstree Screen Heritage, of which I am chair, and our Elstree and Borehamwood Museum, of which I am a trustee. I recommend you join our Facebook pages for updates as we are also planning events for next year. I can’t say more at this time but it is best to be in the know as they will sell out. I have enjoyed a wonderful life meeting stars, visiting sets and much more so I am more than happy to share my archive and memories for great causes.
Incidentally, the day after I write this I am being interviewed for a best-selling magazine about my memories of ‘horror’ film stars I have met. As the clock ticks I feel a sense of duty to share first-hand memories as so much rubbish is printed these days. Bless you all for putting up with my name-dropping every week, but I hope at least it is entertaining.
- Paul Welsh MBE is a Borehamwood writer and historian of Elstree Studios